As I mentioned in an earlier post, the book Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill has many inspiring stories that came out of the 1929 stock market crash and resulting depression. Along with his uplifting prose, Hill made a number of predictions about the future that were wildly off the mark. None of them were worse than what he envisioned for Radio.
Hill had just witnessed what unbridled greed and unremitting demand for profit had produced in society. He contended that, in the future, business would be more responsive to the public’s demand for fair prices and good value. People would learn first to “give” in order to “get” (instead of “getting” exclusively at the expense of the public).
Here are a few of his comments about Radio (bold emphasis mine):
“The next flock of millionaires will grow out of the radio business, which is new and not overburdened with men of keen imagination. The money will be made by those who discover or create new and more meritorious radio programmes and have the imagination to recognize merit, and to give the radio listeners a chance to profit by it.”
And 70 years later, where do we see “men of keen imagination” in the Radio industry? Are the Radio leaders possessed of “imagination to recognize merit”, or are we doing the same old things as we have for the past seven decades?
“Crooners and light chatter artists who now pollute the air with wisecracks and silly giggles, will go the way of all light timbers, and their places will be taken by real artists who interpret carefully planned programmes which have been designed to service the minds of men as well as provide entertainment.”
Ummm, not so much. Only a very, very few of the radio personalities I know take the time to “carefully plan” their programs, and you could drive a truck through the radio dial and never hit a program “designed to service the minds of men”. Seems like “wisecracks” and “silly giggles” still rule.
In the current economic climate, Radio has an opportunity to bring its greatest strengths—economy and reach—into play. Somewhere, there are innovators who will re-invent the medium into a new incarnation that will carry us forward for another 70 years.
Look forward to that, as you turn on the Radio today for your daily dose of “silly giggles”.