I grew up with TV.
Essentially, we were “born” in the same year.
I don’t remember a time when TV didn’t exist.
TV was supposed to put radio out-of-business. It was the “great disruptor.”
Why TV Didn’t Put Radio Out-Of-Business
While I loved my TV shows and even remember planning my life around TV GUIDE and the new fall shows, I still fell in love with radio and wanted to be a radio personality since elementary school and my first Zenith transistor radio.
Radio for me was never about Jack Benny or Groucho Marx or Amos & Andy or radio dramas like Orson Welles “War of the Worlds.”
Radio was exciting execution, engaging personalities and the best of new music from all genres.
Radio was addictive because it was so engaging.
Disruption Knows No Loyalties
It’s reported that as this decade began only 67 of the original Fortune 500 companies were still in business. Welcome to the 21st Century of Disruption.
The reality in today’s world of accelerating change is that the very success that rockets a company to raving success usually becomes the dagger that runs through its heart when the market environment shifts. Then new firms take over and former leaders fade into the history books.
The business truth is eventually every business sees its model fail.
Radio’s New Business Model after TV
Can you imagine a more difficult time than when TV swooped in and stole all of radio’s programs and talent? It was a time when people said things like “The last person to leave, please turn off the lights on your way out.”
It was a dark time for radio.
But not for all.
Only those who couldn’t see their way past the way it had been.
New broadcasters were quick to develop new formats.
1965 saw the birth of BOSS RADIO in Los Angeles with Bill Drake & Ron Jacob’s 93-KHJ.
At the same time 1010-WINS in New York would pioneer the all news format and everyone would know the phrase “You give us 21-minutes and we’ll give you the world.”
These new broadcasters would be the ones that inspired me to want to be a radio guy.
The Transistor Radio
Radio took advantage of the transistor radio. The youth of my day would all want a transistor radio of their very own and radio owned the youth generation.
The Car Radio
As we grew older and bought our first car, the car radio was a MUST HAVE accessory.
Movies like American Graffiti would romance the glory of the young and their radio.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
Today’s 21st Century finds radio with a new disruptor, the internet. It’s not a new product but an ecosystem.
Amazon and Walmart sell many of the same products and are quite competitive on price. The big difference is Walmart is a brick and mortar ecosystem and Amazon is internet based.
For radio to compete the industry needs to have a vision for how its product fits into a complex network of components, systems and user experience.
That’s the 21st Century radio challenge. (TV faces the same challenge.)
Today’s radio must seamlessly fit into a listener’s life on any platform the listener uses.
Disruption will crash and burn any business model that wants to hold onto the past.
Disruption will clear a path for those who are innovative, nimble and responsive to a changing marketplace.
For those broadcasters, the opportunities are limitless.