Does radio have a future?

Trends in North American radio

Barry Kiefl
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation


Radio and the telephone are the oldest of the electronic communications media. These two media first made their appearance in a large number of North American homes during the 1920s. While the telephone is fast evolving from a wired device to a wireless one, radio has always been a wireless medium and therein lies its most important asset for consumers.

Radio is a portable, useanywhere information appliance. Attempts have been made to turn radio into a wired, fixedplace medium, e.g., Muzac, cable audio and, most recently, Internet radio. However, the overwhelming reason that consumers turn to the radio, particularly since the invention of the transistor radio in the 1960s, is that radio can be listened to virtually anywhere, even in moving vehicles or at one's place of work.