In those days long ago before the internet, cell phones, cable TV, or iPods, I was one of those radio-obsessed kiddies; first, with a little AM transistor radio always pressed against an ear and later, with one of the first bulky boomboxes, trying to catch a crackly weak signal from a college radio station 50 miles away. Outside of the few TV programs that featured music, this was the only way I had to hear my favorite bands or any new songs at all. The radio was king, and I was its kneeling supplicant.

There were two really frustrating things about terrestrial radio (which still holds true today): sitting through 20 minutes of commercials every hour, and waiting and waiting and waiting for a song you liked to be broadcast. Oh my god, when I think of the hours I patiently waited, hoping for that one great song to come on, and some of the crap I had to listen to in the meantime! It seems kinda crazy now, huh? Well, OK, it was kinda crazy then, too, but that’s how it was for we music lovers. You had to deal with what you had, and that was all we had.

Our friend Technology and its close pal, Innovation, have in the years since evolved such that no one need ever wait through a bunch of turn-off tunes to get to the ones you like best. You can load up your iPod with all your faves and play to your heart’s content; however, that doesn’t provide you with new music. If you really love music, all your oldies aren’t enough; finding a New Favorite to add to your list is always a thrill. One of the easiest and most fun ways to satisfy your craving for new while still listening to your best-liked artists is to hook up with Pandora Radio. Pandora is quite the genius concept – like, really genius. Based on the Music Genome Project and its research into breaking down songs to their micro-attributes, Pandora is able to, with your input, figure out what kind of songs you like from both new and established artists, and make a playlist completely custom to your taste. Whoa, right? This was the dream of anyone like me who had to suffer a 100th time through a late-night listening of Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold” to get to some Bowie or something. Oy.

Pandora is really simple to download and use on your computer, smartphone, HDTV, Blu-ray player, Sonos, stand-alone internet radio player, and an increasing number of new cars. Just go to their site and set up an account (it's free if you don't mind a few very short ads here and there; you can upgrade to a no-ads, higher audio quality desktop app for a fee) and start telling Pandora your favorite artists. You can create your own genre channels (like the "I'm Just About Ready To Kill My Co-Worker & Need To Chill" Channel with lots of relaxing classical and spa music, or "Please Help Me Finish This Last Quarter-Mile" Channel with upbeat running songs, etc.) or just throw everything you like into one big mix and let Pandora fill it out for you. You can listen to other Pandora users channels, and share your channels with your friends on Pandora, too. Here's a set of cute commercials that gives you a little idea of how one song leads to another on Pandora:

Pandora "Behind the Logic" 1

"Behind the Logic" 2

"Behind the Logic" 3

"Behind the Logic" 4

Cool, huh? You can press a "thumbs up" button on the Pandora player when you really like a song selection, or a "thumbs down" if you don't. With the former option, that song will be put on regular rotation for you; with the latter, the song ends immediately and won't be played again. Suh-weet! With around 800,000 songs in Pandora's ever-growing library, you are assured to have a very rich selection of music. Pandora makes it easy to fall in love with radio again, and if you want to send Ted Nugent on his way, you don't even have to make a cranky phone call to WYUK's Program Director -- just press "thumbs down" and that's that.

Pandora is a smart, forward-thinking company. They keep a friendly and interactive social media presence (@pandora_radio on Twitter; thanks, Aaron!) and seem to always be very dedicated to improving their listener's experience. "Thumbs up" from me, Old Radio Supplicant From Days Gone By.

Johnny "Guitar" Watson, "Baby's In Love With The Radio"