March 5, 2018
At its most basic level, radio is communication through the use of radio waves. This includes radio used for person-to-person communication as well as radio used for mass communication. Both of these functions are still practised today. Although most people associate the term radio with radio stations that broadcast to the general public, radio wave technology is used in everything from television to cell phones, making it a primary conduit for person-to-person communication, radio continues to play an important role in information sharing.
Radio broadcasts can provide real-time information, broadcasted 24 hours a day to provide the most recent updates to listeners. Stations have the ability to reach across borders and become a source of information where reliable news is scarce. When access to the internet is blocked and phone lines are cut, people can still search the airwaves for trustworthy sources. Even electricity is not a necessity for battery operated and hand-cranked radios.
Television used to taunt radio because it had a picture and radio did not. Television always looked at radio as a media stepchild, incomplete by nature. Well, the Internet levelled that playing field somewhat by giving radio stations the ability to present photos, video, audio, and interaction coupled with programming. Although the radio industry has lost thousands of jobs over the past ten years, new ones have been created where there were no jobs before.
Meanwhile, 39 percent of Americans listen to online radio, and 23.9 percent listen to satellite radio. When FM finally did begin to gain some market traction, in the 1970s, the factors driving it were just as complex as those impeding it earlier in the century. Knowledge and information are other ways radio has benefitted the society. Before the internet and television, many people relied on the radio to get up to date information on current events and as a course of education through documentaries, something which many stations, especially public stations still put a large emphasis on.