Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Radio: The original social medium

What's new is old, and what's old is new. When I really began to study history, I realized that the adage that looking at the past gives a glimpse into the future is really true. It's especially true in media.

Neil Glassman writes about how radio was the original social medium, and perhaps still is the best. For example, he writes:

"AM had Top 40 formats (mashups), DJ shout outs (tweets), contests to win logo T-shirts (badges) and exclusive clubs to which everyone belonged (Facebook groups). I got into late night talk shows (blogs), which had an intimacy and affinity with listeners that radio has lost and web social networks have yet to fully discover. Later, FM jocks changed my music buying habits and political views (influencers)."

All of today's new media buzzwords apply to radio. It also instructive, I think, to realize that "everyone" said radio would die when television came around (as well as movies). And newspapers would die when radio came around. And newsletters and opinion pamphlets would die when newspapers came around. They're all still here, and some are in better shape than they've ever been.

So is radio dead? Not by a long shot. Television? Newspapers? Magazines? Books? None of it is backed up by real data. Are they changing? Sure. But, as with movies and radio, change leads to growth.

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