When I was growing up in the 70's (born in '65 thus childhood was in the 70's), I had a major problem about listening to music. While I knew it was out there, I rarely listened to any of it. In fact, as a matter of record, the only time that I listened to any music for any length of time, was if I was traveling with my mother. As far as I could tell, my dad didn't listen to music while us kids were in the car, as he listen to mostly AM (I think until he passed away).
At home, I quickly grew to hate listening to music. As a kid, a good chunk of your down time (for me at leat) revolved around two distinct entities: reading and television. So whenever my dad had papers/quizzes/tests to grade, more often than not he would slap on an album of folk music or (real) country music, which in turn would require me to become bored out of my mind because I couldn't watch television in the living room.
If I wanted to watch television during those times, I had to watch it on a crappy B&W in the kitchen. But, I digress.
Having said that, I did learn to appreciate the music I did listen to, like the classical incidental music for WB Cartoons. And teeny bopper music (i.e. The Brady Bunch & Jimmy Osmond). And, as I got older, the pop music that is currently being murdered on radio, I listened o when it was FRESH AND NEW.
However, because I didn't know up from down when it came to music, I would do stupid things like request an Eddie Rabbit song on a rock station.
As I got older my exposure to other genres came along in fits and starts. For example, I didn't really get into Motorhead like normal people my age, which was exploring a particular sub-genre of music. Instead, I got interested in Motorhead by watching television.
Back in the early days of MTV ('83-'88), they would show the occasional comedy show from the U.K. Like a really warped show called "The Young Ones". Anyways, on one particular episode, they had the band Motorhead playing at a protest rally in their apartment. The song in question was The Ace of Spades, which completely blew me away.
Unfortunately, those exploratory moments were few and very far between, as I basically stumbled through my 20's and early 30's totally clueless about music beyond my parents era (notable exceptions were discovering the Sex Pistols and Dead Kennedys via non-music sources).
It wasn't until 1996 that I started discovering other types of music. The reason for that watershed moment had a lot to do with starting a brand new job with the state of CT prepping newspapers (see this tag) and in order to keep myself awake, I began listening to the radio.
However, it wasn't until a particular co-worker was added to my department a couple of years later that my musical education began in earnest. How so? He introduced me to college radio, and from that moment on, I started a musical exploration that some seventeen years later is still surprising me with all of the various exits, highways, byways and rural roads that I've grown to love.
Without college radio, I probably wouldn't gotten exposed to and learn to appreciate the following genres:
2} True country aka Americana
3} True alternative rock
4} True R&B
6} Heavy Metal in all of its glorious sub-genres
7} Hard Rock
9} Punk and its various sub-genres
And without exposure to those and many others, life would be pretty much a dull journey of ginormous proportions.
Don't you think?