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Does Radio Matter in the 21st Century?

Dismissing radio in the 21st century is all too common. So many people assume that because they have not listened to the radio in a while, no one else is listening either.

But radio still has an important role to play, even as people have more options than ever for consuming content. What type of role does radio play in the 21st century? And is it still an important role?

Access to Local News and Entertainment

One of the charms of the radio is the localized aspect to its content. While a person can be anywhere in a country and listen to the most popular music of the day, radio stations cater to a specific audience for a lot of the broadcast.

Stations that are only broadcasting in a specific city will have news and information regarding that city. They will advertise local events, mention businesses in the area, play music from artists that are from around the city, and provide other valuable content that a local audience can appreciate.

Such localized content is harder to find online, where everyone is trying to get as many clicks as possible. The drive to get more clicks means that local news is often sacrificed in favor of content that everyone is interested in reading about.

Listening Anywhere in the World

While radio stations are still very localized in the content they produce, access to those stations is broader than ever. Many websites and smartphone apps allow listeners to access radio station feeds from around the world.

Someone could be sitting in New York City and listen to a local Alabama radio station. Or they could listen to a station in another language from around the world.

Radio is a way for someone to keep in touch with what is going on in their hometown or country, even if they have moved away. It offers a glimpse into that world, even if the person listening is hundreds of miles away.

People Still Need Radio

There are still circumstances where listening to the radio can offer a nice distraction and source of entertainment. People who drive 20 or 30 minutes to work each day will appreciate the quality of their local radio stations! And those who are going on a long distance road trip will listen to the radio even more.

While the days of the whole family huddling around the radio to listen to the evening news are long gone – it does not mean radio has lost its place. It just has a different role to play in the 21st century, where television and web content are the kings.

Some radio stations are even delving into podcasts, which are very popular with young people these days. Not only do podcasts offer a great way to get more viewers and advertising dollars, but they can boost the image of a radio station.

It is safe to say that radio will never be like that it was 50 or 60 years ago. But the notion that radio is unimportant in the 21st century is grossly exaggerated.