Born in Oklahoma in 1925, the station was purchased a year later by Stephens College and brought up to Missouri. Except for a few lean years in the 80’s, the station has prospered.
When radio was king (even after TV arrived on the scene) we listened to KFRU often, honing our musical tastes from what was offered us by the ‘disk jockeys’ of those days that came and went. (Remember Jock Bliss?)
But it dawned on me a few years back (and again just recently) that when we were developing teenagers, we also admired our parents’ musical preferences—though it might or might not have coincided with ours.
Still, we leaned toward our own sounds, which ran the gamut—from classical to jazz, movie musicals, rock, pop, country—just about everything from Elvis to the Beatles. Yet we still had an understanding and appreciation of the musical experience of those older.
Today, the young people who make up the tail-end of the so-called millennial generation seem to be going a completely different direction—a result of the times and the technology—but certainly not because they are more sophisticated regarding their musical choices than we were.
Far from it.
Because of today’s high-tech world, where information and preferences are identified and posted in nanoseconds, the lion’s share of the kind of music preferred by the majority of millennials seems to be concentrated on one range of styles (ex: today’s rock; rap) and little else (with maybe a bit of a nod to country, which bears little resemblance to the “real” country we grew up with.)
There’s also the phenomenon of memorization. When we were kids we did our share, memorizing lyrics of the most popular of what was available most of the time on records, radio and juke boxes. But we were nothing like today’s kids. If you’ve noticed, anytime there’s a live performance on a network show like TODAY, when the camera scans the audience, not one, but most everyone in attendance is mouthing the words of the performer, lips moving in unison, not missing a word! As I remember, while we memorized our songs, our recall repertoire was nothing as vast as what we are witness to today.
Why? Researchers have found that many of our Millennials, devices in hand, are caught up in this kind of thing—and to make room for more time to memorize the lyrics of many of today’s “top” songs, reduce drastically the more substantive but time-consuming habit of face-to-face conversation and interaction.
On top of that, the words to these songs are for the most part a muddled mess of meaningless, repetitive drivel. Why can’t people write memorable lyrics like Cole Porter once did (and who, by the way, was a member of our grandparents’ generation)?
Music may hath charm to soothe a savage beast—but that was then; and this is now.