I remember spending many an afternoon listing to Top 40 rock n’ roll stations up in my bedroom and either switching channels or even bounding back and forth between two different radios so that I wouldn’t miss any hit songs.
While I still listen to public radio stations like WNCW and even to my local AM station on occasion to keep up with new music in the rock, folk, country and Americana fields, I couldn’t tell you what’s on the Top 40 pop charts today.
In some ways my musical interests and tastes are in a state of arrested development.
I don’t know whether it’s that you get busier as you get older or resistant to change, but I’m not as plugged in to the current radio hit scene as I once was. I’m certainly not as passionate about it.
I won’t go as far, however, as my ancestors did in dismissing much of today’s popular tunes as awful junk and unworthy of being called music. I'm just not into a lot of what's topping most of the charts today. That doesn't mean I can't understand that many others really dig it as much as I love "my" music.
Of course we don’t have to allow our musical tastes to evolve or tolerate new stuff today if we don’t want to, thanks to a plethora of narrowly targeted media that can satisfy our every desire. There have been “classic” rock stations for years, and now with internet sites like YouTube you immerse yourself in sounds and videos from just about any era you’d like to for the last several decades.
But if I chose to live exclusively in the musical past, I never would have discovered emerging artists such as Jason Isbell, a great musician and songwriter, or groups like Balsam Range, a bluegrass group from my area that is getting widespread acclaim for it’s original songs and musicianship.
Radio may not be as big a part of my life as it used to be, but it’s still an important component to my quality of life.