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Road Trip Soundtrack Radio

A low-power network of thematic music
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The rumpled landscape of misty valleys and verdant ridges where I live evokes musical greatness, and driving through it frustrates me when I flip through the radio dial looking for music that suits the view. No, I don't have a CD changer, and there's not enough room in the cab for that many cassettes. Who has time to flip through them all, anyway? Why does a radio station have to broadcast from one big antenna?

It would be a simple matter to include, on the backs of those many mileage signs for example, a small transmitter every mile or so that broadcasts a low-power signal that provides motorists with music appropriate to the weather, the traffic, and the region. Just as the power of one transmitter starts to fade into unreceptability, the next one picks up. The stations would be controlled by, not an on-air personality, but a program director with an understanding of aesthetics, how the music and the environment in which it is perceived can benefit each other. Each individual station would in fact be several stations, handing off to one another as the motorist goes along, and the character of the music he receives evolves with his trip. In fact, the music need not change that much: a few songs could loop for each several miles, the loop running just long enough to get the slowest motorist all the way through the loop area.

This morning's ride, for instance, would have been well served by some soothing Nick Drake (God rest his soul) or perhaps some of the more introspective Neil Diamond (God rest his career).

As you approach a municipality, the character of music changes, becomes a bit edgier to help keep the driver more alert: say some Huey Lewis or Foo Fighters, Linkin Park and Beastie Boys at rush hour.

The character of the municipality affects the music, too. Beastie Boys might work where I live, but say around New York City it would be more 50 Cent and Jay-Z; San Francisco gets Black Eyed Peas, Washington DC gets all Weird Al, all the time. Rush hour on the Beltway: Dare to be Stupid!

Driving across the prairies would be Holst's "The Planets." This is just for the major Interstate Highways. State roads could follow up with local artists.

This would be a bit expensive, but it could pay for itself with micro-ads - twenty seconds duration, no more - or embedded signals like the ones that tell newer car stereos what the station calls itself, signals that flash the radio's display with the message: "How's the tank? Fastop gas exit 125, $2.15 unl," or something similar. That example is pertinent: you won't get an ad for Fastop at exit 125 unless you're within a mile or so; five miles before you got a little ad for Pilot ($2.10, missed an opportunity there). Most importantly, intruding on your personal space in this manner would allow the radio network to charge more for ad time, and eliminating on-air personalities would mean there's only brief ads, perhaps short traffic updates, and music tailored to the drive.

This is my longest post ever.

elhigh, Aug 02 2005

Geocorder geocorder
Perhaps you could also listen to this idea. [Acme, Aug 02 2005]

GPS-enabled iPod with location-dependent track selection GPS-enabled_20iPod_...20track_20selection
...or this one [hippo, Aug 07 2005]


       Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but your first bit was pure poetry. Bun to eat on your journey.   

       I volunteer to be a 'radio station' controller (for the Alps or somewhere beautiful).   

       The system could be used to broadcast traffic warnings 'This road is temporarily blocked off due to alien landings. Turn around quickly'.
dbmag9, Aug 02 2005

       Beastie Boys at rush hour? Are you crazy? Rush hour is the time for soothing classicalness, to ease the furroweed brow as the kids in the near-stationary car in front make obscene gestures at you whenever their parents aren't looking.
Other than that, bun.
moomintroll, Aug 02 2005

       //for the Alps or somewhere beautiful// You mean "somewhere else beautiful", shirley?
coprocephalous, Aug 02 2005

       Shirley your taste in music is as much dependant upon your mood as your environment?
hidden truths, Aug 02 2005

       This idea is excellent until the mention of Nick Drake and utterly diabolic from the mention of advertising.
calum, Aug 02 2005

       //You mean "somewhere else beautiful", shirley?//   

       //Shirley your taste in music is as much dependant upon your mood as your environment?//   

       I agree with both posts. And don't call me Surely.
doctorremulac3, Aug 03 2005

       I don't think it would be too difficult to have this network offer a few channels that would cover a fairly wide array of tastes. Sorry about the advertising bit, but it does address the gritty economic realities. People won't build this system for free (but I would work there as a volunteer).   

       Just treat "Nick Drake" as a blank, to be filled with the driving tunes composer of your choice.
elhigh, Aug 03 2005

       // gritty economic realities//
B-but this is the halfbakery!

       //Just treat "Nick Drake" as a blank//
Aaaah, much better, thank you.
calum, Aug 03 2005


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