Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mass Media: Turn Down the Radio! by George Carlin

(The following excerpt is posted for non-commercial, educational purposes. I will remove it if requested. No lawsuits are necessary.)

Turn Down the Radio!
by George Carlin

Does anyone really listen to that crappy music they play on the radio? FM radio music? What’s it called” Adult contemporary? Classic rock? Urban rhythm and blues? You know what the official business name for that crap is? “Corporate standardized programming.” Just what an art form needs: corporate standardized programming. Derived from “scientific” surveys conducted by soulless businessmen.

            Here’s how bad it is: One nationwide chain that owns over a thousand radio stations conducts weekly telephone polls, asking listeners their opinions on twenty-five to thirty song “hooks” they play over the phone; hooks that the radio people have already selected. (Hooks are the short, repeated parts of pop songs that people remember easily.) Depending on these polls, the radio chain decides which songs to place on their stations’ playlists.

            Weeks later, they record the hooks of all the songs they’re currently playing on their stations across the country, label them by title and artist and sell that information to record companies to help create more of the same bad music. They also sell the information to competing radio stations that want to play what the big chain is playing. All of this is done to prevent the possibility of original thinking somehow creeping into the system.

            Lemme tell you something: In the first place, listening to music that someone else has picked out is not my idea of a good time. Second, and more important, the fact that a lot of people in America actually like the music automatically means it sucks. Especially since the people who like it have been told in advance by businessmen what it is they’re supposed to like. Please. Save me from people who’ve been told what to like and then like it.

            In my opinion, if you’re over six years of age, and you’re still getting your music from the radio, something is desperately wrong with you. I can only hope that somehow MP3 players and file sharing will destroy FM radio the way they’re destroying record companies. Then, even though the air will probably never be safe to breathe again, maybe it will be safer to listen to.

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