In Defense of “Old Media”

Sony Transistor Radio Model S10MK2
Someone still loves you, radio!

I usually make my weekly run to the grocery store sometime during the weekend, which is probably not the smartest thing to do because everyone else does the same thing.  Of course, life often gets in the way of that plan and I end up going on Monday instead, which is also annoying because it means I have to burn precious after-work-before-bed time.  As I am one of those oddball men that actually likes to shop, it really isn’t that big of a deal because  I can easily spend an entire hour at HEB buying groceries for the week.  It also isn’t unusual for me to show up with a list of five items and leave with twenty…I’m thinking the two are related somehow.

In any event, it was time to go to the grocery store again, but this Monday introduced a new wrinkle: the Spurs were playing and it was an important game.  Like most folks, I don’t pay much attention to basketball until the playoffs arrive, and the Spurs had lost two in a row and so they were in a ‘must-win situation.’  While I would have loved to just sit and watch the game, I had groceries to buy and laundry to do after that, so I made my list, checked it twice, and headed out the door.

Now I have a problem: I can’t keep tabs on the game while I am in the store.  I do have a smartphone, though, so I figured I would open up a web browser and keep tabs on the game via  a sports website.  At the time I left my apartment, it was a close game and waiting for the browser to reload and update the score was agonizing.  It then occurred to me that for all the 4G-dual-core-Flash-touchscreen-whiz-bang technology my smartphone had, I would have been better off with a cheap transistor radio tuned to a local sports station.  Much to my chagrin, the last update came fifteen seconds before the game ended, and I ended up having to visit a different website to get the final score because the page stopped updating.

As great and wonderful as the Internet is, radio and television (aka “the old media”) still outdo the ‘net by leaps and bounds when it comes to things that are happening live.  I am certain many of us remember refreshing our browsers at work every few minutes on 9/11, only to be stuck with pages that loaded slowly, or not at all.  Meanwhile, at the same time TV and radio stations were providing a steady stream of information that kept going independent of how many viewers were watching.  Sure, it wasn’t all ‘interactive’ and ‘social’ and all those things we expect nowadays, but when something is happening right now, give me a radio or a TV set anyday.

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