A perk to living in a small town is you get a small town radio station. I’m referring to the few of us who still listen to over-the-air, broadcast, loaded with commercials radio. Before you poo-poo the thought let me just say, I only listen to the radio when I’m in the car. As I mentioned, I live in a small town so my daily commute to work takes about 7 minutes. It can take up to 15 excruciatingly long minutes if there is construction. But all in all, I typically spend less than 30 minutes in my car a day. It’s not worth it to pay for music so traditional AM/FM works just fine for me. Let me tell you more about the radio station I listen to in the mornings. It’s an AM station with local deejays in the morning. The playlist is the whim of the DJ on shift which means I could hear just about anything in the morning. There is no set genre.
Case in point, the other morning on my way to work I heard “Don’t Sleep in the Subway” by Petula Clark. If you have never heard it before, trust me, it is a real song as I found out that day. According to Wikipedia, it came out April 1967.
Fine, we are visiting the 60’s. But not so fast, the next song was from 1981. “Don’t You Want Me” by Human League. A little different vibe than the previous song.
Okay, we are in the 80’s now. Except the next song jumped back a couple of years to 1979 and Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.”
Finally, as I pulled into my parking spot the news came on.
I thought about that morning’s playlist. It was not confined to a specific genre. The only thing I can find in common about the three songs is they all started with the word don’t. And that’s no commonality at all.
This is probably more typical of our personal playlists than other radio stations that try to pigeonhole their music. They go after a certain type or demographic. Country music. Oldies. Pop. Top 40. These are all formats I switch back and forth to find some music I like. But there isn’t a specific type of music I will listen to all the time. I like to switch the station in search of the best song at the moment whatever that may be.
As I listened to the fairly eclectic song selection that morning I thought how human it is to have a varied playlist. Anyone I have spoken to always comments on how surprised someone would be to listen to their playlist. I think I’d be more surprised to meet a person that listens to only one type of music all the time.
Our varied playlists are a lot like people. Being human means we don’t really conform into one box or package despite our attempts to maybe place other people in a certain box. I will use terminology that will date myself, we are our own mixed tapes with all sorts of genres. We have all these components that come together to make us – us. No mixed tape is the same. No person is the same. So why do we think we can place others in a fixed package with boundaries and borders when we know our own playlists follow no set rules other than our preference?
If we don’t limit our playlists to one genre then why should we limit other people based on our limited perception? Let us all be like that local AM station that follows no set format in the morning. But let us also let others to have the same freedom.