Monday, November 16, 2009

When radio mattered

Once upon a time, radio mattered.

Once upon a time, popular-music radio mattered so much, "pirate" Top-40 stations off the English coast scared a government and provoked a massive official backlash.

Once upon a time, "pirate" disc jockeys were bigger stars than the musicians they put onto the airwaves -- and the youth of a nation fought to keep them on "free radio."

AND ONCE HER MAJESTY'S government -- in 1967 -- finally succeeded in pulling the plug, the staid facade of the British Broadcasting Corp., cracked under the weight of demands that it program for the people, not at the people. Later that year, BBC Radio 1 was born.

Top-40 BBC Radio 1.

Many of Radio 1's original DJs were hired off the pirate ships. Because the pirate ships mattered . . . and because radio mattered.

Across the pond and across four decades, things have changed mightily.
Because radio no longer matters.

At all.

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