Video killed the radio star

Wow. I read today that starting next year, Ford is phasing out CD players in the newest Focus and instead putting in USB ports.

Moving forward takes me back. As a kid, nothing was more exciting than listening to rock ’n’ roll on the AM radio, whether it was riding around in the station wagon with Mother or in front of the console stereo or on my transistor. Then FM came brought album rock and expanded our horizons and cool cars had AM/FM radios.

Big clunky eight-track tapes were heavenly for a girl who dug bands that didn’t get played on the radio much, FM or AM — the Allman Brothers Band, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, early ZZ Top. (Pre-stupid-beard ZZ Top, when Billy Gibbons was a sexy hunk. Yes, there was such a time. I saw him at Barton Coliseum with my very own eyes. Gracious.) Those were the bands that made my first little car, a tiny Toyota, rock on its rims via an add-on, ugly eight-track player.

Pretty quickly we got a reprieve from the clunkers via cassette, but, boy, were they prone to problems. Like melting in Arkansas summer heat or pulling loose and refusing to retract. But still, they gave us options to listen to what we chose. They were heaven sent.

Actually, no they weren’t. But CDs — ahh. Listening ease meant never having to hear a radio commercial again or wasting time on idle DJ chatter. Love, love, love. For many years. Still love my built-in CD player, even though I’ve been pretty unfaithful since Sirius Satellite Radio came into my life. Spectrum is divine. Makes me happy every time I drive.

The only frustration with satellite radio (beside the expense once a year. Ouch.) is that the DJ chatter is so very low you often don’t know who you’re listening to if it’s a new band. Shazam on my iPhone solved that. Thanks, Brother Paul, for telling me about it. It’s still the only app I’ve paid for. (We won’t talk about iTunes, though.)

I’m sorry I’ve neglected you, CD player. I still buy CDs —  but mainly I dump them into my Macbook, then copy them to my iPod Touch. But just knowing you’re there has been comforting.

But I’ll admit that built-in USB ports are heaven sent. Divine. Someday we’ll have one, when the wheels fall off the Jeep or (more likely), John’s old truck.

And The Buggles were wrong. Video didn’t kill the radio star. It just expanded musical horizons.

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