Final Project: Historical Interview
As you may know from other posts, at my high school, Lexington STEAM academy, we do things a little differently. During finals at a normal school, most people would have to take a boring test, learn nothing, and not grow at all in the process, at STEAM, in Mr. Vaughn’s English 1 class, we
are doing something a little different, a story corps interview. Story corps is a company that puts out real stories from real people. Users interview people with interesting stories and submit it on the site for all to see. I interviewed my dad, Hap Houlihan, about his career in radio, specifically at WRFL and WLXL, a couple local radio stations he has played a major role in, and how radio has affected his life and society as a whole.
The first question I asked my dad was if he had had any interest in radio prior to college and working at WRFL- his first job in radio. As you may have guessed, no he didn’t, radio isn’t exactly something that comes to mind when you think of childhood dream jobs, but he had always be
en a huge music lover, but never even thought about radio as a career as it doesn’t seem like something that one can just do, but it turns out he was wrong. Coming out of high school, my dad thought he was going to be a lawyer, and even got into law school, but had always been shy and had extremely poor speaking skills, so when he got the opportunity to work at a radio station, he thought it would be a great way to refine his skills, but instead it ended up becoming his career.
He started as a substitute DJ and worked his way up the ranks into music direction, and had a few of his own shows along the way. He eventually quit his job at WRFL and didn’t have any direct working affiliation with radio until a few years ago. While working at the Morris Book Shop a friend told him that she was going to try and start a community radio station, but this never came into play in his life until a few years later after leaving his job at the Morris Book Shop, he had some time on his hands and decided to help out with making Lexington community radio a reality he worked with them unofficially for about a year until last year he was asked to take a full time job as the general manager. Lexington Community radio, or otherwise known as LCR, and WLXL, has now been on air for a few months, and as implied in the name, it is a radio station for the Lexington community and everyone in it.
Almost anyone who is willing to put forth the effort can volunteer to get a job at LCR, I think that the Lexington community sets a great example for radio stations everywhere, especially these days as radio has lost a lot of popularity since the invention of the television. Many have gone as far as to say radio is dead and the majority of those that don’t think it’s already dead think it’s dying. I however along with a few hopeful others, believe that radio is probably one of the most important inventions of all time and will remain so for hundreds of years. As stated by Hap in the interview, It was probably the second ever form of mass communication next to newspaper, but it was certainly the first direct form, meaning anything
said over the radio was received almost immediately, while with the newspaper it had to go through the long process of being printed as well as being delivered, this made radio extremely popular, around the time that they were first invented, everyone had a radio, there were very few American households you could go to without finding a radio, even years after the television was invented, due to the fact that they were so expensive.
Despite what the tone of this essay might tell you, I do not mean to say that Televisions are bad or should never have been invented, they are extremely important as well, and have replaced radios as the most important and effective form of mass communication in my opinion, however I think that radios serve a better purpose on a local level as they can connect a community on a much more intimate, personal, and special way than a television can. Even still, radio must continue to change- evolve even, in order to grow rather than shrink and eventually die out. In fact, as anyone can plainly see radio has been on a decline in recent years due to the fact that other things such as CDs, Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, etc. again, I think that these are important inventions, I use them as much as anyone else does.
People running radio stations around the world are too afraid to evolve and do something original and that is precisely why radio has been in such poor health. Radio doesn’t have to be top 40 stations, it is so much more than that and society obviously wants more than that people need to connect in more advanced and sophisticated ways than listening to the same pop songs over and over again and we all clearly subconsciously know this and that is why so few people listen to the radio nowadays. This “evolution” is what stations like LCR are doing and it gives me hope for the future of radio as it is my Dad’s career, and it could be mine one day to, I hope that you share the same hope for radio as I do.
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Rubin, Neal. “Is Radio Dying or Just Evolving?” The Detroit News. Detroit News, n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.
Quayumm, Ali. @Smashing Hub.” Free Online Resources For Developers Designers and Photographers Smashing Hub. SMASHING HUB, n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.
“What Radio Must Do to Reinvent Itself.” – Media Life Magazine. Ed. MediaLife. Media Life Magazine, n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.