Radio-Visual Artist… has a good sound to it!
So I have been trying to resolve why I have been so enthralled by my radio experience. I’m really quite new to this medium and so the process of discovery likely has a lot to do with that. A friend who was already active in local radio peaked my interest and thus I decided to explore this last year. Now this new found expression attracts an abundance of my available time.
Here are some of my discoveries.
Intimate yet social.
So why Radio vs Podcasting? I could have easily done the latter. I never had the inkling to be a podcaster, but did have subtle hints to be a radio host. My observation is that Radio stations are social hubs and in these situations the dynamics are different and thus they attract a different type of person. Could it be that Podcasters prefer the isolation, in that they don’t desire the physical contact and social community. Or could it be that there was just not the availability of community radio spots for them to tell their story. My experience at CJSF has opened doors to another world, not only in music, social circles but a higher level of personal consciousness as well. There are amazing warriors of creative, social and environmental causes that I listen to everyday.
An assumed level of credibility.
Radio still has an associated barrier to entry. Broadcasters require government approval, infrastructure and a programming schedule that is limited by the number of hours during the day. It has always been accessible in the frequencies of the acoustic public space. It has a rooted history as the mass medium in which our grandparents connected to the daily events of the outside world. Even with the changing digital universe Radio is carving its place, video tried to kill it once, but she has been resilient and still has many admirers.
Imagination is up to you
I remember listening to hockey games on the radio as a child. There was no Sportsnet or TSN those days. On game day you had to tune in on the AM dial and be all ears. I remember Jim Robson calling games and hanging on to every word as he elevated emotion on the anticipation of something exciting. There is something about giving up your senses and just focused one. I can see that each and every listener having a different experience as they have only their ears and their own imagination to create the visual. Seeing a game on television is exciting but does leave less to the imagination, sometimes the over stimulation can be like cramming down a box full of Boston Creme Doughnuts. Its a high but the resulting crash leaves stains of sleep induced drool on my parents couch. Thus I feel that radio is a form of visual stimulation, in that it leaves the listener to create their own imagery. I can laugh, cry, dance or do dishes when listening to radio, more often it gives me energy than drains it.
A bit of old and new
There is something in human nature that appeals to the past. We have a number of furniture stores dedicated to the past; even The Antiques Roadshow has such a cult-like following. Media is constantly re-defining itself. Video was supposed to kill the Radio Star; however radio is still around, but why? The Society for the Preservation of Antique Radios has a dedicated following and a magnificent visual history of radio and its place in the world. Walking through the museum and seeing generations of receivers you can visualize the sounds that come through it. I feel that radio is like a personal relationship, if you care to listen she’s always right beside you, she will always be there whether at home, in your car or at the beach. Doesn’t everyone desire a friend who will stand by them, no matter how much things change around them?
For more background on why I am a Radio-Visual Artist. From an interview with Sylvia and Stuart Richardson of the syndicated program LatinWaves.