[Opinion] Radio, Reinvented
I grew up listening to the radio. One could argue it’s in my blood, the first civilian to operate a trans-Atlantic radio was my great grandfather or some-such.
By: Sarah Alli Brotherton
I always felt strange about paying for music, it struck me that music is something that everyone enjoys; music is an absolute good, and we shouldn’t have to pay for it.
I owned a couple of CDs, but I was just as happy flipping on the radio and letting the DJs decide what I would listen to. Even after I got an iPod and a modestly sized music collection, there was something romantic about the radio that kept me coming back despite the fact that there was seriously not a single good station in my hometown of Podunk, Idaho.
Just like everything else in this world, the internet has given new life to the radio. Now you can tune into one of literally thousands of online stations for all imaginable genres, along with online feeds of broadcast stations that allow you to listen, live, to the local radio station in Paris, Bangladesh, Rio de Janeiro and pretty much anywhere else you can imagine.
My roommates, who are much more music-savvy than I, recently clued me in on possibly the greatest idea in radio history since the invention of radio itself. It’s called Pandora; trust me, the name is apt.
The idea is that songs are categorized by a large variety of descriptors so when you enter a starting song, the software finds other songs that share similar attributes and plays them. If you like the song, you give it thumbs up, if you don’t like it, thumbs down. In this way, the software “learns” about your tastes and continues to play music it thinks you will like. No doubt about it; this is not the radio of my childhood.
The best thing about Pandora is it is completely free. You sign up for an account and within seconds you’re listening. You can set up multiple stations, change them depending on your mood, and unlike normal online radio you can skip through the music. You get six skips an hour, and you will not use them all.
The program also allows you to bookmark songs you like for download later. Pandora is available in your computer browser and comes in several mobile versions, including a fully functional app. for iPhone and iTouch, which features the ability to download a song from iTunes directly from your bookmarks list. The only thing you need is an internet connection and an e-mail address.
I cannot recommend Pandora highly enough. It has helped me expand my music collection and discover new artists. When friends come over I can play their favorite music right off my iPod. No doubt about it; try Pandora and you will feel the same way. To sign up visit www.Pandora.com.