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Radio lives in Sonoma County

  • Herlinda Heras switches between radio stations while picking up her daughter in Cotati on Monday, April 15, 2013. Despite the proliferation of new convenient music technology, Heras still prefers talk radio during her long, daily commutes. ((Conner Jay/The Press Democrat))

With music fans getting their favorites from Pandora Internet Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio, is there still a demand for old-fashioned radio broadcasts?

Amid all the downloads from iTunes and cell phone apps, are there still people who tune into a local station?

To get an informal reading on the state of radio, we asked readers this question: With all the new media options for news and music, what role does good old-fashioned radio still play in your daily life?

Dozens of readers responded, reporting radio listening habits ranging from occasional to daily, and preferences ranging from sports to talk shows to music of all kinds.

The recurring theme? Local broadcasts make listeners feel like they're in touch with their community.

“I love our DJs, how they navigate our days and nights for us, and the idea that I'm connected to everyone else out there who's listening to the same real-time show that I am,” said Sebastopol rancher Nancy Prebilich.

“It actually is private and communal at the same time.”

For Sharon Hawthorne, a real estate agent in Graton, news and talk station KSRO in Santa Rosa is a daily habit.

“It's all about hearing the local stuff,” she said.

When it comes to listening habits, Ellen Renee of Santa Rosa summed up the consensus when she wrote, “I only listen to radio when I drive these days. At home, I listen to Pandora. Commercials make me crazy.”

For many, driving and listening to radio go together so naturally that the routine becomes part of daily life.

News, talk and public affairs stations scored high.

“I drive a lot on my job,” wrote Santa Rosa businessman Layne Bowen. “I listen to everything from KPFA to KRCB and KNEW to KSRO. I'm nothing if not well-informed on divergent points of view.”

For San Francisco Giants fans, the answer to our question was simple.

“The only reason I tune into radio today is to listen to KNBR's broadcast of the Orange and Black,” said Tee Rodriguez of Santa Rosa.

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