In the age of technological boom where several devices have come to the forefront providing modes of entertainment and leisure for the masses, listening to the radio like the good old times is something that has been adopted by the young generation. This paper intends to delve deep into the various factors that come in play when it comes to listening to music or news on the radio in the present times. This study is based on the responses of five students regarding the matter who recorded their listening. A close scrutiny of the listening habits and liking for the medium of communication in the form of radio would enable one to comprehend the intricate factors that are associated with the popularity of the medium, the effect of music and the psyche and life of the respondents in particular. In fact, the responses and the subsequent explanation and analysis of the responses would surely provide an insight into the cultural influences that come into play for the various respondents who differ in their national identity and ethnic roots. Thus, the survey and the interpretation aim to cover respondents from various cultural influences and both the genders to ascertain the association with radio considering all the factors possible.
Krause, North and Hewitt’s seminal work “Music-listening in everyday life: Devices and choice” (2013) provides an insight about the choice of music that depends on a number of factors like attention, mood, arousal of the listener, and so on. The article points to the fact that the number of options of music playback devices being more in number now, the listeners have come to be more active in their interaction with the musical compositions, rather than being passive listeners. The article, “Understanding Cable Television Community Access Viewership”, penned by Jacobs and Yousman (1999), focuses on the fact that television viewership has increased drastically over the past few years. The study shows how the people are more prone toward finding entertainment in the audio-visual form, instead of the aural form.
Cha and Chan-Olmsted (2012) have stated that the immense popularity of online videos in the age of technological boom and how people are engaged in watching the videos. The authors draw a comparison between television and online video-watching experience. One can very well relate this scenario to the wane in the popularity of the radio. On the other hand, Heo and Cho (2009) said that the audience of the new era can be categorized based on the habits of listening, reading or seeing. Thus, this study helps in understanding the psyche and perspective of the five respondents of the survey so that a proper inference can be reached. It is very important to analyze of the survey done on the five students as their listening habits are being scrutinized with regard to their affinity toward listening to music on the radio.
For the purpose of this study, the listening source is taken to be the radio. The over the air broadcast on radio is the listening source for the respondents of the study. As such, the respondents do not require the Internet connection for listening to the radio, and can listen to the broadcast from any audio device that supports radio playback. The subjects’ responses would be categorized in accordance with their listening habits. The respondents would be termed as High engagement listener (if someone has the habit of listening to music on the radio for the most part of the day on a regular basis), Medium engagement listener (if someone has the habit of listening to music on the radio for a considerable span of time regularly), and Low engagement listener (if someone hardly listens to music on the radio on a regular basis and has no such habit of turning the radio on).
The research aims to delve into the effect and popularity of radio in the present era of multimedia on the young people. The young people of the society are the ones who are most exposed to all sorts of media. Now, the research would analyze how radio has found its place in the lives of the youngsters. The questions are listed below.
RQ1: Are college students who listen to the radio, long term listeners (i.e., since childhood)?
RQ2: Do college students who listen to the radio have a favorite genre?
RQ3: Do college students who listen to the radio spend more in listening to the radio than using Internet or watching the television?
RQ4: Do college students find their experience enjoyable while listening to the radio?
The subjects in this study are Subject 1 is an American boy, Subject 2 an American Girl, Subject 3 a Chinese boy, Subject 4 a Chinese girl, and Subject 5 a Japanese boy. All of the respondents belong to the same age group. This enables one to understand the differences of perspective among the respondents that are caused by their culture, lifestyle and choices. The respondents of the contextual survey were provided with a dem Just say diary to record their daily radio listening that would help them take a note of the time, content listened to on the radio, day on which they listened to the radio. Thus, the table that was provided to the five subjects could help the research showing any pattern in their habit of listening to the radio. The respective tables with each subject’s daily listening were then analyzed to to determine listening patterns. Also, the research questions that have been noted above were asked to the respondents individually and, and their replies were recorded for the purpose of scrutiny and analysis. The method of survey has been taken up for exploring the lifestyle, cultural effect and habits of the young respondents with relation to usage of radio. The research would further explore the reasons behind the waning popularity of radio in the era of technological boom. The respondents were provided with charts so as to let them mark the time and purpose of listening to the radio for a span of a week. Each respondent marked the time, purpose and day of listening to the radio during this span of a week. Moreover, other questions were also asked to the respondents to have an insight into their lifestyle, cultural identity and habits. Thus, the qualitative method of research was followed for the purpose of understanding the listening pattern and habit of the five students who ranged from different ethnicities and national identities.
The results indicated that Subject 1 and Subject 2 who are the American male and female, are Medium engagement listeners. These two people listen to the radio when they are driving their personal car. Both subjects stated that they spend much more time on the Internet or watching the television. In their personal interviews, they all mentioned that they have been listening to radio since their childhood. Also, they mostly listened to songs on the radio, and found their experience to be quite enjoyable. However, data for subjects 1 & 2 indicated that they did not listen to the radio at other times of the day or the week. In contrast, Subject 3 and Subject 4 who are a Chinese male and a Chinese female listened to the radio on the weekends. Both of them stated that they would listen to the radio much more when they were back in China. But, as they came over the America, the span of listening diminished. This happened due to their non-comprehension of English language.
The graph show the listening pattern of the five subjects who have been surveyed for the purpose of this research.
The second graph shows the various things that are listened to by the five respondents. This graph states the Medium engagement listening of the first two subjects further distinguishing what they listen to. Also, the third and the fourth respondent are shown to be Low engagement listeners, while the fifth respondent’s listening habits are also clearly represented to be of a High engagement listener. The first two respondents who are Americans listen to music as well as news. The two Chinese respondents listen to music only, while the Japanese respondent listens to music, news and stories.
When I interviewed Subject 1 and Subject 2, the two students who have American national identity and have grown up under the influence of the Western culture, I could understand that listening to the radio has become a passive form of entertainment that only takes up a small amount of time of their lives. They told me how they listen to the radio while driving, it can be surmised that they are passive listeners as their main focus is shifted toward driving their personal car. The comments made by the subjects of the study are in compliance with the data that is collected from each of them individually. The American respondents did not even listen to the radio in the weekends for entertainment. However, as they listen to the music and news, it can be said that the medium is also used by the respondents as a mode of receiving important information about the society. The importance of the medium for these respondents is only substantiated by this habit.
However, when I talked to Subject 3 and Subject 4, I came to find that the amount of listening to radio has greatly diminished after they came over to America from their homeland in China. But, they do listen to the radio in the weekends. In China they would listen to the radio as a way of relaxation while driving. However, after coming to America they faced the barrier of language as they could not understand the English language. They can neither enjoy the songs, nor understand the news or information disseminated on the radio. These respondents also do not listen to news on the radio. This is also because of the language barrier. Thus, the effectiveness of this medium of communication is highly diminished in their case. I came to understand lives of Subject 3 and Subject 4 have changed after they have come to this new country and this is reflected in their pattern of listening to the radio. They were asked if they saw the radio as a mode of entertainment or news dissemination. At this, both of them opined that radio was a major medium of mass communication. It provides information about the world as well as entertainment to the listeners. But, they could not understand the language. This testifies to the barriers of inter-cultural communication in the modern day world and how it comes to influence the commonplace habits of daily life for people who are placed in a new cultural milieu. It is due to the issues of inter-cultural communication that the Chinese respondents did not listen to the radio more. Their listening was limited in this new cultural ambiance, and this is reflected in the data where it is found that they listen to the radio while riding the car. The linguistic barrier mars the engagement of these respondents to a great extent showing the obstructions for the medium to reach out to a wider mass across cultures and societies.
However, as I talked to Subject 5, the Japanese boy, he came across as someone who was too much into listening to the radio. He described how he would plug in the earphones to listen to music as well as news on the radio whenever he got the opportunity. He also said that he spent more time listening to the radio rather than watching television or surfing the Internet. I asked him the reason for his preoccupation with the radio in the age where there were so many other devices that he could choose for entertainment. At this, the respondent answered that he was an active listener of the radio and he found it to be more focused as a medium. He told me that the Internet and the television provide a sea of options that only work to distract the attention of the person engaged with the medium. In stark contrast, there were a specific few number of radio channels that would cater to the masses with news, entertainment, talk shows, and even make way for active participation of the listeners by letting them call the radio station and take part in any discussion. In fact, the listening pattern of this respondent shows the fact that he uses the medium as a holistic source of information, entertainment and leisure. This shows the immense potential of the medium of communication in engaging the audience. I also asked him if he thought listening to the radio in the car while driving was a good idea. At this he said that it would make the listeners be passive as they would be more focused on driving. Indeed, the fifth respondent is someone who seemed to be free from the influences of hegemonic influence of television and internet and had logic behind his actions.
It would be correct to conclude saying that the responses of the five subjects point to the different types of listenership among the masses. Differentiating the respondents on the basis of cultural identity pointed to the cultural influences that shape the listener profile. Radio is one of the oldest forms of mass communication, but it still manages to find its place in the era that is marked by the usage of the Internet, smartphones, television and other forms of entertainment and dissemination of information. The fact that all the five young respondents listen to the radio in some situation or the other, points to the relevance of the medium of communication even in the present times. It might be so that with time radio would become a secondary medium for engagement in the society among the future generations. Nonetheless, there would be a section of the society that would be actively engaged in listening to the medium of communication like the Japanese boy who is so very engrossed in listening to the radio whenever he gets time in the day. Rather than taking radio as a near-obsolete medium of mass communication, educational research has to aim at comprehension of the cultural, economic, and scientific factors that have a role to play in ascertaining the habits of the individuals with regard to listening to music, news, or any other kind of program on the radio channels that are aired.
Krause, Amanda E. & North, Adrian C. & Hewitt, Lauren Y. (2015). Music-listening in everyday life: Devices and choice. Psychology of Music 43(2): 155-170.
Jacobs, Randy & Yousman, William. (1999). Understanding Cable Television Community Access Viewership. Communication Research Reports 16(3): 305-316.
Cha, Jiyoung & Chan-Olmsted, Sylvia M. (2012). Substitutability between Online Video Platforms and Television. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 89(2): 261-278.
Heo, Jun & Cho, Chang-Hoan. (2009). A new approach to target segmentation: Media usage segmentation in the multi-media environment. Journal of Targeting, Measurement and Analysis for Marketing 17(3): 145-155.