mindset

Press coverage of Beloit Mindset List implies 18 year-olds have no concept of radio

Thursday, August 23, 2012 - 12:05pm

The annual "Beloit College Mindset List" is out, and press coverage of it seems to portray radio as a long-forgotten relic of which today's 18 year-olds have no concept.

The Mindset List is created by two Beloit College professors each year, and it's intended to compile "the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall." This year's list includes the item "15. Having grown up with MP3s and iPods, they never listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for radio at all."

Now the list is quite usually pretty over-dramatic, as we think it is here. Taken literally, this list of items would portray today's college freshman of not only not consciously remembering a time when Robert DeNiro played Vito Corleone (from "The Godfather II"), but as having no concept of it. And, obviously, when it comes to radio, that's simply not true. While we continue to believe that radio listening patterns are changing (and dramatically so), the idea that young adults "really have no use for radio at all" seems pretty far-fetched. A quick look at Arbitron will show that while the amount of time young people spend with broadcast radio is declining, radio is still present in their lives.

But the coverage the Mindset List is getting seems to focus on this point that portrays radio as a relic. It reminds us of a recent blog by Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs here. We agree with Fred, and continue to maintain that radio is best-positioned to transition the medium into the future. Today's broadcasters have the content, the talent, the expertise, and now the technology to maintain their dominance as radio expands its platform, and remain relevant for generations of incoming college freshmen.

Plus, if college kids don't know radio, there'd be no college radio station! Where will the musicheads work? The college ISP?

Read the Mindset List here.

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