How Different are Podcasts and Radio?

In Adam Ragusea’s article, he argues that the differences between radio and podcasts are small but visible.  He states that the three biggest articles are “podcasts are free from time constraints”, “radio shows try to please everyone”, and “people ‘opt-in’ to podcasts, which they don’t do to radio.”

While I agree with most of Ragusea’s points, the last one confuses me and makes little logical sense.  People chose to listen to the radio everyday.  People do not have to listen to the radio, often times it is a choice that they make.  People can drive without listening to music or talk shows.  They can listen to a CD or a playlist they make on their phones.  If they chose to listen to the radio, they chose which radio station they want to listen to (there are hundreds to chose from, and there is a good chance that two cars driving next to each other aren’t listening to the same station).  Listening to the radio in the car is not the cut and dry action that Ragusea made it out to be.

elvis duranRagusea argues that podcast listeners go out of their way to find a podcast they like on a topic they like, the same is true for radio listeners.  Finding a radio station that fits the mold of what you like (different stations play different genres, some stations play more music while others talk more, others tell stories) is not always as easy as it may seem.  Sometimes you like the music one station plays, while the radio hosts are the most annoying people in the world.

This has only become harder in the age of internet radio.  With the emergence and rise of internet radio like Sirius XM Radio, stations have become more specialized.  That in its self brings up another choice radio listeners make.  Do they want to listen to standard AM/FM radio, or do they want to subscribe to Sirius XM and listen to that?  Once a decision is made, then comes another question.  Of the hundred of channels available through Internet Radio, which do you want to listen to.  This channels are so specialized, some channels are dedicated to single artists.  The decision to listen to Internet Radio comes with even more choices, and isn’t something listeners “opt-in” to.

Then there is the choice to not listen to the radio.  Almost all cars on the road these days have either auxiliary cords or bluetooth connections that can synch one’s phone to the speakers.  Drivers can make playlists and listen to the music that they have bought in the car, instead of listening to the radio.  That’s another choice that drivers have to make.  “Do I want to listen to the music I bought, and only listen to songs that I know I love, or do I want to listen to the radio and get more variety in the music played.”

Drivers do not have to listen to the radio, as is suggested in Ragusea’s article.  They can listen to the radio, and then choose between the hundreds of stations available on the standard AM/FM model, or they can listen to Internet Radio, making another choice between the hundreds of highly specialized stations, or they can listen to music that they have bought on their phones.  It isn’t as cut and dry as it appears in Ragusea’s article, there are many choices and decisions that go into listening to the radio.  Listeners do not just “opt-in” to the idea that this is what they have to listen to

How Different are Podcasts and Radio?

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