Network Decay: Influences On Other Media
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- Encyclopedia Dramatica started out as a catalog for LiveJournal drama and other internet culture. In the years since, the site has gradually deteriorated towards imageboard culture and trolling (part of the blame for this can be laid at the feet of Eternal September) and getting the distinction of being the "Wikipedia for Trolls" in the process. Eventually, the head administrator, Sherrod "Girlvinyl" DeGrippo, had enough and Retooled the site in April 2011 into OhInternet, which returned to the tradition at cataloging memes and internet culture while purging all the Not Safe for Work material and trolling culture and style. Users of the site, however, were infuriated, quickly setting up mirror websites as a replacement and bombarding DeGrippo with hate mail and death threats.
- Gaia Online started as an anime-centric roleplay site, but its focus has shifted towards general entertainment and pop culture. Much of the quality of the site's features has dropped considerably, and a great deal of new items and features require the purchase of Gaia Cash, a virtual currency bought with real money, which is a sharp turn for a site that was for the most part free. Gaia Online lost much of its fanbase in the process.
- Neopets followed a very similar path: bought by a major corporation (Viacom, via Nickelodeon), more product placement and intrusive advertising, virtual currency, slight bowdlerization, etc. The changes haven't been too major, but they are widely noted. Now they're owned by Jump Start, and only time will tell what that means.
- GameFAQs’ "WoT" (408) board was originally used as a forum to discuss the attacks of September 11th, 2001 and then the war on terror. It quickly devolved into a social board, and due to the topicality issues, the board was temporarily removed, then reinstated as a hidden board. In the process, it was officially renamed from "War on Terrorism" to WOT. The politics discussions were then given its own board, 261.
- Jump the Shark.com was a Trope Namer for having fans discussing the point where TV shows decayed beyond salvation. Then it became a blog on TV Guide.com, at times discussing the concept but not so much. Now it's just a redirect. Even before that, decay was rapidly setting in. In the site's heyday, you could scarcely find two users with the same definition of "jump the shark", and thus you'd find tons of entries like "this show jumped the shark in its first episode" or "this show jumped the shark when it was conceived".
Major Shifts That Fit
- MySpace resorted to a Retool in Fall 2010 due to fewer and fewer people using the site, having lost most of them to Facebook. The new CEO proclaimed that MySpace is no longer a social network, but "Social Entertainment", revamping itself into an entertainment site and alienating the few people who still used the site. This included a new logo, new homepage and a new profile layout. They were about to force everyone to upgrade their profiles to the new layout (though considering how many MySpace sites are Mirror-Cracking Ugly, this was considered an improvement) when the uproars of They Changed It, Now It Sucks caused them to back down and allow users to change their profiles back to how they originally looked, glitter GIFs and all. This still hasn't stopped people from abandoning the site, unfortunately, and it was sold for a pittance to a group which includes an ad agency and Justin Timberlake.
- GOG.com was originally designed to 1: provide quality old games, 2: do so at low prices and, 3: with no DRM. It has always had a few newish titles in its library, though all very much Cult Classics (like Psychonauts and Beyond Good & Evil) and the newest titles being sequels (like one would get in the bundles that one would otherwise buy to get the old games) or spiritual successors to games that fit (such as UFO After Blank to the not carried X-COM). But now, they're selling games that are only 2-3 years old, like Alan Wake and Telltale's Sam & Max series. The 2nd part has slipped a little more, with almost all new titles being offered for the maximum $9.99. The 3rd is still steady though. The site also carries The Witcher game series, though this is because of the obvious advantages (GOG is run by the same company, making it more profitable than other digital distribution networks as well as keeping the games DRM-free).
- Adding new indie titles were somewhat justified, what with the titles carried being mostly retro throwbacks. Increasing the maximum price to $19.99 (except for The Witcher 2) is also somewhat defensible, as only a few titlesnote are above $9.99, and most of them can be covered under 'indie game or recent bundle of newish sequel to older game'. Adding Assassin's Creed I, on the other hand...
- And now, as of June 6, 2014, they're offering preorders of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt... which isn't scheduled for release until February 24, 2015.
- 4chan was intended to be a place to discuss Japanese comics and anime, an American counterpart to the popular Japanese Futaba Channel ("2chan") imageboard. However, these days many consider it to be more of a meme and trolling site due in thanks to the infamous /b/ board. It is not uncommon for a fan of anime and other Japanese media to say they wouldn’t touch the site with a 10 foot pole, and with the stuff that goes on there, who would blame them? They still have plenty of discussions about Anime and Manga, and an untold amount of Anime memes have originated from here, but a good amount of people that came just for the memes are unfortunately advocates of the Animation Age Ghetto, and as a result, there are a pretty strong hostility towards anime and, indeed, anything Japanese around 4chan these days.
- Perhaps the largest sign of this decay is that anywhere outside of the very specific anime & manga board (now renamed "Animu & Mango"), admitting to watching anime... ever... is enough to get you trolled into oblivion and back again. It's not even guaranteed that won't happen to you on the anime board.
- LiveJournal started out as the personal online journal of Brad Fitzpatrick way back in 1999 before becoming a blog hosting service. In 2011, however, its current owners (SUP Media) started plans to turn the site into a social media network like Facebook, with a preview of the proposed new system here. Some changes have already been implemented, despite the loud protests of much of its userbase. These changes have also drawn criticism from observers and even sparked a migration to some of LiveJournal's sister services, such as Dreamwidth. The site's current Russian-centric ownership which is bound to the political pressures of Moscow really isn't helping either.
- Social networking sites/apps in general have a tendency to try to become clones of one another, as they all jockey to be the one place users spend their online time. So Facebook tries to be Twitter, Twitter tries to be Facebook, Google+ yells from the sidelines, "Hey, look at me, I can be both Facebook and Twitter for you!" (but gets ignored), and everybody else tries to integrate tightly with the big social networks (and maybe get bought out by them for big bucks). Whatever made any of the sites unique in the first place might get forgotten in the process.
- StarDestroyer.net grew out of a usenet group dedicated to debating the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny between Star Wars and Star Trek. The main site is still a pro-Empire analysis of the original concept, but the forums branched out into discussing everything from speculative fiction in all its forms to history and politics. The basic medium remains the same, however: a substance-over-style debating board.
- The Agony Booth was a website with recaps on terrible (or divisive) movies and TV episodes, with a few articles every now and then. Then one of the recappers created a video show, Mr. Mendo's Hack Attack. Which was followed by many others until wordy recaps were abandoned in lieu of only video reviews, turning the website into a That Guy with the Glasses clone. Even the site forums were shut down.
- This very wiki:
- Despite the name, this site no longer focuses on television. Over the past couple of years, it has added movies, books, board games and video games to its lineup. Lately, it's even been moving away from tropes, adding Useful Notes, Audience Reactions, Trivial Facts, writer's tools, humor pages, and with a few exceptions, Real Life examples and material. Of course, this wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. What's happened here is more expansion than decay; since we're not dealing with a finite number of time slots, we didn't have to remove any of the original material to make room for the new stuff. Given that most TV tropes originated in literature, mythology, and theater, such expansion makes sense. It gives perspective on the tropes.
- Troper Tales and Fetish Fuel were big examples within the site itself. They were originally intended to be examples of tropes in real life, and the ultimate reason for their removal was because they became more of an anynomous blog and discussion forum. See also our own section of Why Fandom Can't Have Nice Things.
- The site Movie (and TV) Mistakes seems to to be moving the same way as we did.
- The Internet Movie Firearms Database is a lot like TV Tropes in this regard, except more wiki-like, it started with films instead of TV, and the focus is weapons instead of tropes.
- YouTube was originally meant to be a medium for people to broadcast self-made videos (hence the motto, "Broadcast Yourself"). Then people started uploading copyrighted material so that others could watch their favorite shows and movies anywhere without the hassle of commercials or having to buy the DVD. Today, it seems most people go to YouTube for mostly clips or episodes of mainstream commercial shows, while the site deals with lawsuits from companies like Viacom, with YouTube accused of letting copyrighted material be posted to increase the site's exposure. This led to the creation of Vevo, which is backed by the industry and specifically caters to music.
- Ironically for this topic, many of those clips are of programs and promos of other networks taped off air pre-decay, such as Game Show Network, Nick and TV Land (Where else can the youngsters of today learn about Twip?)
- Ultimate Disney originally consisted of simple lists detailing which Disney movies became available on DVD, and in what collections. Later, the website also contained reviews of some of the DVDs. It also gained a forum for discussing Disney titles of the past, present, and future, as well as some miscellaneous topics. However, when Disney started releasing fewer of their titles on DVD, Ultimate Disney registered an alternate domain, "DVDizzy", for hosting reviews of other studios' movies and shows. All of Ultimate Disney's content absorbed into DVDizzy after a few years. Fortunately, not only do the authors continue to promote and review Disney-owned movies and shows on DVD (and Blu-Ray), but ultimatedisney.com still redirects to dvdizzy.com, and the Disney-themed part of the forum still has a spot on the top of its index page.
- Star Wars.com had plenty of content, from humorous "subtitle this pic" to a database on items, characters and places. Now it's much more streamlined, to the point that the database pages are simple, leaving most of the content to be found on links to Wookieepedia, and much (but not all) of the previous pages can only be found on the Internet Archive.
- deviantART still focuses on being a website for users to generate and share their own artwork to others, but has spent the past couple years trying to Retool itself into an art-themed social-networking site. In addition, the "Deviant" part of the name has come into question, as the site has gained reputation for deleting artwork that they find to be risqué or outright pornographic, then again there is you can still see a good-sized amount of pretty risqué artwork regardless, not to mention that there is still a "Artistic Nude" category.
Despite these complaints, there has been a significant Vocal Minority wanting to have the site "decay" anyway in the form of having the site implementing a "Quality Control", however, because "Quality" is extremely subjective, a lot of these folk's definition of "Quality Control" wouldn't be to remove poorly drawn work from the site, but to remove entire ''genres'' of art that the people don't like from the site in general. Fortunately, the site has avoided going down this path so far.
- Illumistream used to be a general health channel on YouTube, and they still do some general health advice videos. Then they started introducing a sex health segment. Fair enough. Then they started focusing more and more on sex health, to the point where it seemingly became their main focus. Hey, it's still health related, so it's still fair. Then they started doing more and more videos on steamy sex confessions with little visible or tangential connection to actually health advice or even sex health advice, almost as if their whole intention now is to turn into a softer-than-softcore version of Penthouse or something. Oh-kay... But wait! They have appeared to have learned the error of their ways and in the past several months returned to being a sex health/general health channel, with about an equal emphasis on the two!
- How about Google Street View? It started as a service to allow Internet dwellers to explore the roads of their own home, and of other cities and countries, including far-off nations such as South Africa, Romania or Brazil. Then in 2009, they started introducing landmarks, including parks, stadiums (the World Cup being the whole reason for South African updates) and other points of interests. After 2009 and 2010, which had spread to nearly 30 countries, Street View began catering more to landmarks, taking an apparent focus to museums (the Internet equivalent of Adored by the Network), and not even updating roads, except for a brief unadvertised update to France and Brazil, until they introduced a Channel Island and Monaco, which were the only two new places to be introduced in nearly a year. This might be the side-effect of the Wi-Fi Capturing Case though, as not only are road updates relatively neglected, but their last two updates was the official introduction of Google Places (indoor business photos) and a whole bunch of parks already collected. Note that Google Street View stays out of Total Abandonment and Slipped due to the fact they still offer roadside views, and the occasional, but rare, actual road update, and that park updates usually include in-park roads.
- Taken even further when people started complaining the old photos from 2008-2009 had gone in the United Kingdom and Europe!
- In Canada, many areas in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec had their images updated in 2011-2012, but some areas in Montreal, Ottawa and Halifax received images that were completely pitch black replacing some of those from 2009!
- Mozilla Firefox is known for a variety of options to allow users to customize Firefox as they see fit that the the deep customization along with security and Mozilla's mission for an open web made it a very popular webbrowser until memory problems and Google Chrome arrived on the scene that upset the market. In 2010 starting with some Executive Meddling, Mozilla started making controversial changes that started to restrict customizations of the browser starting with the inclusion of Personas, later renamed "Themes", which adds a background to the main toolbars and Status/Add-on Bar and attempts to deemphasize "Full Themes", which lets you skin every inch of Firefox. In 2013, more attempts at restricting customization are in the works with the "Australis" theme refresh originally planned for Firefox 4 which is breaking the Firefox user base. Though as long as extensions are still permitted, Mozilla and Firefox aren't in Total Abandonment, only Slipped.
- Opera is now split into two camps; the users up to version 12.16 who enjoy the browser's heavy customability and speedy page-loading, and those who use Opera 15+, which uses Chromium technology and has been heavily criticized by the user base as "Google Chrome with an Opera skin" and came to market with nearly every past Opera feature stripped out, including bookmarks, which is pretty much a feature of every browser. Even after a year, the only way to bookmark things in Opera 15+ is to use a cloud web page.
- World Wide Web Consortium (W3C for short) is an organization in charge of having its members develop coding standards for the internet. Its current project is development of the HTML5 standard meant to make proprietary plugins (Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, etc.) obsolete. But thanks to Executive Meddling, there are plans to include DRM to HTML5 which goes against the initial plans of killing off proprietary plugins. While the HTML5 spec is still evolving, if plans of adding DRM to HTML5 happens, the W3C will be in the Slipped category.
- Do Not Track was to be a web standard which would disallow websites from following your progress online and using that information to target you with ads. Most browsers included it, but when Microsoft's Internet Explorer announced plans to enable it by default, many websites (which had heavy interest in those ad networks) decided not to honor it. As of May 2014, it's a standard that's little used and unfortunately isn't supported by many sites.
- The death of Radio Drama due to the rise of television in the 1950s can be seen as an example of this.
- The oldies and classic rock formats in general has been undergoing a justified form of decay for a long time. The passage of time means that the line between "classic/oldies" and "modern" continues to move forward. It's not uncommon to hear music by Guns N' Roses, Metallica, Madonna, Michael Jackson, the Black Crowes, or even Nirvana on such stations when it once would have been unfathomable...until you remember that The Eighties was over thirty years ago, a fact that can make a child of the 1980s feel old.
- Lampshaded by a line in Bowling For Soup's song "1985":
- The decay complaint mostly stems from the abandonment of the older oldies music in favor of the newer oldies music. Some radio station have phased out the 50s and the 60s in favor of the 70s and 80s.
- In recent years, a lot of modern rock stations around the country have undergone decay, either adding more classic rock to their playlists or dropping rock music altogether for something else entirely. Much like the decay of the music video networks, this one has a lot to do with the internet. The fanbase for modern rock is, by and large, more net-savvy than the average American, and rock musicians were among the first to start relying heavily on the internet for self-promotion, increasingly forgoing airplay on terrestrial radio. With their listeners migrating en masse to the internet, rock music stations were forced to adapt if they were to survive. As artists in other genres start moving online, this trend may soon start creeping across the airwaves, especially with respect to those stations targeting younger listeners.
- Many modern rock stations have begun to play indie rock to attract back listeners, and it's worked pretty well. (It also brings things full circle, inasmuch as "modern rock" is basically a more commercialized version of what was once known as "alternative rock" or "college rock", i.e. the original indie rock.) Others have switched to "active rock" stations (which play harder rock in addition to classic rock), which have also worked pretty well, too.
- The AM band used to be the only way to listen to radio, which meant that there used to be far more AM music stations. However, in The Seventies and The Eighties, most music stations switched to FM, which has a much higher audio quality, and those that didn't found themselves hemorrhaging listeners and shutting down. As a result, countless AM radio stations decayed out of necessity, switching to the news, talk, and sports that now dominate commercial AM radio... and many of those are themselves moving to FM because many people, especially young people, often have receivers that only get FM without any AM at all.
- In Venezuela, most AM stations are still music stations... broadcasting popular music from the '30s to the '80s, about the age they were still relevant before the FM band. The only new music they have, if any, is usually of the folkloric kind.
- Radio Disney uses the AM band almost exclusively for their radio stations. It's a brilliant marketing tactic — the lower audio quality (and their demands for record companies to give them ultra-clean versions of songs) means that listeners will have to actually buy the music in order to hear it as it was meant to be played. It does help, though, that Radio Disney is among the biggest pushers of HD Radio, which provides at least FM-quality sound on AM, and is found in the newer cars of parents which are right down their marketing wheelhouse.
- Speaking of Radio Disney, they too suffered network decay. When launched in the late 90s, they catered to kids of all ages and the kid-at-heart, with a night slot that played lullabies, a late night slot that played oldies with a mix of kids music and lullabies right up to morning, and an afternoon preschool block. Those are long gone, they now only play music of interest to tweens and teens.
- The AM strategy is done now though as of 2013; many Radio Disney stations are being sold off as Disney focuses on trying to have kids listen on their phones or having parents buy cars with in-car Wi-Fi to listen to Radio Disney on compatible radios.
- It can be argued that Radio Disney has shifted once more, as they are starting to broadcast less music by Disney Channel-connected Idol Singers, and promote non-Disney pop acts such as Justin Bieber, Cody Simpson, Katy Perry (bowdlerized), One Direction, Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen ("Call Me Maybe"), and even some rock (or "adult pop" acts) such as The Fray, The Script, Adele and One Republic. Even a few tamer My Chemical Romance songs used on Disney soundtracks find their way into the lineup. Granted, they aren't strictly Disney pop-oriented, but there's a lot less Disney pop on the network than before.
- In Canada, the CRTC (the Canadian FCC) once actually limited the amount of hit music that could be played on FM. Result: Canada stuck with Top 40 on AM for longer (Toronto had competing Top 40 stations on AM as late as 1993), which also resulted in AM stereo being a bigger success in Canada than in the US. Later, the regulation was re-jigged into a limitation on oldies, a limitation still not void in Quebec, but removed in other provinces.
- The "Morning Zoo" block on music stations could be seen as a form of this with people who listen to the station strictly for the music, even if the block has been on the station from day one. This is especially true of instances where radio stations decide to dedicate more hours of the week to their "Morning Zoo" hosts.
- FM stations simply do not have news departments anymore unless they're public radio or from a local broadcaster who actually gets what the word "broadcasting" means. So you either get no news at all or it told to you in a sarcastic style which hardly informs you.
- Don't get any Clear Channel listener started on having to sit such ridiculous branding such as the "Gordie Boucher Chevrolet of Waukesha Rides With You Every Mile Traffic Center".
- Don't get any
cranky old broadcasting codgers industry veterans started on Clear Channel. Or Jack FM. Or voicetracking, where a DJ in Philly fakes that he knows all about "the haps" in Walla Walla.
- A temporary form of Network Decay is when certain radio stations switch to all or mostly Christmas music over the winter holidays. Not only are there people who don't want to hear so much Christmas music (or, in some cases, any Christmas music), but this also disadvantages people who happen to really like the radio station's usual format.
- Kansas City inverts that line of thought then. There are at least two stations that go All Christmas every year and one of them is starting earlier each year to get a jump on the other one. Another station in Wichita actually sees its ratings increase when it plays All Christmas because its normal format isn't suitable for workplaces and offices.
- Sirius XM used to throw out their disco channel from November through New Year's for Christmas music, but backlash from fans (yes, Virginia, disco fans still exist, and in surprising numbers) caused them to move it to the religious music section instead, where the disco fans said it had belonged all along.
- The internet radio website AccuRadio completely averts it by offering a Christmas channel (complete with subchannels) all year long that don't replace any of the other channels.
- Any public radio station when they stop carrying classical music to carry more talk programming. It gets ugly usually, with long time underwriters threatening to pull funding, verbose newspaper critics declaring the time of death for American radio, and people complaining about the station moving the format to the infant HD radio band so they have to buy new equipment. This, even though smooth jazz and classical music is dying in the same way elevator music pretty much left FM radio by the mid '90s.
- The demise of St. Louis's KFUO-FM follows a similar track. KFUO was started by the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod as a Classical Music station in 1948, and remained that way until it was sold to Gateway Creative Broadcasting in spring of 2010. Gateway completely revamped the format, and the rebranded KJLY started broadcasting Christian music that summer. Regardless of how one feels about the genre, classical music fans were outraged at the loss of the only game in town. The local NPR station helped pick up the slack with an HD channel devoted to classical music and weekly broadcasts of the local symphony orchestra, but terrestrial listeners are still left high and dry most of the week.
- College Radio is a very interesting example of it. Some stations have one genre of music and stick to it, but this is the minority of them. Most stations' musical choice at a given time is based on who's the DJ at the time, with a few exceptions such as news and sports segments. So it's entirely possible to go from Hip-hop to Punk to Classical in the span of a day. The schedule changes on a semester basis as well, qualifying it for the trope by the letter of it.
- The University of Wisconsin-Platteville's station, WSUP, is an unusual hybrid of having one genre for most of the day and other genre shows at night that can change on a semester basis. This discounts the University's sports broadcasts, which pre-empt both the standard format and specialty shows.
- US radio stations have an interdependent relationship with Billboard's charts (the charts reflect sales, sometimes online streams and airplay — which is partly determined by the charts), making stations' playlists very susceptible to changes Billboard makes. In October 2012, they included digital sales in chart calculations for rock, country, urban, Latin and other genre charts (the Hot 100, the rough equivalent of top 40 and almost entirely pop, already factored them in.) This doesn't sound like much, but it meant that artists with niche genre fanbases, like R&B singer/songwriter Miguel or country artist Eric Church, saw their chart positions decimated by the likes of pop artists Rihanna and Taylor Swift — in just one day. The No. 1 song on the rap charts that day? PSY's "Gangnam Style," a K Pop song that technically has rapping but whose audience is clearly different than, say, Drake's. The Unfortunate Implications suggest themselves.
- However, it should be noted that Billboard still publishes the airplay-only versions of each chart. And at least in country music, the Country Airplay chart is still just as respected as the one that includes digital sales if not moresonote , possibly due in part to the "newer" chart being monopolized by the hotter-selling acts like Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line. Radio program directors are still told to "power up for #1" when a song is close to #1 on Airplay, and labels will still run congratulatory ads when they do reach the summit on the Airplay charts.
- 99X in Atlanta was an influential modern rock station that, one random Friday, became the Top 40 station Q100, formerly housed at 100.5.
- For (relative) clarity, here's how it happened. 99X (then on 99.7) was competing with another modern rock station, Project 9-6-1 (96.1 on the radio), which had already undergone its own slight Network Decay when it moved from 105.3. (Before that, 96.1 used to be a classic rock station, and the Project kept playing some of those classic rock songs.) Despite the decay, the Project became more popular than 99X, leading to Q100 getting the 99.7 frequency rights (the same company, Cumulus Media, owns both 99X and Q100). Afterwards, many of the DJs from 99X moved to a new rock station, Rock 100.5 (which was Q100's old position, and also owned by Cumulus Media). After a year, 99X then briefly began broadcasting on the 97.9 frequency—making the name a non-indicative Artifact Title—before moving to 99.1 in 2010. The new frequency doesn't have as wide a range as the old frequency (advertised as the strongest signal in the Atlanta area), unfortunately, meaning the reemergence of the station is irrelevant to many listeners farther outside the city. Isn't Executive Meddling fun?
- Some people think 95.5 The Beat was this, in that it used to play mostly rap, hip-hop and R&B with a little bit of pop crossover hits. In the later stages, however, they started playing more and more pop (so much so that the other rap station, Hot 107.9 advertised themselves as not being watered down with Justin Bieber) until finally they were replaced with the FM version of WSB radio.
- Actually a double decay. In the late '90s, 95.5's playlist incorporated a lot of electronic dance music such as Groove Armada and Eiffel 65. They dropped most of that for hip-hop in the 2000s, thus annoying the listeners who actually did like electronica.
- An extreme amount with 107.5 and 102.5, which were a jazz station and oldies/R&B/Soul station respectively, but in 2009, 102.5's programming was moved to 107.5 and 102.5 became a gospel station.
- BBC Five Live began life in 1990 as BBC Radio 5, which had a combination of sports and young people's programmes (including the original radio version of Room 101). Then in 1994 it became the "rolling news" station Five Live. Since then Five Live has gradually become filled with phone-in programmes, rather than actual news.
- BBC Radio 2 and 3 often get accused of this: Radio 2 suffers the "oldies/classic rock" problem mentioned above, while Radio 3 (officially "classical, jazz, world music and arts") is frequently accused of "dumbing down" for classifying modern jazz, folk, or "experimental" music as part of their remit.
- Radio 3 gets complaints when they play only one movement of a symphony, or just two acts of an opera, never mind playing a stand-alone aria.
- Radio 2 seems to be aiming for the "Too Broad To Decay" category, and is the last British national station trying to appeal to different demographics at different times of the day. You may get two hours of modern alternative music followed by a documentary about the history of barbershop quartets, then a biographical piece on some famous dead musician, or something else not quite niche enough to fit on Radio 3. Despite the predominance of classic rock and oldies during office hours, there's a surprising number of live sessions, and Terry Wogan is widely credited with helping Katie Melua's career get off the ground.
- Radio 1 underwent an infamous and something of an invoked case of this in 1993. By then, the station had built up a roster primarily composed of legendary DJs (Dave Lee Travis, Simon Bates, Alan Freeman, etc.) and had a Hot-leaning Adult Contemporary playlist (pretty much anything post-Beatles got airplay). Ratings were strong for "The Nation's Favourite". However, a good chunk of the listeners were in their mid 30s, and those that didn't listen to the station (most of them teenagers) were critical of the bland, out of touch, and arguably egotistical DJs and music. By 1993, the BBC had to justify the existence of the station in the wake of both budget constraints and more commercial competition, where many younger listeners were tuning in. That same year, Matthew Bannister took over Radio 1, began sacking the older DJs (with Dave Lee Travis infamously resigning on air; Simon Bates would also resign within weeks), and (with the help of show producer Trevor Dann) shifted the music to more of a Top 40/CHR Image with more of a "laddish" sound aimed to the 15-35 demographic. While ratings plummeted on paper, it was due to most of the older audience leaving for other stations (mainly commercial radio), while more teenagers and young adults tuned in.
- While not as infamous as the changes that befell Radio 1 in 1993/1994, in the middle of 1996, when James Noir took over Radio 2 from Francis Line, that station would shift its playlist from an easy listening/oldies sound that Line had developed, to a more adult contemporary sound in something of an attempt to recapture the sound of pre-1993 Radio 1 (to the point of bringing back several Radio 1 D Js - Steve Wright and Alan Freeman to start - to work on Radio 2) and recapture the audience that went to commercial radio. This worked beyond anybody's wildest dreams: Radio 2 would become "The Nation's Favourite" by 2001, and has been at the top of the ratings ever since.
- The network decay for commercial stations in Britain came when Global Radio (who bought out G Cap, a hybrid of GWR & Capital Radio Group rebranded "heritage stations" into Heart (softer, more female music) or Capital (generic top 40, usually with Katy Perry in Stupid Statement Dance Mix format - note the station is named after 95.8 Capital FM). People were not amused. Personality-driven radio, which is common in North America, was common in Britain, until 2008, for G Cap until Global came in.
- But the process began way back in 2008, when G Cap Media had all its stations local 6-10am and 1-7pm weekdays, 8am-12pm Saturday & Sunday (for G Cap) and 6-10am/4-7pm (Heart/Galaxy), then gradually ebbed away to 6-10am and 4-7pm weekdays, 8am-12pm Saturday & Sunday (for Heart, the former GWR/Capital stations) and 6-10am and 4-7pm weekdays, 8am-12pm Sat & Sun (Capital), leaving all localness gone. Then came the bad part: they merged stations in the regions under Ofcom's new legislation.
- That said, people preferred the old G Cap style of presentation and it shows in the complaints leveraged against the stations on social networking.
- Localness, and, personality radio, was, and still is a very big part of British radio. Compare stations like 96.6 TFM, Metro-Radio, Hallam FM, The Pulse of West Yorkshire and GMG's Real Radio network, which are local for much of the day and only network at off-peak hours.
- UKRD take this Up to Eleven with 24-7 locality, except for the Top 40 Chart Sundays 4-7pm. Every show is locally made, no networking, only voicetracking/voicetracking "as live" off-peak. Which explains how someone can be on 2-7pm and 7-10pm simultaneously on two or three different stations.
- The Breeze - owned by Celador, is also criticised, for being bland and formulaic. To quote one radio forum: "Mark Walker - square peg, round hole. Should have been on 95.8 Capital FM breakfast instead of Johnny & Lisa." And that's saying something...
- Real Radio, now owned by Global Radio made a complete cock-up by deciding to drop sports programming in Scotland and Wales. They thought sports phone-ins were Deader Than Disco... but as such, people wanted them. Now a backlash has begun...
- Bauer Media's "Place Network" of stations fluctuates between Network Decay and being local. In any case, it's networked 12pm-6am on Saturdays and 1pm-6am on Sundays on 96.6 TFM, on 97.4 Rock FM all late show 10pm-1am is shared with Key 103, and now Radio Aire, Hallam FM and Viking FM are all going with the now cliched "Best Variety of Hits" slogan and playlist, which has been widely criticised on social networking and news sites - e.g. radiotoday.co.uk. The addition of a new head of music probably contributes.
- Fresno station KFYE, which was a Christian radio station broadcasting Christian music, sermons, and stories from the Bible, suddenly turned into a "porn radio" station, which played songs overlaid with prerecorded moans and groans. After one year as KSXE, the station became a more generic Top-40 one, changing its callsign to KVPW; it was later bought by the Educational Media Foundation and turned into an affiliate of its Air 1 Contemporary Christian music network.
- San Diego's XHMORE-FM More FM 98.9 zigzagged this trope. For those who don't live in either San Diego, CA, or Tijuana, Mexico, More FM was a station which was aimed to the northwest Baja California (in Mexico) and to the Spanish-speaking communities in San Diego, broadcasting pop music in Spanish like your average Top-40 station, called back then as "Radio Sensación". It gradually changed since its inception until 1994, when it became MORE FM, and it's considered its most memorable phase, as it broadcasted Latin American Rock (and Oldies every Saturday Night), and it was a great way to know about independent Latin American rock bands which deserved more recognition than the same overexposed groups and musicians that swamped the remaining pop music stations in Tijuana (A good thing in Tijuana, since the stations there are either regional folk music or Top 40 clones) and San Diego. But in late 2003, due to the station being acquired by MEC Network, and the death of More FM's original owner, it changed now into a generic English-speaking Hip-Hop station, changing its name to Blazin' 98.9 without any warning, and alienating its former fanbase (which was a very bad decision, since as it was, it didn't have any direct competition and was one of the most listened stations in both cities, and as a hip-hop station it had to compete with two radio stations from San Diego which were already established for some time. The fact their presenters spoke in English, even when presenting in Tijuana drove the point further); And then again, it changed into an English-speaking branch of ESPN Radio somewhere in 2009, again, without any warning. Fortunately, Cadena Baja California (its owner before MEC bought it) transferred it back to its lineup, and brought back the usual Spanish-speaking rock in late September 2010, announcing a string of concerts of Spanish and Latin American Rock Bands, more of the good ol' Rock en Español everyone loved and promotion for local rock bands, causing their former audience to shed tears of joy. Their only change from their '90s era was the fact that the oldies are now played all day during Saturday and Sunday, and these oldies are both in English and Spanish.
- 100.9 The Zone in Ridgecrest and its surrounding cities. It was originally an adult contemporary/Top 40 station with its fair share of valley known radio hosts on 103.5 as KRAJ. It would also air a '70s music block hosted all Sunday afternoon every week. Just after the turn of the millennium, they turned into 100.9, playing rap, hip-hop Rn B and their ilk, and fired most of the hosts, going mostly to computers and playlists to choose their music. In 2006, they turned into an oldies format, then changed to a Top 40 and dance format in 2009.
- 92.3 "The Beat" in Los Angeles and their competition back in the 90s. "The Beat" competed against two other Hip-Hop/R&B stations: "Power 106" and "K-Ace 103.9". "K-Ace" was the first to fall, with the station owner making a radio announcement that they would not be a party to glorifying promiscuity and violence to black youths. They switched over to become an oldies R&B station (a very good one), before eventually being bought and turned into a Latin oldies station. "The Beat" became "Hot 92.3", and "The Beat" call sign moved higher up on the dial to "100.3", leaving "Hot" as a pseudo R&B oldies station with a very limited playlist. Most of "The Beats" old DJs, such as Shirley Strawberry and Theo remained. Currently, "Hot" plays mostly 90s R&B, with some older classic soul mixed in, which is ironic, because the station is now playing tracks they once played as world premieres almost 20 years ago.
- Bakersfield's KKXX (FM 108), which from 1977 to 1988 was the market's #1 FM station, playing a broad variety of pop and rock music. That all changed when owner Buck Owens decided to drop the KKXX call letters and use the frequency for his country station, KUZZ. Not long after, another station at 105.3 FM dropped their call letters and adopted the KKXX call sign and format. This lasted only a few weeks before KKXX was completely re-tooled as "Power 105", and focused entirely on dance, R&B, and Latin freestyle, leaving Bakersfield without an actual Top-40 station for a number of years.
- Los Angeles had two all-news AM stations for decades, but when both KNX and KFWB ended up owned by the same network (CBS), it was pretty much inevitable that one of them would switch formats or decay. KFWB gave its weekends up to infomercials and tried to re-brand its remaining news programming as "Hollywood", but eventually gave up and is pretty much all-talk now, with drive-time news blocks. KNX has so far averted this, even giving up their sports coverage and old radio show reruns.
- CBC Radio Two was Canada's version of BBC Radio 3, mostly playing jazz and classical music. In a gradual period spanning over 12 months in 2007-2008, the station replaced most of its programming with "Adult Album Alternative" music.
- There have been a couple instances of this with radio stations in Ottawa, Ontario in the past few years.
- In 2009, longtime adult contemporary station 97.3 EZ Rock in Toronto (flagship station of the EZ Rock brand in Canada) switched to boom 97.3 playing classic hits. In 2010, Ottawa gained an EZ Rock station at 99.7 and that station became the new flagship EZ Rock station. It was transmitting as EZ Rock for just over a year before it too was converted to the boom FM brand.
- CKQB-FM suffered a temporary shift. It started out on AM as 54 Rock and switched to FM in 1994 as 106.9 FM The Bear. It was known under that name until 2009 when it became a part of the Virgin Radio brand. However unlike the other Virgin stations in Canada, CKQB maintained its mainstream rock format, however the Virgin branding started off badly with a controversial advertising campaign◊. In 2011, they saw the errors of their ways and the station went back to its The Bear branding.
- It got worse]. In 2014, after the acquisition of The Bear owner Astral Media by Bell Media, Bell sold the station to Corus Entertainment as part of the deal that allowed them to purchase Astral Media to begin with. Corus announced on March 6th that they would be changing the station format at the end of March to Fresh FM, a Hot AC station, despite the fact that there are already THREE already established stations in Ottawa with that format or a similar one. Just to further get this across, The Bear was the only active rock station in Ottawa. CHEZ-FM leans classic rock with some but very little newer music and Live 88.5 is a modern rock station, complete with a "No Nickelback Guarantee".
- St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador radio station CHOZ-FM 94.7 "OZ FM", owned by Geoff Stirling, the owner of local TV station CJON-DT (NTV), which used to have its longtime slogan "The Rock of The Rock" ("The Rock" being a nickname for Newfoundland, not to be confused with the nickname of Dwayne Johnson or with the movie of the same name), has recently been playing pop music after The Rival 97.5 K-ROCK (VOCM-FM), owned by Newcap Communications, began taking away some of the rock songs that made OZ FM popular across Newfoundland. It even went through a period where it changed its Iconic Logo composed of a rainbow and a heart. Although the classic logo was reinstated on January 2, 2012, the slogan was retired in favour of a generic "Today's Best Music" slogan, due to its switch from rock music (mainstream rock, as opposed to its original specialty in classic rock) to the hot adult comtemporary format on that same day without warning. Ironically, OZ FM had operated a classic rock/contemporary hits hybrid format at one time, and this came nearly a decade after VOCM-FM switched from the hot AC format, when it branded as "Magic 97", to classic rock. There is a Facebook group calling for OZ FM to stop playing pop music.
- Another St. John's station, VOCM 590 AM (also owned by Newcap), generally a news station (along with its network of stations operating across Newfoundland and Labrador), resorted to playing country music. Prior to then, it was soft AC and classic hits, according to That Other Wiki. This came after its sister KIXX Country network of stations across Newfoundland and Labrador changed formats (becoming HITS 99.1 in St. John's and K-ROCK in Gander, Grand Falls-Windsor and Corner Brook), but still...
- In 2008, CHVO 560 AM in Carbonear, near St. John's, switched both the dial to 103.9 FM and its format from being part of the VOCM system (and the CFCB system in Western Newfoundland and Labrador based out of Corner Brook) to a country station, with a return to the "KIXX Country" branding.
- A rare example of Network Decay coming full-circle. In the mid-to-late 1990s, three suburban radio frequencies were simulcasting from Arlington Heights (92.7 FM), De Kalb (92.5 FM), and Park Forest (99.9 FM) to achieve full-market range as a single station, albeit on three entirely separate frequencies. The station was broadcasting as "Energy", a format dedicated exclusively to dance/electronic/club music without urban/rap/R&B music. In the early 2000s, the station switched to Spanish-language format and the dance format went off the air. Cut to the mid 2000s, when the three frequencies changed format again from the Spanish format to "Nine FM", a wide-ranging format to compete with off-radio iPod playlists (billing themselves as "we play anything"). Later, Nine FM began broadcasting "Dance Factory", a late-night weekend format that rekindled the dance format from the late 1990s with many of the former DJs returning to spin. The broadcasting hours were expanded to 9pm to 5am nightly. Due to low ratings, 92.5/92.7/99.9 switched away from the "we play anything" format and became an FM mirror for WCPT, an AM progressive talk radio format. Despite the format switch, Dance Factory continues to broadcast nightly on these three frequencies every night as "paid programming" on the same three frequencies as precursor Energy did (helped by the death of Air America creating a dearth of progressive radio shows).
- The heritage full-service station WGN Radio went through a five-year period of decay when the company's parent company, Tribune Corporation, was purchased by Sam Zell, a billionaire who had no intention of really running the company as a media empire, but to take it private, gut the assets and make plenty of money off selling things off, something that didn't go forward because the economy crashed just after he closed on the company. Because he had no experience running a radio station, the old management was forced out and control was given to Kevin "Pig Virus" Matheny, Howard Stern's longtime antagonist, and Tribune CEO Randy Michaels. The only problem with the station in 2007 was that its audience was older and only attracted a few young listeners, natural for the longtime home of Paul Harvey, the ongoing soap opera of futility known as Chicago Cubs baseball (or more known as "The Pat and Ron Show" to listeners for announcers Pat Hughes and the late Cub legend Ron Santo), and the home of personalities that lasted decades on the station and never had a political agenda. Under Zell though, things went south fast.
- WGN's morning show was known for the length of their hosts, having only three in nearly 45 years; Wally Phillips from 1965-1986, Bob Collins from then on until his sudden and shocking death in a plane crash in 2000, and Spike O'Dell from then on until 2008. The line of succession was about as traditional as you can get; the afternoon guy moves up to mornings, and WGN prided itself on creating a family feel to their shows, hoping their audiences felt the same. Naturally this meant John Williams, the afternoon host for years would get to move up to the morning chair (though this was due to Steve Cochran deciding not to take the morning slot due to a perceived cut in pay despite the prestige; this would turn out to be a warning sign for the events later on). However, the new management under Matheny and Michaels owed to so-called trends and research that the erudite John Williams didn't appeal to their new audience; the 18-49 ultra-political guy every other radio station targets, rather than the long-held 'broadcaster' who everyone could enjoy that WGN held to for years. John Williams was forced out to mid-mornings and replaced by a random political talk guy from San Francisco who has to deal with a "traffic on the 7's" format which ruins any ability to have long conversations. It was thought that Williams was out the door as he did a second show for WCCO in Minneapolis which provided a backstop in case WGN ended the Chicago program; he began in the Twin Cities in the '90s and is very well versed in Minnesota and Illinois politics. Eventually the dull talker was forced out and replaced with Jonathon Brandmeier, who also struggled with the traffic/weather wheel.
- Steve Cochran was shown the door and moved to lesser rival WIND because he outright expressed disgust at the Matheny/Michaels strategy on the air, right to Matheny's face, along with Sam Zell using Tribune as his personal piggy bank. This despite being a huge booster for adoption and many other heartwarming causes.
- The mid-morning team of Kathy and Judy, two older women who had an audience so dedicated to their show that they had a yearly convention that was as big as the winter Cubs convention. Their contract was ended abruptly and suddenly by the new station management and without warning they were saying goodbye to their listeners within one day. The show dominated every other station in the mid-mornings in Chicago. Its replacement, a talk show from Randy Michaels's friend Mike McConnell from Cincinnati, did not do well at all.
- The station quickly became a retirement home for '80s shock jocks which haven't been relevant for years, thus the hiring of Gary Meier for mid-afternoons, passing by popular weekend evening host Nick Digilio, who started on the station in the early '80s...as a teenager who would call into Roy Leonard's Saturday show and give his thoughts about movies and eventually found his way to a show in the tradition of the hosts of the past as Leonard's mentor. Currently he, Dean Richards, and Lou Manfredini remain the only hosts who have survived from Tribune's public ownership era from three years ago and continue to pretty much broadcast for everyone rather than just for men.
- As for the old Roy Leonard timeslot? It became the home of a pseudo-infomercial for Tribune's blog network where random bloggers blathered on and on about politics.
- Steve King and Johnnie Putnam were eventually forced into retirement due to further executive meddling into the schedule.
- The final straw was Matheny hiring convincted felon/former city worker Jim Laski as an evening show host, who had never had a minute on the radio beyond sound bites during his trial. He replaced David Kaplan and Long Runner Sports Central, about the last place in Chicago where listeners could talk about any sports without being mocked or shouted down by the hosts. The worst thing was the pushing Milt Rosenberg and Extension 720, the most intelligent and educational commercial radio show in any American market, to 10pm. Extension 720 was eventually pushed off the air in 2012.
- Thankfully most of these moves failed (though Meier will probably stick and has fallen more into the traditional WGN format since), and the hirings of Randy Michaels began to be questioned after one of his underlings sent out a near NSFW link to the entire company e-mail list to "motivate" their employees. It certainly did so, in that everyone in the company wanted him fired, as soon said underling resigned in shame, anger built up over Michaels sullying the traditions of Tribune (including holding a poker night in the sacred space that was Colonel McCormick's office), resulting in him eventually forced to resign by the company's bankruptcy creditors. Matheny soon followed out the door, along with Laski (who eventually went into the deserved hell that is "weekend brokered programming", but was eventually canceled from there because of both not paying his airtime bills and airing his conservative show on a mainly liberal talk station which failed to attract anybody). The station slowly began to undo the damage with new programmers, bringing back Sports Central to weekends (and eventually to weeknights), killing the blog site infomercial, and trying to get Digilio (who admitted he could no longer watch Private Parts until Matheny's departure without getting physically ill) on more during the week in fill-in slots, much to the relief of all of Chicagoland. Williams eventually went to WCCO full-time, but remained on good terms returned again to WGN in 2014 to host afternoons while still doing the WCCO show, both from the Twin Cities.
- The one ray of light in all this was the rise of the Chicago Blackhawks and their two Stanley Cup seasons.
- In 2013 though, the station is finally returning to its former prominence. With Tribune out of the bankruptcy forced into it by Zell's idiocy, the new management includes legendary radio exec Jimmy deCastro, who respects the old WGN ways. With Michaels and Matheny long gone and the failure of the Brandmeier experiment, Steve Cochran has returned to WGN to work mornings under the admission the mega radio contracts of the past aren't coming back, with Brandmeier now working out the rest of his contract on the web and podcasting, along with an oddball TV station airing at the far end of the FM band that WGN leased out to carry sports talk and overflow sports, with the move of "Sports Central" to that signal. McConnell was taken off the air to wait out his eventually bought-out contract, and has been replaced by the husband and wife team of Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano, and Nick Digilio has finally gotten the full-time overnight weeknight gig he has long deserved. Even Kathy and Judy have returned with a new weekend show in the old Ray Leonard slot (Leonard is back to doing a phone movie review segment on Nick's Saturday show), and the entire station is encouraging all their old listeners to return as everything is much better now. The last step was buying out Garry Meier in May 2014, with the rest of his contract on the webstream, returning John Williams to afternoons, as mentioned above.
- All this still leaves one question; Why is "The Lutheran Hour" only a half-hour long?
- Suddenly in June 2011; Randy Michaels came back to town after his non-compete clause ended and decided to buy Q101 and The Loop after their company decided to flee Chicago; nobody else wanted those stations because Q101 pretty much died the moment management didn't renew Mancow Mueller and seems to be permanently stuck thinking it's 1996 playlist-wise, while The Loop existed solely as a server on shuffle with a bunch of moldy '70s rock on it from St. Louis. Q101 went all-news with a female-focused conversational talk format (a format that pretty much is never used because of women always hating a format fed to them by straight white older men assuming they only liked celebrity news, health news and "mommy stories" and dooming it to near-universal failure) and had the most uphill battle in Chicago radio history, taking on WBBM, a station which had a near all-news format since 1968 (along with Bears rights), while The Loop was doomed no matter what.
- The ironic thing? The ratings for 101.1 plunged all the way down to an 0.2... an unfathomable rating for a major market commercial FM station. Speculation was high on not if, but when the owners kill the news format. Adding salt into the wound is CBS flipped a lower-rated Lite AC station to a simulcast of WBBM days before the change... and killed any potential that the news station had. The station was even sued by the prison bound ex-governor Rod Blagojevich for ads teasing him that he couldn't listen to the station from his Colorado jail cell, not remembering that they were also on the Internet.
- One year after Q101 went off the air, the station was sort-of avenged, as "FM News" was sunk in an en masse firing and went Hot AC i101, mixing in some alternative crossover hits.
- Other Michaels ventures in New York and Philadelphia also failed miserably, with the New York all-news station eventually making way for a purchase by CBS and turning into an FM simulcast of sports station WFAN (see below), and the Philly talk format tanking where it barely out-rated how the station did as an automated feed of the religious Family Radio network. That station found religion again as a K-LOVE station.
- Q101 eventually returned to the air as Q87 in May 2012, using a TV station in the FM range to broadcast audio. Finally, in 2014, Cumulus brought the station, gutted i101, and put alternative back on, simulcasting Q87. The Q87 signal ended up leased out to WGN both as a place to put sports talk and burn out the Brandmeier contract without killing 720's ratings in return.
- For years, 570 KLIF was the leader in talk radio with a wide range of local straight talk and sports talk talk hosts with a politically neutral slant and a loyal fan base known as "ADLs" (All Day Listeners). The decay arguably started in 1994 when parent company Susquehanna founded the area's first all-sports station, 1310 The Ticket. A couple of years later, sports talk was dropped from KLIF (only Norm Hitzges was retained by the company and moved to the other station). A couple of years later, centrist hosts like Kevin McCarthy and Humble Billy Hayes were let go and replaced by the like of "Mouth of the South" Tom Kamb. Eventually, all localized hosts were dropped and the station has run national right-wing, Fox News-style hosts like Dr. Laura and Bill O' Reilly since.
- This pushed the local talk focus to Live 105.3 with the likes of Pugs & Kelly, Russ Martin and "Big Dick" Hunter...until 2008, when parent company CBS Radio decided Dallas needed a third all-sports station and rebranded it as 105.3 The Fan, grabbing the Dallas Cowboys from rival 1310 and moving the Texas Rangers from sister station KRLD 1080, and canning all their current talent except Chris Jagger and his morning show crew (Russ Martin returned to the air on 97.1 The Eagle (KEGL) in 2010). With that conversion and WBAP 820 also carrying mostly syndicated shows, localized talk radio is all but dead in Big D.
- Sports radio seems to be heading this way in the Metroplex:
- When Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket first showed up, it was a sports network with a more tongue-in-cheek guys-talking-around-the-cooler flavor that really worked. Part of the format meant they'd get sidetracked, but that was part of the format and it was amusing and it'd always get back to sports in a few minutes. It spawned a ton of imitators, which is what really lets you know you're doing well. But bit by bit, they relied more on non-sports-related comedy, and the quality of reporting slipped as well. By now, it's less about reporters at the locker room and players and coaches as guests and more about off-topic banter occasionally interrupted with "Hot Sports Opinions" on what they read in the newspaper that morning. There's enough sports talk to avoid Total Abandonment - it's far from an MTV situation. However, you can still go a good half-hour and not hear anything sports-related, and much longer and not hear anything sports-related that you couldn't know by watching the game or reading the paper. Meanwhile, the imitators are funny and still have sports news.
- Despite that, The Ticket remains one of the most popular stations in Dallas, while its main competitor for years, 103.3 ESPN, has never really made a legitimate ratings threat, even though they carry the Rangers and Mavericks, the two teams to have the most recent success, since 2011. In fact, as of October 2013, The Ticket's parent company Cumulus Media now runs the day-to-day operations of 103.3 following a buyout that has allowed The Ticket to now be simulcast on the FM side at 96.7. The buyout is what likely led to the retirement of longtime writer/personality Randy Galloway from the radio side.
- Meanwhile, it looks like 105.3 The Fan's attempt to be a main competitor to The Ticket has decayed relatively quickly. The station got a ratings boost around 2010 thanks to the Rangers' World Series run (The team's broadcasts moved to ESPN 103.3 after that season) and hiring popular host Greggo Williams after he was fired by the other two sports stations for drug use, but the station quickly began known for not retaining talent. Jagger's show was dropped in 2011, with only sidekick personality Jasmine Sadry left on to join the new "New School" crew of Shan Shariff and RJ Choppy. Other hosts came and went over time while The Ticket's lineup had remained stable, but 2013 has seen new program director Gavin Spittle really clean house. Jasmine was fired in February, and Greggo's show was let go in April (Greggo's co-host, Richie Whitt, has since claimed his partner was off the wagon and frequently lying and skipping shows, and everyone else was collateral damage) to be replaced with Ben Rogers and Jeff "Skin" Wade, who had been previously let go from the station back in 2009. After Spittle failed to lure Bob Sturm and Dan Mc Dowell over from The Ticket, he eventually dropped the midday show of Mark Elfenbien and Jane Slater anyway and moved the "G-Bag Nation" up from its evening slot - despite the fact that the latter was Dallas' highest rated show in that time slot. With all the changes and ratings plummeting, some already saying another format change is only a matter of time.
- And despite all this, rumors of a FOURTH sports station in town starting up have begun swirling.
- 103.7 KVIL's change from adult contemporary to "lite rock" could be seen as this, especially since it drove longtime morning host Ron Chapman to request a transfer to oldies station 98.7 KLUV, where he lasted until his 2005 retirement.
- In the late 1990s and early 2000s, 96.3 WDVD in the Detroit area sold itself on having the audacity to not play rap. It played a lot of Sheryl Crow, Nine Days, Three Doors Down, and their ilk. Now if you switch to it you're still unlikely to get actual rap, but good luck finding something that's not Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake, or the latest Disney pop "artist".
- 105.1 WXDG was, one day, completely overhauled into Jazz and R&B after being exclusively Alternative/Indie for quite some time, presumably as a result of these bands beginning to self-promote heavily through the internet and their net-saavy fanbases before anyone else leapt on the boat.
- That one's a bit of chain reaction, linked to WDVD above. WXDG had previously been the classical station (as WQRS), and was one of three modern/alternative/indie stations in the Detroit market in the mid-90s (the others being WPLT and the Canadian CIMX, about which more later). The alternative angle didn't work for the station. Then some Jazz/R&B station went under or was facing difficulties, and realizing the large number of affluent older blacks in the Detroit area, WXDG made the hop to Soul, Jazz, and R&B. As expected, the money started flowing in, until the management idiotically cut down the playlist in exactly the wrong way (this is Motown; Soul in particular is Serious Business). In the meantime WPLT switched to the much-vaunted "non-rap Top 40" and became WDVD. This left CIMX the only modern/alternative/indie station; it quickly gravitated in a distinctly "modern rock" direction as "89X." While this was going on, WXDG left the Jazz/R&B/Soul market to some other station (I forget which), and became an "Adult Contemporary" station geared to (mostly white) commuting working professionals (they signaled the switch by playing Céline Dion's "Because You Loved Me"), rebranding themselves as "Magic 105.1" (call letters WMGC) and adopting that idiotic "all Christmas music, all the time" format as early as the 1st of November (they're having a bit of an arms race with WNIC, which is more or less the same station owned and operated by different people). This, combined with the similar demographic of WDVD, allowed/forced Windsor "light"-rock/AC station CIDR ("The River") to move into the alternative/indie direction, playing a lot of music that appeals to young, white music snobs and frequently digging into albums rather than playing singles (in other words, a bit like College Radio; and, indeed, the Wayne State University station WDET once devoted much of its schedule to playing that type of music until station management decided more syndicated news/talk content from NPR would improve their ratingsnote ). Everybody good and confused? Well, that's just what happens when you deregulate radio.
- And the chain reaction goes on: In 2010, WNIC switched to a "hot" AC format, edging in on WDVD's turf; but then in November 2013 it dropped the branding associated with the format change, possibly in response to WMGC's switch to (of all things) a sports-talk format.
- WPBZ in the Palm Beach County market was an alternative rock station called "103.1 The Buzz" since it went on the air in 1995... until December 5, 2011, when it suddenly and without warning switched to a format of top 40 music, or as it calls it, "today's best hits without the rap". Alt-rock fans weren't too happy, to say the least. Compounding the anger is that the annual "Buzz Bake Sale" concert festival occurred only a month before the switch, and nobody was aware of the change that was coming. The original format lives on in the HD Radio feed, but the damage has been done, and Palm Beach County no longer has an alt-rock station to call its own- the only rock station left at all is WKGR, "98.7 The Gator", which plays classic rock.
- And as one would expect, WPBZ limped along for another six months after the change until it ceased to exist on June 1, 2012, after an ownership change. The 103.1 frequency is currently inhabited by country station WIRK.
- WHDR 93.1 was originally a classical station, then it flipped to dance music and became the popular Party 93.1, "South Florida's Pure Dance Channel." Then it changed to Hispanic music and finally ROCK. Many techno/trance/house fans became devastated until 2008 when Party 93.1 relaunched...on HD Radio. Granted, this is better than nothing.
- Party 93.1 wasn't that popular, hence the switch to Latin...which similarly wasn't very successful, leading to the switch to Active and later Mainstream Rock. The rock incarnation never made it into the local top ten, so at Thanksgiving 2010, it became all Christmas music all the time until December 26th, at which point it became Soft Adult Contemporary. That station took off like a rocket, and now places in the top 5.
- Co-owned Party 95.3 in Orlando had a lesser decay; it started playing more R&B until that format eventually ended up taking over by 2004.
- After seven years of broadcasting an alternative rock format (a common one for network decay, as noted above), 105.9 in Orlando — which had switched from a long-running oldies format in 2000 — reverted to its original format in 2008.
- Orlando's REAL Radio 104.1. Currently under call signal WTKS-FM, it has, and still does, serve mainly as a talk radio station, with notable shows such as Monsters in the Morning. they in the past were known to play indie, alternative, and modern rock on weekends. In more recent memories, the weekend lineup is more or less classic rock.
- Radio stations owned by Rubber City that have dial positions in the greater area of Lansing, MI, are frequently victims of being Screwed by the Network. In 1995, 92.1 was known as "92-1 The Edge," with 97.5 being an iffy format and 94.1 being 94.1 "The Bear." The Bear had to compete with B-93.7 in Grand Rapids and 100.7-WITL for country music listeners. One of the most popular pop stations was Z-101.7. By 1999, The Bear became "Kick 94," and started losing its audience to 93.7 and 100.7. 94.1 was re-branded about two years later as WVIC, and became a moderate rock/adult contemporary station. It would become 94-1 "The Edge" in late 2010/early 2011, with an emphasis on alternative rock. All that was different from the original 92-1 Edge was fewer sophomoric sex jokes from the DJs. The original 92-1 Edge was re-branded overnight without warning into My-92.1 in 2001, pretty much becoming the Sheryl Crow Channel. It remained that way until 2004, when it was rebranded overnight without warning into sports radio. By 2011, 92.1 would become a bland country music station on par with its predecessor Kicks 94. The same time that 92.1 lost its title of The Edge, Z101.7 was rebranded as Mike FM. Also without warning. That was in spite the fact the 101.7 had an established audience and was extremely popular. A clone of it was put on the 97.5 dial and dubbed "The New 97-5."
Moral of the story: If you live in Lansing, don't get too attached to any one given radio dial position. Its formatting can change overnight.
- TOS was a popular hard/progressive rock station in Maine that was mostly listened to for the variety of entertaining DJs and hosts. After changing hands a few times in the late '00s, in late 2008 it was finally bought by the newly formed Blueberry Broadcasting, which completely changed the format to Top 40 with some 80s and 90s thrown in (originally, the only older music TOS played was by hard rock icons like Black Sabbath and AC/DC). Even worse, they fired all of their radio personalities, retaining only Tom O. and Mr. Mike, their morning show hosts (although their show is now heavily sanitized and word on the street is they're close to quitting). They even fired popular DJ Chris Rush, known for his publicity stunts and willingness to try new things and meet new people (including one stunt that actually resulted in him once having his jaw ripped off by a tow truck's hook by accident at a local fair, requiring him to have extensive reconstructive surgery to build a new one using one of his ribs). All of the fired personalities were quickly picked up by competing station WKIT (which is owned by none other than Stephen King), and as the ratings for TOS have fallen, WKIT's have gone up steadily since acquiring TOS' DJs.
- WQBW 97.3 The Brew was a major victim of this trope in the late 2000's. While they remained consistent with their emphasis on '80s rock, they underwent several tweaks to their music format — while keeping their station moniker. The last of their tweaks was the excising of a large portion of their 1970s classic rock songs, and the addition of 1980s pop songs.
- The Brew eventually began using the tag line "The NEW generation of Classic Rock". They even ran promos that made fun of the other classic rock stations in the city for playing outdated music, as if including songs by Billy Idol and Sting in their otherwise typical classic rock playlist somehow made them more hip and relevant. Needless to say, this cemented The Brew's status as the Butt Monkey of Milwaukee radio and t-shirts featuring a spoof of The Brew's famous beer-cap logo reading "Milwaukee Radio Sucks" became popular sellers.
- It certainly didn't help that there were now four stations playing the same type of music in Milwaukee at the time, all of them seemingly hyperfocused on those twenty years of music at the expense of any other format and programmed with that personality-free Jack format under other names (The Hog, The Lake, etc.). It used to be in Milwaukee you couldn't not hear a Mariah Carey song every hour back when they all wanted to be the station you listened to at the office; now it's the complete reverse.
- And on Memorial Day weekend 2010 they finally blinked and converted The Brew to a Top 40 format called "Radio Now" to take on the local Kiss FM station (here not owned by Clear Channel), mainly because a smooth jazz station with a lousy signal was threatening to switch over to the same "Radio Now" format and try to steal listeners from Clear Channel's other Milwaukee stations. A possible purposeful Self Destructive Charge by the smooth jazz station, as their parent company also owns classic rock powerhouses WKLH and The Hog and were willing to pull a stunt to force The Brew to switch over off-guard. That station eventually switched over to a country oldies format, then to a dance-heavy CHR format in 2012 which has done nothing in the market.
- The aforementioned "The Hog" was seem to be this by some. Originally it was branded as a modern rock station as Lazer103. In the mid 2000s it switched to more of "classic rock" format, playing the harder and heavier songs from the 70s and 80s that sister station WKLH wouldn't play. The move was popular among older adults but many younger adults felt alienated, and the station adjusted to the Hog format, mainly to retain listeners of the popular "Bob and Brian" morning show.
- WTMJ, like in many markets, has suffered as its full service reputation was thrown out once the old guards retired to become the mouthpiece of Waukesha County Republicans via Charlie Sykes, Jeff Wagner and John Mercure; the station's only politically neutral shows are their sports broadcasts and weekend morning hobby shows, and their reputation has dragged down their television operation in turn as the radio station and television station share a newsroom and some viewpoints, along with Sykes hosting what should be the television station's neutral Sunday morning talk show, and Wagner appearing on the television station's newscasts daily. Rival WISN hasn't really decayed beyond the usual problems with Clear Channel talk stations these days, and their former sister television station broke off all ties in 2009 and regularly disclaims that they aren't related to the radio station any longer, helping both form distinctive personalties.
New York City
- Time Highway Radio (99.3 FM). Dear god, Time Highway Radio. In the 90s, they were a mostly English channel, playing mostly pop with a weekend oldies slot and had a very witty station ID. Then, they very suddenly went off the air when the monopolizing Astro bought them, and then they reappeared... as a Tamil station!.
- Radio 4 (100.1 FM). Apart from its pop music, it had a childrens slot between 2 to 5 on Saturday and oldies and country from Sunday afternoon all the way to 2AM Monday. The rest was dedicated to English indie and mainstream pop and rock. The childrens slot was outright removed and the oldies and country slots shrank until it was no more. They now only play hip-hop, mainstream pop, and metal. And they changed their name to Traxx FM to reflect their new playlist. While no one cared about the childrens slot, the gradual shrinking of the country and oldies slot, and the removal of them, was the point of decay to many of the older listeners.
- Light and Easy (105.7 FM). Originally playing songs from the 50s, 60s and 70s, as of 2010 they changed their name to Light FM, moved on to playing easy-listening genre songs of the 80s, 90s and today. Much of the senior citizen demographics who started listening in when the station started in the 90s were not pleased.
- The WCBS-FM affair in New York. For over 30 years, 101.1 CBS-FM was an iconic oldies station, its DJs being local celebrities. Enter Executive Meddling, and in 2005 came JACK-FM, a random music, jockey-less format that focused on the '80s-2000s and punctuated its programming with obnoxious comments by announcer Howard Cogen. To add insult to injury, the former CBS-FM DJs were fired on the day of the flip, without warning. The new station was universally reviled by New Yorkers, with many calling it "Jack Shit FM," and mayor Mike Bloomberg saying he would "never listen to that fucking CBS radio again." It took two years for them to get the message, and in 2007, CBS-FM returned to an oldies format. Now, the only decay present at the station is that it's starting to play more '80s music and less '50s music, but that's true for oldies stations everywhere.
- 92.3 K-Rock in New York went through decay twice. First, at the start of 2006, the station switched from its modern rock format (which it had run since The Eighties) to a talk format, with the new name Free FM. This left the largest radio market in the country without a modern rock station. Free FM, anchored by David Lee Roth's morning show, was a disaster, and K-Rock was brought back on the air in less than 18 months, with Opie & Anthony replacing Roth as morning hosts. So far so good, right? Well, in March 2009, the station switched again, this time without warning (Free FM had been announced a month prior to the switch), to "Now FM", a pop station in the vein of Z-100. At least this time, New York had a modern rock station to pick up the slack, 101.9 WRXP... which itself switched from a jazz format in February 2008, leaving jazz fans with only NPR and a single AM radio station to listen to.
- In addition to the above-mentioned online competition, another factor in K-Rock's decline may be the fact that each part of the New York area has its own rock station, which saps listeners from any station that tries to broadcast across the whole area. Northern New Jersey has WDHA, commonly nicknamed the "Jersey Giant" due to its dominance of the ratings in that area, and WSOU, a popular College Radio station. The Hudson Valley, meanwhile, has 107.1 The Peak, while Long Island has WBAB. On top of that, there's Q104.3, the classic rock station, which takes away even more listeners.
- Remember 101.9 WRXP listed above? Well, in summer 2011, it became WEMP FM News 101.9, an all-news format (after running an adult contemporary stunt for about a month). Ratings crashed by more than 80% within five months of the format shift, plummeting from a 2.6 to a 0.5. Smart move, there, abandoning the market you had a monopoly on (they were pretty much the only New York station to play new indie rock) to go head-to-head against 1010 WINS, which is as much a New York cultural institution (it's received shout-outs in Beastie Boys songs, among others as it is a news station. Merlin finally decided to cut its losses in July 2012 and switch the station back to alternative/indie rock (as New Rock 101.9), though to halt rejoicing, the old station was canned in the middle of its 10:00 newscast. The station jumped to 2.1 in the ratings... but with Merlin deep in debt (partly because of the aforementioned decay), they had to pull out of the New York market and sell the station to CBS, who made it a simulcast of the AM sports radio station WFAN (with the hope of it eventually taking over the main feed, as the former WRKS did for WEPN). 101.9 just can't catch a break.
- 102.7 WNEW is a sad tale indeed. It started as an influential AOR station in the 1970s and 1980s. However, the station failed to adapt to the trends of rock, instead squeezing its playlist and often going into a new format each year. To many NY rock fans, the final straw was when the station paid little attention to the death of Jerry Garcia in 1995, a far cry compared to their tribute to other rock musicians. Then, Opie and Anthony came on, and had a predominantly talk-based format, causing management to torpedo "The Rock of New York" in September 1999 for talk. The ratings stayed stagnant (i.e. pathetic) in the 1-2 range, outside of Opie and Anthony. Then, Opie and Anthony got canned due to daring people to have sex in St. Patrick's Cathedral, with the church even calling for the revocation of the station's license. The fact the station lost its stars and got fined $750,000 is bad enough, but its ratings went to 0.8, which, until 101.9 went news, was not accomplished by any other major FM frequency in NYC.
CBS nuked the Talk format in January 2003 and spent the next few years going through a revolving door of formats that went nowhere: first the hybrid Talk/Hot AC "Blink 102.7", with Lynda Lopez (sister to Jennifer Lopez) in the morning, then a basic AC format still called Blink 102.7, then a more upbeat AC format as Mix 102.7, then a Disco format which was actually pretty cool, but nobody knew it existed. Finally, in January 2007 the station settled permanently on a Hot AC format, Fresh 102.7, and not only got out of the gutter, but started seriously challenging WLTW for its dominance of the lucrative "at-work" listenership.
- A mainstay for modern rock in Philadelphia was Y100. Overnight, the station was switched, with no warning, to rap and R&B. To make it even worse, it was an existing station just moving to the more popular frequency... and it kept being simulcast on the old frequency for a few weeks. There was an uproar among the previous listener-ship, but no action ended up occurring. Fortunately, the morning show from Y100 was rescued by WMMR, its former competitor, and arguably the only modern rock station left in Philly.
- Another station that played most rock besides WMMR was 94.1, also called WYSP: playing The Rock You Grew Up With from the '70s, '80s, and '90s. It was eventually taken off to become the FM version of sports radio station WIP as CBS has done in many of their markets, and continues to be the Philadelphia Eagles flagship station.
- The Toronto rock station 102.1 The Edge (aka CFNY FM, "The Spirit Of Radio" that Rush so famously wrote a song about) has suffered this, especially over the last few years. The station started broadcasting in 1961, and experienced a critically positive reception in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when it was known as one of the few Canadian radio stations which played alternative music. In the late 1990s, the station was bought by Rogers Communications, and became another corporate rock station. Its programming was homogenized to a point that listeners started to rebel against the station, calling in for alternative songs during all-rock countdowns. Another buyout, this time by Corus Entertainment, completed the transfer of CFNY from truly independent to corporate radio that stifled all creativity. Its decline culminated in a round of layoffs in the company, which included two prominent DJ's: Barry Taylor (who hosted the Thursday block of programming, a traditionally dead block that flourished through his charisma and personality) and Martin Streek, who had worked at the station for over 20 years (he was part of the station's success in the 1980s) and hosted the weekend "live-to-air" events at Toronto clubs. Shortly after the two men were fired, the station whitewashed their biographies and any trace of their careers from the company's website. A few weeks later, Streek wrote a cryptic status message on Facebook ("So...I guess that's it...thanks everyone...I will see you all again soon (not too soon though)... Let the stories begin.") Soon after, Streek committed suicide, and many called The Edge to task for their non-existent coverage of his death. There may be The Edge, but The Spirit Of Radio has finally left the station for good.
- FM 99.5 was a radio station without DJs and other radio shows dedicated for retro and classics. While it maintains most of these it's also shifted to playing more recent hits from people such as Taylor Swift, Lady Ga Ga, Katy Perry and so on.
- WHFS, a long-running alternative-rock station owned by CBS/Infinity, suffered a very similar fate to co-owned K-Rock in New York. In January of 2005, WHFS' 99.1 slot changed to a Spanish-language station known as "El Zol". The call letters, meanwhile, migrated over to 105.7, which was at the time a talk radio station with a very similar format to New York's Free FM; to play on those call letters, they began broadcasting alternative rock on nights and weekends. Eventually, that too was dropped, and 105.7 switched to a sports talk format. It still exists on the HD Radio subchannel of the Washington iteration of "Fresh FM", but by far very few people own an HD Radio, and the famous HF Stival is now just another concert with the has-beens of the '90s playing turn of the millennium rock music which has been run into the ground by dull and unadventurous adult contemporary stations.
- WHFS has returned as of August 2011 on 97.5 in Baltimore on a translator with only city-wide range.
- Sláger Rádió (Hit Radio; yup, they didn't really use their imagination). It started in The Nineties and differentiated itself from the other radios by playing songs from The Sixties and The Seventies only. The time interval slowly crawled upwards, in the end of the '90s they started playing songs from The Eighties, somewhere in the early 00s they started playing songs from the '90s (and dropped the '60s) and later they started playing contemporary hits thus the only thing differentiating it from its main rivals was its morning show.
- After its cancellation in '09, they launched a new radio station, Neo FM, in its place on the same wavelength. It offered much of the same programming with the same presenters, but the new name clearly indicated it's a separate entity from its predecessor with different goals, thus in a way negating the complaints raised against its "former self" and how it shifted focus. The station went on until November 2012, when it was terminated due to financial problems. However, it still exists as an Internet radio station, Neo World Rádió.
- Petőfi Rádió started out as a public service radio station in the '30s. In 2007, it shifted its goals towards embracing modern music from all over the world, focusing mostly on reaching out to the younger demographic, promoting up-and-coming Hungarian musical talents, and even competing with commercial music stations. In 2009, the station was faced with charges from the former media authorities who complained that they had given up on their public service responsibilities (which wasn't true), however the station won the lawsuit, and according to surveys, its new image was fully welcomed by the public.
- Oi FM was founded in 2004, with a variety of adult-oriented musical genres (with a lot of alternative bands that wouldn't be heard elsewhere) and shows on contents such as fashion. Then in 2011, the radio operator and the title sponsor's contract ended and wasn't renewed. The following year, Oi continued the radio online while the operator put a placeholder station in the same vein as the predecessor before some of the stations ended, and others were taken over by other companies (including a gospel station and a sports news radio).
- The entire shortwave medium itself, thanks to The Great Politics Mess-Up. During the interwar period, Americans, fearing for relatives overseas (many Americans at this time were still first- or second-generation immigrants), bought shortwave radios en masse to tune into foreign news broadcasts. During World War II, shortwave was the only place where people in occupied Europe could get news that wasn't filtered through Nazi censors, and the onset of the Cold War caused Western countries to keep funding their shortwave networks in order to broadcast to those behind the Iron Curtain. The Voice of America, the BBC World Service, Radio Canada and Radio Netherlands in particular became well-respected Western news sources, causing the Eastern Bloc to respond with shortwave stations of their own. Meanwhile, non-aligned countries like Libya and Albania broadcasted their own ideological rants to anybody who would listen.
But then the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, and suddenly the public need for shortwave broadcasting was nowhere near as great as it had once been. Around the same time, the FCC allowed religious broadcasters to operate shortwave stations. Before long, many of these religious broadcasters realized that there was a lot of money to be made in selling their shortwave airtime, and the shortwave bands were quickly buried under a tidal wave of conspiracy theorists, religious fanatics, "Christian Patriots", and worse.
- Due to budget cuts, the BBC World Service isn't what it used to be. Citing the Internet, it stopped shortwave service to North America, then it cut most of its fine arts/entertainment programming. It now airs mostly all-news all the time. The other content it used to broadcast was usually borrowed from Radio 4, which is now available worldwide on the internet.
- WRNO New Orleans billed itself as "The Rock of New Orleans." Then it started playing mostly "Christian Patriot" programming. Then... well, Hurricane Katrina killed it by destroying the transmitters.
- WWCR was originally "World Wide Country Radio," broadcasting from Nashville, Tennessee. Then it became "World Wide Christian Radio," playing Christian/Christian Patriot programming almost exclusively, with the original country radio block being maybe an hour a week if you're lucky enough to find it.
- Similar to the above music examples, KUSW in Salt Lake City was originally a rock station, and then it very quickly became the shortwave arm of the Trinity Broadcasting Network and became KTBN. The station is now defunct.
- Yet another music example: WNYW (no relation to the FOX owned and operated TV station in New York City with the same callsign) was first started as an educational shortwave station (in 1931!), then became, with World War II, an outlet of the British secret service. Later it was turned into a music station by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Then it was sold to Family Radio, controlled by the now-infamous Harold Camping, and has been WYFR since 1973.
- XM had a hard rock/metal oriented station called "The Boneyard" which played all kinds of hard rock and metal, new and old. It wouldnt be that odd to hear, for example, Yngwie Malmsteen followed by Bon Jovi. Once the XM/Sirius merger happened though, the Boneyard basically became a Classic Hard Rock station (lots of AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Rush) with some harder metal (Metallica, Judas Priest) thrown in. Meanwhile all the hair metal acts got moved over to Hair Nation. However, both stations mainly stick with the past (Boneyard will occasionally play a newer track by hard rock acts, but Hair Nation is for all intents and purposes a retro station).
Film and TV Studios
Major Shifts That Fit
- Believe it or not, this almost happened to Disney in the mid-2000s, and for a good reason. At that time, then-CEO Michael Eisner decided to convert their historic feature animation division into an all-CGI studio in an effort to mostly compete with... DreamWorks Animation, of all studios working in the field!note However, that's not all that happened. Despite their acquisition of the Pixar animation studio during that same time, and Eisner being replaced by Bob Iger as the company's CEO, the damage seemed to already be getting done. How? Well, let's just say that Disney Channel was making the situation worse when their two original works, a TV movie called High School Musical and a sitcom called Hannah Montana, were getting so popular that people were starting to think the company was changing itself into a tween-star-spewing factory rather than an entertainment company focusing on animation and family entertainment. Then in 2009, a glitter of hope shone into the darkness... the release of the 2D-animated The Princess and the Frog!
** While we're on the same subject, Hollywood Pictures started as another label for Disney to make more adult fare, only with smaller budgets. Later down the road, they realized that having two adult labels was extensive and quietly retired the brand at the turn of the century. Then Disney lost Dimension Films to The Weinstein Company, and needing a new genre label they gave the commitment to an already existing division. So Hollywood Pictures was revised and they now served to make low-budget horror films similar to Dimension. Sadly, the revamp was an utter failure, as Hollywood only released three more movies before Disney torpedoed them for good in 2007.
- Viacom Media Networks (formally known as MTV Networks) was originally a distributor of music video content. While they still do that on their online platforms and a few channels, their TV department has long shifted towards being a creator of reality programming since the success of The Real World. Most young people and former fans know the company and the channels under it primarily for being the poster child of Network Decay.
- Discovery Communications originally focused on creating educational documentaries and other educational programming for the Discovery Channel and its sister networks. While some of their programs still have educational value, since the 2000’s, a considerable amount of their documentaries tend to focus on things like about little people, huge families, and people who have controversial lifestyles.
Amusingly enough, during the height of Discovery Networks, the conservative movement had pointed at the efforts of Discovery to argue that PBS was no longer needed. Of course if they used that argument today, they’d be laughed out of Washington DC.
- Screen Gems was originally formed by Sony as a label that would distribute films that weren't highbrow enough for Sony Pictures Classics but weren't big enough for Columbia Pictures or TriStar Pictures (indeed, some of the label's earliest films included films from arthouse regulars such as John Sayles and Mike Figgis). But after Sony decided to restructure TriStar as a label for pickups and Sony Pictures Classics hit it big with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Screen Gems became a B-movie label that distributes mainly horror, teen comedies and black-aimed titles. The closest that Screen Gems has distributed to an arthouse film in recent years was Attack the Block (which got dumped by the distributor).
- Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio that once brought us such famed classics as The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, is now a scaled-back entity. It all started in 1969, when MGM was bought out by Kirk Kerkorian, a Las Vegas billionaire whose only reason to buy the studio was to destroy it by selling off their studio memorabilia (including Dorothy's ruby slippers), shutting down their production facility and animation unit, selling their record label, and turning it into a Las Vegas hotel simply called MGM Grand, in addition to forcing the studio to only distribute several low budget productions. Later on in the early 1980s, Kerkorian, realizing that MGM is not a studio, decided to revamp it by buying out United Artists and merging it with MGM. And then in 1985, Kerkorian sold the combined MGM/UA to Ted Turner, who then sold United Artists and the MGM trademark seventy-four days later back to Kerkorian and MGM's Culver City studio lot to Lorimar while keeping MGM's film library (excluding the UA stuff). Then in the mid-1990s, Turner sold his empire to Time Warner and thus MGM's pre-1986 library was acquired by Warner Bros. (who actually had nothing to do with these movies), and Kerkorian wasted his time "revamping" MGM by buying out several smaller independent film companies and their libraries, such as Orion Pictures and acquiring the bulk of PolyGram's films. As a result, MGM is no longer one of the Big Six major studios.
Following their bankruptcy in 2010, MGM isn't even that anymore [a standalone film studio]. The company's primary focus is on their television networks they own overseas. They co-invest on films for other companies in exchange for international television distribution to allow their networks to have a fresh slate of films. All of their new and existing films are co-financed, marketed, and/or distributed by other larger film companies. So it's at the point that MGM doesn't even create or handle distribution of their own films anymore. At least for the most part anyway. It seems to have worked out just fine considering how well 21 Jump Street, Skyfall and The Hobbit have done.
- Arguably this happened to most studios, which during the Golden Age of Hollywood were best known for one genre - Warner Bros. with gangster movies, Paramount in glossy comedies, MGM popularized lavish musicals, Universal produced signature horror classics, and Fox scored hits with sophisticated dramas. Most of them decided not to be pigeonholed, and Genre-Busting works also became common. Only one with a Signature Style nowadays is Disney with family movies - yet they have minor studios to release genre ones.
- Cartoon Network Studios, and its subsidiary, Williams Street, known for their high quality animated productions for Cartoon Network and [adult swim], shifted their focus in the mid-2000s towards live action sitcoms and reality shows, coinciding with the channel’s Network Decay, and only backed down from this somewhat after the failure of CN Real. During the height of the channel’s decay, the studio seemed to be more focused on firing their animators than making cartoons, with Lauren Faust, Craig McCracken, and Genndy Tartakovsky being among the many animators that left or got fired due to the channel’s decay. For more on this situation see Cartoon Network’s entry in the Unique Situations sub-page.
- Roadrunner Records used to be known for their reputation of holding extreme metal bands on their label. They used to be very particularly picky about the skill level of the musicians they let on the label and held many critically acclaimed artists during their early days. Then Nickelback somehow got signed onto the label. Because of their sudden commercial success, Roadrunner dumped many of the extreme metal bands they once held and let on many other Post-Grunge bands. YMMV on whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing.
- Around 2006, Roadrunner even began signing groups that were outside of even the Hard Rock genre (let alone metal), including Alternative Rock groups Biffy Clyro, Dresden Dolls and Young the Giant. The label has also signed two alternative groups that skirt into the "indie pop" genre - De Novo Dahl and The Wombats - which must drive the label's early metal fanbase up the wall.
- Amanda Palmer (former Dresden Dolls frontwoman) ditched in response to (among other things) Roadrunner's description of her work as noncommercial and subsequent refusal to promote her début solo album (which, although not as well received as the Dolls' studio albums, featured contributions by better-known and respected musicians, including fellow piano-playing ninny Ben Folds as producer, cellist Zoë Keating, arranger/composer Paul Buckmaster, singer-songwriter Annie Clark/St. Vincent and Dead Kennedys guitarist East Bay Ray). Proving once again that after a while, the music doesn't matter anymore.
Major Shifts That Fit
- Creation Records started in The Eighties as an outlet for Alternative Rock bands, scored early successes with acts like The Jesus and Mary Chain, and by The Nineties it had become one of the most acclaimed indie labels in the UK (alongside 4AD listed below), having swallowed up just about every major Shoegazing band (My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Ride, Swervedriver) and other, similarly praised bands like Saint Etienne, The House of Love, Primal Scream (who had been on the label since its founding), Felt, Moonshake and many others, while benefiting from label head Alan McGee's flashy media talent and the launch of Joe Foster's subsidiary Rev-Ola Records (which was dedicated to reissuing long-forgotten oddities). This overexpansion landed Creation in trouble, as McGee's drug abuse, the alleged cost of funding the prolonged, expensive sessions for My Bloody Valentine's 1991 album Loveless and its huge roster of bands that drew rave reviews but sold respectably instead of in blockbuster numbers led to a pile of debt, and half the company was sold to Sony Music in 1992. McGee blamed the resulting influx of accountants and marketing managers for ending "the real Creation", and Shoegazing's collapsing popularity led to the label either purging most of its flagship bands (Slowdive were dumped in 1995 after refusing to make Pygmalion more accessible, MBV were let go because of how traumatising the recording of Loveless turned out to be) or losing them to different labels (Saint Etienne) or breakups (Ride). Oasis were signed in 1994 and became a huge success, which only worsened Creation's Network Decay as it continued to abandon its fiercely independent Alternative Rock origins in favour of riding the Britpop bandwagon and getting in bed with New Labour in the run-up to and aftermath of the 1997 general election, something which turned out to be not such a good idea. The reason Creation isn't listed under "total abandonment" is that by the time of its dissolution in 2000, it had still managed to retain a few stragglers from the old days regardless of how badly they treated some of their flagship bands after the Sony handover and signing of Oasis. In fact, the label's last ever release was Primal Scream's XTRMNTR.
- 4AD Records started out as a small independent label without a niche. Then, after the success of the Cocteau Twins, they started catering to mostly Dream Pop / Shoegazing acts with a small number of other Alternative Rock bands (i.e. Pixies). Then, after Dream Pop and Shoegazing started taking a spiral in popularity, the label made their main niche Slowcore with bands like Red House Painters and American Music Club. Then around the 2000s, the label started struggling financially and had to branch out into other Indie Bands (i.e. The National and TV On The Radio). They still maintain their general Alternative/Indie branch, they just change their main emphasis ever few years as the times change.
Theme Parks and Hotels
- The North American "classic" Disney Theme Parks (specifically, Disneyland and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom) have struggled with keeping their Tomorrowland pavillions relevant since The Eighties, when its original Twenty Minutes into the Future theming and mildly educational attractions became Zeerust. Changes started at Disneyland in The Eighties with Captain EO and Star Tours, which were straight-up science fiction attractions rather than edutainment. In The Nineties, the initial WDW solution was to take a page from Disneyland Paris's Jules Verne-inspired equivalent Discoveryland and turn it into a deliberately retro intergalactic future, but Disneyland was crippled by budget cuts at the time and couldn't do the same. Eventually, the solution hit upon at both parks was to incorporate intergalactic-themed Disney/Pixar characters like Buzz Lightyear and Stitch into its attractions. This has eliminated the Zeerust but has garnered complaints from Disney park purists that too many established characters are "overtaking" the parks (they've also had increased presence in Adventureland and Frontierland, in particular) while new attraction-specific characters ala The Haunted Mansion ghosts and the original Pirates of the Caribbean pirates have become rare.
- EPCOT Center, the second Walt Disney World theme park, opened in 1982 as an Edutainment park (a concept that arose when ambitions to realize Walt's plans for a planned community — EPCOT stood for "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow" — proved unrealizable) with two halves. Future World featured attractions about technology old and new, imagination, sealife, and the human body, while World Showcase was a permanent World's Fair. It didn't even feature any "classic" Disney characters greeting guests (the closest to Mickey and company was Figment the dragon, an original character). Families (especially kids) weren't keen on the initial attraction lineup, so as the decade progressed the Disney characters were brought in and Captain EO was brought into Future World's Journey Into Imagination pavillion. Since The Nineties, while World Showcase has seen little change, most of the original Future World pavillions have received complete overhauls or been replaced outright to combat Zeerust, and the educational content of newer attractions (some of which are thrill rides) is meager. It's now known only as Epcot.
- Disney-MGM Studios, when it opened as The Rival to the then-under-construction Universal Studios Florida in 1989, was a working studio as well as a theme park, with about half of the attractions edutainment about the filmmaking process — one tour featured glimpses of real backlots, a costume shop, etc., and another allowed visitors to see Disney Animated Canon films being literally drawn up. There were also soundstages where visitors could attend free tapings of shows like Star Search and The New Mickey Mouse Club. The other half of the park, themed to The Golden Age of Hollywood (hence the MGM co-branding) featured fun attractions based on movies and TV shows, including a few with edutainment aspects like the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and Monster Sound Show. But the Studios never became a hotbed of production, so the soundstages sat empty and the backlot tour was severely scaled back by the end of The Nineties. The animation unit fared better but was shut down in a consolidation effort at the Turn of the Millennium, leaving only a bare-bones series of films and lectures about the animation process instead of a tour. Since that left only light edutainment and straight-up entertainment attractions, in The New Tens the park is effectively the Magic Kingdom with a Hollywood theme, and it's been renamed Disney's Hollywood Studios since management chose not to renew their deal to use the MGM name and icons like Leo the Lion.
- In The Nineties Las Vegas rolled out a variety of casino resorts with theme park-esque decor and attractions in a Misaimed Marketing effort to attract family vacationers. When the concept of "Vegas for families" proved a bust, they were progressively dethemed into relatively generic resorts.
- Excalibur (1990) still has a Knights of the Round Table theme, but its old approach of strictly family-friendly attractions no longer stands — it may still feature the long-running Tournament of Kings dinner show, but it also offers male strippers with Thunder from Down Under.
- MGM Grand (1993) opened with theming based on The Wizard of Oz in the casino and public spaces — the green glass of the building's exterior is a deliberate reference to the Emerald City — and a yellow brick road led out back to the MGM Grand Adventures Theme Park. The park was gone within a decade, and a general Golden Age of Hollywood theme took hold, but as of 2013 that looks to be gone too.
- Luxor's (1993) pyramid-shaped building housed an ancient Egypt-themed hotel-casino. There was a boat ride around its inner perimeter and a mini theme park on its second floor where an IMAX simulator ride, live stage show, and a traditional IMAX theater told one cohesive story when experienced in that order, and an arena show called Winds of the Gods. But the boat ride was short lived, Winds of the Gods was shut down and its arena repurposed while a traditional theatre was built to host more typically-Vegas shows, the original "search for the magic obelisk" theme of the second floor attractions was slowly done away with in favor of an assortment of unrelated attractions and shows (a Titanic museum, Carrot Top's stage show, etc.), and finally the casino itself lost its Egyptian decor as The New Tens approached. They couldn't completely eliminate the theme, however; some of the ancient Egyptian theme elements can still be found if one looks carefully, particularly in the "stone" pillars around some of the quieter gift shop areas and the perimeter of the pyramid's ground floor.
- Treasure Island's (1993) public areas featured chandeliers made of gilded "bones", portraits of famous pirates lining the shopping arcade's walls, and a live battle between pirates and the English Navy in a Strip-side lagoon. In 2003 — ironically, just as the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie made pirates popular again — the pirate booty and dead men's bones were pulled from the casino (though less-ostentatious decor was allowed to stay), the skull-and-crossbones marquee outside was pulled down and replaced with a generic, stylized T.I., and the pirate battle got a highly unpopular Hotter and Sexier makeover with skimpily-clad "sirens" defeating the pirates as the prelude to a Dance Party Ending (though it managed to last a decade). All of this was to position the hotel as an upscale, young adult-friendly destination. But current owner Phil Ruffin, in the process of re-rebranding the property to middle-class travelers, has allowed some of the original theme to subtly return with map-patterned carpets in the public areas and a nautical-decor seafood restaurant. Even the long-standing Starbucks was remodeled with a nautical theme. Curiously, other additions in good-time party restaurants/bars (the country-themed Gilley's and Mexican import Senor Frog's) fit the surrounding cliffs and ships Stripside better than, say, the Christian Audiger-branded nightclub ever did.
- Even individual brands can suffer from this:
- Ramada used to be a more upscale brand with colonial architecture. Now, it's generally very low-market.
- Howard Johnson's already had decades of recognition as a restaurant chain before they started opening motels in the 1950s and 1960s. The motels did well at first, standing out with their orange A-frame lobbies and highly-detailed rooms with a bevy of amenities. But the 1974 oil embargo and increased competition began taking their toll: management tried throwing a bunch of things at the wall, re-branding restaurants to various other concepts (most famously Ground Round) and opening non-standard properties, including a few urban high-rises and even conversions from other brands. The company eventually ended up in the hands of Marriott, who bought the chain only for the motel properties and swiftly closed or re-branded all of the company-owned restaurants, leaving only a handful owned by franchises. The motels were later punted to another company which went bankrupt. Meanwhile, franchisers of the remaining restaurants banded together to found a new company called FAI, which lacked the capital to do much more than keep the lights on at best; as a result, the Ho Jo restaurants dwindled to under 20 in the early 1990snote .
The motels eventually wound up at Cendant, who mandated that the owners undergo gaudy remodelings to mask the chain's signature appearance (especially the A-frames) or risk losing the brand. A few of the old motor lodges still operate as Ho Jo, but most are now looking long in the tooth regardless of brand (or lack thereof), and post-Marriott Ho Jos lack the signature elements that the chain had at its peak. Cendant briefly took the rights to the restaurants after FAI went under in 2005, but after Cendant was folded into Wyndham, the rights to the restaurants passed on to another company. The restaurants continued to drop in number throughout the 90s and 2000s, leaving only two as of 2013 — and, as the closure of FAI took the chain's recipes for signature dishes with it, they are pretty much Ho Jo In Name Only.
- Really, motel brands as a whole. The whole point of a chain motel was to present a uniform experience for customers — i.e., they could count on consistent quality and amenties just based on the name out front. Some also differentiated themselves architecturally: Knights Inn had a castle-like appearance; Holiday Inn had blocky green buildings with giant, flashing neon signs; Super 8 had Bavarian architecture; Red Roof Inn had, well, its red roof; and so on. Now, re-branding runs so rampant that most chains are extremely diffuse in their offerings. You could stay at a really nice Motel 6 in one town and a really bad one in another, based almost entirely on what brand the building carried in its former life.
- Averted with Microtel, which uses its "no frills" model as a selling point, and always builds its own properties instead of rebranding others (although a Microtel can still rebrand to another brand).
- A tendency for newer buildings to be built by developers on spec and leased rather than bought by the chains. has turned chain motels into a commodity, along with a preponderance of business travelers.
- Anymore, certain brands seem to exist almost entirely as a means of quick rebranding, with few purpose-built locations remaining. This is especially true of low-end brands such as Choice Hotels' Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn, and Wyndham's Knights Inn and Travelodge.
Major Shifts That Fit
- When it was first formed in the 1970's, the Toronto Film Festival was created as a showcase for Canadian cinema with a scattered few American and European productions along for the ride. But in recent years, the decline of Canadian cinema with mainstream appeal, the rise of the Midnight Madness series and Oscar season has basically turned the festival into a more mainstream version of Sundance with American cinema dominating the scene and Canadian films being almost totally ignored (just a few years back, opening the festival with a non-Canadian film was unthinkable, now it's considered normal). It seems like the committee is trying to correct this with the Next Wave festival but the original is definitely becoming Canadian in name only.
- Sziget festival in Hungary started out as a festival aimed at the Hungarian student audience, with mainly Hungarian bands and low prices. Today it's the biggest music festival in Europe with international superstars and prices way too steep for most Hungarian students (and thus a mostly foreign audience). It's still being held on the Hajógyári Sziget (sziget = island), so the name still fits...
- Comic conventions such as the San Diego Comic Con are an interesting case. These cons originally were the main focus for Comic Books as well as related mediums such as television and film, especially if they were based or influenced by comics or are a form of genre fiction (which is a prevalent genre in comics). Gradually, the "related mediums" expanded to include horror, animation, anime and manga (although manga is Japanese comics to begin with), toys, collectible card games, video games, webcomics (ditto), and fantasy novels, to the point that the term "Comic Convention" would extend to any form of fiction and "nerdy" material. Especially in regards to the San Diego and New York cons, much of the complaints in regards to the "decay" come from the perception that the conventions are becoming more and more "Hollywoodified" which has led an exponential increase in attendees, quite a few of them with no interest with comics, or even the franchises that were based on comics. Of course, the unique situation about this is whether such content "fits" the con would naturally come in a case-by-case basis, and varies among people, considering that related content to comics has always been welcome to begin with.
- Nowadays, Abercrombie & Fitch is so enmeshed with the popular image of "preppy" youth that few people realize that when it began life in 1892, it was a sporting and outdoors company in the vein of modern-day REI and Cabela's, selling fishing gear, tents, and hunting equipment (including shotguns) in addition to clothing. They were the go-to outfitter for much of American "high society" whenever they wanted to hit the great outdoors; Theodore Roosevelt chose A&F gear for his trips to Africa and the Amazon, as did Robert Peary during his expedition to the North Pole. However, starting in the late '60s the company fell on hard times, eventually going bankrupt in 1977 and spending The Eighties mired in debt. In 1992, the company was reinvented by new CEO Mike Jeffries, who turned the brand's image into that of the irreverent, preppy lifestyle retailer that it's known as today. In other words, A&F went from outfitting rich grown-ups with an outdoorsy streak to outfitting their rich children with a bratty streak.
- Hot Topic was founded in 1988 and, over the course of The Nineties, became one of the most popular "alternative" retailers in America. While members of the goth, industrial, and related subcultures often scorned it as being for posers (epithets like "mallgoth" and "mallcore" were used to describe its shoppers), it was instrumental in bringing those subcultures to mainstream attention in the '90s, and many adult members of such communities today can likely trace their involvement in them back to Hot Topic (no matter how loath they are to admit it). Decay came when the original owners retired in 2000 and the new owners set out to broaden the stores' appeal, most notably when they started carrying merchandise for popular young adult book series and animated series. More recently, stores have also begun removing the music preview stations and pushing the CDs away from the center of the store; while band merchandise (the retailer's original M.O.) still makes up a huge fraction of its sales, it's clear that they are heading away from that direction.
- In the late 2000's, fast food giant McDonald's began to expand their business model to better incorporate other foods in order to compete with Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, and to repair its reputation of being unhealthy. McDonald's expanded to incorporate various salad options, coffee, sandwich wraps, and a wider breakfast. Subsequently Burger King and Wendy's would follow suit.