Describe Radio

Submitted By mcristinaruiz
Words: 1673
Pages: 7

For us believers of Radio
By María Cristina Ruiz

Albert Einstein, when asked to describe Radio, replied:
"You see, Wire Telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this?
And Radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there.
The only difference is that there is no cat.

As a medium, the radio has a very broad spectrum in our lives, especially our daily lives. It addresses millions of people, in an individual kind of way rather than en masse; it intimately approaches each listener. In fact, this kind of approach is what makes the listener interested in radio inasmuch as he feels involved with the broadcaster whom he is having an aural conversation with. Whether it is to catch up on the news, opinion, cultural or educational programs, etc.; the feeling of being addressed is the essential motivation for a listener when he is tuning into a radio station. The radio is a unique medium in terms of its effective “blind” communication, creative fusion of compositional uses/functions of sound with the action and meaning of words, and special interaction with its audience. Compared with other sorts of media, the radio establishes a very particular situation where the speaker and the listener interact without visual presence, whereas communicating normally involves some sort of visual and gestural elements. However, it is through sound, music, and speech that the radio makes the listener conceive of different mental places and times. In other words, radio is a ‘blind’ medium and at the same time it provides a vivid world for anyone to create as his own. This creation is possible given that the listener is constantly generating mental images about what he listens to; he has the role of imagining what is happening or what is being said; whereas in television, cinema, the press and/or photography the spectator is rather passive in terms of imagination. As a matter of fact, when we perceive through sight, we are not as imaginative as when are listening; for sound potentially stimulates imagination and wonder. That is to say, acoustic images are not as explicit as visual effects, inasmuch as sound effects rely on the imaginary capacity of whoever listens to turn sound into a mental visualization of what is happening. So, by means of speech and music, the radio invokes the listener to an activity beyond just the act of listening; it encourages the mind to wander. Since the ear is the sense of domain, the use and interaction of speech, sound, and music constitutes the radio’s figuratively proper ‘scenery’. (Arnheim, 17)

The radio is based on the aural arts of music and speech. The main characteristic of the radio as a medium is the power to create mental images in the listener, together with other properties such as: its instantaneity, its audience diversity, its veracity and accessibility. In the end, the radio is cheaper and less technical in comparison with TV or any printed media. Hence all that the radio fundamentally needs is creativity, imagination and transmission equipment; while cameras, lighting equipment, massive or expensive printings, and special materials are completely dispensable for the production of radio. Even though the radio has experienced a lot of competition from other sorts of media, it still offers the quickest and most immediate transmission nowadays especially of breaking news and events. Its presence is remarkable in everyone’s life, since using a radio is the easiest thing in the world and listening to it is compatible with doing parallel activities. Furthermore, it’s entertaining, free, available for any public; and the radio does not have any barriers for those who are unable to read or even see.

On the one hand, speech is implemented in light of linguistics and the philosophy of language, for understanding language and its function is to connect our