Less Variety On The Radio…and In The Culture

The Wall Street Journal reports on radio these days.

Faced with growing competition from digital alternatives, traditional broadcasters have managed to expand their listenership with an unlikely tactic: offering less variety than ever.

The strategy is based on a growing amount of research that shows in increasingly granular detail what radio programmers have long believed—listeners tend to stay tuned when they hear a familiar song, and tune out when they hear music they don’t recognize.

I think this is true with more than just music. The dream of the internet was to bring about a diversity of opinion, points-of-view, and art. But it hasn’t been the case. At large, people are just going to refine a razor sharp focus on what they already like, what confirms what they already believe, and ignore anything that doesn’t fit those views.

It’s not because people are ignorant. It’s because there’s a ton of stuff available and this is the most efficient way of processing it.