Tuesday, August 14, 2007

That Sweet, Sweet Music

As a satellite radio subscriber, I am constantly surprised by the variety of choices that I have. What does this have to do with SF, you may wonder. Well, it is simple, XM has a channel devoted to movie scores and cinema, and they seem to have a strong fondness for the science fiction.

Cinemagic is an interesting little channel. They play clips from our favorite films, and then sections of film score. It is quite a bit of fun trying to determine what film is on simply from the music and snatches of dialog. Actually, though, there are two things about Cinemagic that really grab my attention, and they are Reel Time and Hi-Fi/Sci-Fi.

Reel time is a program where directors and notable Hollywood figures go on for an interview about their career and their most recent project. Generally the station plays about 5 minutes of interview, then a long clip (usually 2-3 minutes) of dialog from the film, and then a bit of music. It is a fun and educational time for all, and I have managed to hear a lot of news about projects that would not normally have crossed my radar.

Hi-Fi/Sci-Fi is a cool show that highlights only genre movies (though some might debate their choices from time to time). It is kind of fun to hear favorite films and lines come across with well-remembered snatches of music. Usually dedicated to a theme, the Hi-Fi/Sci-Fi show also peppers the dialog clips and music with bits of SF trivia.

While I am spending some time chatting about the programming, it might be pointed out that Satellite Radio itself has origins in Science Fiction (Arthur C. Clarke predicted the concept fairly accurately). As technology progresses, and the meme spreads, it is very easy to see how this will become a great influence on the way we perceive radio. With its automatic inclusion in every new automobile, with free months of listening and inexpensive rates, more and more people will drift into the ranks of the satellite-enabled listeners. Is it possible that we are looking at the beginning of the end for terrestrial radio? Who knows...

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