Video Killed More Than the Radio Star

Video Killed More Than the Radio Star

by Braden Kelley

If you are a child of the eighties, you will remember when MTV went live 24 hours a day with music videos on cable television August 1, 1981 with the broadcast of “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles.

But I was thinking the other day about how video (or taken more broadly as streaming media – including television, movies, gaming, social media, and the internet) has killed far more things than just radio stars. Many activities have experienced substantial declines due to people staying home and engaging in these forms of entertainment – often by themselves – where in the past people would leave their homes to engage in more human-to-human-interactions.

The ten declines listed below have not only reshaped the American landscape – literally – but have also served to feed declines in the mental health of modern nations at the same time. Without further ado, here is the list

1. Bowling Alleys:

Bowling alleys, once bustling with players and leagues, have faced challenges in recent years. The communal experience of bowling has been replaced by digital alternatives, impacting the industry.

2. Roller Skating Rinks:

Roller skating rinks, which were once popular hangout spots for families and teens, have seen declining attendance. The allure of roller disco and skating parties has waned as people turn to other forms of entertainment.

3. Drive-In Movie Theaters:

Drive-in movie theaters, iconic symbols of mid-20th-century entertainment, have faced challenges in recent decades. While they once provided a unique way to watch films from the comfort of your car, changing lifestyles and technological advancements have impacted their popularity.

4. Arcade Game Centers:

In the ’80s and ’90s, video game arcades were buzzing hubs of entertainment. People flocked to play games like Pac-Man, Street Fighter, and Mortal Kombat. Traditional arcade game centers, filled with pinball machines, classic video games, and ticket redemption games, have struggled to compete with home gaming consoles and online multiplayer experiences. The convenience of playing video games at home has led to a decline in arcade visits. Nostalgia keeps some arcades alive, but they are no longer as prevalent as they once were.

5. Miniature Golf Courses:

Mini-golf courses, with their whimsical obstacles and family-friendly appeal, used to be popular weekend destinations. However, the rise of digital entertainment has impacted their attendance. The allure of playing a round of mini-golf under the sun has faded for many.

6. Indoor Trampoline Parks:

Indoor trampoline parks gained popularity as a fun and active way to spend time with friends and family. However, the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns forced many of these parks to close temporarily. Even before the pandemic, the availability of home trampolines and virtual fitness classes reduced the need for indoor trampoline parks. People can now bounce and exercise at home or virtually, without leaving their living rooms.

7. Live Music Venues:

Live music venues, including small clubs, concert halls, and outdoor amphitheaters, have struggled due to changing entertainment preferences. While some artists and bands continue to perform, the rise of virtual concerts and streaming services has affected attendance. People can now enjoy live music from the comfort of their homes, reducing the need to attend physical venues. The pandemic also disrupted live events, leading to further challenges for the industry.

8. Public Libraries (In-Person Visits):

Public libraries, once bustling with readers and community events, have seen a decline in in-person visits. E-books, audiobooks, and online research resources have made it easier for people to access information without physically visiting a library. While libraries continue to offer valuable services, their role has shifted from primarily physical spaces to digital hubs for learning and exploration – and a place for latchkey kids to go and wait for their parents to get off work.

10. Shopping Malls

Once bustling centers of retail and social activity, shopping malls have faced significant challenges in recent years. Various technological shifts have contributed to their decline, including e-commerce and online shopping, social media and influencer culture, changing demographics and urbanization. Shopping malls are yet another place that parents are no longer dropping off the younger generation at for the day.

And if that’s not enough, here is a bonus one for you:

11. Diners, Malt Shops, Coffee Shops, Dive Bars/Taverns, Neighborhood Pubs (UK) and Drive-In Burger Joints

If you’re a child of the seventies or eighties, no doubt you probably tuned to watch Richie, Potsie, Joanie, Fonsie and Ralph Malph gather every day at Al’s. Unfortunately, many of the more social and casual drinking and dining places are experiences declines as diet, habit and technology changes have kicked in. Demographic changes (aging out of nostalgia) and the rise of food delivery apps and takeout culture have helped to sign their death warrant.

Conclusion

In the ever-evolving landscape of entertainment, video and streaming media have reshaped our experiences and interactions. As we bid farewell to once-thriving institutions, we recognize both the convenience and the cost of this digital transformation. For example, the echoes of strikes and spares have faded as digital alternatives replace the communal joy of bowling. As we navigate this digital era, let us cherish what remains and adapt to what lies ahead. Video may have transformed our world, but the echoes of lost experiences linger, urging us to seek balance in our screens and our souls. As these once ubiquitous gathering places disappear, consumer tastes change and social isolation increases, will we as a society seek to reverse course or evolve to some new way of reconnecting as humans in person? And if so, how?

What other places and/or activities would you have added to the list?
(sound off in the comments)

p.s. Be sure and follow both my personal account and the Human-Centered Change and Innovation community on LinkedIn.

Image credit: Pixabay

References:
(1) Duwamish Drive-In was not really about the movies. https://mynorthwest.com/289708/duwamish-drive-in-not-really-about-the-movies/.
(3) How online gaming has become a social lifeline – BBC. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20201215-how-online-gaming-has-become-a-social-lifeline.
(3) Social media brings benefits and risks to teens. Psychology can help …. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2023/09/protecting-teens-on-social-media.
(4) Frontiers | Social Connectedness, Excessive Screen Time During COVID-19 …. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fhumd.2021.684137/full.

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