Every time I don my headset and call up my Comcast Rhapsody Radio's New Age channel, I am thankful for the choice.
Or maybe I can select a channel where I can hear real old time cheatin' songs, or seek out a propulsive house beat guaranteed to fire up the writing part of my brain.
I could do the same in my car, but as an urban dweller I am not in my car enough to ROI Sirius or XM. I do have an iRiver, but I am not going to just take it out for brief jaunts.
So if I want music when mobile, I am stuck with the same focus-group tested vanilla sounds. Oldies? The same ones, over and over. An obscure rock song from the 1970s, or maybe some hurtin' George Jones would be fine right 'bout now but good luck.
On Monday, the FCC held a hearing in Nashville, Tn., on this very matter. It was here that country music legend Porter Wagoner said:
"The days of an artist receiving regional airplay or breaking as a new act on radio are gone, and you are now considering making the situation even worse by letting some broadcast dynasties become even bigger broadcast dynasties," Wagoner told the FCC commissioners who were there at the hearing.
Porter Wagoner was speaking to the desire of FCC Chair Kevin Martin to relax the radio station ownership rules still further.
If that happens there will be more of more than the same. You know, five songs in a row, each one you have heard several times in the past week. Then 15 minutes of commercials.
It is crap like I have just described that makes me even more grateful for Internet radio. Of course some of the same corporate apparatus that is behind radio industry consolidation would just love to fee Internet radio to death by charging budget-breaking license fees to the innovative but modest-pocketed streaming media giants. And, these are also some of the same cretins that would de-fund NPR. And don't get me started on further copyright and copy restrictions that some of the same regulators and legislators would just love to put in place!
Let's hear it for a radio universe full of focused-researched, 20-song-playlist stations and fright-wing radio talk show hosts who yell that all the Iraq Study Group was, was a bunch of danged lawyers!