More choices, less well-rounded
by Ross Reily
Published: August 3,2009
Acouple of years ago, my wife gave me XM satellite radio for Christmas.
Initially, I spent weeks driving around without looking at the road. Instead, I switched between the 200-some channels trying to find something to listen to, not that it’s very hard.
Having said that, having Sirius/XM makes me wonder how much good conventional radio there will be in a few years. Since getting my satellite radio, I have listened to very little regular, local commercial radio.
In fact, I can’t think of any reason to listen to regular radio anymore unless it is to hear statewide news in the morning or to listen to sporting events not offered on satellite radio. Otherwise, I have any kind of music I want, news, sports, weather and even traffic news — although I don’t have much use for Seattle traffic news.
Another thing that has given me pause over time is that I have settled in on a couple of channels to listen to and that is about it.
As a big Major League Baseball fan, I have turned to channel 210 where it usually stays, unless I am looking for something specific. In fact, baseball is one of the reasons why my wife bought the unit for me. As a huge Boston Red Sox fan, Sirius/XM allows me to be able to listen to every Red Sox game, all 162 of them, all summer long.
My life will never be the same.
Right about here, you can envision my wife taking a deep sigh.
Anyway, with all of the selections, I am listening to three or four or maybe five channels at the most on a regular basis.
That, combined with the selection of cable television, makes me wonder if all that selection is making us more narrow minded or more well rounded.
My gut feeling is that we can all wander around with blinders on because we can watch and listen to only the type of program that really interests us.
In other words, as a baseball fan I might not ever know what is going on the world of the NBA.
Or if you are a Republican, you can choose to listen on radio or watch on television only shows that are going to relate to your way of thinking. There will be very little on those channels that will challenge your view of the world or make you think beyond your boundaries.
Can you remember back to the 1970s when ABC’s “Wild World of Sports” was a huge hit on the weekends. One Saturday, there may be basketball on. The next weekend, speed skating, and the next might be baseball or boxing or something else.
Because that was basically the only sports available on television, you were able to get a more complete view of the world of sports, thus the title.
On the news side, the networks gave a better view of the world around us.
Now, I’m not saying I’m going to give up my Sirius/XM. However, I do find it interesting that the more selection we have, I believe the less we are going to listen to other things.
As good or bad as that may be, that is the way it is.
Now, I need to go back to my Jeep to see if my wife has changed the channel.
Contact MBJ managing editor Ross Reily at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (601) 364-1018.
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