Old Media: The Charm of Radio
Old Media: The Charm of Radio
  • 홍소영 기자
  • 승인 2011.10.06 21:00
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We can see people in our day-to-day lives who just zone out with their earphones on. It is easy to wonder what they might be listening to. It could be music or it could be the radio. They might even be listening to an English lesson. For those who still listen to the radio, they could be experiencing something unforgettable. Radio is a medium that many people have been passionate about long before television, not to mention all of today’s high tech media outlets like the Internet and SNS (Social Network Service). Moreover, radio has managed to maintain many listeners and advertisers. Through the charm of radio and its remarkable staying power we will examine how it manages to stay relevant in the midst of the modern media blitz.

Radio has faced constant threats since the introduction of TV all the way through the introduction of modern media outlets. In the face of this ongoing crisis radio has appealed to its basic character to maintain a loyal following. For example, correspondence between listeners and radio stations still takes place through letters and postcards. This might sound inconvenient and slow, but there is a level of intimacy and nostalgia that can be conveyed through letters and postcards that cannot be achieved through an email or text. Moreover, developments in technology have made it possible for local radio stations to broadcast around the world via the Internet and other media. Digital radio uses a digital signal instead of analog forms like AM (Amplitude Modulation) and FM (Frequency Modulation). This provides excellent reception quality and high sound quality. In addition, shortages in radio frequency have also been solved. However, if radio goes too high-tech, it risks losing what makes it unique. In other words, if radio cannot maintain its distinct characteristics many people will not choose the radio in the two way communication age. In short, radio’s main function is to appeal to listeners. Visual access to information on the Internet should always remain a secondary function. Another recent development that is helping radio maintain its popularity is that many star entertainers are hosting radio programs. This allows listeners to get used to interacting with them through the radio every day. For example, Shin-Dong and Gyu-Ri Park in the Simsimtapa as well as Si-Kyung Sung on the FM Music City. These are just some of the reasons radio has been able to maintain its popularity in the age of modern media. We will now take a closer look at some of radio’s other endearing features.
The first feature is that radio is perfect as a background medium as you go about other activities. TV is primarily a visual medium and requires your full attention. Radio is also mobile, so you can listen to it when you take a walk or while you drive through morning rush hour. Although DMB systems allow TV to be mobile as well, there is a much greater possibility of walking into a tree or driving into an accident if you are watching TV while attempting to accomplish these other activities at the same time. Another feature is that daytime programming has improved its appeal with rhythmic music and jokes. During late-night hours, we can listen to the radio at home while resting and it sometimes makes us more sensitive. Another feature of radio is speed. Radio plays an important role in disaster situations when electricity is cut off. Radio programming is also almost exclusively comprised of live broadcasts. Therefore you can listen to the live performances of singers and get a real feeling for their music. Unexpected phone connections are also one of the best features of a live broadcast. Finally, radio depends on people listening without visual details, so it allows people to use their imagination. Radio programming is divided into three basic areas: music, talk, and education. Music programming is done through DJs and in studio guests. Many songs flow from the radio. We are provided the opportunity to hear the latest songs, and we are sometimes treated to our favorite singers visiting radio shows and performing live. Talk radio is divided into several categories from news to advice and personal stories. Advice, or self-help programs provide counseling for those who call in to discuss their problems. Listeners with similar problems can feel comforted in the knowledge that they are not alone. People also call in to tell personal stories. These testimonials can also make other listeners feel that there are many people with similar issues, concerns, and aspirations. Educational programming in Korea is mainly broadcast on the EBS radio station. This provides students with useful information such as foreign language listening tests. Finally, we can meet radio stars who are rarely seen on TV. We conducted an interview with an MBC radio DJ.

Myo-Sun Kim,
Daegu MBC radio DJ

on FM Morning Show

Q) How long have you been a radio DJ?
A) I have worked as a radio DJ since 1999.

Q) What is the most popular radio program?
A) “Hey Dong-Hun, you have to earn your keep.” The guest Dong-Hun and I are the same age. Because of this the atmosphere is very active. We make some mistakes because of the mood, but I think that makes our listeners feel more familiar with us and it is one of the reasons why the program is popular.

Q) How do you feel during radio broadcasts?
A) Most of my listeners are my age. Accordingly, I always broadcast with a cheerful attitude for my listeners. For example, a single song can stir up very strong memories and feelings. We can express empathy through music if the song reminds us of strong feelings from the past.

Q) I wonder what you think about radio's charm.
A) It keeps in tune with its listeners. We feel like we are talking with friends through the radio. Listeners have told me that I am sometimes in a state of confusion because it seems like I am talking only to them.

Q) When it comes to new media such as TV, Internet and even SNS (Social Network Service) where do you think radio fits in?
A) I don’t think it’s in any real danger. People continue to listen to the radio along with new media. Radio has also made advances like radio multiplexing, but I think its greatest strength is the feeling of nostalgia it creates.

It is a fact that analog systems are increasingly being sidelined in the digital age. Due to this situation, radio has made an effort to strengthen its competitiveness. Radio creates nostalgia through its unique features and is trying to make progress without losing its charm. Radio can be part of your daily life without dominating it. Why don't you listen to the radio when you take a walk, while you drive to work, or when you are just looking for a way to pass the time? Radio can be a nice enhancement to just about anything you want to do.

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