It’s a Life on the Air

Music and entertainment have seen many changes over the course of a few decades. With the advancement of technology, the platforms for listening and watching are constantly changing. Since apps like Spotify and SoundCloud have gained popularity, podcasts and playlists seem to have replaced the traditional source of music and talk shows: radio. Long before you could play the latest album of your favorite artist on your phone, people relied on radio to play the songs they desperately wanted to hear. Radio seems to be losing its status among young people that it had a decade ago.

Most radio in Omaha seems to fall under the category of pop music or conservative talk shows. It seems that too many young people overlook the classical music of station 90.7 KVNO, located at the University of Nebraska Omaha.

A voice on this station that has been broadcasted across Omaha for many years would be a man by the name of Otis Twelve. Twelve became most distinguished in Omaha radio years ago, being a host on Z-92. He has been a radio presence for forty years, beginning in California. He eventually returned to Omaha and started on Z-92, playing rock music alongside another recognized Omaha radio host, Diver Dan Doomey.

Being on radio for nearly forty years, Twelve has seen changes in the music and radio industries. With music going digital and with the creations of applications like Spotify and SoundCloud, people who didn’t grow up listening to radio tend to forget it exists. Changes like this make it feel like there is a clash between the traditional and newer concepts of what society knows music and entertainment to be.

“There’s a lot more competition because people can get their music in a lot of different ways, that’s one thing that’s changed radio a lot,” Twelve said, “it’s different, it’s not as dominant as it used to be.” He also noted that it’s important to acknowledge and accept this change.

“Change just always comes; you can’t stop it. […]” said Twelve. “Music will always be there one way or the other, it’s one of the basics of human society.”

Radio is a wonderful, classic option. It provides music and conversations that people can connect with and relate to. There’s a certain charm in listening to the radio that allows for a more personal experience than television or hitting shuffle on Spotify can offer.

“Radio is very personal, it’s like when you’re listening to me on the radio, it’s you and me,” Twelve said. “T.V. creates a wall, like you’re in a big crowd. Radio is very one on one. So, people really think they know you, that’s the cool thing about radio.”

While considering your next source of music listening or entertainment, consider the radio. It’s a wonderful option for an individual and traditional experience. Whether you’re into pop, country, the classical music stylings Otis Twelve plays on KVNO, or anything in between, there’s something out there for you. Radio is a great reminder that while society should most definitely embrace the new, we shouldn’t forget where we started.

story by natalie gill, photos by kylie shanahan

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