In the mid-1950s, the transistor revolutionized radio. Gone were the “portable” tube radios with bulky, expensive batteries. The small—in many cases pocket-size—radios that replaced them allowed listeners to hear their favorite stations anytime, anywhere. These amazing chips of germanium and later silicon arrived at about the same time as the music-based Top 40 format and helped keep radio alive and vibrant. Television may have killed off traditional radio with its soap operas, comedies, dramas and variety shows, but technological and content innovators breathed new life into the medium.
In many ways, we find ourselves at a similar crossroads in 2014.