Mainstream news outlets were abuzz today with kernels of wisdom about young people after Beloit College released its annual Mindset List. Meant to give a portrait of this year’s incoming college students, the exhaustive list of 75 tidbits describes what the world is like for “this generation of entering college students, born in 1994.” Technology is the one theme of the list that the mainstream press has picked up on the most. Frequently cited item 15 states that, “Having grown up with MP3s and iPods, [incoming students]… never listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for radio at all.”
No source is provided for this assertion and I’d certainly respond that it’s simply not true that 18-year-olds “really have no use for radio at all.” Recent studies have confirmed that radio is alive and well, even if it is losing a bit of traction among teenagers. According to the Nielsen 360 Report, “56% of teens listen to music on the radio.” While this number is lower than it used to be (and lower than the percentage of teens who listen to music on YouTube), it’s still an indication that teenagers DO listen to the radio.
The Beloit Mindset list item about radio is also ironic, in that Beloit College is one of the few universities that has taken the time to document the history of student radio endeavors on campus. Its college radio station WBCR is the descendent of radio activities on campus that date back to 1907. Recounted nicely by Dave de Anguera (a subject of one of of Radio Obsessive profiles) in Ethereal Messages: A History of Beloit College Radio 1907-1994, the station’s history is further celebrated by Beloit College’s own library in its new digital Beloit College Radio History Collection.
I’m sure that Beloit’s radio participants and historians are shocked to hear that incoming students “really have no use for radio at all.”
Just one dollar a month makes you a patron of Radio Survivor. Help us through our Patreon Campaign!