What happened to the radio star in Youngstown?

We’ve all had those moments when we hop in the car and the radio just seems to read our mood, playing every song completely on point with the way we are feeling. That is one of the greatest parts of radio: its ability to somehow predict exactly what we need to hear at exactly the right time.

Now, keep in mind that I’m talking about FM radio here. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one around who still listens to AM radio — and that’s only to hear my beloved Cleveland Indians baseball games. I am not even addressing satellite or Internet radio. Admittedly, both have their merits, but I just cannot help but shake the feeling that there is something special about good old fashioned FM radio.

I, for one, like to hear local radio personalities and the local twist that they transmit over the airwaves. I don’t really care for the commercials, but every now and again, it is nice to have that local connection. It’s what keeps me coming back to radio, even if much of what is available does not exactly tickle my listening fancy.

Youngstown’s radio stations don’t offer much variety. Sure, we have a station that plays today’s hit songs, another that plays songs from the ‘80s through today, a classic rock station and a country station, but that’s just barely scraping the surface of available music. As much as I love repeatedly hearing the new One Direction song, I would love to hear less well-known groups. I have a diverse taste in music, so I listen to genres all over the place, and, honestly, most of the groups I listen to never crack standard radio.

Somewhere along the line, financial matters play into what groups get radio play and what groups don’t, but a nice alternative station — or anything that’s not mainstream — would be wonderful to have around here. The same songs played on a continuous loop can really turn a good song into a song you just can’t stand to listen to anymore, and that is a downright travesty.

Obviously, with satellite and Internet radio, you can listen to any kind of musical genre that pleases your ears, and I can’t argue with that. Pandora, for instance, works wonders when you are entrenched in the hourslong process of writing a research paper.

However, something is missing from satellite and Internet radio, at least for me. What’s missing is a local connection.

I will admit that at times, I want to just listen to music. In those cases, radio personalities do nothing for me but test my patience. Other times, for some reason or another, I don’t mind hearing them; they just add to the listening experience. Like so many of my other columns, of course, this one may reveal another of my old fashioned tendencies, but I’d like to think that there are other people out there who wouldn’t mind a little more variety as well.

The Buggles may have lamented about how “Video Killed The Radio Star” in 1979, but it’s 2013, and the radio is still alive.

It just needs a little variety.

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