What to Do When What You’ve Always Done, Doesn’t Work Anymore

dematurityBefore I begin with this week’s blog article, I wanted to share with you a milestone this blog reached this past Sunday (5/6/2018) at 11pm EDST. Dick Taylor Blog dot com marked 100,000 visitors to this blog site. DTB premiered on January 4th, 2015 with 75 people stopping by to visit.

Thank YOU for making this blog a weekly habit. -DT

There’s no doubt about it. We live in challenging times.

The big word of the day is “disruption.”

We read every day about how some new shiny toy is the latest radio disruptor.

But is that really what’s happening?


The radio broadcasting industry may be dealing with something bigger; dematurity. “Dematurity is what happens to an established industry when multiple companies adopt a host of small innovations in a relatively short period of time,” says John Sviokla. The term was coined back in the 1980s by Harvard Business School professors William Abernathy and Kim Clark.

Radio’s Dematurity

Think about this phenomenon as it applies to radio.

The internet introduced the concept of streaming radio. Two companies introduced nationwide radio coverage from satellites above America. The smartphone provided an opportunity for Pandora to stream to cellphones. Podcasters followed. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and others would compete for a smartphone owner’s attention on these same devices. Meanwhile, on the home front, Amazon developed its Echo voice activated device, as Google, Microsoft, and Apple followed with their own smart speakers. Facebook, not to be left out, says it will introduce its own smart speaker this coming July.

Each move by these technology companies might have seemed trivial when announced, but when looked at in total, they represent a crescendo of mini-disruptions.

The Currency of People’s Time

While most will focus on the shiny new innovation, what we’re really seeing is how people spend the most valuable currency in their lives, their time.

For broadcasters, the challenge is providing people with a listening experience worth a person giving us their time.

Government Regulations

Another factor that impacts business is government regulations. While radio broadcasting has been heavily regulated since the birth of commercial radio in the 1920s, we compete against online and satellite audio providers that are not.

Government regulations have enormous impact on the type of competition and the intensity it brings in your market.

Death & Taxes

Benjamin Franklin wrote in a 1789 letter that “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be certain, except death and taxes.” In business, you probably can add dematurity. There is not a business that won’t be impacted by it, if it’s not already.

Ask the Right Questions

John Sviokla poses these questions for trying to get a handle on how to build value and sustain value:

  • What makes for efficient scale?
  • Who is the competition?
  • Who are the customers?
  • What do the customers want?
  • Who owns what?
  • Where is the risk?

Sviokla, in his book, The Self-Made Billionaire Effect, says more than 80 percent of the self-made billionaires he’s profiled made their money by reinvigorating a mature industry. “They either introduced a product tuned to new consumer habits, changed the technologies of production, adopted new ideas from another industry, adapted to new regulation, changed the distribution system, or made some combination of those moves,” says Sviokla.

While dematurity is inevitable for all businesses, brainstorming what change is happening, and making changes to take advantage of it, is the difference between crisis and opportunity.

“Change will lead to insight far more often than insight will lead to change.”

-Milton H. Erickson



Filed under Education, Mentor, Radio, Sales

5 responses to “What to Do When What You’ve Always Done, Doesn’t Work Anymore

  1. Thanks Mr. Travelin’ Man. Thought dematurity meant Inexperienced Decision Makers. Agreed: Regulation playing field isn’t level. Scale: Big clusters are like litters of puppies; usually a runt. Competition: Anyone wanting your ear. Customers: Anyone who adds value. Want: Anything personally attractive. Ownership: Our creative catalysts. Risk: Standing still. And, very special thanks to ALL Moms who know best.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to believe that creativity is the first step in re-invention. You can’t just keep doing the same old thing, and expect to stand out from the crowd. Think back 30 years ago. Love him or hate him, Rush Limbaugh saved A.M. radio because he was doing something new in the tired old talk show world. Thirty years later, and the landscape is covered with Rush like shows.


    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree Frank & Al Ham did it with the Music of YOUR Life format, that breathed new life in many AM radio stations (mine was one back in The Berkshires).

      These formats offered new service to a segment of the population that wasn’t being served.

      Today, that segment is Baby Boomers. It’s why SiriusXM and streaming is finding a market for people like us.


  3. Barry Cole

    Radio has for years paved the way for the other outlets you mentioned.( online radio/satellite/etc.) Radio removed the talent that made several stations in one market so very different. And began to play music. 10,20, etc in a row programming. Radio taught/trained listeners to want what was coming and not what they had. The first station that had a consultant/pd that decided on more music less talk started the down fall of radio.
    The listeners have done exactly what we have trained them to do.
    We could have kept the listeners by making them want more of the talent we had on the air. An yet…we “DID NOT.”
    How do you recover from what we did to ourselves.
    And still to this day we have radio stations that are programed the “WRONG” way and have been programed wrong for years.
    Radio will continue to crawl along until we finally dump the really bad programming and do something anything creative.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barry, you make very valid points.

      I had a client that ran a transmission shop. His philosophy was if ANY transmission shop operated at less than professional standards, it colored ALL transmission shops as shady operators.

      If any radio station in a market is sub-par in doing great radio, it impacts ALL stations in that market.

      And we all know that it any market more than one station is missing the mark of doing great radio.

      Thanks for adding your thought Barry to today’s blog.


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