While I have been sitting around waiting for the "Evolution" to commence, I confess that I have been enjoying the way I can walk in and out of a room while the music plays on the radio. I have not been distracted by the periodic need to rush to a telephone and be the first caller. Nor have I needed to prick up my ears in anticipation of the traffic that has little or nothing to do with my two mile bike commute. Somewhere out there, a war is being waged against terrorism, and I don't have to be a part of it. Somewhere out there a campaign is being run on half a dozen different fronts for President of the United States. Not here. I sit in my quiet musical oasis, interrupted only briefly by a few commercials every twenty minutes or so. I ignore the ads because I am not being implored by some half-known voice or personality to check out this or that deal. This is radio by machine. This is de-evolution.
I know I won't be challenged by what I am listening to because we are currently undergoing the phase in which listeners are being gathered. Sure, there will be plenty of us who don't stick around to hear what finally becomes of KFOG. There will be plenty of us too lazy to switch the preset buttons on our car radio. There will be plenty of us who look over our collective shoulder wondering who is still listening to terrestrial radio at all. My son scoffs at his parents who haven't discovered the magic of Pandora and Spotify. I have checked them out, and like so much about the "free music" that comes streaming into your earbuds that requires a subscription, I find myself missing the olden days when you were lucky to get a request on the air because you had a really boss dedication after you dialed in and sat on hold for twenty-five minutes. Make up your playlist and let the music play says a new generation of listeners who don't need a voice to back announce the song they should already know because they selected it from a list of thousands.
But it's not very organic. It's not very community-based. Like the TV stations that are currently vying for my DVR's attention, I don't have time to look at all the choices, so I let a machine take care of it for me. My son, the scoffer, can't imagine why his parents still sit down to watch a television for more than twelve minutes at a stretch. Watch the good parts later on YouTube. If something really important happens, someone will tweet about it. At once he is more in touch with his zeitgeist and completely untethered.
I miss my DJs. Not in the pining way I thought I might, but in the way that we all miss the olden days. I miss them in the same way I miss the guy who used to let me get free refills at the hamburger spot around the corner. Around the corner from where I used to live. The place that has since been turned into the other half of a pizza joint. I miss the sounds of my youth and that free refill. Those were the days.