Thursday, June 4, 2009

Today's breakthrough is tomorrow's antique

You know you're getting old when you wander through an antique shop and a: you hear your favorite song being played on Muzak; and b: things you played with as a child are now classified as antiques.

Funny thing, though. Some things that were classified as "technological breakthroughs" just a few years ago are now obsolete. That cell phone you had with a giant bag? It's in the landfill. Anything analog? Outta here.

Over the years the methods of gathering news and broadcasting it have changed drastically. When I started in radio we had reel-to-reel tapes and edited with a razor blade and a piece of chalk. Then we got "carts" which were really cool, and are still in use today in some stations. Film gave way to tape, cameras with giant recorders gave way to Betacams, tape-to-tape editing is being phased out for non-linear. Typewriters? Fuhgeddaboudit.

You know what? The stuff you're using today will be classified as "obsolete" or "junk" in just a few years. Everything changes, everything runs in cycles.

You may think the news business is headed for the abyss, or will never return to its heyday. Maybe so. Maybe not. The point is, things run in cycles, just like the stock market. Television can be a roller coaster. In the near future, someone may invent something that may make newscasts the hottest thing in America. We can't see it yet because we don't have a crystal ball. Someone in television may figure out a way to make serious money from the Internet. Or the Internet may be obsolete in ten years. Something may come along that may make it look like it a dinosaur.

One thing never changes. The public will always have an insatiable appetite for information, and people who can provide them with it and do so in a marketable way will find work. Talent survives. Sometimes you may have to change the way you do things, but if the underlying talent is there, you will be too.

Look at the network veterans who started out in the 50's and 60's. While technology has changed drastically, the basics of putting a story together has not.

They survived, and if you're talented, so will you. Cycles come and go, roller coasters go up and down, but talent survives.

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