Don’t Worry, Be Happy – And Listen to Radio

There’s about a million different ways you can listen to music today. Many of them sit in the palm of your hand. With the world’s library of music so readily accessible, why do we still listen to radio music? The unexpected but true answer: it makes us happier.   Some people question why we still cling to radio (broadcast or digital) when the era of completely “on-demand” music is upon us (think YouTube Red). Traditional radio on paper seems to be lacking; the user has no power to pinpoint the exact music played. Listeners tune in to stations that may overplay songs and never touch their absolute favorites. Despite its perceived shortcomings, simple broadcast radio remains hugely popular–probably because studies have shown that radio music makes us happier than music coming from other mediums.  

Radio boosts energy and positivity

In a British study, radio music was shown to have the biggest positive impact on participants’ happiness and energy levels over those using television and computers to jam out. The same results were found when the participants listened to radio music over the course of a week: they reported much higher happiness and energy levels than the other mediums in the study or those that listened to no media at all. While the television granted the participants increased control over what content they consumed (along with visual stimulation) and the computer granted complete control, neither produced the same result within the participants that radio music did.   Why is this? Well, radio music is mood-enhancing. It provides a consistent, themed environment for the listener’s preferences based on station, and it is generally upbeat and happy in nature. You can’t say the same about TV (and definitely not the internet.)  

Humans are happier around music

We’re hardwired to love music from a young age. Listening to music from our phones or laptops gives us the happiness boost that we crave from music–but nothing like what we get from listening to traditional radio music. The local feel, the on-air personalities with interspersing dialogue, finding what’s new and popular, the freedom to sit back and enjoy the music without having to craft a playlist yourself…these are the things that make broadcast radio music great.   Though some may say that terrestrial radio music is an outdated medium, our brains beg to differ…or they simply don’t care. Next time you need an energy boost or emotional pick-me-up, log off of your laptop and turn up the radio.