Aug 30, 1999

The radio and the Internet have always been intricately linked together in my mind.

Both, essentially, are dedicated to the word as opposed to the picture. Both are usually geared to the personal - one voice speaking to one you - as opposed to one voice speaking to an unseen viewing audience.

And not only can you can listen to the radio while reading the web, but you can you can listen to some of the most amazing radio through the web.

The powers that be don't make this connection.

First of all, one 'surfs' the web. One does not describe it as 'reading' the web, although that is the perfect description of what is happening even if we are reading from a screen.

No, the powers that be want the Internet to be like television. Remember channels?.

They think we are chomping at the bit (pun intended) for video on demand. But that's not really what we want. (link from jessamyn)

The big secret that everyone knows:
Our computers aren't turning into TVs.
Our computers are turning into stereos systems.

I have a colleague who owns CDs but no CD player - she listens to them on her computer.

Searching for .mp3 files is now more rampant than searching for porn.

Amateur radio is akin to chat rooms.

The world wide web is not currently as worldly as shortwave radio.

And digital radio is closer than you may think. We'll be enjoying the benefits of digital radio long before digital TV arrives and it will be a dog's age before bandwidth issues are resolved to allow for true TV / computer convergence.

(WebTV does not count as convergence)

I think metaphors are important because they say a lot about ourselves. If the internet is modeled after television it means that it will be modeled on a system in which only large corporations can broadcast messages to the masses. How many of your friends have their own national TV shows?

But if the internet is modeled after radio it means we keep the personal focus, we keep the 'phone-in' shows, we allow the possibility of volunteering to the local campus radio station, and we keep the content international but the focus local.

And we keep reading the web.