We’ve been in DC for about five days now, and the time has flown by. We had four meetings today and they were all really interesting. I think my favorite part of the day was the tour of National Public Radio. I have hosted a radio show on Whitworth’s student radio, KWRS, so it was cool to see radio production on such a large scale like that. Some of their developments are unbelievable. They have created captioned radio for deaf passengers in cars, which is something I had never even thought about. Personally, I don’t listen to public radio that often, and our tour guide told us the average age of NPR’s listener is 53. They use music to go after the younger audience, which is the one part of it that I would actually listen to. Unfortunately, I rarely listen to broadcast radio any more at all, let alone public radio. I don’t even have a radio in my dorm room. Most of the time I listen to music on my ipod through a speaker, through my itunes library on my computer, or I’ll find music to stream online. There’s also a really cool website called Pandora, where you can create playlists and listen to them online. It’s interesting how, at least for me, radio has become mostly an afterthought. It is rare that I don’t have a CD to put on in my car while I’m driving, but on the rare occasion that I don’t have one and decide to succumb to listening to the radio, I usually just get frustrated. There are so many commercials and interruptions, when all I care about is hearing the music. Why would I waste my time listening to all that, when I have a CD of music with no interruptions?
Our tour guide didn’t give the impression that public radio has been losing popularity with all of the technological advancements. Though, I suppose that their average listener, age 53, probably isn’t as technologically savvy as the younger generations. They have been listening to the radio for a long time, and are generally less accepting of new gadgets like ipods.
We also had a lunch meeting with Seth Morrison of CTAM, the Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing. He mostly discussed the transition to digital television. Most of what he said coincided with the other people we’ve met with, though one thing stood out in my mind. There is all of this information out there saying that if you use rabbit ears to watch TV, you will have to get a digital converter box in order to see anything. Seth told us about a sample city where the transition has already been made to digital TV. Some people who were using antennas to get channels and bought the converter box were not able to get a signal after the transition, even with the converter. It upsets me that they’re trying to make this huge change in the television industry, and they’re not even making sure that everyone will be able to adapt to the change. It seems like a money-making move – trying to get more people to buy cable. I guess that’s the American way.