THE radio used to be such a pleasure. While the average...


April 13, 1995

THE radio used to be such a pleasure. While the average person drove to work or ate dinner or washed the car, the radio was there to provide cheap entertainment and take his or her mind off the drudgery of everyday life.

So what happened?

Today, as the common man sits hunched over piles of bills at the kitchen table, his agony is spelled out in great detail by a growing number of talk-radio hosts. Stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, drivers' minds are not soothed too often by music because too many stations interrupt to present car-by-car accounts every 10 minutes on just how backed up the beltway is.

Of course, drivers know how backed up it is. They can see it -- in front of them, behind them and on both sides.

The answer must be that these broadcasts are aimed at the people still sitting at home -- so they can laugh at the commuter HTC and be grateful it isn't them. After all, commuters don't need to know the weather -- they're sitting in the middle of it. They also don't need to know how late they're going to be for work. There's nothing they can do about it and they'll find out when they get there, anyway.

What the commuter would really like, and what radio is supposed to offer, is a little entertainment during that long, boring drive to work.

This is also true for the person sitting at home or washing the car. Rather than hearing how bad life is for everyone, the average listener would like a little less talk and a little more music from some of these stations. A bit of country, some blues, a couple moldy oldies -- even some opera might be nice every now and again.

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