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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.

While writer Ianthe Brautigan Swensen of Santa Rosa offered several reasons for continuing to listen to the radio, she ended with, "But don't forget baseball. Listening to the Giants on radio is sweet."

Swensen also touched on a different point that several readers mentioned: when you're driving kids around all day, radio helps bridge the awkward silence.

"My 12-year-old nephew loves to introduce me to new kinds of music while we are driving places in the car," Swenson said, "so I am staying sort of current concerning music."

Some listeners even reported unexpected learning opportunities for themselves and their kids.

"I am a National Public Radio junkie. I cannot be in the car without it on," said event producer Janet Ciel of Santa Rosa.

"And surprisingly, it is a great conversation starter with our teenager. One morning, he and I had a whole conversation about North Korea, because we were listening to the news on NPR."

Scott Murray, a former Santa Rosa radio DJ who now works with the Sonoma County Public Defender's office, wasn't surprised that news and talk shows, and local DJs with personality, find loyal listeners.

"Folks are drawn by radio when it has something to say," Murray wrote.

"Musically, politically or culturally, it still has the ability to draw people in."

Pamela Johnson of Rohnert Park, a costume designer in the Sonoma State University Performing Arts Department, contends that radio survives for an even more basic and fundamental reason.

"I believe in the power of the human voice. From birth, we're wired to need that," she said.

"Human beings are so much more responsive and receptive to the human voice, rather than reading text messages."

(You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at 521-5243 or dan.taylor@pressdemocrat.com. See his ARTS blog at http://arts.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.)