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Gen X radio has transformed from the AM/FM standard of the baby boomers to the domination of FM radio for music to the growing popularity of satellite radio among this generation. Gen X also prefers different music from that of their parents, liking rock and roll, but embracing heavy metal, hip-hop, and rap.
There are unique components to every generation and Gen X radio is no exception. Both how those in Generation X encountered radio and what they listened to were distinct and show some of the characteristics of their group.
Like the baby boomers who preceded them, members of Gen X had the use of very portable radios and were frequent listeners. In contrast, the Generation Y members who were to follow them were less likely to listen to radio and more likely to use a device such as the iPod or some other MP3 player to store their own customized library of music and videos.
Baby boomers were equally likely to listen to AM or FM radio and many different types of programming were available on both. By the time Gen X was interested in radio, FM had taken over most of the music radio market with AM being consigned mostly to talk and sports programming. This was because the quality of sound was so much better on FM radio.
From the Big Band era of their parents, baby boomers evolved into rhythm and blues, folk, and rock and roll music as their standard fare. For Generation X, rock and roll still had popularity and many members did listen to music their parents had loved, but change was inevitable. Hip-hop and rap music gained popularity as did heavy metal and punk rock music.
Even the way music was played on the radio changed for Gen X listeners. Previously, records played on the air were either the actual vinyl discs or were pre-recorded programs produced on reel to reel tape. As the compact disc began to replace actual records and tapes, radio stations switched to using this more durable and better quality method for reproducing sound.
As time has passed, the type of radio available to members of Gen X has changed yet again with the arrival of satellite and digital radio broadcasting. One of the frustrations for Gen X as for others was the problem of dead spots when traveling where no good radio reception was possible or perhaps only one or two stations would come in. Satellite radio virtually eliminates this problem and allows users to choose the genre of music they prefer around the clock wherever they may travel. Of course, satellite radio is a paid subscription service, and requires a special receiver, so there is additional expense involved for the convenience.