Sunday, December 20, 2020

Radio problems

The local classical radio station in Pittsburgh, WQED-FM, went off the air for a few days last week because of problems with their transmitter. Apparently some time on Thanksgiving Day the tower caught fire. This in itself is interesting because that afternoon I went for a run around Pittsburgh (no dinner to attend and a wife working, so why not?) and at one point I ran right by the station. I don't recall seeing anything on fire. 

One can imagine the frustration of not being able to broadcast. There was an alternative, however. The station can also be heard online, so it was to that medium that they took to appeal to listener patience and perhaps a temporary change in habits.

Trying to reach listeners can be challenging enough when the equipment works. It was around that same time that I realized that my little radio station might be shorting its own listener reach because the little advertisements I was putting in the corner of each page of weren't always showing up. All of that work goes for nothing if your viewers don't know it's there. 

And why would that be? Simply because I was calling my little files "ads" and anybody with an adblocker wasn't getting them. I renamed them "ants" earlier this week so now, prominently displayed in the right hand upper corner of each page should be a little box that tells everyone what is currently playing on Pianonoise Radio. Click on it and this week you'll be treated to an hour of Christmas-related music I recorded over the last few years here in Pittsburgh.

I can't, of course, control the listener's experience, as I've lamented before. The quality of the sound depends largely on the equipment of the one playing it. I had a lovely experience when testing the show; it turns on that my recent tablet acquisition has very suitable speakers. It is the first time I didn't mind the sound quality from computer speakers. Normally I have to use headphones, but I doubt most people are willing to do that. For that matter, most probably aren't willing to actually listen. But at least speakers are being made now of such quality that playing music in the background on your phone or computer doesn't sound too grating. 

The final component is the mood of the person listening (mostly or slightly). I can't control that either, although music is often used as mood control, and that, it just might be in my power to alter for the better this holiday season. I often look askance at the limited uses music is put to in order to affect its recipients like sonic caffeine, or sonic prozac, or some other sonic drug, but somebody is probably having a rough day, or a rough life, and could use a but of what is, after all, a relatively harmless drug. 

And if you find yourself getting addicted, there are another 40 hours in the archive. Just paste this into your browser window:


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