iPod killed the radio star

When I am driving in my car and decide to turn on the radio, I am almost always disappointed. It seems like all the stations go to a commercial break at the same time. Then, after the commercial break ends, they usually play a lineup of songs that all sound pretty much the same. So I resort to plugging in my iPod.

In an age of iPods and TiVos, why would anyone choose mass-produced, commercial-infested media technology? We all want to listen to or watch whatever we want at anytime without interruptions, and now we can.

There is so much good music out there that the radio will never play. It is much easier to find music to suit your tastes by browsing MySpace or iTunes. The iTunes store offers music selections just for you based on your previous purchases, and artists will invite you to sample their music on MySpace. Satellite radio does offer a more specialized selection of stations, but why pay money for satellite radio when you can listen to similar stations for free on the Internet?

Since the start of the decade, sales of Sirius satellite radio have dropped 82 percent, while iPod sales have continued to rise. With the rising oil prices during the summer and the rocky state of the economy, one would think that buying an iPod would not be a priority. However, more than 11 million iPods were sold during the third fiscal quarter of 2008, right in the midst of high oil prices. Entertainment such as music provides an escape from the stress of everyday life. This is especially necessary during rough economic times.

I remember having a portable CD player with radio at one point in time, but I cannot imagine such a device being popular again. I never see anyone walking around listening to a portable radio. Instead, everyone is continuously connected to their iPods. One-fifth of all people under age 30 own an iPod or some kind of MP3 player.

It is all about having control. Listening to the radio means listening to music that someone else picked out. Maybe it is narcissism, but everyone thinks their taste in music is superior. Why bother listening to the radio, which is not specifically targeted towards your personal tastes? With the technology we have today, there is no reason to listen to anything other than our own personal playlists.

Digital media and instant downloads are taking over, and radio as we know it may come to an end. All because we desire control and customization.

The music industry is going digital, which could lead to the end of radio as we know it. Even talk radio can be downloaded in the form of a podcast, which allows you to listen to only the segments you want. Many radio station Web sites even offer music downloads and music videos, which may cause people to use them more than live radio broadcasts.

As we embrace the customization and digitalization of the media world, the radio that we once enjoyed becomes closer to extinction.

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