It doesn’t take a genius to know that the internet and mobile technology is changing the media industry as we know it. The ease of broadcasting anything on the internet without having to deal with problems like buying high-tech broadcasting equipment, a limited signal, and FCC regulations makes an actual radio station, comparatively speaking, a hassle to operate. In addition, the mere fact that streaming can be done through smartphones only increases the ability to listen to the station anywhere where there’s a cell tower, without the worry of hearing static and leaving the station’s transmission range.
So given these two realities, why do we continue to broadcast the old fashioned way on the frequency 90.9 FM?
As a news personality at the radio station for little more than two years, and as an avid radio listener for much of my young life, this question in one form or another has pondered me. WCDB for instance has a website in which practically anyone with an internet connection can listen to broadcasts online that are of better quality than over the air through an analog radio. In fact many college radio stations, including the one at the College of St. Rose, do all their broadcasts over the internet.
It seems given the massive technological advances I’ve seen at least during the past decade (not to mention many of the regulations governing over-the-air broadcasts) that radio ought to be as dead as a Dodo. But, practicality and efficiency doesn’t always make right (at least in this blogger’s eyes). Here are some reasons why I think WCDB 90.9FM – still serves a useful purpose.
1) Not everybody has access to the internet:
Although it seems implausible, the reality is that there are a significant chunk of households without internet (about 1 in 5 to be exact). For those people without access to the internet, it wouldn’t be fair for WCDB to abandon those people. Especially considering the fact that we’re one of the few non-commercial entertainment outlets in this area, and part of even fewer number of non-commercial alternative outlets.
2) Many people still listen to the radio in their cars:
While cars are just now beginning to add outlets for portable devices such as MP3s, I-Pods, and other streaming devices; the vast majority of cars have radios as the sole means of entertainment. So for the out-of-tower that might be passing through the Capital District, they might be able to tune into our station and get a taste of what some of the creative minds here at WCDB have to offer.
3) Real-World Training in Radio
WCDB, just like any other commercial radio station, has to deal with malfunctions, regulations, financial managements, etc. Therefore, probably the most important contribution this station has to offer is the training in the many aspects of running a radio station to the students and community members that work here. Despite the quality alternative entertainment that WCDB might offer to the Capital District, we provide the training ground for the DJs and broadcasters of tomorrow. And in order to provide real-world, quality training (in my opinion of course) a functioning, over-the-air radio station is crucial.
But, what do I know? I’m just a blogger here. Do you guys have any thoughts on this? Share them in this poll.