We thought "narrowcasting" was going to be a great idea.
Radio and TV fell under the broad term "broadcasting" for their ability to use the airwaves to disseminate information far and wide to a large audience. As the number of stations (and citizens) grew, stations began homing in on a smaller slice of the audience pie.
You see that if you have satellite radio. There's a channel for the music of the 20's, one for the 30's, one for Latvian folk ballads, one for just Bob Dylan, one for every little niche under the sun. So everyone has their own interests and we don't interact as often anymore, which leads to provincial parochialism and, worse, not knowing much about other people.
This all dawned on me the other day when we said goodbye to radio legend Casey Kasem. In his heyday, everyone listened to Casey and his "American Top 40" countdown show as the master DJ counted down the 40 most popular records on that week's Billboard Top 40 chart.
Back when we listened to Casey on Saturday night as we were sweeping up the A&P, and Sunday morning as we wondered what happened Saturday night, those 40 records were all over the place as far as genre went. Just look at this slice of the top records from June 12, 1971 ( a particularly great year for music!) and regard with awe a radio show that had songs from such disparate artists as the Rolling Stones, Honeycone, Daddy Dewdrop, Hudson and Landry ( a pair of LA DJs who made comedy records), Jerry Reed, and The Osmonds!
I love all these records and I wish that there was a way to hear them all together again. I mean, they're all on my iPod, but you needed Casey to bring them all together. He had a way of bringing us together with the music. Can we get someone to do that again?