By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Hey parents – we’re more than halfway through school vacation week.

Have you started to run short of things to talk about with the kids?

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Never fear, here’s a great topic – how do you and friends hear about new music?

And do you share any of those sources?

I was thinking about this after hearing of the death of Dick Clark, host of the iconic “American Bandstand” pop-music variety show of the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s.

Coming just a couple of months after the passing of Don Cornelius, the man behind the equally iconic “Soul Train,” it’s a reminder of how big a deal these shows were to millions of kids growing up at that time.

Usually, in that ancient pre-Internet era, you would hear a group first on the radio.

But if their song caught on, it wasn’t long before you’d see them perform on “Bandstand” or “Soul Train” or the “Ed Sullivan Show.”

And even if you tuned in to see someone within your musical comfort zone, next thing you know, you’re blown away by someone you never heard of.

The next day at school, chances are you bonded with a new friend over the discovery that you now have that music in common.

Does it still work that way?

It’s a lot easier to share music now, and I wonder if it’s as big a deal for kids now as it was back in the dark ages.

Because music is one of the few ways in which our huge, fragmented culture finds common ground.

People from all over the country will be gathering in New Orleans next weekend for the annual Jazz Fest, and if you’ve never been, take it from me, it’s unbelievable.

People of all possible ages, ethnic and class backgrounds, enjoying all different kinds of music in a near-perfect state of bliss.

It’s America at its best.

I don’t know what other experience matches that these days, maybe the ballpark, if you can afford it.

But I hope kids still get a taste of that communal feeling when they share music these days, just like we did — back in the day.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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