THE CLASSIC AM RADIO
"Video Killed the Radio Star ..."
- The Buggles (1979)
... and the Internet is doing the same for radio itself. The Golden Age of radio is way behind but there are still lots of people who think that radio is " the media of their life ". Even though I watch TV quite a lot and spend even more time on the Internet, my heart beats for this "Antique Media".
Radio has been one of the most remarkable inventions in the history of mankind. It has been a wonderful tool for governments and NGO's - to be used in information delivery, education and even for nation-building. Business oriented people have been able to make fortunes with it (and commercial radio business is still going strong). It has offered lots of joy for individuals as well (whether you are an average program listener, a technical freak or the one who is interested in finding distant radio signals). The broadcasts can contain news, information, drama, religion, music --- or even sheer comedy ("All Comedy Radio" in USA) or sheer hate ("Radio TÚlÚvision Libre des Mille Collines" in Rwanda, 1993).
This page is dedicated to one of the best things in my life - the classic AM radio.
I heard that news on the radio ..
... so it must be true ... These words have been said many times all around the world. The early days of radio must have been exciting times --- public up-to-date newscasters paved the gateway to the information age. Media giants changed the world --- and even today BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), for example, is still regarded as the flagship as far as the reliability of information is concerned. On the other hand, radio was also found to be an excellent tool for controlling the public opinion of masses - Gobbels mastered that trick in the 1940's.
I heard that song on the radio ..
... it's a smash hit in the UK !! Radio was also one of the main tools in building the new popular culture since the 1950's. And the greatest of all the music stations was the legendary Radio Luxembourg, a commercial powerplay covering the whole Europe for decades. While the national broadcasters were still stuck with their symphonies, the youth tuned on AM 1440 at nights. That's how it also started with me --- if I remember correctly the Wednesday mornings were tough at school just because the UK Top 40 started late on Tuesday nights...
Sometimes I wondered why Luxy was interfered by some other station and got curious. And some steps off the frequency there seemed to be a totally chaotic audio world, talk and music crossing each other all around the dial. My brother knew the basics of the shortwave listening hobby and that's the way it started --- and I'm still on that track --- though it's mostly the Medium Wave dial that gives the best kicks nowadays.
I heard that station on the radio ..
... as the first listener ever in Europe !!! Those moments are something you remember your whole life --- after the fever has gone down... Well, to be honest it's not that easy to have such highlights. You need experience, patience, lots of luck, state-of-the-art hardware, long antennas are a must, no electric smog in the neigbourhood, a location somewhere in the wilderness, ... It's a long list of prerequisites, but that's where you end up if you continue this hobby for decades.
There are lots of things that keep the radio spirit up year after year ...
- The Element of Surpise
- Solving the Audio Puzzles
- Responses from the Stations
- Fabulous Friends
- The Atmosphere of DXpeditions
... and when you're into this you can't (and don't want) to give up the magic of AM radio ...
Internet and AM radio ...
... coexist peacefully so far but the megatrend is towards the digital cyberspace. Radio business is going to face true challenges in the near future and new digital broadcast modes are replacing the old classic AM radio little by little. And the Internet has become to stay, it's the jetplane of the information age. With the Internet your globetrotting is more like making a package tour while by AM radio you can still feel the same as the early travellers hundreds of years ago when exploring the unknown. And for me ...
... it's a big difference
73's & 88's
Ilpo Parviainen (IPA)