Can’t Live Without Your Radio?

by Niema Jordan

In high school my girls and I would call in to the local hip-hop station to request songs for the daily countdown. We usually had the CD of our favorite artist, but there was something really exciting about hearing our jam of the moment on the airwaves. There was also the joy of calling in and trying to win the concert tickets we knew our parents wouldn’t buy.

But then our iTunes started popping, we started buying our own concert tickets, and we were able to discover more artists that we actually liked online than on our favorite stations. My transition from the radio world to the ‘net isn’t one I ever really think about, but it’s come up a lot within the last week.

New York’s 98.7 KISS FM is now broadcasting sports. Folks in San Francisco are hearing Steve Harvey every morning on KBLX instead of Kevin Brown, a local favorite who’d been with the station for more than 20 years. Some folks are really upset about the changes, others are sad that people are loosing their jobs, but that’s about it. Folks in my demo seemed to be missing from the conversation and that got me wondering.

Are any of us still listening to the radio? It’s a strange question when you think about the power and popularity of certain radio DJs or how much rising stars want to be on the radio. But, when was the last time you listened to the radio? Where do you go to hear new music? Are your favorite local DJs still on the airwaves?

  • Dreaming

    - I don’t own a car, so I rarely get a chance to listen to the radio unless I am traveling with someone who does have a car.

    – I don’t go anywhere to hear new music, if you mean physically. I mostly learn of new music by checking out videos on YouTube, previewing on iTunes, or researching songs I have heard on commercials or TV shows.

    - I never had a favorite local DJ.

  • freebee33

    I haven’t listened to the radio in a few years the only station I used to listen to in my area was a smooth jazz/soul station, but it got swapped for another top 40 station smh. if my iPod starts acting up I have a back up CD in the car to listen to.

  • Candy 1

    I listen to the radio almost every time I hop into the car, especially in the morning.

  • girlformerlyknownasgrace

    Havent listened to the radio in years. Its more commercials and talking than music, and even the music is not worth listening to, just whatever payola has on repeat.

  • Me27

    I only listen to the radio as i’m getting dressed in the morning for work. Other than that I stick to internet radio (like Pandora or Slacker).

    Honestly radio started going downhill a long time ago. They play entirely too many commercials and the artist and type of music available seems to only be limited to extremely popular/mainstream artist. Popular songs tend to be overplayed; It’s like they have their playlist set so that the same song plays everyday at the same time. Or you end up with songs played multiple times in one hour. If you flip the station, they other station seems to be playing the same song at the same time.

    Radio needs more variety. I think people have been complaining about the lack of variety on radio for years, but the “powers that be” don’t seem to be listening…

  • purplekeychain

    Hell to the naw I don’t listen to the radio, unless it’s NPR. I keep my laptop on Pandora because I can’t stand 99% of the music played on the radio and on tv – Jay Electronica’s “Exhibit C” or Empress Stahrr’s “Still Dope” probably being the most modern hip hop tracks I’ve liked in the past 3 years.

    Give me back my 90s hip hop — I want Biggie, Digable Planets, LONS, Das Efx. Sadat X, BD Kane, Black Sheep, Camp Lo, the Boogiemonsters, De La Soul, Slick Rick and JJ Fadd BACK on my radio. I’ll even take Rah Digga and Boss, because although though their lyrics were kinda wack they still had skills. I can even go into the early 00s, and I’ll accept crazy ass artists like MF Doom (all-time favorite), Cage, Chester P, High & Mighty, Roots Manuva, Stig of the Dump, Celph Titled, Oh No!, Lootpack, Phil da Agony, the Kreators, J-Zone, etc.

    But you put on the radio and I get “Lil” somebody or some other overnight celebrity, or the hypocrisy of “artists” like Nas, Common and the like, then I shut that shit off, put my Pandora station on some crazy Portishead or Brad Sucks or MGMT, because that’s about all I can stand.

  • binks

    I mostly hear new music on blogs now, I only listen to the radio when I’ am either in the mood to have some background noise or in the car but other than that my radio is off.

  • Dreaming

    The times that I do spend in the car with someone who listens to Rap/Hip Hop or current R&B, I cringe. I remember one day I was in the car and some song came on where a guy compared something to the crack of a woman’s ass and it wasn’t edited out or anything.

  • Chic Noir

    I listen to the radio everyday but I listen to NPR for the most part. I can’t with most music today.

    Too much of it is just str8 trash par example “Heybaby(jumpoff)” by Omarion and Bow Wow.

    Why in the hell would you make a song about you and your friend running a train on a girl???

    What is the purpose of making such a song?

    What I find dangerous about songs like this is, they are made for teenagers esp teenage girls who may think this sort of thing is cool.

  • Nikesha

    I like the radio. I like to be entertained by more than music on my overnight morning commute and my afternoon drive home. But I do have a few grievances. Okay just one. Pop music. I know everyone wants to be popular. It’s the easiest way to a music listener’s heart or their subconscious when they can’t get a song out of their head. But it’s also the fastest way to the land of no substance, one hit wonder-hood, and “oh you used to sing _____” status.

  • Val

    Wow, “Cousin” Kevin Brown is gone?! WTF!!! I only listen to KBLX in the morning a few times a month but Kevin Brown is the ONLY Bay Area dj that I would tune in to listen to. I HATE Steve Harvey so I won’t be listening to his fake azz.

  • ES

    I absolutely love love love listening to my radio! I listen every morning. I moved to another part of my state so here I only get Steve Harvey in the mornings, but I do miss my Tom, Jay, and Sybil in the morning! I think its important that we continue to support radio stations. Especially Black radio stations because it has taken so much to get them and keep them relevant in an age where there is XM Sirius, mp3, iPod, iPhone, etc.

  • Nia

    I hate listening to commercial radio. It’s the same old tracks on rotation again & again. So I don’t bother. Some podcasts can be pretty cool but lets say it been year since I’ve listen to actual radio.

  • Shirl

    ES: I agree with you100% and luckily I still get Tom Joyner(sp?). I really can’t stomach Steve Harvey. He was on for a while in my area but now we have Ricky Smiley. Unfortunately Ricky Smiley plays (today’s) rap music so I usually don’t tune in.

  • maemay

    I mostly listen to Steve Harvey and Michael Baisden. Not really a fan of today’s music, it is not for me.

  • Dalili

    I mostly listen to NPR. On the rare occasion I listen to music on the radio it’s on oldies stations. And yes Delilah is still on the air. :-)

  • jazzyphile

    Internet Radio with 20,000 or so stations is the best as it’s free and you porgram it to your liking. Bulgarian music, you got it, Peruvian music, you got it, all you have to do is use the search feature to find EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT.

  • Whatever

    When i am driving, I listen to the radio. The only stations I truly listen to here in NY are 98.7 Kiss FM and 107.5 WBLS… It is a shame that Kiss was sold! Even though they have somewhat merged with WBLS, now there is only one station dedicated to R&B and Soul (and I’m gonna miss the Michael Baisden show).

    To make matters worse, the two hip hop stations play the same damn 5 songs in a loop and sometimes have the same exact song on at the same time.


    The Tom Joyner Morning Show.

  • Lee


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