I never really developed a musical preference until I was in high school. It wasn't that I had no interest in music, I simply didn't have much exposure to music.
When I was growing up in Tulsa, OK my father would always listen to radio station KRMG as we had breakfast. KRMG is a news/talk station that had a couple of different morning personalities that I recall. (I would later work at that same radio station but that's a different story) The first morning personality was a guy named Watson Jelks. In the grand scheme of my life, he was not there very long. The one I recall most was a guy named John Erling (as far as I know he might still be there).
John Erling was like a cross between Johnny Carson and Rush Limbaugh. He liked to have fun with things such as encouraging everyone to ski the Tulsa mountains and he handled phone calls (which were often part of the show) with courtesy and professionalism. But he also liked to push buttons (thus the Rush Limbaugh reference).
To give Mr. Erling an occasional break that was longer than commercials could provide, KRMG would play a song, maybe two from time to time. The music they played could best be described as adult contemporary. Keep in mind this was 1973 to about 1980 so I grew up listening to such greats as Neil Diamond, Chuck Mangione and James Taylor. Not a bad lot but a little weak for a young boy trying to formulate his musical style.
By the time I got to high school the opinions of my peers were beginning to matter more and more and I started mimicking their listening habits. As such, I am a true child of the 80's. My musical preferences at that time switched to artists like Duran Duran, Rick Springfield, Tommy Tutone and The Thompson Twins.
I got into the "alternative" scene during the late 80's while I was in college. I listened to The Cure, R.E.M. and The Smiths. This was mostly because of the influence of certain members of the opposite sex. I was also cultivating an affinity for Jazz thanks to my Father and started becoming familiar with true classic rock. As we moved into the 90's I pretty much lost touch with the contemporary music scene. I just couldn't get into bands like Nirvana and some of the others.
I think in the last 5 years I have really hit my stride and found a preferred musical genre. Remember that classic rock I talked about? That's it. I really enjoy The Who, Eric Clapton, Boston, and a little bit of AC/DC. It only took me 35 years or so but I think I finally settled in to what I really like in music.