By Deems Tsutakawa
For The North American Post
The baby boomers of my generation had the great pleasure of growing up during what I call “The Golden Age of Records and Radio.” Although the radio became very popular well before the 1950s, it was not until 1958 that The Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA, actually established the parameters for a Certified Gold Record.
During that era, the music industry was promoting and selling vinyl record albums at an astonishing rate and, together with massive radio support, influenced an entire generation. There is a good movie called “All Things Must Pass” that came out in 2015. It is the true story of the rise and fall of the legendary Tower Records. I found the movie to be a “soundtrack,” so to speak, of the baby boomer generation.
Throughout the decades of the 60s to the 90s, radio stations, record albums, cassettes and CDs were an integral part of our culture, not only in the United States, but worldwide. Every generation has its heroes and idols. The radio made it possible, even mandatory, for the big stars like The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis to come into our homes, go on our car trips and make us buy their records.
It is interesting to note that radio stations are a lot like a combination of real estate and mom-and-pop stores. There was a time when radio and television stations were mostly locally owned and operated. Nowadays, there are just a few large corporations that own over 90% of all radio stations coast to coast. It is a very tough industry, though, as most young people these days do not listen to the radio anymore. Buying an FM frequency is somewhat akin to buying property in that you will not get your money back right away, but hope the value goes up incrementally over the years.
Deems Tsutakawa is a local Sansei musician. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.