Radio’s Impact on Society: Then and Now



” Radio listening is such a mundane, effortless act that we have become oblivious to its complexities. Yet radio has taught us, socialized us how to listen to different things, and how to feel during different modes of listening.”- Douglas, “Zen of Listening”

When reading this article about the causes and effects of Radio’s phenomenon on America, I was intrigued. See, I am NEVER ahead of the times when it comes to technology. I get familiar with what I already know how to use and I don’t like to change. Even with all of the avenues for listening to music these days, I still frequently turn on my radio . Now, it doesn’t take me very long to realize why everyone else now uses their ipods when I hear a commercial looming through the signal. 


As I was reading this article, I decided to look up some of the history of the car radio. The article says that radio was called a “miracle” when it first came on the scene. It was so magical because it allowed the listener to produce his or her own emotions about what was streaming. Douglas said, ” radio carried people back into the realms of preliteracy, into orality, to a mode of communication reliant on storytelling, listening, and group memory (29).”


One of the topics I found most insightful from this reading was the concept that people liked listening to the radio because people enjoyed making images in their own minds. Studies have shown that people can remember facts if they have visually made the images without inference from externally produced images. Radio allows our minds to still be creative , like when we were children. We make the choice to become participants in the radio world, but our active listening can put us as a major player in a large realm of media. I thoroughly enjoyed thinking about the fact that when we are born, our eyes are still struggling to focus on our surroundings. But, we can already hear the sounds of the room. The expectant mother who was probably screaming, the hardworking doctor who is barking orders to the nurses, the beeps and bops of the machines surrounding the bed and mostly likely, I would have heard my own minuscule cry ring out among the mass of sounds and ring the purest.