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Why I Don’t Listen To News Radio

May 24, 2012

I was taking our car into the mechanic this morning when I turned on the local news radio station on for a few minutes (something I rarely do).

In the three minutes I had the radio on, I learned of the following stories:

1. A man put his infant into a laundromat washing machine and turned it on.

2. A swim coach had an affair with a female teenage student.

3. There is congestion on the highways.

While the first two awful stories grabbed my attention, I’d rather not bombard my mind with gloomy matters which are really superfluous to me. The traffic can be helpful. I know this from the hour-plus commute I drove for 5 years before I quit my job.

No, I’m not living in some fairytale land ignoring reality. The truth is there are many more stories of people doing kind and generous things than the destructive ones like the two mentioned above.

However, the mainstream news focuses on the riveting, crazy stories because that’s what people will pay attention to. That’s what sells.

Apparently the incident with the infant in the washing machine came down to poor judgement on the father’s part and was not predetermined. 

So, do I ignore the news all together? Honestly, there have been times when I pretty much have, but I don’t think that’s best approach. I think it’s better to stay in touch with what’s going on in my community and around the world.

However, I can do this by taking a few minutes online filtering only the relevant stories.

I can therefore be involved and aware of current events without completely opening up my mind and emotions to every horrible event that is going on in my neighborhood and the world.

Question: Do you listen to the news and in what medium?

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29 Comments

  • Reply Joe Lalonde May 24, 2012 at 6:35 am

    I had quit the news for quite some time. Recently I’ve been sucked back in and I am beginning to think I need to take another break from it. It’s mostly gloom and doom.

    • Reply Michael Good May 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      Joe, Agreed. Doom and gloom and frankly, entertainment like Trey Smith mentioned.

      I’m trying to maintain some sort of balance.

  • Reply Trey Smith May 24, 2012 at 7:48 am

    I stopped actively looking/listening to the “news” in January and have loved it. I realized that it was less news and more entertainment. The really big stories filter their way into my world through conversations with friends and co-workers. For the news I do want I will subscribe to a particular RSS feed to get only the items I want and not the other news noise.

    • Reply Michael Good May 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm

      Trey,

      Same here. I’ve found during the times when I haven’t actively listened to the news, the important stuff usually filtered through.

      What is the RSS feed you subscribe to? Something like that is exactly what I’ve been looking for.

      Thanks for the input.

      • Reply Trey Smith May 24, 2012 at 2:30 pm

        I find the RSS button on news sites and then only select topics I want to read. Like stories on the “Personal Finance” or “Travel” feeds. I stay away from the “Top Stories” or “Most Popular” feeds as I have found those often fall into my classification of entertainment and not news I desire to consume.

  • Reply Ann Musico May 24, 2012 at 7:55 am

    I do not listen to or watch the news and I haven’t for years now. I agree with you that we need to know what is going on in the world – to a degree. The news is so flooded with sensationalism and negativity – I refuse to allow that into my heart and mind. I see and feel the difference if I am somewhere (like the dentist’s office) where there is a TV set to a news channel and even if I don’t “pay attention” – subconsciously I hear it and it still affects me.

    • Reply Michael Good May 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      Ann, totally!

      I thought of this getting a recent oil change. They had the TV on tuned to the Today Shown while I was waiting for it to be done.

      It felt super invasive or even like an assault. I’m sure it was made worse by the fact that we really haven’t been watch any TV for about a year since we got rid of our television.

      I agree with TV news subconsciously affecting us as well. Our minds are more powerful than we often give them credit for and they pick that stuff up.

  • Reply Cindy Hirch May 24, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I still watch the news both local and national, but I don’t go out of my way to do it. I never listen to talk radio; I prefer music. I totally agree on the negativity that we are bombarded with daily. But there are good stories and those are what I like to concentrate on. I do want to be informed, and there have been stories especially locally that allowed me to help in some way. We had a shooting at a local high school over a month ago. It was a great tragedy. Hearing this news gave me an opportunity to support the families in this community in prayer and in other ways as well.

    • Reply Michael Good May 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      Cindy,

      It is for this reason that I struggle with the balance sometimes. I think that’s really neat how you get involved with your local community and what’s going on. That’s something you couldn’t do if you weren’t connected.

      Honestly, I don’t like to listen to the news much at all, but I feel that it’s important to stay aware and in tune to some degree.

      Thanks for the input!

  • Reply James Dibben May 24, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I quit the news a couple of years ago when we dumped cable.

    I don’t have room in my head for other people’s stress.

    With the elections coming it is a little tempting to watch and listen some. Everything is just so slanted that I’m never convinced I am getting the full truth from anyone.

    • Reply Michael Good May 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      James,
      I hear you with not having the room in your head for other people’s stress. Totally agree!

      I’m curious, did dumping cable have any implications with your relationship with your family? This was a life changer for Claudia and me!

      • Reply James Dibben May 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm

        It certainly did.

        It is easy to fall into the trap of having your life run by the TV schedule. Even when we tried the DVR we found it filling up and would stress on getting stuff watched in time.

        A couple of months ago I did hook up an antenna to our TV and we do get a few channels. We have a very limited list of shows we watch now. Besides, commercials are beyond trashy. I cannot believe how rotten they have become in the last couple of years.

  • Reply Michael Wright May 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Gosh no! I’d go insane – but if you’ll notice in talking to others, they’ll pretty much tell you anyways, if you’re around people at all. At least twice a week, a family member calls us to tell us how “America’s gone crazy” or “Gas prices are going out the roof!” and “another teacher accused of verbal and/or physical abuse at school”, etc, etc. It just sells. No one is going to tune in to hear all the good that is happening. It’s amazing how a single murder or a single court case can capture a country, to the point they have to know everything about it.

    When I used to commute, I would tune into the political talk radio on the way home and after awhile I just felt angered and anxious about the state of affairs. It really does have an effect on us whether we think it does or not. I haven’t listened to news and radio for years now. Not as a rule.

    • Reply Michael Good May 29, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      A former colleague of mine was always concerned about how the government as gone crazy and how the country has gone down the tube. The sight of an SUV driving by sent him into a rant about how the world is ending because of global warming and this and that… It would go from global warming to the war in Iraq and on and on.

      No, not worth it! I want to be aware, but not consumed!

  • Reply J Cleveland Payne May 24, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Allow me to defend News Radio in hopefully not to long of a friendly, poorly spellchecked, rant…

    The problem is not the news, and not so much news radio, but the package of ‘news radio’ that has to be ‘sold’ to listener to keep them listening to the radio and the ads that are played (very important to me because I work in radio).

    News is just information, and the information doesn’t change often enough to change the news. What we don’t do anymore is wait a full 6 / 8 / 10 / 12 / 24 hours to refresh our source of news and information. We now have a 24 continuous news cycle that must be fed to feed the masses, who are not necessarily getting more news, just staying connected to the source ALOT longer and getting the same information (sometimes from different angles, but mostly not).

    Once you hear a piece of information 2-3 times, you generally get the point. In order to keep you listening to the same piece of information for an overly extended period of time, you get sold on the personally of the anchors or commentator, and the best way to sell you on listening until a new development does happen is to ensure that you know THE WORLD IS GOING TO END VERY, VERRRRRRRRY SOON BECAUSE OF WHAT THE OTHER SIDE IS DOING AND YOU HAVE TO KEEP LISTENING TO THE EXPLAINATION EVEN IF I HAVE BEEN SAYING THE SAMETHING FOR A WEEK BEFORE I FLIP FLOPED A FEW TIMES WHEN THIS STORY WAS NEW BUT I WILL KEEP TALKING . . . until the nugget of new comes in and I can tell you that . . . AND THEN GET BACK ON THAT OTHER TANGENT BEFORE I AM FORCED TO FLIP FLOP AGAIN . . .

    And more of that.

    As a person who loves being a news junkie but has the work hazard of having to keep up with too much news, I have learned to mix the media I do consume (including a lot that is very dull, meaningless, and mildly offensive) to form a balance media diet. No need to fast or fear a bout of gluttony. Many people learn that once they stop complaining about eating vegetables and just eat their vegetables, the vegetable don’t kill you and you can still eat ice cream . . . just a little less.

    So bash the personalities all you want (we do all the time), but don’t dismiss the news or news radio so quickly. Cuz that’s how I make a living and diapers, braces, and college ain’t cheap… 😉

    • Reply Michael Good May 25, 2012 at 10:16 pm

      Cleveland,

      That make a lot of sense that they would repurpose the stories because there isn’t enough content. I’ll bet that’s why we seem to get some of the seemingly, irrelevant stories.

      I agree that news is just information, but who decides what information is worth sharing?

      What’s your take on the idea that bad news sells?

      Not trying to bash your livelihood, I’m sure there are lots of good people in the news industry.

      Thanks for your input!

      • Reply J Cleveland Payne May 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm

        Don’t worry about bashing my livelihood. We do
        it all the time. 🙂

        I think there are really two problems, but the
        greatest one in news (all formats) right now is the same issue all businesses
        have, the word ‘sales.’ Now that newspapers can’t make good money on classified
        ads and news departments have to generate enough listeners and viewers
        to justify higher ad rates to justify higher talent salaries. You go
        with what will bring people inside. It just so happens to be polarizing
        personalities, salacious information, and lots and lots of drama.

        The second problem is our nature to be entertained even while being informed. For
        the sake of entertainment, we are willing suspend disbelief or build up outrage.
        This why people can ignore news bias toward their views and easily pick up on
        news bias against their views (and why it is so hard to turn the dial once a
        news story has made you angry. You’re now looking for validation to continue to
        keep hating the story.) When it is all
        said and done, drama is more entertaining than glad tidings, and gossip is more
        engaging that positive talk.

        • Reply Michael Good May 29, 2012 at 9:42 pm

          Love it, Cleveland. I think you’re onto something with pointing out that our nature is to be entertained while being informed.

          Dry news probably wouldn’t sell as well. I think with all “polarizing personalities, salacious information, and lots and lots of drama,” as you put it, news has gotten noisy!

          I can see that the papers might be getting desperate because readership is down, but what about radio and especially TV? I guess everyone wants a bigger audience to be able to generate more ad revenue.

  • Reply Kent Julian May 24, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I do listen…but just about 10-15 minutes a day. Just to stay connected. Can’t take too much of it.

    BTW, I was NOT the swim coach you mentioned above. Just saying…

    • Reply Michael Good May 29, 2012 at 9:34 pm

      That goes without saying, Kent. 🙂

      Sounds like a good approach with the news.

    • Reply Ryan Ash June 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      Lol! Good to know, Kent! I’m about the same.I grew up listening to a lot of talk radio, and it can be very addictive. I’ve since reduced my consumption greatly, and I’d say I average under 10 minutes per day…and thankfully most stories I hear are not as bad as the ones mentioned above.

  • Reply Chris Peek May 25, 2012 at 7:32 am

    I typically don’t listen to or watch the news (unless a hurricane is coming our way!). TV and radio are often poor mediums to try and convey in-depth information. That’s why they tend to run with the sensational – it’s much easier to cover. I much prefer to read stories online, in the Sunday paper, and through in-depth articles in a couple of magazines. When I do focus on news, my goal is to learn about the issues that affect us locally, nationally, and internationally, not on the superfluous fluffy garbage given in 10-second sound bites. Usually we need time to put real news into context of the bigger picture, and this is rarely done in today’s rapid-fire media environment.

    • Reply Michael Good May 29, 2012 at 9:32 pm

      Well said, Chris. I would agree that the context is important!

  • Reply AnnetteDarityGarber May 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I, too, cannot handle watching too much news on TV. I am very sensitive to pain and suffering, and if I cannot do anything to help alleviate an issue, I’d rather not have to dwell on it. However, I still feel a sense of responsibility as a citizen of the world to be aware of what is going on locally, nationally and globally. I find that awareness helps us to to learn from history’s mistakes, breeds understanding (and hopefully tolerance), and can teach us our role or impact in the world. I have found a friend in NPR. These stories tend to be less sensational and more factual. During talk radio programs, they usually bring in a variety of perspectives, helping to increase the truth and complexity of an issue. I used to only enjoy listening to music while driving; now I often prefer to educate myself on the world.

    • Reply Michael Good May 29, 2012 at 9:31 pm

      That sounds like a great approach, Annette! I listened to NPR some a few years ago, but haven’t much since.

      I love how you said awareness can teach us our role and impact on the world. Sounds like living globally-minded even though we may be in suburbia. 😉

      • Reply AnnetteDarityGarber May 29, 2012 at 10:22 pm

        “Living globally-minded in suburbia”…. Sounds like an interesting topic to blog about. 😉

        • Reply Michael Good May 30, 2012 at 7:18 am

          Haha! This is a great topic, Annette. Keep it up!

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