Is there too much samey internet radio?

Being a sad old radio anorak, most of my only ‘Friends’ on Facebork are also sad old radio anoraks.

And, I’ve noticed something that’s happening within this ‘community’ of radio anoraks. Almost all of them are constantly promoting either individual radio shows or radio stations nobody has heard of. Indeed, these radio shows or radio stations seem to be being put together by themselves. There are hundreds of them.

Join me tonight at 8pm on Radio Nipplehead for the best music no other station dares to play,” is of course a killer line delivered by every single anorak on Facebork. Each station they promote is, in their eyes, the best thing since sliced bread.

But listening across them, all the stations sound exactly the same. They all claim to be playing the songs nobody else is, but they’re all playing the same songs everybody else is. Bizarre.  And all the presentation is exactly the same.

And, most importantly, in common with each other, nobody is listening to any of them. Well, nobody apart from each other, of course.

I’m not just talking about those many radio anoraks who believe that radio stopped in 1980 something, but also those who believe it started in 1980 something.

There are far too many radio stations, and nobody’s bothering to listen to any of them.

This is of course in contrast to the 1960s and early 1970s when there were only a few radio stations, and so everybody was tuned to them.

I mean, if today the breakfast show host on a random radio station was to announce he was marrying a fish finger, nobody but a few would notice. So many people would be listening to something else. Back 5 decades ago, everybody would have been listening to the one radio station. Everybody would have heard the same announcement.

Yes, today the tiny micro-radio stations, the spare bedroom radio stations I alluded to at the beginning, are not broadcasting through the air, but via t’internet. And, whilst t’internet will be the future of distribution, it currently isn’t. People, ordinary people, are very much listening via DAB/FM/AM.

Why?

Well, I think it’s because listening via t’internet is still a little bit fiddly. Yes, there’s an app for that, but you have to think to get the app (and which app is the best?), and to then configure it. Can the ordinary person be arsed? Oh, and then of course you’ve got to watch your data consumption, and maybe you don’t have your phone or other device attached to your car sound system, and it’s … sigh … so much easier just to switch the ordinary radio on, or listen to your own selection via an mp3 player.

Even podcasts or listen again defies logic for large number of people who actually just don’t care anyway.

Whilst yesterday’s radio anoraks were the ones wrapping copper wire around their radios in order to struggle to listen to a weak signal from the middle of the North Sea, today’s radio anoraks know exactly what app, what website, which stream, to listen to in order to hear whatever it is they feel they should hear. Because there’s so much choice, so much diversity, it’s most likely that they are listening to something nobody else in the UK is listening to.

That brings us back to the ‘old’ anoraks on Facebork. They will of course not be happy trawling the planet for a radio station that suits. Instead they put on their own. Well, it’ll be their ‘own’ interpretation of a snapshot of how through-air radio sounded once upon a time, maybe decades ago.

They will then publicise their efforts via the closed group that is their Facebork ‘Friends’, by telling them how wonderful the station is going to be. As we have already said, the stations are rarely wonderful, rarely different, and rarely listened to. If anything, the only listeners are the ones who will respond by creating their own radio station themselves some hours or days later to be be listened to reciprocally.

Why?

Well, why not, I suppose. They’re not hurting anybody and it keeps them off the streets, but it’s a kind of shame that none of them will do anything new or creative, and a shame there’s so much ‘noise’ to ‘signal’ that most of these radio stations are completely lost and drowning in the sea of radio stations. Or is it a shame?