Many Maine small business owners often wonder if Portland radio stations occupy a place of relevance in the life of listeners. Many are concerned that consumers, especially millennials, are being plucked away by the over-abundance of new media options.
Research from Nielsen indicates that 93% of consumers listen to radio each week. Among, millennials, 90% regularly tune-in to traditional AM/FM radio.
Radio's omnipresence has remained virtually unchanged since 2001. Not even Pandora, Sirius/XM, iPods, smart phones, or YouTube have been able to erode the passion that Mainers of all ages, including millenials, reserve for their favorite radio station. Radio still provides the soundtrack that connects listeners' ears to their hearts. It's still where most people discover their next favorite band. Radio remains the audio adhesive that binds families and communities.
Case in point.
Carson Hooper of Falmouth loved the music of the Alternate Routes and Dan Layus. Before Carson died unexpectedly this month at the age of 25, he and his parents would share the music of these artists on Portland radio station WCLZ. It seems that WCLZ is the only station that regularly plays this music.
Carson discovered this music when his parents, Kathie and Kevin, took him to live performances at the radio station featuring these artists.
"We thought he’d like both", said Kevin, "because of his interest in a wide range of music genres. His playlist ranged from Japanese anime (Kotaro Nakagawa) to David Bowie to Nat King Cole."
"I know Carson appreciated the diversity of music played on WCLZ," continued Kevin, "because he’d comment on the songs as we’d ride along in the car."
The radio station recently learned of Carson's passing when WCLZ's brand manager, Randi Kirshbaum, received the email below (reprinted with permission form his family).
We have attended many Studio Z’s, thanks to the generosity of WCLZ. Over the past year, we brought along our son Carson to see Alternate Routes and Dan Layus (we both won passes to see Dan Layus).
Carson passed away on June 30 from an epileptic seizure. He was a great son and friend.
At his wake, we ran a slide show with his photos accompanied by the Alternate Routes song “Nothing More.” The song’s message to treat each other with caring and respect matches Carson’s personality perfectly.
At his funeral, we played Dan Layus’ “Call Me When You Get There.” It conveys one of many emotions we are enduring now – our concern that he is still okay and doing fine.
Not wanting to burden you with this sad story, we wanted more to tell you that the music you play has given us deep meaning and has been helpful. The fact that Carson attended the two shows with us that conveyed the two powerful and pertinent messages just makes our memories of them more meaningful.
Kevin and Kathie Hooper
Every day, in very personal ways, Portland radio connects the ear and the heart of every listener. Carson's story is just one example.
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