Back in the old days there were only three TV networks. If you were lucky enough to live near a big city like New York, you had a whopping seven stations. Those stations had to either aim for a mass audience or develop programming that would satisfy each slice of a diverse audience.
Similarly Top-40 AM radio had to aim for a broad market too. I remember hearing everything from the Beatles to the Supremes, to Dean Martin to Patsy Cline on WABC and WMCA. In time FM became more viable and cable gave listeners and viewers more choices. The result? Broadcasting became “narrowcasting” so it was almost economically feasible to create an “All Springsteen all the time” station. People could pick a station that suited their narrow interests without ever being challenged or expanded by something different.
The iPod simply amplifies this by allowing people to take their music or movies with them so they don’t have to deal with stuff they don’t like.
The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.
© 2016 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers