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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Routine items becoming extinct

Who remembers the first video played on MTV? The date was August 1, 1981 and the song was "Video Killed the Radio Star" by a British group called The Buggles. It was appropriate as MTV spelled the beginning of the end for pop Top 40 radio as we knew it. In Phoenix, stations like KRIZ and KRUX battled it out for supremacy in the AM pop music market during the 60's and 70's, but by 1978 with the influx of FM rock and the dawn of videos, those stations disappeared.

While MTV was largely responsible for the demise of Top 40 radio, it is not the only invention that has made an impact on the passing parade. Many of the items we took for granted a few years ago are now disappearing as new, and usually better, items appear to take their place. A friend in New Hampshire recently sent me a list of items that will probably be extinct in America within the next few years. Here are a few:

LAND LINE PHONES...Here are the stats: At the end of 2007, one in six homes was cell only. In the homes that had land lines, one in eight received calls only on their cells.

NETWORK NEWS ON TV...In 1984 the three major networks had an audience of 41 million for the evening news. It is now half that.

DRIVE-IN MOVIES...In their peak year of 1958 there were 4,000 drive-ins in the U.S. In 2007, it was down to 405, with at least one being in Tempe on McClintock..

HAND WRITTEN LETTERS...With 183 billion emails sent daily and 3.3 billion people owning cell phones worldwide, where is there room for a polite, elegant, hand written letter? Unless you have a sweet grandmother, forget about it.

VCR’s...They are REALLY extinct having been replaced by DVD’s, then DVR’s. Don’t even ask me what a Blue Ray is, it sounds like something from a 1950's sci-fi movie by Ed Wood.

CLASSIFIED ADS IN THE NEWSPAPER...With Google Base, Craigslist, and ebay, do we need classifieds in the paper? As a double whammy, will we need the paper? We’ve discussed the future of newspapers recently in this space. (See blogs of 1-26-09 and 12-02-08).

CAMERAS THAT USE FILM...Even I have a digital camera. I know one person who still uses film.

There are some other items that are also becoming extinct like personal checks, answering machines, dial-up internet, and movie rental stores, but I think the above list gets the point across. To those of us of a certain age, we understand that progress is inevitable and most of us are happy to take advantage of it. I still hate cell phones because of what they have done to people in the form of rudeness and the danger with their use behind the wheel. However, If I was still out peddling and working a territory, I would be using one as much as anyone. I would be a bit more discreet with mine than some of the ill mannered people I have seen, though.


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