My Meaningful Media

Rush Hour (Radio) Therapy

Any reasonable and sane person hates rush hour. I mean, what could be worse than spending two hours of your day—or even more if you are in Bangkok or Mexico City—stuck in the middle of traffic, with just noise, chaos, and hurry? Well, this is not the case for me. Maybe I’m the only person on this planet who doesn’t hate rush hour, but I need it in my life; it is the time when I put all my things in order.

So, yes, basically it takes me one hour in the morning to drive from home to my office and then another hour to get back. This means that I spend 500+ hours per year stuck in traffic, and I feel totally comfortable with this because my meaningful media is radio.

In Latin America, and especially in Colombia where I’m from, lots of talk and music are our way of communicating. And while Norway has become the first country in the world to abandon modulated frequency (FM) for a digital standard, in Colombia we have strengthened the presence of radio stations throughout the territory and in all formats. The public radio service in Colombia has experienced exponential growth in recent decades. Today, 1,596 broadcasters transmit their signals through the radio spectrum of the FM and AM bands—that’s 1,243 for FM and 353 for AM. According to the Subdirección de Radiodifusión Sonora del MinTIC, radio is the medium with the most reach and diffusion in the country: 48.3 million Colombians, corresponding to 99.1% of the national population, listen to radio. 

So getting back to my rush-hour therapy, radio is my copilot as I drive to work. I find radio meaningful because it gives me peace of mind, even in the middle of traffic. That’s because I listen to great music or connect with the conversation between DJs. In any case, this medium nourishes the conversations that I have during the day and even helps me in the development of my work.

I think radio is undergoing a wonderful transformation. It’s not about abandoning the analog for the digital; it’s more that a coexistence of the two formats generates new options such as podcasts and new content that makes the medium much more robust and that nourishes the connection with the listener.