Happy Listening: Thank Goodness, the radio still hits

A broad audience recognizes itself in the understated media that accompanies our restless days: emotional communication, enhanced by good music, still does its job.

February 13th is the 10th World Radio Day, since the UNESCO established it in 2011. The radio is a pleasing companion of our lives that has experienced mixed fortunes over the decades. It made people's souls move before and after the war, keeping them attached to life. Then it fell into a long oblivion when television took over, in the era of the industrial boom and following.

From the '90s onwards, it slowly came back. The tiny and romantic private radio went evolving into increasingly strong and structured networks, which today, fortunately, are back to collect a huge audience with a balanced mix of information and entertainment.

Those who prefer radio over TV are more than a selected few. Information comes through straighter and more rigorous, avoiding the drifts of exaggerated confrontations and debates in which the louder voices are usually the most authoritative ones. But radio is also more sensitive, a "one-to-one" entertainment: even today, odd but true, talented anchors succeed at touching people's hearts. Not everything is golden, with a fair share of less memorable voices, but the ratio is still somewhat encouraging.

Radio talks to us, seeking confrontation and interaction. It leaves us free to move or do anything else, even if it requires attention: when we listen to something interesting, we spontaneously stop to focus. But it comes from our own choice, we aren’t required to.

After fighting hard for survival against the television trend, the leading broadcasters have created their own TV, a compromise with minimal added value, and that even takes something away from its charm: a voice can be amazing even without a face. It is fascinating to imagine what a person talking to us every day, whom we do not know, could look like.

Imagination bests reality, most of the times: let it work. That's what radio is all about, emotional communication: when matched with good music, the result is guaranteed.