‘Radio is the theater of the mind’ – 100 quotes on World Radio Day

13th Feb 2017
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Each medium has reinvented itself with the advent of successive new media waves – with perhaps a few exceptions, such as the near-extinct cassette tape! Radio transmission and broadcasting have come a long way since developments such as the founding of the Marconi Corporation 120 years ago, in 1897.

Radio transformed print media, news, sports, politics, music, home entertainment, education and even the driving experience, and would in turn have to reinvent itself with the advent of TV, satellite, internet and mobile phones. I have had the good fortune of being an RJ in India and in the US, on FM radio (WMUA), satellite radio (Worldspace) and internet (Radiowalla), each with differing strengths in immediacy of user feedback, national reach, breadth of customisable choices, and monetisation.

UNESCO has designated February 13 as World Radio Day, to celebrate its strengths in fields like socio-economic development; recent annual themes have been women empowerment and youth mobilisation. “Broadcasters, regulators and audiences alike should nurture and make the most of its power,” according to Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.

Asia has added its own flavour to the world of radio, with Kotmale radio-internet surfing (Sri Lanka), CGNet Swara (community radio via mobiles among tribal communities in India) and even the award-winning ‘Kan Khajura Tesan’ (on-demand entertainment via mobile radio in Bihar). See also YourStory’s coverage of community radio and startups in India such as Anchor, Audiomatic, Radio Raja, One Beep, and SamaritanPhone.

“Perhaps no invention of modern times has delivered so much while initially promising so little,” observes Guy Gugliotta. In this compilation of over 100 quotes, we capture the promise, potential and pitfalls of radio over the decades, as it continues to morph and evolve. Happy reading – or, happy listening!

More than eighty years after the world's first station was founded, radio is still the most pervasive, accessible, affordable, and flexible mass medium available, especially in the developing world. – Bruce Girard

Community radios provide profound new opportunities for more inclusive sustainable development. - Denise Gray-Felder

Radio pluralism is an essential component in the deepening of the democratic process. - Bamako Declaration on Radio Pluralism

Combining social media and local radio is also a chance to strengthen community participation, especially of marginalised groups. - DW Akademie

The internet creates more of an appetite for media - it doesn't replace physical books, radio or TV. - Marissa Mayer

Exponential growth in access to the Internet, satellite television and radio, cell phones, and P.D.A.'s means that breaking news now reaches virtually every corner of the globe. - Dee Dee Myers

Radio on the Internet is yet another world-shrinking example of what communications analysts call death of distance. - Tim Jones

Podcast listenership is some 20 times what people are listening to on the radio. - Scott Aukerman

I strongly encourage listening to the radio to hear something you haven't heard before. It's a very healthy thing to do. Unless you reload your iPods every couple of weeks, you're listening to and recycling the same music all of the time. - Alvin Lee

I think the Internet is an awful lot like FM radio was when it broke out in the late '60s. It's kind of a wild and wily kind of format. - Roger McGuinn

Along with several very popular Internet sites, talk radio has served as alternative media that gives listeners information that they otherwise would not hear. - Paul Weyrich

I do not buy CDs any more; I usually stream Internet radio. - Oren Peli

The digital revolution has disrupted most traditional media: newspapers, magazines, books, record companies, radio. - Ken Auletta

Radio killed variety and TV killed radio, and the internet will kill television and it will go on and on. - Victoria Wood

I particularly like Twitter, because it's short and can be very funny and informative. It's a little bit like having your own radio program. - Margaret Atwood

Radio is closer to a Tumblr, or a blog, or Twitter, than it is to television, I think. - Ira Glass

People don't listen to terrestrial radio. They don't find their music that way. They don't get their news that way. They go to blogs. They go through Sirius/XM. - Kaskade

The fear of the never-ending onslaught of gizmos and gadgets is nothing new. The radio, the telephone, Facebook - each of these inventions changed the world. Each of them scared the heck out of an older generation. And each of them was invented by people who were in their 20s. - Daniel H. Wilson

Digital television, satellite radio, videogames, iPods - so much media. Do books even matter anymore? - Mo Rocca

If it weren't for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television, we'd still be eating frozen radio dinners. - Johnny Carson

Radio is the theater of the mind; television is the theater of the mindless. - Steve Allen

Being a famous print journalist is like being the best-dressed woman on radio. - Robin Williams

Radio news is bearable. This is due to the fact that while the news is being broadcast, the disk jockey is not allowed to talk. - Fran Lebowitz

Radio is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome. - T.S. Eliot

The way for newspapers to meet the competition of radio and television is simply to get out better papers. - Henry Louis Mencken

European imperialism long ago made Tahiti a distant suburb of Paris, the missionaries made it a suburb of Christ's kingdom, and the radio made it a suburb of Los Angeles. - Cedric Belfrage

Because of news broadcast and discussions, illiterates who were in the past cut-off from any knowledge of what is going on round the world are beginning to follow events around the globe. - Kwesi Kwaa Prah

TV gives everyone an image, but radio gives birth to a million images in a million brains. - Peggy Nooman

TV cannot compete with radio in servicing multi-ethnic and multi-linguistic audiences. - Gareth Price

Radio will remain necessary to cover news in each region of the world and each country in real time and enable young people to find the musical color of their choice. - Hervé Bourges

I was always fishing for something on the radio. Just like trains and bells, it was part of the soundtrack of my life. - Bob Dylan

Radio was the tiny stream it all began with. Then came other technical means for reproducing, proliferating, amplifying sound, and the stream became an enormous river. - Milan Kundera

While an educated person might question what they read or hear from the media, the uneducated tend to accept it. The uneducated are more easily affected by threats and the emotional trauma that propaganda like this can create. - John Rucyahana

The powerful chords that emanated from the radio heated me from the inside out, like a microwave. - Sandy Ward Bell

The radio was shouting at you, pleading with you, and seducing you. - David Byrne

Then radio came in. For the first time people didn’t have to leave their homes to be entertained. - Kliph Nesteroff

A world without radio is a deaf world. A world without television is a blind world. A world without telephone is a dumb world. A world without communication is indeed a crippled world. - Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

When you listen to radio you are a witness of the everlasting war between idea and appearance, between time and eternity, between the human and the divine. - Hermann Hesse

Radio is called a medium because it is rare that anything is well done. - Fred Allen

There is a feeling, when you listen to radio, that it's one person, and they're talking to you, and you really feel their presence as one person. - Ira Glass

I've shaken hands with every radio station, from Honduras to Ryan Seacrest's. - Shakira

I think creative people need to do a bit of, you know, tuning into every radio station - you just do, otherwise you don't know much about other people. - Anne-Marie Duff

Conservative talk radio works because there are lots of conservatives who are convinced that they are not getting the whole story from the regular media. - Paul Weyrich

The left and the right live in parallel universes. - Barney Frank

If journalism is the first draft of history, then talk radio provides an early glimpse into how the meaning of political events will be spun for ideological and partisan purposes. - Jackson Katz

Right now, politics follows the rules of talk radio - using conflict, tension, fear, and resentment to find new recruits. - John Avlon

What you're left with currently is podcast talk radio. - Chris DeWolfe

It's not just about getting a song on the radio or appearing on television. It really is about helping people change their lives one day at a time. - Yolanda Adams

I think it quite likely that we are the only civilization within several hundred light years; otherwise we would have heard radio waves. Stephen Hawking

Classic Rock radio gave us our longevity. - George Thorogood

Creativity shouldn't be following radio; it should be the other way around. - Herbie Hancock

Radio as we know it is pretty much changing completely. - David Lee Roth

Public radio is alive and kicking, it always has been. - Harold Brodkey

I can turn on the radio right now and be inspired. - Courtney Love

Most of the music you hear on the radio today is developed for making money. It doesn't feel true or honest. You can feel it in the music. - Iris Dement

Music was a very important part of our lives. The radio was on all day. - Ruben Blades

I think good radio often uses the techniques of fiction: characters, scenes, a big urgent emotional question. And as in the best fiction, tone counts for a lot. - Ira Glass

If you are interested in ideas, radio is way more pure than television. You're not distracted by somebody's nose or hair or posture. You can really see how someone thinks and penetrate to the essence of who that person is. - Terry Gross

I love radio - its immediacy and especially its intimacy... it is part of your life, whispering into your ear. You can't see it, but equally importantly it can't see you. - Malcolm Turnbull

If data is important, radio is probably not your place. - Evan Davis

I love theater. I also love radio. I love language. - Indira Varma

I like to argue with the radio. - P. J. O'Rourke

TV didn't kill radio, it just added something new to the mix. - Douglas Coupland

I like doing radio because it's so intimate. The moment people hear your voice, you're inside there heads, not only that, you're in there laying eggs. - Douglas Coupland

Radio was used powerfully by Josef Goebbels to disseminate Nazi propaganda, and just as powerfully by King George VI to inspire the British people to fight invasion. - Rebecca MacKinnon

Demagoguery sells. And therefore radio stations will put it on. - Al Franken

I don't chase what I hear on the radio. I try not to compete with anybody. - Ziggy Marley

I don't listen to the radio very much, but that could be because I don't have a car. David Byrne

Radio dramas have disappeared. Radio acting is now gone. - George Takei

In radio, you have two tools. Sound and silence. - Ira Glass

Radio is for driving. - Ira Glass

When my song came on the radio for the first time, that was one of the heaviest things I remember. - John Oates

Radio is such a perfect medium for the transmission of poetry, primarily because there just is the voice, there's no visual distraction. - Billy Collins

We are shallow because our media are so horribly shallow. - F. Sionil Jose

Long drives on packed freeways make everyone a fan of radio. - Leila Janah

Television contracts the imagination and radio expands it. - Terry Wogan

What's commercially viable gets recycled, endlessly repeated, and as a result of that, the progressive music can't break in. - Michael Eric Dyson

Gossip is the Devil's radio. - George Harrison

John Kennedy won the first televised presidential debate among those watching it, while Richard Nixon won among those listening on the radio. - Susan Estrich

Radio and TV can still push a band, but things need to be shaken up. There is the Internet. - Chris Cornell

They thought talking movies might eliminate radio as well. But radio just keeps getting stronger. - Casey Kasem

If you have songs on the radio and get played, you've got to have a tour to support that. - Alan Jackson

On TV the people can see it. On radio you've got to create it. - Bob Uecker

When radio stations started playing music the record companies started suing radio stations. They thought now that people could listen to music for free, who would want to buy a record in a record shop? - Niklas Zennstrom

The main thing that gives me hope is the media. - Jared Diamond

In radio, you are the game, so to speak - you have to describe every aspect. - Marv Albert

I watch a lot of baseball on the radio. - Gerald R. Ford

I am amazed at radio DJ's today. I am firmly convinced that AM on my radio stands for Absolute Moron. I will not begin to tell you what FM stands for. - Jasper Carrott

With the advent of radio and recording, music became an industry rather than just a tradition. - Arlo Guthrie

Watching television in those days was not the same experience as it is today. After years of listening to radio, we found the black-and-white images mesmerizing. - Annette Funicello

When you have a song on the radio your career and your life changes. - Loudon Wainwright III

Radio, in a way, is preaching. - John McLaughlin

We used to sit around and listen to the radio and not hear anything like the stuff we like, so we decided to play it ourselves. - Tommy Ramone

I love radio, but it's a very limited thing today. Everything has to be edited down to 3:59. - Anita Baker

When television began, it modeled itself after radio. - David Gerrold

The state of radio is not great. It's like playing the lottery. The chances of hitting are mind boggling slim. - Teddy Thompson

Radio continues to be the very best advertising music performers have. - Gordon Smith

It's really hard in this day and age, with radio and MTV being so consolidated, to get new music out there. - Josh Schwartz

I loved being on the radio. Being paid to talk? It's like being paid to eat. - Rachel Maddow

It's not true I had nothing on, I had the radio on. - Marilyn Monroe

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