Is Generation Y Killing Radio?

Is Generation Y Killing Radio?

gather round the radio1 - Is Generation Y Killing Radio?

The story is as old as time itself: Technology which played an important role in the formative years of one generation has been adopted, dare I say, commandeered, by a younger generation.

As I read Are Baby Boomers Killing Facebook and Twitter? I was taken aback at first, being a Baby Boomer myself. Then, I realized we could have a little fun with this and allowed my thoughts to wander to an older form of communication – radio. Are Facebook and Twitter just the new radio? Is it really new to wonder why some other group is invading “your” space?

I remember gathering as a family to enjoy dramatic radio programs together. Does anyone do this anymore? No one has the time or attention span. Those darn kids now use the radio to play their own music. Imagine that! Long gone are The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet. Music by Peter, Paul and Mary and Woody Guthrie has been replaced by Green Day* and Lil Wayne. What’s become of the world of radio?

And, to make matters worse, my own daughter constantly asks to switch the station when we’re in the car. The nerve of her! She expects me to tailor my use of the radio to accommodate her tastes and preferences.? Doesn’t she know that the radio was not invented for her generation? She’s got her Facebook; why mess with my radio?

Of course, I write this completely tongue-in-cheek. Every generation seems to be protective of what they deem to be their own domain. I am not without choices as to how to respond to the hijacking of my dear trusted friend, the radio. I can refuse to consider how others would like to use it for the sharing of information and music when it does not mesh with my own tastes. Or, I could share the radio with them, benefiting from the opportunity to learn from the noise-they-call-music and the opportunity to share what real music sounds like. In short, our collective experiences might actually leave us all enriched.

Does technology “belong” to any one group or generation? Can/should it be used to share our experiences more broadly and connect with others in new and different ways?

What do you think? Is Generation Y killing radio? Are Baby Boomers Killing Facebook and Twitter? Is there really any difference?

*Truth is I really like Green Day, just don’t let it get around



  1. Monica Diaz June 29, 2009 at 10:06 am - Reply

    Irene, I love your take on this, as I also like some of the music my kids have shared and vice versa. Technology is a thing of the present. Many baby boomers fear it will define us and want nothing to do with the new developments (and cling on to old time favorites). Technology was created to serve us, to expand us, to make us see farther, listen more, connect deeper. Older generations have the responsibility to teach the new ones the substance behind these things. How we used to do radio is significant so that kids can understand that they can find new music by broadening their searches. How our grandparents would connect gives great lessons to us twitters and FB people: they sent letters to eachother and needed to be clear, concise, meaningful lacking the face to face interaction. So do we. As long as we remember what it is to be human, we can welcome new technologies, let go of past ones and bridge generational gaps. (Plus…I think Greenday rocks! 😉
    .-= Monica Diaz´s last blog ..The Importance of Reflection. =-.

  2. Tom Bonner June 29, 2009 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    Hi Irene:

    Interesting post.

    As far as I’m concerned, Commercial Radio is killing Radio. I’m old enough to remember driving on trips and finding some really unique stations playing all sorts of wonderful stuff. It was a treat to drive across country, as you would experience a myriad collection of shows that included a smorgasbord of music and genres.

    Then all the stations were sucked up by corporate conglomerates that decreed every station had to play the same crummy top 40 tunes. All the stations sound exactly the same, and you can bet you will hear the same material repeated over and over, endlessly.

    Then there the ridiculous “drive time disk jockeys;” each a clone of all the others. They repeat unfunny jokes and guffaw loudly as they insult your intelligence. Listen to some of these guys (and gals) and you feel a need to rush home and take a shower. These turkeys are living proof the theory of evolution is false.

    Because of this, I very seldom listen to the radio any longer. I have an iPod and a FM broadcaster, so I can listen to something worthwhile in my car. At home I listen various flavors of Internet Radio, many of which are commercial free.

    I know you were kidding around, but I truly hate what commercial radio has become. The sooner someone kills it the better!
    .-= Tom Bonner´s last blog ..Fixing a white balance problem with Photoshop layers =-.

    • Irene Koehler June 29, 2009 at 8:39 pm - Reply

      Excellent points, Tom. You’re right that I wasn’t intending to truly analyze the demise of radio, but your points are well taken. Radio has changed so much, but there must be an audience for the newer formats or it wouldn’t make business sense.

  3. Bret Bernhoft March 10, 2010 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    As a Gen-Yer having been involved with radio as both a consumer and a professional I am willing to say that the importance of radio is just as great as it once was, just in a completely different context. While Generation Y still looks to the radio for story telling and information, the use of these reasources has significantly changed over the past 20 years.

    For Generation Y, radio serves as yet another opportunity to gain access to the expressions of their cultural identity, not the only. Radio is free, available and interesting and therefore is able to literally broadcast the kinds of messages that an entire demographic appreciates. Generation Y is not killing radio, no, it is transforming it.

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