Radio will make newspapers obsolete

Jeff Mesnik How To

I often enjoy looking to the past for hints of what the future might bring. Recently I asked myself what technology was just as disruptive and game changing as the Internet. I came to the conclusion that the invention of the Radio, was developed with similar objectives in mind.

The comparison

Who knows whether this may be a fools quest, or perhaps an interesting piece that might make you say “hmm I can see his point”.
I broke my comparison into three different parts.

1) The objective of radio technology:

The objective was to revolutionalize broadcasting news and information.  To decouple us from the wired world and allow information to be transmitted far distances.  As evidenced by, its further development by the military to support communications to the troops in Europe during WWI.

2) Major effects on life:

Radio changed the way news and information was spread. For the first time people were able to get news and information broadcast to them as it was happening.  Printed newspapers feared that radio would make them obsolete.

Personal correspondences changed. You didn’t have to have wired receivers to send and receive telegrams.  You could go to a telegram broadcasting station that sent the telegram over the radio waves using morse code.  (Radio was first called Wireless)

As stated above; Military communications improved, where radio broadcasts were used to provide troops information needed to carry out their missions.

3) Major effects on business:

Radio’s evolution was driven in part by the search for its utility by a business.  In the early days much of the radio bands, such as shortwave, were dominated by amateur radio operators.

1950 — US Amateur (radio operators) population is near 90,000

Businesses wanting to capitalize on the technology thought it best to have their own stations, and broadcast their own content.  That quickly became a difficult task.  The business model began evolve when independent stations cropped up and developed a wide range of programming, including broadcasting music and other types of radio shows. Businesses would provide the dollars by advertising during these shows.


The Internet is taking a very similar journey as the Radio, and as far as I can tell we are still in the early days of understanding all of its utility.  We have more ways to interact with our friends and family, and amateur broadcasters dominating the scene sending us news and information from around the world.

Businesses are creating their own content for use in websites, newsletters, and social networking sites. We also have businesses purchasing content and sponsoring content from third party producers. The main objective to broadcast their brand farther then ever before.  So fools quest or interesting piece of information? You decide!