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NY Times: How Industries Survive Change. If They Do. November 18, 2008

Posted by William Spear in >> Out Basket, >> Radio Drama.
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In Catherine Rampell’s fine article titled, “How Industries Survive Change. If They Do.” (published November 15, 2008 at NYTimes.com), she talks about industries and companies facing the adversity of change and surviving. Rampell cites the numerous rises and declines of bicycle manufacturers as an example of embracing change.

She also references “older technologies” such as fountain pens, mechanical wristwatches, and fireplaces which have found profitable niches by becoming upscale or nostalgic.

In the midst of her list of industries successfully remaking themselves, she writes the following:

Radio is an even better example. In its 1940s heyday, it was the center of national entertainment. Then, in the 1950s, television began stealing radio’s biggest stars, like Jack Benny and Abbott and Costello. National advertisers — radio’s revenue base — followed the talent. “Radio, actually shockingly, was pronounced dead in 1953,” says Susan J. Douglas, chair of the communication studies department at the University of Michigan.

But the industry revitalized itself by tapping into new markets. First it stumbled upon the youth music market, congregating around the car radio. Then radio innovators found other neglected markets, including underground music movements, longer-form news and talk radio. Along the way, radio’s business model changed; the medium cultivated new niche advertisers, rather than national advertisers, to pay for its new niche programming.”

Whether called radio drama or its newfangled cousin, audio theatre, let the remodeling continue.


How Industries Survive Change. If They Do.

Written by Catherine Rampell

Published November 15, 2008


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