When radio swept the nation on the 1930s, it essentially became the country’s first mass medium. Listeners soon became addicted to hearing whatever was on the other end, be it a comedy show, a suspense program, or a farm report. But as other media have risen in popularity (notably television), radio has fallen a bit by the wayside. Many people favor their own stereos—or more likely, Alexa or Spotify—at home and primarily use radio to provide news and music while commuting.
Now it looks like Spotify could even take over radio’s last province. The Verge reports that Spotify’s new playlist, “Your Daily Drive,” incorporates news podcasts amidst the listener’s favorite music: “Starting today, U.S. users will be able to listen to music they already enjoy, alongside new music recommendations, with some news podcast content sprinkled in.” The news clips will come from The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Public Radio International, and both news and music will be updated throughout the day.
All that’s missing is local info like weather, traffic, and the friendly voice of a DJ guiding you through your day. But for fans of the medium, isn’t that sense of connection the original draw of radio to begin with? It seems as if automated services like Alexa and pre-recorded features like podcasts are helping to push radio back even further into the past—while offerings like the Daily Drive playlist could replace it altogether.