Whistling Woods International
Radio Industry assignment
By Vishal Singh
Advent of Radio
The arrival of 'Moving Pictures' with sound and then 'Television' were expected to be the death knell for 'Radio'. However Radio has not just survived repeated predictions of its demise but grown tremendously. It has benefited listeners and advertisers alike and earned the status of a 'Constant Companion'... What allowed Radio to accomplish this feat? Read on for the long journey the Radio industry has covered thus far. It was way back in 1895, that Guglielmo Marconi invented an antenna to send and receive radio signals. It took quite a while before Reginald Fessenden developed the first radio receiver in 1913. However, experts give a lot of credit to David Sarnoff who actually conceived what is called as the "radio music box". It was Sarnoff who suggested that radio should be mass-produced for public consumption. His persistence paid off in 1919 when such sets were available for general purchase. This saw the beginning of what was later looked on as the 'Golden Age of Radio'. Early 1920s saw the launch of commercial radio. People in households would gather around the radio to listen to their favorite programs much as they do today with TV. Radio became the first medium delivering entertainment to the masses in their homes. The 1st paid announcement on radio was a 10-minute capsule from Howthorne Court; a Queens based Real Estate Company. This era was characterized with 'block programming' wherein radio offered something to everyone. News, drama, sports; live musical recordings would be presented in 30 or 60-minute programs. A network soap opera could be followed by a 15-minute newscast followed by one hour of a concert. Then in the 1950s TV began to catch the public's attention. Audiences were charmed by the audiovisual experience of TV. A large number of popular shows moved from radio to TV. That was not all, as the radio industry was also losing a large number of talented staff to TV. At this point in time, radio experts discovered an opportunity that only radio could provide. They realized that radio was the only medium that could be used while doing other things, like getting dressed for work, cooking a meal, traveling to office, studying and more. Radio turned 'local' and moved to what is known in the industry as 'Format' programming. This era also spawned two of radio's greatest strengths: immediacy and local service. Format radio strategy was based on providing the same kind of entertainment to a selected audience, throughout the day, seven days a week. As the story goes, Storz and McClendon used to frequent a local malt shop, which had a jukebox. They observed that the customers would usually come and play the same songs that they liked, over and over again. In fact, the staff serving these people would end up playing just the same songs even when the shop was closed.From this insight emerged the "Top 40" format or the "Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR)" format were the most popular hits would be played on a higher rotation. This led to a change in the way radio time was being sold. Sales people shifted from selling programs to selling commercials. It also led to a shift in the way radio programs were scheduled. As radio was being used as a background medium of entertainment, it had to be relevant to the listener at every point of time in the day. The shows therefore had to be reflective of various day parts in the life of the listener. Irrespective of the form it came in, format radio definitely made radio not just survive the onslaught of TV but also made it grow tremendously. Being the only medium that could be carried and used wherever you are, it could update you about your world throughout the day while providing you with the entertainment you like all the time. Radio became "The Constant Companion". The total number of radio sets at the time of independence in 1947 was a mere...
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