Why Radio Still Matters, By NPR Music’s Bob Boilen

I’m sitting in my living room listening to the radio. Filling my personal airwaves is the music of Sigur Rós, and before that Paul Simon, trumpeter Bunny Berigan and Animal Collective. The mix is courtesy of All Songs Considered’s brand new 24/7 online channel that my computer is wirelessly transmitting to the base station hooked to my stereo. Wait -- but, but -- that’s not radio you might be thinking. You bet it is. Here’s the thing. I have radios that pick up FM, AM and short wave signals, but I also have an IP, or internet radio, that picks up signals that are broadcast from various sources. So while I’m cooking in my suburban Maryland kitchen, I can listen to WFUV originating from the Bronx, or The Current from Minneapolis or KEXP in Seattle. These are traditional radio signals but they are no longer bound by geography. Before finishing the meal I whipped up, I could also potentially hear a homemade folk music show from Norway, some classical Hindi music, a tech show and so much more. This unbounded radio access isn’t just limited to my home listening, though. On my way to work at NPR Music, I can boot up my WFMU New York iPhone app in my car for some eclectic listening or check out the local weather from a local news station app, or stream any NPR station from across the country with the NPR Music app. So, despite the fact that there isn’t a music station... Sign In to Keep Reading

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