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Response to “Listening In”…

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First of all, I have to start this blog post by mentioning just how much I love Susan Douglas. She was my very first Communications professor at U of M, and she made me love an ordinarily boring 101 class enough to stick around and eventually decide to pursue it as a major. She’s awesome.

I really enjoyed this piece because I think it reminded me of how radio has been a part of all of our lives. On Wednesday in class, we all said what we listen to on the radio. I’m not much of a radio person, I only listen to music and immediately change stations when a commercial comes on or they start talking. I think that’s due to only listening to radio in the car, and when I’m driving I only want to hear music. So I said I rarely listen, which I’m not sure is completely accurate.

I forgot about how involved radio was in my past. Before I developed this need to have everything exactly when I want it and a bad case of song ADD, I used to listen to the radio all the time. I listened to it every single night in my room in middle school, before iPods and mp3 players existed. I’d plug headphones into the back of my boombox and listen to 93.1 and 95.5. Every morning, I’d listen to my dad’s alarm clock go off as the radio was tuned into the local weather and traffic stations. I’d ride the bus to school and sit in the front seat behind the driver, and listen along to War of the Roses. When my dad would pick me up from after school activities, we’d listen to 97.1 so he could hear about his Detroit sports teams successes, a habit I myself have picked up now too. It was a huge part of my every day life, but I never noticed that I was ever really listening until now.

I think the best part about radio is that you can’t see what is happening as it plays out. With video, you have the ability to rely on sense of sight and sometimes you can even predict what is going to happen. When I watch my favorite sports teams on TV, I feel like my eyes see and process what is happening before I even have the opportunity to listen and react. Radio is so unique in the way that you have to imagine what things might look like, and you’re also left in suspense of what is going to happen next. It’s like reading a book, where you get to make up what you think the characters look like and where they’re going. As Douglas mentions, maybe television has ruined our sense of imagination because we’re provided with the answers to the kinds of questions that we would otherwise have to make something up.

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