Radio Willed The Video Star

Radio transmitted voice, so you didn’t have to be in the same room to hear it, so you could physically be somewhere else and hear the same thing as someone who was there, or also not there, which is all pretty incredible to even fathom.  

And it wasn’t even the first amazing invention of its kind. 

The initial time barrier break was the written word. 

Language was recorded – in that it was written down. 

A cave painting is a funny thing. It’s easy to visit, if you’re in the neighborhood, but it’s impossible to distribute. 

Caves, churches, town halls – these all have distribution problems. 

Writing words down into books meant the physical places couldn’t move, but the stories shared within them could. 

That’s power. 

And people didn’t stop at books. 

Audio and radio recordings came around too. 

The distribution of culture, via story, via all sorts of mediums, continues to this day. 

One of the biggest one’s in my lifetime came on August 1st, 1981. That’s when MTV was launched. You can (re)watch the first two hours of the broadcast on YouTube today. It’s magical. From the rocketship countdown, to seeing and hearing The Buggles sing, “Video Killed the Radio Star.” 

From books, to audio recordings, to radio, TV, and the internet – progress keeps pulling communication forward. 

Video didn’t just kill the radio star. 

Radio willed the video star. 

Culture demands evolution. 

We want familiar but different. 

It’s amazing to go back and note it at the turning points, how curiosity is there, begging the present forward. 

Curiosity sees all the new familiars and all the old differents. 

I’m not sure what or how AI is about to change communication, but I know social media and modern marketing is willing something, if not AI, to change how we tell and share stories.

Maybe ChatGPT was the MTV moment, maybe not, but it certainly feels like it’s in the air in a way that it wasn’t (yet) with blockchain. 

Track the changes in communication’s narrative formats, they’re the big ones.