IT WAS another Tuesday for me and my mom. We were tuned in on a station that played the “oldies, but goodies” while she was driving me to school.
The radio program included short introductions by the DJ, a few ads, and plenty of songs. I noticed my mom enjoyed listening to the songs that played on the radio, bobbing her head back and forth, as they reminded her of the times when she was younger. Somehow, the ride turned into a nostalgic trip to the past.
I then remembered the times when my Dad drove me to school. When my dad was driving, he usually tuned in on stations that provided news. While listening to the radio, my dad and I usually engaged in conversations related to the news.
I remember he once told me it is important that civilians like us are informed with the latest news, and that the radio is one of the best and fastest sources of news especially in times of crisis.
Snapping back to reality, I arrived in school an hour earlier for my class than expected. Since I am a Mass Communications major, I decided to tune in on the radio while waiting for my class to start. Ads, music, news bites, and the DJ’s spiels about a certain topic all played on the radio.
As I was sitting, tuned in on the radio, it dawned on me: the radio might be the quintessence of mass media.
Through the years, I have learned that radio has different purposes for different people. My mom, for instance, tunes in on the radio to be entertained by the music. My dad, on the other hand, uses the radio to listen to the news.
As what I could recall in my classes, the radio also has other purposes that people use it for, like advertising, educating, agenda-setting, and watchdog surveillance. This proves that the radio is a flexible and effective mass communication medium.
The radio is also one of the mass media that could reach far-flung areas in the country. Recently, my family went to Buda for a vacation. Buda is in the hinterlands of the city's southern part where greens are abundant and the air is cold.
Because of its location, it is hard to get a hold of a cellular signal or even television signals. I remember that the only use of my phone was for me to listen to the radio. Indeed, the radio is a medium made to reach the masses in almost every area.
Although the use of the radio is evident in society, the industry is facing problems with its gains and losses as a broadcasting medium.
In 2014, I recall an ongoing debate about the radio – whether the radio is dying or evolving. Many critics, including Gordon Borell and Seth Godin have speculated that the radio industry is soon going to perish.
It is unimaginable to have a world where there are no radios or broadcasts. Even though the industry is mostly used by big companies just to earn, it should never die.
In 2016, a Forbes Magazine article said that the broadcast industry is evolving and that it is much alive than it is dead. In fact, the radio is said to be getting better as a platform for mass communication.
The radio broadcasting industry may be currently suffering losses due to the growing technology and new media but it cannot be denied that the radio industry still proves that its existence is not to be ignored. The world still needs radios, and nothing can ever replace this type of mass medium.
Going back to when I listened to the radio, I remember that I used it for entertainment. While I was listening to it earlier that day, I felt a rush within me. Out of all the years that I have heard radios playing, today felt different. It felt as if the radio had a beating heart, as if it was truly alive.
At that instant, I thought about the other people also listening to the same station I was listening to. As I heard the voices of the DJs greeting their listeners and reading their listeners’ requests live on air, I felt relief –a relief that the radio industry is here to stay.
The humanity behind the industry and its users, like me and you, make it much alive.
Despite the many speculations, many people still rely on the radio as their source of information, and one thing is for sure: the radio still serves as one of the quintessential forms of mass communication. (Rebekah Gail Celis)
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on June 24, 2017.
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