Beloit College in Beloit, WI annually publishes a list of tidbits representing the thinking of the incoming class. It’s called “The Mindset List,” and the list for the Class of 2016 includes “5. If they miss The Daily Show, they can always get their news on YouTube,” and “9. They have never seen an airplane ‘ticket.'” But what really set the radio industry ablaze was Number 15: “Having grown up with mp3s and iPODS, they never listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for radio at all.” Well, apparently enough radio people objected—including a scathing blog from consultant Fred Jacobs—that the college replaced the wording with, “While still fans of music on radio, they often listen to it on their laptops or replace it with music downloaded onto their mp3s and iPODS.” Mission accomplished.
Shame on Beloit for bowing to so-called political correctness by bending to whatever firestorm might have sprung up as result of their original wording. Does anyone really doubt that the original Number 15 accurately reflects the mindset of 17-year-old kids? Radio has seen its greatest—and often painful—growth during changing times where we have had to alter our direction to adapt to the realities of the day. Hiding from—or trying to change—the course of time is the first step toward our extinction.