People Are No Longer Dependent On Radio (really?!)

Credit: St. Louis Public Radio via

As the regular readers know, this site is not purely and entirely shortwave radio-centric … we enjoy all radio.

I don’t think we’ve mentioned this web site before, but I recently ran across this article on RadioINK:

People are no longer dependent on radio.

That’s what St. Louis Public Radio contends with the launch of its new podcast, The Gateway, another short (7-15 minutes), daily news podcast. Here’s what they had to say about the new show

Being a radio buff – or shall I say an ALL radio buff – I cannot fully comprehend that “people are no longer dependent on radio”. But I do acknowledge that technology has allowed us to manage our time better. And having a local podcast of news does appeal to many (yes, I suppose even to me at times).

It’s a very short article – three paragraphs – but I challenge the readers to comment: are you no longer dependent on radio? Okay – that’s a loaded question to this audience – just look at this post within the past 24-hours! But we’d also like to know: is there anything in your area, like this article describes of St. Louis Public Radio, where your local stations are turning to podcasts or other means to reach and/or expand their target audience?

Thanks in advance for your comments.

Guest Post by Troy Riedel

Spread the radio love

12 thoughts on “People Are No Longer Dependent On Radio (really?!)

  1. Jason

    I too think the headline on this article was a bit misleading – BUT that’s not the issue here.

    In terms of how I listen to radio, it’s a mix of internet and AM/FM for me during any day, depending on what I’m doing. It’s the content that matters to me, I’ll make a decision on what delivery method makes sense at the time.

    News podcasts and the internet in general is the first thing to go during any kind of emergency, including widespread power blackout, wildfire (or bushfires as we call them in Australia), hurricane (or cyclone as we know them), floods, nuclear or biological attack, and of course cyber attack. The way things are going between the Trump administration and China, at least 3 of these are likely to happen in the US within the next few years.

    Here in Australia, as I’m sure the case is in many other parts of the world, our emergency services have the power to take on as much of the commercial cellular radio spectrum as needed for themselves during emergencies, and that’s if the power exists to power the cell sites. As we’ve seen many countries also have the power to disable mobile networks completely. Not everyone has fixed line internet these days and in some emergencies that can be the first to go.

  2. Rob

    Kind of a misleading headline, because the quote down in the text is “But people no longer have to be dependent on a radio schedule to get their news.” That is quite different than the headline “People Are No Longer Dependent On Radio.” And it’s certainly true, I like being to download a podcast and listen at my convenience rather than being tied to a broadcast schedule that may not jibe with my work or sleep schedule.

    But back to discussing the headline controversy, are people no longer dependent on radio? To the degree they were when radio was the only broadcast option, no, of course not. But it is still a darned handy option, depending on the situation. For example, radio is a great fumble-free way for getting news and information while driving. And sometimes… I’ve seen days after hurricanes when radio, especially skywave, was the only real option for getting word of the outside world. Then it shines.

  3. Erica

    Just as I was reading your post last night, my husband happened to turn on his little transistor radio to check out the Phillies game. 🙂 He also listens faithfully to a local station which has actual disc jockeys on the premises. He likes the banter between them when they’re changing shifts. They have local accents, talk about local places, and take requests. The music isn’t pre-programmed in a far away office. He can listen to them in his car without paying a satellite radio fee, or investing in a cell phone with a large enough data plan to accommodate playing Spotify for hours on end. Obviously I love radio, too, or I wouldn’t be here. But I mainly listen to a lot of podcasts.

    The other day our power went out for a short time, so no tv and no wifi. During one of the hurricanes we were without power for almost 24 hours. In the past we’ve lost cell phone service because of damage to the local tower during high winds, therefore no data via the cell phone. We’ve had our regular phones, DSL internet and cable tv go out various times, too. So radio is one of those things you just want to be there in an emergency situation, in addition to the fact that it’s a source of information and entertainment that almost anyone can afford.

  4. Laurence N.

    In most cases, I think the answer is yes. There are a lot of methods for getting information. I think that radio is and will continue to be one of the longest-lived such methods, but it is not as needed now as it has been. This is very true of things like shortwave in a lot of parts of the world already. I like the medium too–after all, I’m reading this–but it’s not actually all that useful to most people. Most people I have discussed shortwave with say one of the following things:
    a) I can’t understand what they’re saying because the static is too bad
    b) I don’t want to listen to China Radio International and if I did I’d look them up online
    c) I don’t want to listen to people sending Morse code at each other; why are they even doing that
    d) I don’t want to build an antenna, the internet works just fine
    Given this, we would also have to ask whether other methods of information broadcasting are all that useful. I think radio will stay around for two reasons. The first is cars, because fitting satellite receivers to them is expensive and we haven’t reached a point of perfect mobile coverage and sane mobile plans. The second is disasters to the extent they happen, because local radio (only local radio, I’ve discussed this before) can be very useful when other infrastructure has gone down. However, I would not be at all surprised to hear that things like broadcast television completely shut down, and that radio stations start closing. Because you really don’t need that many of them, especially as most current private radio stations do what streaming music services do better.

  5. Mike

    The key word is DEPENDENT. The article doesn’t say we don’t use radio but we are definitely not “dependent” on it anymore. There are so many other methods of obtaining information. This isn’t the 1940s with fireside chats anymore.

    And for those of you talking about cell phones being radios etc etc, while technically correct, it is not in the context of what the general public means by “radio.”

    Calm down please!

  6. Mark Fahey

    I just think audio these days – radio is not really a “thing” for me any more. My original interest in shortwave was its ability to allow me to access alternative music and cultures, but now with the network of KiwiSDRs and most local stations streaming 24×7 I pretty well consume all live streamed programming via internet protocol. If listening live is not critical then podcasts and other on demand formats is how I access “radio” now.

    It intrigues me that many DXers/SWLs are actually interested in the “lunch box” – ie they are fixated on the container the lunch comes in (the lunch box = RF wrapping/delivery) than the lunch itself (the programming)!

    1. rtc

      “It intrigues me that many DXers/SWLs are actually interested in the “lunch box” – ie they are fixated on the container the lunch comes in”

      You are so right,it’s always been Content,not how you get it.

      Thomas and I like big band music and to get it you have to stream…it’s like fussing over the
      operating system your computer uses,it should be used and not seen (hard to do with
      Windows 10).

  7. Mario

    First off, St. Louis Public Radio’s contention the public is no longer dependent on radio is only their opinion, not fact. Sure we have new sources of information other than radio, just like when television became popular in homes in the early 50’s. TV was a new source of information that became immensely popular but radio coexisted with that new entertainment medium, just like it does today. AM/FM broadcasters may have competition with Internet-based entertainment but radio will continue to exist side-by-side with other state-of-the-art information sources in my opinion.

    Thanks for the article Troy and thanks for posting Thomas.

  8. RonF


    No, it’s been years since I’ve been _dependant_ on radio, at least in normal times. For me it’s a hobby and background filler, nothing more. I’m not much for podcasts or streaming audio/video either – give me a good book any day! – so maybe I’m not the best person to comment.

    My parter is a big podcast listener though – and she still listens to the radio, for much more time and much more purposefully, than I do. So maybe the situation isn’t as much of a grim either/or as it might seem…

    Broadcast radio _is_, though & as Thomas pointed out, undoubtedly and pretty inarguably still indispensable in times of natural disaster (which around here occur on a near-yearly basis). So as long as it’s still used enough that receivers remain familar to most people and are cheap enough to be near-ubiquitous, it’s a no-brainer.

  9. Kire

    Actually the cell phone is a transeiver and computer, just on a higher frequency with cell phone towers as a relay. As for traditional am/fm I rarely ever listen due to the paucity of good original programing. I do, however, listen almost exclusively to shortwave radio to the point where i am interested in buying a car stereo from Australia or the Mideast that contains the shortwave bands.

  10. rtc

    Funny, just above the article on how radio is outdated,their Sponsor is Ibiquity.
    (New owner,same wild snake-oil claims,ads for long out of production Sparc units).

    The article assumes everyone (at least everyone worth knowing) owns a smart phone.
    The writer would be surprised how backward some of us are.?


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