Podcasts >>>>>>>> Radio

Let’s not lie to ourselves here, commercial radio sucks ass. Especially in the context of music on the radio, it seems to me that popular radio stations today are just mediocre in content and annoying in presentation. From all of the unnecessary sound effects added throughout a program’s broadcast to the advertisements that seem to be played in rotation more frequently than songs, there is a lot to say about mainstream FM radio stations. This Family Guy clip shows exactly what I’m talking about:

Weenie and the Butt!

The negative qualities that are associated with radio of this nature, however, are to be expected. The overt commodification and commercialization of music exists simply because that’s what radio stations are meant to do: rake in dollar bills through ad revenue and sponsorships.

While podcasts are not completely devoid of advertisements and product plug-ins, they generally exhibit such qualities much less frequently than do radio stations. Also, many interchange the term “podcast” with “public radio”. Even though this term has the word “radio” in its name, public radio stations are very much different from “private” radio stations such as 100.3 FM (Z100) or 92.3 FM (92.3 NOW). They rely much less on money from larger organizations and much more on donations made by subscribers and listeners.

The most important point that the article makes, in my opinion, is the fact that podcasts can more easily cater to niche audiences, whereas private radio stations need to have some sort of broad appeal to even properly function. Also, since podcasts are generally accessible via download or an online web player, they are much more user-friendly than private radio. You can rewind them, skip the intro, go to your favorite part, whatever. This sort of accessibility is usually not something you find in typical private radio. If you miss something that the host says during the broadcast, ya dun goofed son! I personally utilize SoundCloud to peruse the very few podcasts that I follow and in the event that I zone out and miss something, I just rewind back a couple of seconds and I’m all caught up.

Podcasts are an excellent way for individuals, especially college students like myself, to expose themselves to various worldviews and perspectives as well as solidify their own. Some of the most popular podcasts/public radio stations are those with a political edge to them, and for a good reason. These stations usually house political opinions that are unlike those found in the mainstream. For someone who fashions himself as a pretty progressive guy, I find podcasts and public radio to be a great way to see someone’s take on a recent political issue and formulate my own opinion on it. Traditional news media is often overtly laced with corporate or partisan biases, and while the same is true for certain public radio stations, it is especially true with conventional news media (ex: CNN, exhibiting a neutrality bias, and FOX, exhibiting an 80-year-old-with-dementia bias)

As you can probably tell, I prefer podcasts to radio any day of the week. Private radio just sucks nowadays. There is never any risk-taking or boundary-pushing conversation being held on mainstream radio. There is never any groundbreaking record being played on FM radio. The only thing that is circulated in these airwaves is the most polished, sugary, absurdly accessible, and safe dialogue and music. For that reason, I implore everyone who avidly listens to the radio to perhaps reconsider and try looking for some specific podcasts or public radio station that cater to your particular interests or quirks.

Shit’s dope, trust me fam.

Accurate: 1aweird-radio-pie-chart


Podcasts >>>>>>>> Radio

2 thoughts on “Podcasts >>>>>>>> Radio

  1. I think the line between “radio” and podcasts can be quite flexible. Hell, you acknowledge this yourself in this very post. At the risk of sounding silly, not all radio sucks, frankly, because not all radio stations are run by corporate greed. Private Radio stations and content found on Sirius XM are more optimal listening experiences for music and other broadcasts on the grounds these stations are funded by more organic means: the people. If someone likes what they hear, they will invest money to hear more of the music they would like to listen to as opposed to pop music smothering regular public radio stations.

    Podcasts, on the other hand, are different, not only because they utilize different technology than radio, but podcasts are generally used to broadcast different information than radio, which has traditionally been used for music. Of course, this isn’t always this case with radio, especially in years past, where radio can be used to tell stories, as opposed to just music, news, weather, traffic, etc. Podcasts cater to niche audiences that not even Satellite Radio satisfies, as podcasts serve as the new radio dramas, magazines and so on. Podcasts take the form of audible narratives with series like “Welcome to Night Vale” or serve to inform the viewer about genre topics, as can be found in the works of creator Kevin Smith.

    Public radio, respectable public radio, still exists. Even if the generalization that all pop-oriented stations are of lesser quality is in effect, relief can be found in the form of stations from universities (like our very own 90.3 The Core), as well as more genre-specific stations in a more local area. Between radio and podcasts, there is a copious amount of media to surf through, overwhelmingly so. Music especially doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and can be powerful to just about anybody. With that being said, I even think it’s a bit broad to speak against public radio as a whole, as there is an unseen variety to anything that can be heard on public radio. Besides, despite the corporate greed that plagues most things, including radio, I would consider pop-driven stations to be harmless, in the grander scheme of things.


  2. Elena Carrasquillo says:

    I would not go so far to say that radio shows “suck ass.” Honestly I really enjoy most radio shows. There could be two factors in why I enjoy them more than podcasts; one, radio shows are easily accessible and on in the car whenever I am going some where. I do not have to go searching for a podcast that I may or may not be interested in. Two, like you said, sometimes we zone out while listening to podcasts, but radio shows are meant to keep the listeners attention. As bad as it sounds I love the superficialness of celebrity drama they talk about on the radio because they are supposed to make you laugh and enjoy the mornings. Podcasts on the other hand have a more seriousness to them. In all honesty, if I were to drive around and listen to a podcast I would probably have to sit in the back of the car and not drive because I would probably fall asleep. Once you lose focus, podcasts can get confusing. The simplicity of radio shows is that if you lose focus, they recap the events for you so it is like you never zoned out in the first place. This could just be my laziness speaking but i’d prefer not to have to rewind and go back because I zoned out while listening. I am sure that if I find a podcast I thoroughly enjoy then i’d be more open to listening to more but I haven’t found that perfect fit. Because podcasts have a more serious side, when I’m in the car on my way to work or on my way to school I don’t want to be listening to something super serious and scripted i’d prefer something care free. Neither podcasts or radio shows are worse than another. They both have pro’s and con’s to their styles but personally I just prefer radio shows over podcasts but there is nothing wrong with wanting to listen to a podcast over a radio show as well. It is all just a preference.


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