The Times Are A-Changin’

Reality check

We live in turbulent times.

The last time, during my life, there were this many organized protests against the status quo was the 60’s.

It occurs to me that radio played a large role in that protest movement. It not only covered the news in more depth than it now does, but it was the age of free-form FM stations, many of which featured protest songs.

And, believe it or not, stodgy old AM radio really gave voice to a generation demanding change. Remember this one? You can’t even find a station in most markets that still plays it, but the words are worth reflection again…

Come gather ’round people
wherever you roam,

and admit that the waters
around you have grown,
and accept it that soon
you’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
is worth the savin;
Then you better start swimmin’
or you’ll sink like a stone.
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesy with your pen,
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again;
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin,
And there’s no tellin’ who
that it’s namin’.
For the loser now
will be later to win,
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call.
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall.
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled.
There’s a battle outside
and it’s ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
and rattle your walls,
for the times they are a-changin’.

Come mothers and fathers
throughout the land,
and don’t criticize
what you can’t understand.
Your sons and your daughters
are beyond your command.
Your old road is
rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
if you can’t lend your hand,
for the times they are a changin’.

The line it is drawn
the curse it is cast.
The slow one now
will later be fast,
as the present now
will later be past.
The order is
rapidly fadin’..
and the first one now
will later be last,
for the times they are a-changin’.

WMAK, in Nashville, played that Dylan song as we Vanderbilt students marched to protest Nixon’s rule in 1970.

Maybe it was my age, but radio seemed on the side of change then.

It doesn’t feel that way now, as I watch the various Occupy protests around the country.

It doesn’t feel like radio’s even noticed; stations don’t have reporters to cover live news events now. They don’t have news departments staffed to actually gather and produce news.

And no matter how you feel about this protest, that’s a bit sad, isn’t it?