I Want To Know Now!

I’ve been running the roads between Shreveport and Grand Cane. During my time in the car I’ve been listening to the radio, including the commercials. Honestly, I’ve enjoyed some commercials more than the songs. I mean, who knows? A dozen socks made of genuine alpaca hair just might feel as comfy and cozy as a cloud on my foot.

But I can tell you one thing that irritates the fire out of me. At the end of most radio commercials, they instruct me to download their app to received everything I need. “Get more info on our app! It’s going to be great—we promise! With a few clicks you’ll have all your questions answered.”

Don’t take me to your app! No sir—I want to hear the essential information right now. What’s that, you say? You can’t afford more than the thirty seconds of air time you purchased? Not my problem. Look, it’s nothing personal, I’m sure your alpaca socks are the bomb. But I don’t have time to go download an app, input my personal information, and create a password. I definitely don’t have time to go back into your app and try to find all the information that you told me would be stored in the app. By that point I’ve totally forgotten what information I was looking for! So, please just stop that. Sincerely, Me.

It’s not their fault—radio ads have several strikes against them. They’re competing with the drivers’ focus on the road, not to mention all the billboards running alongside the roads. And many people just switch stations instead of listening to the ads. We really need QR codes for radio.

A Quick Response or QR code is a two-dimensional matrix barcode, invented in 1994 by a Japanese company called Denso Wave. The company used the code to label automobile parts. It consists of black squares arranged in a square grid on a white background. Most imaging devices, like a camera, can read and process the code and retrieve the data.

Huh? All I know is I aim my phone camera at the square of black and white ink and my phone pops up a website. Most times I save it for later when I have more time to look at everything. The most important thing is the information is there, on my phone, and I don’t have to remember it. If there isn’t a QR code, or I don’t have my phone handy then a piece of paper and a pen will do just fine.

But what about cool stuff I hear on the radio? Concerts or big sales or new restaurants? I’m out of luck. There is no way I’m going to remember anything related to that ad by the next stoplight. And I can’t stop to write it down on a pad of paper, or type up a note on my phone. Oh sure, if I was in Grand Cane, I could. I can’t think of a single person who’d mind if I pulled over to the shoulder so I could capture important information, such as a discount code to receive 40% off my first order of comfy cozy alpaca socks. But by the time I get to Keithville the odds decrease dramatically. And if I’m in Shreveport? No one is going to express happiness if I slow down and pull over on the side of the road. In fact, drivers will express other kinds of emotions toward my car window.

I really think I’m on to something—some sort of way to record information from the radio for later when I’m not behind the wheel. When I figure it out, I’ll let you know. But not before I get the patent approved of course.

Jann Goar Franklin graduated Russellville High School in 1989. You can reach her at jann@jannfranklin.com