The early 1900s was the beginning of a new era in many senses. The commercial radio broadcast was just making its introduction in the United States. This wireless transmission allowed people within a certain radius to hear music, newscasts and announcements via a process called amplitude modulation, more commonly known as AM. As progress was made in the field of radio broadcast, frequency modulation—or FM—became available for commercial use.
The commercial use of radio broadcast also led to advances in the fields of advertising and product marketing; hence, the reason you may hear an advertisement for auto insurance while listening to your favorite station on the way to work in the morning. These advertisements may seem like an interruption of your favorite songs but in reality, they are the reason you are able to listen to the programming at no charge. Businesses pay good money to put their advertisements on the radio. The only cost to listeners is the several minutes, out of the hours of programming, in which music is paused for a commercial break. This allows the listener to find out who is sponsoring local radio shows, while the sponsor can relay their message to thousands of ears. It is their hope that in return they will gain new customers.
For the consumers that do not mind paying to hear music, satellite radio is now available with a subscription. This permits the listener to avoid hearing advertisements while listening to music. Subscribers also have access to crisp-sounding sports broadcasts, news shows and a multitude of talk shows. Consequently, the cost comes in the form of money as opposed to time.
Whether you choose to listen to radio broadcast via satellite subscription or free radio programming, you can thank ever-changing technology for the luxury of being able to listen to music virtually anywhere, anytime.