This week in my emergent media class, we discussed a chapter that talked about the life cycle of mass media. While reading this chapter, I cam across an interesting passage about radio and how it has adapted. The radio used to be the most innovative and best form of mass media. It provided entertainment to households across the country and was the newest technological advancement. When television was developed, radio lost its audience because television was able to provide the same entertainment and then some with the added ability to view the program instead of just listen to it. The invention of television could have led to the extinction of the radio as we know it. However, it adapted. Radios are still very much a part of our lives and media today and here’s how: It understood that it could not compete with television as far as entertainment shows, so it stopped airing them. The soap operas, comedies and drama shows that used to be played on the radio ceased to exist. Instead, the radio shifted to music and played popular songs in succession. This was a brilliant strategy because television could not out-compete it; you do not need to see music to enjoy it. It stopped marketing to the general population and instead went with a niche marketing technique. Radio markets each have different stations for different genres which will each attract a different set of listeners. Lastly, the radio went portable. Currently, television is becoming more portable, but for many years, radios were appealing because you could take them anywhere. You could enjoy music in your car, outside, and anywhere else you wanted to go.
While thinking about the radio and how well it has navigated through its adaption stage, I started thinking about some things that have not adapted so well. Movies and films are another form of mass media that have become largely accessible not only in theaters but at home with rentals. When I was younger, one of my favorite weekend activities with my family was to drive to Blockbuster and pick out a VHS or DVD to rent and watch with my parents and brother. Typically, the rental was for a week and it was a very convenient service. However, as I got older, companies like Netflix and the development of the internet has rendered Blockbuster obsolete. There are virtually no Blockbusters any more because they have simply been out-competed by Netflix and even RedBox, the simple one-day DVD rental kiosks. It makes me nostalgic and sad that my own children won’t experience the joy of wandering the Blockbuster aisles searching for the perfect movie and will instead have every program at the touch of their fingers via the internet.