Posted by: devinmoore | February 9, 2006

The death of radio, part 2

This post continues from part 1, where I discuss what MTV used to be like (for the sake of those too young to remember). Now, I will discuss the major shift. MTV continued to get better and better for a time, and showed more outrageous and diverse videos. Radio followed suit, playing more diverse musical selections from various artists, making selections based on what people wanted to hear as well as from local acts. Both took chances on things that would never make it on the air now. It seemed to me and my friends like music basically was awesome all around…

And then something happened. Explicit lyrics stickers started appearing en masse. Radio stations actually began to edit songs, and TV began to edit R rated movies shown after 10 PM. The magic was gone from the medium, because now artists had to think about whether or not radio would even air their material, based on arbitrary standards of “decency”.

It gets worse: there became dramatically fewer independently-owned radio stations. The Telecommunications act of 1996 allowed a single company to own up to 8 stations in a single market, which quickly became the case many places. All of a sudden, my friends and I came home one day, and literally all started calling each other, saying, ‘what the hell happened? Where’s good MTV? Where’s good radio? Where are the R rated movies on TV?’

Some of you may not believe that there were ever uncensored, R-rated movies on TV, but I have VHS tapes from network TV that show it happened. In fact, if you go to the Blockbuster/Hollywood video store near you, rent the movie “Outrageous Fortune”. It will be the TV edited version. I have the real version, taped from TV back when TV was uncensored. It has cussing out the wazoo… and it is hilarious. The censored version is total crap.

Next up: part 3, the revolution finally arrives, but will things really change?

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