Lazy Buggles Headlines
May 19, 2015
Credit: 24oranges.nl, used under creative commons licence
"I heard you on the wireless back in '52; lying awake intent on tuning in on you"
I have a newsletter every week, which is full of links to interesting radio articles. (You could subscribe if you want - next week will contain a link back to this very article.)
One of the recurring themes in this newsletter is one I've entitled "Lazy Buggles headlines." In it, I link to lazy journalists who start articles with a variant on "video may have killed the radio star, but…" or "will podcasting kill the radio star," or any number of other lazy ways to get into an article about new technology or the changing radio world.
"In my mind and in my car, we can't rewind, we've gone too far"
NiemanLab headlined an article about newspapers turning to audio: "Internet Birthed The Radio Star." An interesting event in London in June, celebrating the wide variety of radio online, is called "Internet Killed The Radio Star." Or perhaps Internet Killed The Radio Star is the headline for a piece about mix tapes. The New York Post starts a piece about Pandora and SiriusXM by saying "Video Didn't Kill The Radio Star." And on it goes, lazily and inexorably.
And, naturally, as we know, it isn't true.
"Pictures came and broke your heart, so put all the blame on VCR."
Wherever you look - North America, Asia, Australia, or most European countries, radio is anything but killed. Over 90% of people listen to radio every week in most of these countries. TSL/hours are being eroded, but not - yet - in a critical way.
Amusingly, the very thing that was supposed to kill radio is, itself, relatively unwell. MTV no longer plays music videos, preferring relatively rubbish reality shows and nonsense that I haven't watched in a long time.
As an aside, listening to CBC's Spark programme the other week on ABC Radio National, I learnt that MTV is the only station in the world to have been originally funded by sales of correction fluid. Fact. But I digress.
"And now we meet in an abandoned studio, you hear the playback and it seems so long ago, and you remember the jingles used to go."
The song itself took just an hour to write - in a dumpy flat in a dumpy part of London (yes, you have us Brits to thank for it). The Buggles' version isn't even the original recording, though my cursory attempts to discover Bruce Woolley and The Camera Club's original recording have come to nothing. It's a bit rubbish. But it perpetuates a belief that radio is dead, 'killed' by technology. And it isn't true.
I've just been sent this piece from The Guardian - opening line: "If video killed the radio star, then digital streaming is dancing on its grave," and another piece from a business website talking about video marketing - opening line: "In 1979, video killed the radio star." And I've kind of had enough.
So, I now have an irrational urge to collect these lazy Buggles mentions, and name and shame the lazy publications who use them. Perhaps you can help. If you spot a lazy Buggles headline, would you be so kind as to let me know? Tweet it to me - @jamescridland - or drop me an email.
"Video killed that radio star, yes, it did."
No, it didn't.