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Total Abandonment
  • 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 a Newbie Boom) 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. Worse, OhInternet didn't catch on with new users, who accused it to be a Know Your Meme ripoff among other things, and it was shut down in 2013.
  • The Epoch Times was founded in 2000 by a group of Chinese-Americans to promote the meditation practice Falun Gong, which had recently been banned by the Chinese government. While they did report on politics, primarily related to China, they only did so when it dovetailed with their reports on spirituality and meditation. By the time 2016 rolled around, The Epoch Times got swept into the politics of Donald Trump and overhauled the website to become a mouthpiece for the Trump administration and right-wing conspiracy theories, completely abandoning its original intent. It also attempted to spread its pro-Trump propaganda on Facebook, and after being banned by the website for violating their terms of service, repeatedly came back in the form of sock puppet accounts.
  • 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.
  • The case with the YouTube channel The Gamer From Mars. In the very beginning, the owner mainly showed video game reviews. After the success of The Lavender Town Theory (which is the only video of his channel to have more than 1 million views) he decided to quit reviewing video games and focused more on discussing some fascinating theories that he found on the internet. He however has not stopped with making top 10 lists though, which he originally showed in between two video game reviews, but nowadays it is in between two video game theory videos.
  • was a Trope Namer for having fans discussing the point where TV shows decayed beyond salvation. Then it became a blog on, 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".
  • Mitófago (translated as "Eater of Lies") started its life in the early 2010's as a webpage that talked about obscure episodes of Mexican history and deconstructed the official narrative that the Mexican government put in its history books, all that with well-researched articles, memes, and a discussion forum with a lot of content about the history of Mexico and Mexican culture, while being hounded by accusations of being a haven for anti-communist politics, far-right politics and fascism by its detractors. After 2014, it suddenly became less than a shadow of its former self, with the forums gone and the page itself becoming a Spanish-speaking version of Cracked, sans the sense of humour of the latter and twice the clickbait.
  • Singer and actress Mocha Uson's blog was first about sexuality-related articles and videos involving her with her group, the Mocha Girls. Since 2016, it became a full-time pro-Rodrigo Duterte platform, and the NSFW content has been removed.
  • 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 JumpStart, and the site has gotten considerably worse since then with major features like Key Quest and Habitarium being purged, certain features e.g. the Almost Abandoned Attic glitching and being left unfixed and an uncalled-for 55th pet, the Vandagyre.
  • 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. Additionally, frequency of coverage of Disney-owned movies and TV shows eventually decreased in favor of other studios' works. DVDizzy reviews of movies still in theaters also became progressively more common over the years, usurping DVD reviews as the site's main feature. Beginning in 2021, the homepage no longer links to any of the site's DVD or Blu-ray reviews, instead requiring visitors to visit the Classic Site to read them. Despite all this, still redirects to, and the Disney-themed part of the forum still has a spot on the top of its index page.
  • 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.


  • 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), Snapchat tries to be Instagram, Instagram (which has already been bought out by Facebook at this point) tries to be Snapchat and later TikTok, 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.
  • 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 is 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 (which used to be renamed "Animu & Mango" at one point), 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.
  • Russian website AdMe started out as a blog focused on advertising and design. With time, however, it began publishing stuff not related to these topics, becoming closer and closer to a Russian clone of BuzzFeed. While there's still a Design section on the website, it is now most known as the predecessor to TheSoul Publishing, a content production company known for running 5-Minute Crafts, Bright Side and other infamous YouTube channels. There is an AdMe channel on YouTube, and it's pretty much the same as Bright Side, but in Russian.
  • 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 Channel Awesome clone. Even the site forums were shut down. Since 2014, the site at least tried a resurgence of text to make an even split, with more reviews, essays, and even the occasional recap. The recaps the site was once known for are now hard to find, and most of them are locked behind a paywall.
  • Cracked revived the name of an old comedy magazine and got much internet attention out of humourous list articles, "Photoplasty" contests of image manipulations, comedic analyses of certain subjects and downright Gonzo Journalism pieces. Even using serious subjects through guest writers' life stories still made for entertainment. One could argue the decay started with "Pictofacts", 'true fact' Photoplasties that amount to posting some fact over a picture, at times recycled from other Cracked articles. But more could be said on becoming less comedy-oriented, with articles reading more as opinion pieces or philosophical treatises and a bigger focus on politics (bordering on overkill around the 2016 election). Two unequivocal downturns are mass dimissals in 2017 (after the site was sold to Scripps) and in 2020 (Literally Media bought the site), the latter also leading to shutdowns of the podcast, the forums, and the comment section. They still put out two old-style articles a day, but you're likely to miss those among all the pictofacts on various subjects, news stories turned into quick-read articles and rehashes of old articles done as a series of macros.
  • 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.
  • 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 were considered 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.
  • grew out of a usenet group dedicated to debating the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny between Star Wars and Star Trek (specifically The Empire versus The Federation). 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.
  • Wattpad is a social networking site meant for publishing online literature, in a serious fashion. It has also become a host to lots of Fanfiction and, thanks to its multimedia features, even text/art dumps similar to that of Livejournal and Tumblr. Wattpad still shows off itself as an online literature host site, displaying such on its homepage, hosting annual awards for them, and even allowing their popular ones to be commercialized.
  • WorldStarHipHop's initial purpose can be seen in its name: hosting videos by underground rap artists and giving them exposure. However, hackers brought the site down in its early days, and when it returned, it had expanded to hosting videos of rappers beefing with one another, as well as sexy women. Eventually, it became truly famous for hosting videos of brutal street fights and schoolyard brawls, to the point where Wikipedia describes it as a Shock Site. While it still tries to keep to its original purpose of hosting rap videos, it's become better known as the black version of 4chan.

Major Shifts That Fit

  • BZPower used to be the biggest fansite for the LEGO BIONICLE franchise, although other LEGO themes were regularly featured in the news and discussed as well, and in its heyday in the early-to-mid 2000s the site's traffic numbered in the thousands at any given time. Around the time the toy line was put on a near 5-year hiatus and the forums were taken down for updates, which eventually lead to the loss of the site's archives and the deletion of various reference sections, the bulk of its userbase left. In the early 2010s, the site became an all-round LEGO themed news, discussion and review site, with entire sub-forums dedicated to the more fantasy or action-oriented LEGO themes, such as Hero Factory, Ninjago or Legends of Chima. However, after most of these brands were discontinued, including the failed BIONICLE reboot itself, and the majority of the userbase segregated to other places (various Discord servers, YouTube, the rival fansite TTV, and even 4chan), BZPower lost what little relevance it had and only has a handful of active members. Yet it still keeps posting general LEGO-related news updates.

    While BZP had hosted numerous fan contests in the past and allowed official writer Greg Farshtey to interact with fans, these "privileges" have transferred over to TTV, itself an example of a declining and originally BIONICLE-oriented fansite that expanded into wider topics and stopped releasing news updates years ago as most of the owners simply lost interest. The key to its marginal success over BZP was its age-limit, which permitted Greg to keep in touch with fans and oversee newer contests. This lasted until Greg was laid off from LEGO in 2022, forcing said contests to end, but the site still functions as a general LEGO fan forum.
  • 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 still a good-sized amount of pretty risqué artwork regardless, not to mention that there is still an "Artistic Nude" category.
  • Gaming-History (formally Arcade-History until late 2014) once focused primarily on arcade games (and anything coin-operated in general, even holy water vending machines from Ancient Greece). In 2013, they started to allow console and computer game entries as well to be compliant with both MAME and MESS emulators. Despite this, arcade games still have a strong focus and tend to have the more complete entries.
  • The YouTube channel In Respect Of Maurice De Wilde was launched by a fan of the journalist Maurice De Wilde that wanted to Keep Circulating the Tapes of his documentaries about World War 2 . He would eventually move on to Keep Circulating the Tapes of Belgian documentaries about World War 2 that were made by other journalists.
  • 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.
  • Know Your Meme used to document only memes and how they came about, then it enlarged its scope to internet celebrities, TV series, anime, cartoons and basically everything that can generate massive fandoms and heaps of user-generated content. Then it started to include current events and the reactions to them, including pretty serious stuff such as terrorist attacks, racism, bullying etc. While some users are unhappy with what was once essentially a comedy site, albeit in the context of a scientific essay, others applaud the way the site owners document current issues for posterity, and with many popular memes originating from said topics and events, documenting these does provide context to the memes themselves.
  • Movie Mistakes started to incorporate Bloopers from television productions, as well as giving space for trivia and quotes.
  • Netflix was founded as a DVD rental-by-mail site by a guy fed up with Blockbuster Video's rental fees. But as the cultural landscape of The New '10s and beyond would show, the site would all but abandon the DVD division. As more and more titles in people's queues slipped from "short wait" to "very long wait" to finally all the way into "saved" category (meaning the site definitely no longer has the disc), the site focused more and more on streaming.

    The problem with this is fewer popular titles are becoming available to stream as the studios/distributors refuse to license them out, leading to Netflix announcing every month which titles will leave streaming to be replaced by other titles, many of which are met with little fanfare. This has led the site to shift more focus toward its own original content, and while the likes of House of Cards (US), Orange Is the New Black and BoJack Horseman have received critical praise, and thousands of other original titles now populate the service, it doesn't help the frustrations of those looking for more classic movies and shows only to find them neither available for streaming or rental.

    Nowadays most of Netflix's old catalog are exclusive to newer competing streaming sites, and the DVD rentals have been spun off to their own website, aptly titled However, as long as the site provides movies and TV shows through the internet, Netflix will always stay true to its name.
  • The original iteration of Rationalwiki (RW) was a wiki with a strong, intentional political bias focused primarily on criticism of one website (Conservapedia, CP)... that being a wiki with a strong, intentional political bias focused primarily on criticism of another website (Wikipedia). Over the years, however, as CP has continued to fall into irrelevance, RW has mostly moved on from its obsession with CP, and most of the many articles on CP minutiae have been consolidated or deleted.
  • Snopes started out as a website devoted to examining the veracity of popular Urban Legends and seeing if there was any underlying truth to them. Initially, they focused on old wives' tales, chain letters, celebrity rumors (such as the Richard Gere gerbil story), and stuff out of horror movies and popular culture. The rise of more political urban legends in the social media age, however, forced them to expand their purview to confirming or (often) debunking them as well, especially as they'd long since gone over most of the 'classic' urban legends. Today, while Snopes still maintains full, detailed archives of all the urban legends they've covered, they're better known as a political fact-checker and 'fake news' debunker.
  • Star 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.
  • That Guy with the Glasses started as a hub for various video reviewers and riffers, with enough contributors to host five anniversary specials, eventually reaching movie length, though Doug Walker was always essentially (and literally, in the original logo) the face for the site and his work the most prominent on the site. They lost some of their more prominent members like Allison Pregler and Lindsay Ellis starting around 2013, and while new contributors did hop on board, they never reached the level of fame that the long-time members (current and former) did. They also changed their name to Channel Awesome in 2014 and focused more on The Nostalgia Critic and related spinoffs, though the other contributors still had video links on the channel's social media.

    The big change occurred in the spring of 2018, when various former contributors (Pregler and Ellis among the most prominent voices) compiled their grievances with the channel (such as terrible, borderline abusive management and poor treatment of women) into one very long document; the channel's PR response only made things worse, causing nearly every remaining contributor to leave the site, leaving the Nostalgia Critic team, Brad Jonesnote , the Top 5 teamnote  and Larry Bundy, Jr. The channel's social media thus switched entirely to promoting Nostalgia Critic related content.
  • This very wiki:
    • TV Tropes itself was originally named so as it started out cataloging tropes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other Joss Whedon works before expanding to other television series and eventually over the years, expanding the lineup to include other forms of media including movies, books, board games and video games. It's also even been cataloging more than just 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 anonymous blog and discussion forum. See also our own section of Why Fandom Can't Have Nice Things.
  • 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?).
    • Speaking of YouTube, the COPA implementation of 2020 was mainly done automatically, causing videos not meant for kids to be flagged as being for children. This has lead to bizarre situations ranging from television commercials (especially those with animated or puppet mascots) and Game Shows having kids' shows like Peppa Pig and Ryan ToysReview in the recommended section to adult animated sitcoms and YouTube Poop displaying an ad to watch them on YouTube Kids and automatically disabling comments.

Temporary Shifts

  • Illumistream (now known as Healthguru) 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. Then they started focusing more and more on sex health, to the point where it seemingly became their main focus. 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. 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.

Unique Situations

  • 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). However, eventually they started selling The Witcher series due to GOG being owned by the company that makes the series. Eventually they rendered "GOG" as a meaningless acronym and started selling new games, usually for prices that aren't particularly low. However, much like TV Tropes itself, this doesn't take away from any of the old games on the site, which tend to sell the most, and games still do not come with DRM. (They have introduced a Steam-like client called Galaxy, but it's completely optional)
  • Google Street View 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 after some time, have more frequent updates as they continue focusing on streets, alongside parks, museums and business photos.
    • 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! This complaint, however, may no longer exist thanks to the introduction of the "time lapse" in 2014.
  • 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 web browser 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 customizability 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.

In General
  • The death of Radio Drama due to the rise of television in the 1950s can be seen as an example of this.
  • Due to than a evolution in personal taste, the hostesses of the musical podcast The Clockwork Cabaret consider invoking purposefully this trope so to be no longer be constrained to their initial steampunk thematic.
  • Since the beginning of the management of jack of all trade artist Gregorie Charle, Quebec City’s Radio Classique have widened their definition of classic music to include java, jazz and cabaret music.
  • The oldies and classic rock formats in general have 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 '80s 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":
      "When did Mötley Crüe become classic rock?"
    • The decay complaint mostly stems from the abandonment of the older oldies in favor of the newer oldies. Many radio stations have dropped the "goodtime oldies" format that focused on the 1950s-'60s, and "classic rock" now generally covers the late '60s through the early '90s. A recently emerged alternative format is "super hits", a format that features 1960s-'70s music (with a smattering of early Eighties numbers) and is broad enough to include Motown, disco, country pop, and soft rock numbers with the expected Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Creedence Clearwater Revival tunes.
  • During The New '10s, a lot of modern rock stations around the country underwent 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 started 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 '70s and The '80s, 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 used the AM band almost exclusively for their radio stations. It was 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 would 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 was 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 right down their marketing wheelhouse.
      • Speaking of Radio Disney, they too suffered network decay. When they launched in 1996, they catered to kids of all ages and the kid-at-heart, with a short-lived night slot that played oldies with a mix of kids' music and lullabies right up to morning, and an afternoon preschool block. In other words, Radio Disney used to reflect the message of Disney in general. They later shifted to only playing music of interest to tweens and teens. Even in the early 2000s, when Disney pop stars began to emerge, their countdowns were often filled with songs that were already several years old, such as "All Star," which was released in 1999 being on a 2006 chart or "Sk8er Boi," which was released in 2002 being on a 2007 chart.
      • By 2013, the AM strategy was done; many Radio Disney stations were being sold off as Disney focused 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. As of the end of 2014, the only Radio Disney station was their main Los Angeles station to maintain the fiction it was a radio network. In 2017, it switched entirely to kid-friendly Country Music.
      • It can be argued that Radio Disney shifted once more, as they started to broadcast less music by Disney Channel-connected Idol Singers, and promoted 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 found their way into the lineup. Granted, they weren't strictly Disney pop-oriented, but there was a lot less Disney pop on the network than before.
      • Thanks to the rise of streaming (both in regards to music and video), Radio Disney signed off for the final time on January 22, 2021.
    • 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 iHeartMedia listener started on having to sit through 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.
  • Religious stations don't even get much leeway any longer; national groups like K-LOVE and Calvary Chapel have taken to forming 'translator networks' which are nationwide and made up of formerly local religious stations starved of donations and swept up by national chains to play music formats so processed and artificial, if it didn't have the 'religious' protection any sane regulator would have broken them up years ago.
  • 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.
    • Some radio stations will mix in Christmas music with their regular format. For example, WPLJ in New York will play one Christmas song per hour in between their regular mix of music.
      • A further permutation of the seemingly legally mandated Christmas music period is when stations play Christmas songs that still fit within their usual format - for example, an Oldies station playing "Blue Christmas" by Elvis Presley or an 80s station playing "Last Christmas" by Wham.
      • Up until the late 00s almost every radio station would change over to all Christmas music on Dec 24 and 25.
  • 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. 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.
  • It has been said that starting in the late 2010's, top 40 radio stations have suffered decay because of the lack of popular rap music that is okay to play on the radio and the slow turnover rates of songs for this reason, which leads to an over-dependence on songs from the 90s and 2000s. Read more here.
  • 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 Swiftin 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 considered the "main" one, 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 Country Airplay, and labels will still run congratulatory ads when they do reach the summit on the Airplay charts. Also, American Country Countdown switched back to Country Airplay in August 2017 after using rival Mediabase for several years, and in fall 2017, a post to a country music forum confirmed that chart historian Joel Whitburn, who publishes anthology books of every Billboard chart, will revert to using the Country Airplay chart as the "main" chart for all subsequent editions.


  • 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.


  • Most regions used to have their own brand of radio, but Concentra Media bought out all of those in 2008 and used these stations to air Nostalgie, which is the third commercial Flemish radio station ever. Like its namesake it relies on hit records from at least a decade ago to differentiate itself from its local competitors and has incredibly wealthy backers such as the NRJ Group.


  • BBC Five Live began life in 1990 as BBC Radio 5, which had a combination of "cast-off" stuff from the other national BBC radio stations, primarily 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 (following the success of a temporary all-news service, informally known as "Scud FM", during the first Gulf War and in-fighting over how a permanent station could be established — the BBC had taken over the FM frequencies of Radio 4, and both the listeners and the higher-ups protested this). 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 DJs - 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 Condemned by History... 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. The addition of a new head of music probably contributes.
  • XS Manchester - originally Rock Radio 106.1 and later Real XS, was a station broadcasting on FM to the Greater Manchester area and to the rest of the UK via the web, dedicated to playing classic hard rock/metal. It was retooled in March 2016 to become XS Manchester, with indie/Britpop/Madchester music added to the playlist and - bizarrely - a nightly football phone-in show added. The classic rock material was then cut back drastically, they would reduce bands such as Motorhead to one song for example. Nowadays it is mostly indie, only two hours per week are now dedicated to rock/metal and that is banished to a late-night programme. The indie crowd do not like classic rock and rockers certainly are not happy with the addition of indie, so the old hard rock listener base have switched off en masse (this was likely the plan all along). The music policy is drifting ever further away from classic rock, with 80s pop such as Electronica now included, to the point where Total Abandonment is only a short time away.
    • As of November 2017 even the weekly two-hour Hard Fast and Heavy show has been axed, as the station tilts further towards indie and particularly Madchester music. The hard rock it once championed has now been almost totally sidelined.
    • Update June 2018 - Confirmation that its original format has been completely abandoned came when a post from XS Manchester to its Facebook page stated outright "we are not a classic rock station anymore". In addition the station has now introduced a Saturday night show including rave and hip-hop. It has now Totally Abandoned its original purpose.
  • Fresno station KFYE previously aired Christian radio, and had previously been owned by the Educational Media Foundation. It was later sold to commercial broadcasters, and then shifted to a rhythmic adult contemporary format in 2006 as "Sexy 106.3" (but not before doing a Mood Whiplash, pre-launch stunt as "Porn Radio", which played songs with innuendo and/or prerecorded moans and groans added to them). After one year as KSXE, the station became a more generic Top-40 one as Power 106.3, changing its callsign to KVPW; it was later bought by the Educational Media Foundation (after a proposed sale to another broadcaster fell through) and returned to God after its ill-advised commercial 'rumspringa' with the Air 1 CCM network. Soon afterward, it went to a Spanish-language format after a trade by the EMF for another station.
  • 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. "Hot" played mostly 80s and 90s R&B, with some older classic soul mixed in, which is ironic, because the station played tracks they once spun as world premieres almost 20 years ago. In early 2015, however, "Hot" was blown up and relaunched as Hip-Hop "Real 92.3", taking "Power" DJ Big Boy for mornings in the process.
  • 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.
    • Since then, KKXX are the call letters for Hits 93.1, which plays a mixture of Top 40 & R&B/hip-hop. But it also seems identical to two other stations: Hot 94.1, & Energy 95.3, which has been subject to Network Decay time and time again. Earlier it was Kelly 95.3, which played Adult Top 40 from the late '90s to late '10s (i.e. Matchbox 20, Train, Sheryl Crow). And also going back to when KKXX was on FM 108 (or 107.9 when the digital dial became commonplace), Kelly 95.3 was one of two soft rock stations alongside 101.5 KGFM. (That station has also changed formats since.)
  • 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 spent its last years as a predominantly talk radio station, with drive-time news blocks. The station was eventually blown up in favor of sports-talk, before ultimately being sold. 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 Jump, 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".
    • CKKL-FM started out originally as an FM repeater of talk station CFRA. In the 60s, it was branded as CFMO and was an easy listening station for over 30 years, when the current callsign was adopted in 1992 and the station became branded as KOOL FM, a Hot AC station. It remained this for 11 years, until it switched to adult hits station BOB FM. Now, in November 2014, Bell suddenly announced the termination of the BOB brand (which was also being used on sisters stations in Ontario based in Brockville, serving Kingston, and Lindsay, serving Peterborough) as well as all on-air personalities and staff (many of whom are popular figures in the community) to relaunch the station as New Country 94, a commercial-free, personality-free country station. Ottawa already has Country 101 (licensed to nearby Smiths Falls), also known by former names Y101, Y105 and CKBY, which has established itself as Ottawa's only country station for over 40 years, with the personalities from the station being very well known in the community.
  • 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), started 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 (that also promoted local pop and rock artists, showing that there was more to Newfoundland music than the Sunday morning "Jigs and Reels" traditional music show), 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. In the summer of 2019, when longtime DJ Randy Snow returned after 16 years at rival station Hits FM, it changed yet again to a station playing a mix of songs from the 1990s and early 2000s while still playing top 40 songs. Its current slogan is "Newfoundland's Music Mix."
    • Snow's former station, 99.1 FM, has had decay of its own. It started out as a country station before becoming 99.1 Hits FM in 2002, and when station owner Newcap Radio was acquired by Canadian radio conglomerate Stingray, they got rid of their signature call-in shows that had been a staple since the start and play a lot more syndicated programming than usual (their weekends used to be filled almost solely with syndicated countdown programs, but there were still live D Js in the early morning. In 2021, much to the dismay of longtime listeners, they changed their branding to the generic Hot FM branding that belongs to all of Stingray's other top 40 stations. They are even competing with OZ FM by playing 90s and 2000s songs, but there's nothing that can't already be found on other stations (they play very little Canadian throwbacks, unlike OZ FM).
    • Coast 101.1 is an independent St. John's station that began in 2004 by playing new Adult Contemporary songs, with an emphasis on Canadian and local music, but with some older songs thrown in as "eight-track flashbacks." For unknown reasons, they changed it to a full-on classic hits station in 2007 and do not play any new music by local artists, which was their main draw in the past, but Tropes Are Tools and now the station is more popular than ever as a classic hits station.
    • 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. In 2021, when all country stations owned by Stingray Radio changed to the New Country branding, KIXX was one of them.


  • 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).
  • WMET-FM was an album-rock powerhouse in the early 1980's, competing with WLUP-FM for the top spot in the AOR market. Then suddenly in January 1985, they abruptly switched to an adult contemporary format at a time when the market was already getting oversaturated with AC stations. Predictably, WMET's rating fell like a lead balloon and would not recover until it became "smooth jazz" WNUA a few years later.
  • The heritage full-service station WGN Radio went through a five-year period of decay when their parent, Tribune Company, 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, 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. (The rest of the company was also caught in a Dork Age, including WPIX in New York and KWGN in Denver becoming Totally Radical for a time — the latter stations became known as "KWGN, The Deuce".)
    • 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 what was to come). 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 on to for years. John Williams was forced out to mid-mornings and replaced by a random political talk guy from San Francisco who had to deal with a "traffic on the 7's" format which ruined 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 who 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 ' 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. At that point, he, Dean Richards, and Lou Manfredini remained the only hosts who had survived from Tribune's public ownership era and continued 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 convicted 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, 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 began building 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 and 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.
    • By 2013, the station finally began 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 returned with a new weekend show in the old Ray Leonard slot (until he passed away on September 4, 2014, Leonard did a phone movie review segment with his protege 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.
    • In 2014 WGN finally had enough of one thing; broadcasting the futility of the Cubs for millions of dollars a year with their own version of Sam Zell (here, Tom Ricketts) meddling the team into obscurity. After countless years with the station, the Cubs took a higher offer from CBS starting in 2015 to air their games on WBBM (after losing the White Sox to WLS, the Cubs moved again to sister sports station WSCR the following season). Many are sad to see the team go from WGN, but with the Blackhawks doing just fine it might be for the best. This eventually turned out to be a win-win, as WSCR broadcast the Cubs' run to its first World Series Championship since 1908, while the Blackhawks have remained a competitive and exciting draw for WGN.
    • However, things took a dark turn for a while, as Tribune Media announced their merger with the Sinclair Broadcast Group of Hunt Valley, MD (the guys who own Ring of Honor), who are notorious in broadcasting circles for having become a Mega-Corp via acquisitions, illegal duopolies and triopolies via shell companies, slashing station budgets, outsourcing and cancelling in-house newscasts, and their very conservative political views. If the merger had gone through, it could've meant very bad things for WGN radio (assuming they kept it, as Sinclair doesn't own any radio stations). Thankfully, Sinclair's own hubris brought the merger deal down and Tribune has since announced a merger with another mega-group, the far-less inflammatory Nexstar. So far, given Nexstar's lack of interest in radio and a lack of buyers given the radio industry's woes, Nexstar hasn't done anything to change WGN 720.
    • 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 via his new company, Merlin Media, 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 (it has since been sold to a religious broadcast company).
    • 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 to the point 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 Q87.7 in May 2012, after Merlin leased WLFM (later WKQX-LP), a low-power TV station broadcasting audio in the FM range. In 2014, Merlin Media had Cumulus take over all of its stations with an option to buy them outright, including its LMA with WKQX. They promptly gutted i101 and began the process of transitioning WKQX's programming to it via a simulcast. After the simulcast ended, 87.7's owner leased out the signal to WGN both as a place to put sports talk and burn out the Brandmeier contract without killing 720's ratings in return. It was 87.7's ratings that got killed instead, leading Tribune to make it an FM simulcast of WGN, and then ceding control of the station to Weigel Broadcasting (who re-formatted it as an oldies station spun off from its digital classic TV network Me-TV) on February 23, 2015.


  • 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 McDowell 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.
    • In October 2020, Cumulus decided to drop nearly all local programming on 103.3, citing low ratings, with Mavs games still being broadcast there. The reason why they stayed on could be that this was during the fight with the Fox/Bally regional sports networks & cable companies, which means even less people couldn't watch them on the Southwest channel (unless it's a national game). 103.3 personalities & shows were eventually merged into The Ticket. 103.3 is still on the air as of this writing, but it's playing the national ESPN shows, with the only DFW connections left is commercials & the obligatory station identification. It's probably only a matter of time before 103.3 dies completely.
    • And then shortly before the 2021 Mavs season tipped, they terminated the 103.3 contract, & moved it to KEGL, where the afternoon show Ben & Skin has connections to the organization (one of the hosts also does the broadcast for Bally), killing all local 103.3 program entirely. At this point, it's hanging on for dear life, & could die any day now.
    • Disney finally admitted defeat in December 2021 & announced the sale of 103.3 to the religious VCY America. The switch to VCY was made in March of 2022, ending ESPN Radio in DFW once & for all. The Ticket & The Fan are still around & competing, though The Ticket is still doing much better in the ratings than 105.3, so it's really no contest there.
  • 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 Black people 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 the standard "all Christmas music, all the time" format as early as the 1st of November (they were having a bit of an arms race with WNIC, which was 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 ratings, especially with CIDR sucking up the oxygennote ). 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.
      • The aforementioned sports-talk format was also a major flop, hovering under a share of 1 on the Nielsen ratings for most of its existence. Near the end of June 2016, WGMC joined the classic hip-hop bandwagon as "The Bounce" — a move which caused it to rocket from a 0.7 all the way to a 3.4 share on the very next ratings report. Time will tell if this move pays off in the long run.


  • 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" as WRNW 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.
    • In October 2018, iHeartMedia converted WRNW to a sports radio station to try to fend off WKTI's new FM sports talk dominance, though it's expected both, along with WSSP, which is an AM station using an FM translator in the market, are fighting for a very small audience.
  • The aforementioned "The Hog" was seem to be this by some. Originally it was branded as a modern rock station as Lazer 103. 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 in a poor Pardon the Interruption segment clone that consists of the same older people calling in to 'sound off' on reactionary news issues that any sensible person sees they're on the wrong side of. 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 personalities. With the sale of WTMJ's owner Journal Communications to Scripps, those same personalities are now expressing well-found unease that they'll be controlled by the new management in Cincinnati (note that WTMJ Radio's biggest advocate to put them on TV was reduced to a figurehead a few months before for botching Journal's TV negotiations with Time Warner Cable).
    • Sykes eventually retired from WTMJ in 2016, just as he realized that the rise of Trump was a step too far and there was too much damage being done by the Republican Party, and began to play a 'opposing view' nobody would have ever pictured him being. WTMJ under Scripps began to moderate their hosts, along with the television side pulling back on things that had dragged down their ratings, including the PTI-like segments. Jeff Wagner was the heir-apparent to Sykes and moved to mornings, only to move back to his mid-afternoon slot within a matter of weeks due to flagging ratings.
    • In late 2018, WTMJ and WKTI (its FM sister, which had been a country station) were sold off by Scripps to Good Karma Brands, which maintained the local ESPN Radio station, WAUK. Good Karma instituted an 'all-local' strategy for WTMJ as far as news outside its play-by-play, while WKTI became an all-local sports talk station, and WAUK became an autofeed of the national ESPN Radio schedule.


  • 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 children's 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 children's 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 children's 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.

New York City

  • 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 the station was converted to the Jack FM format, which generally focuses on the '80s-2000s and punctuates its programming with snarky 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 '80s and '90s music in lieu of '50s and '60s 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 '80s) 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 (with the exception of Northwest and Western NJ, which have to make do with Lehigh Valley stations like 99.9 The Hawk and 95.1 ZZO, due to little to no signal from DHA), 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.
    • Eight years after K-Rock signed off, the clock went back. Now FM never stole the ratings crown from Z-100, and not even rechristening the station as Amp Radio in 2014 would turn the tables. On November 17th, 2017, owners CBS Radio merged with Entercom Communications. One of the very first things new ownership did? Completely jettison the Top 40 format in favor of Alt 92.3.
  • Remember 101.9 WRXP listed above? Well, in summer 2011, after being purchased by the aforementioned Merlin Media, 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 - literally days before the one-year anniversary of its debut - 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 Radio - the owners of WINS and WCBS-AM 880, no less - 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 earlier in 2012). 101.9 just couldn't catch a break for over a year. Even so, the aforementioned shift at now co-owned 92.3 to Alternative in 2017 has softened the blow.
  • 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 during the 1990s (Alternative, AAA, Classic Rock, and so on). 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 in years past. Then, Opie and Anthony were brought in after being fired from a Boston radio station, and had a predominantly talk-based show that did well in the ratings. This caused management to torpedo "The Rock of New York" in September 1999 for talk. The ratings for the station stayed stagnant (i.e. pathetic) in the 1-2 range outside of Opie and Anthony. This made things awkward when, in 2002, Opie and Anthony were fired after 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 sank to 0.8, which, until 101.9 went news (mentioned above), 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-heavy format that served as a more "oldies"-based WKTU (this during the aforementioned WCBS-FM affair). Finally, in January 2007, the station settled permanently on a Hot AC format - Fresh 102.7 - and not only got out of the ratings gutter, but started seriously challenging WLTW for its dominance of the lucrative "at-work" listenership, on top of competing with heritage Hot AC WPLJ (which would eventually end with that station being sold to religious broadcaster EMF). By 2016, it finally had the WNEW call letters returned after several years in Florida warehousing limbo, then several years in Washington where CBS made (and failed) in an attempt to overcome WTOP's all-news monopoly.
  • Walk 97.5, a station that claims to play music from "The 90's, 2K and today", sometimes plays 80's music. They rarely play two or more songs from the 80's in a row note , but some 80's songs will be played in frequent rotation, with the most common ones being Corey Hart's "Sunglasses At Night" and Poison's "Every Rose".

North Carolina

  • Raleigh-Durham radio station WQDR inexplicably transformed from a rock station to a country station on September 1984, while still keeping the initials "QDR", which stands for "Qua Draphonic Rock". Of course, this led to lots of backlash.


  • 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.


  • 102.5 WDVE, which played varied classic rock and had a cutting-edge morning show hosted by Jim Krenn and Scott Paulsen has been subject to decay for a long time. Paulsen and Krenn are now both gone from the morning show (Paulsen left, returned, and then left again. Krenn was fired in between those stints), and the music selection is widely parodied now for being a shell of what it once was, and the joke is that they play the same six songs over and over. The Morning Show without Krenn and Paulsen also is not nearly so widely enjoyed.
  • DVE's sister station 96.1 KISS is even worse. While the Mikey and Big Bob Morning Show has surpassed DVE's morning show in popularity, the rest of the station's day is filled with the same Pop music Top 10 songs. Sometimes a song will be played more than once in the same hour!
  • Pittsburgh's soft rock stations (such as WSHH 99.7) switch to Christmas music as early as October (with it filling the lineup entirely by early-November) and play it until January 2nd.


  • 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. Though they play indie bands and Canadian alternative acts that are difficult to find on other stations, they mostly rely on alternative hits from the 90s-2010s, mostly ones that even non-alternative listeners are familiar with such as "Mr. Brightside" and "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
    • Similarly, competing station Indie 88 plays many local and national independent bands, but their playlist is pretty mainstream and relies on nostalgia, even playing non-alternative songs such as "Blinding Lights".


  • 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 Gaga, Katy Perry and so on.


  • Richmond:
    • 98.9 Liberty was a commercial and DJ-free station that "played anything," but stuck mostly to classic songs from the 60s-early 90s. It got both commercials and DJs around 2010, but stuck to the Variety Hits format very closely until 2015 when it suddenly became 98.9 The Wolf, a "hardcore country" station. Listeners were not amused.
    • MIX 103.7 was a "soft and contemporary" radio station in the early-mid 2000s that playing music from the "80s, 90s, and today" that had a playlist ranging from Nickelback to Alanis Morissette to The Fray to Jewel to Peter Gabriel (basically songs that charted on Billboard's Adult Contemporary). It didn't have a huge playlist, but it's biggest claim to fame was playing 50 minutes of music with no commercials and no DJs. This ended in 2010, when the station became 103.7 The River, an alternative station with DJs, more commercials, and played music from 3 Doors Down, Linkin Park, 3 Days Grace, Shinedown, Green Day, Fallout Boy, Avril Lavigne, and was very popular with Richmond listeners. Around 2013, it started sneaking in music from non-alternative artists like Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Carly Rae Jepson, etc. before suddenly rebranding itself to 103.7 PLAY in 2014, and became just another Top 100 station, to much much outcry from it's listeners.

Washington, D.C.

  • 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 HFStival 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 '90s and differentiated itself from the other radios by playing songs from The '60s and The '70s only. The time interval slowly crawled upwards, in the end of the '90s they started playing songs from The '80s, 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 end of the Cold War. 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 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.

Satellite Radio

  • 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).
  • The radio station The Blend on Sirius XM mostly plays modern pop, but older songs will sometimes play as well.
  • During the holiday season of 2020, the 60s on 6 station on Sirius XM played Wham!'s "Last Christmas", which is a song from the 80's. And if that wasn't strange enough, it was the 1998 re-master.
  • Sirius XM's Disney Hits channel has had a few examples of this:
  • Sirius XM's The Pulse started out as a Hot AC station that largely played pop-rock music with the slogan "2000s and Today" (it used to be "90s and Today" until 2009 ended), but once the 2010s drew to an end, they stopped playing 2000s music and focused more than ever on mainstream pop. They would have never played someone like say, Justin Bieber in the past, yet they do now, and their current slogan is "2010 to Today." The decay started sometime in 2018 or so, when their "2000s and Today" countdowns were expanded from 2000-2009 to the early 2010s, such as the head-scratching countdown featuring songs from 2016 being played alongside new songs from 2018.
  • In 2008, Sirius XM's Kids' Place Live introduced a block called Couch Potato Stew, which exclusively played songs from TV and movies. Sometime in the latter half of The New '10s, the criteria were changed, and viral Internet sensations like Parry Gripp and "Pen Pineapple Apple Pen" were thrown into the rotation. The official description claims that this fits the theme of the block because the media in question can be seen on a screen. However, these songs don't play as often, and songs from movies and TV still rule the roost. On a related note, songs from The SpongeBob Musical are also part of the rotation, despite being a stage show, though it does still fit the theme of TV-inspired songs.

    Film and TV Studios 
Total Abandonment
  • Believe it or not, this almost happened to Disney in the mid-2000s. 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 Animationnote , which was outstripping their films in popularity by that point. Despite their acquisition of the Pixar animation studio during that same time, between this and Disney Channel's focus on tween-centric entertainment in the wake of High School Musical and Hannah Montana's popularity people started to think the company was changing itself into a tween-star-spewing factory rather than an entertainment company focusing on animation and family entertainment. This turned around in The New '10s when their in-house animation studio yielded up its biggest hits in decades starting with Tangled, though they permanently gave up on hand-drawn animation at the same time (after its much-anticipated revival with The Princess and the Frog and Winnie-the-Pooh didn't prove profitable at the box office).
    • While we're on the same subject, Hollywood Pictures started as another label for Disney to make more adult fare (joining their Touchstone Pictures label), only with smaller budgets. Eventually 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 (formerly 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. The former CEO of Discovery Communications would later establish a streaming service called Curiosity Stream that focuses on educational documentaries and other educational programming, serving as the spiritual successor of pre-decay Discovery Channel and sister networks.
  • The Screen Gems name went through this several times. It was initially used from 1940 to 1946 for Columbia Pictures' animation unit. It was then reused in 1948 for Columbia's television unit to distance it from the movie studio due to Hollywood's fear of the then-new medium. By 1974 that fear had disappeared, leaving little use for the pseudonymous name; the unit was renamed Columbia Television that year.

    In 1999, Sony resurrected the name (complete with the infamous "Filmstrip S" logo) for a new movie label that would distribute arthouse films that weren't highbrow enough for Sony Pictures Classics yet 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). After Sony restructured TriStar as a label for pickups and Sony Pictures Classics had a big hit with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Screen Gems became a B-movie label that mainly distributes horror, teen comedies and films aimed at African-American audiences. Attack the Block was about the last "arthouse" film they distributed, and it was dumped into 11 markets with minimal advertising.


  • In the later Weinstein-run years, arthouse distributor Miramax Films began distributing "mainstream" films like She's All That. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back made fun of this — "Once Miramax made She's All That, everything went to hell." Heck, there were even complaints of decay even before that. Miramax (and the Weinsteins) was responsible for the constant Hellraiser and Children of the Corn sequels along with the infamous Arabian Knight cut of The Thief and the Cobbler. Miramax these days is little more than a shell of its former self, rarely producing movies and its library has now been tainted by Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault allegations.

Major Shifts That Fit

  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, once the biggest movie studio in the world, the one 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. In part because of the rise of television and decline of big-budget musicals, the studio was beginning to hit hard times by the late 60s. In 1969, 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 no longer 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). MGM enjoyed a string of success for a time, but then Kerkorian sold out to Italian financier Giancarlo Paretti, who merged MGM/UA together with the remains of The Cannon Group, which he'd renamed "Pathe Communications" as part of a bid to acquire the famed French studio of the same name. Said deal didn't happen because the French government determined that he lacked the requisite character to own Pathe— a foreshadowing for his disastrous rein over the renamed MGM-Pathe. Under his reign, he essentially used the company as his personal piggy bank, with the actual business of moviemaking grinding to a halt as employees, actors and creditors went unpaid. The French bank that had been lending money to Paretti, Credit Lyonnais, took control (Paretti was arrested for securities fraud), and spent the next few years rebuilding, at the same time integrating a bunch of smaller libraries that they already had control of into MGM. Shortly after this, Turner sold his empire to Time Warner and thus MGM's pre-1986 library was acquired by Warner Bros. (reuniting the WB library, as their pre-1950 films and shorts had been sold years prior, with UA ultimately getting it; in turn it went to Turner in the 1986 deal), and Lyonnais sold MGM back to Kerkorian, who 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 stopped being a standalone film studio and began to focus primarily on their television networks they own overseas. They co-invested 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 at that point were co-financed, marketed, and/or distributed by other larger film companies. It seems to have worked out just fine considering how well 21 Jump Street, Skyfall and The Hobbit have done. Since then, MGM has focused a little more on developing properties in-house, and has since reopened their theatrical distribution operation (Including reviving United Artists as their theatrical releasing arm in 2018, in a joint venture with Annapurna Pictures). They also no longer distribute their existing film library on home video anymore, with there home video releases being handled by several different companies, mainly Warner Bros. and Universal.
  • 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, Fox scored hits with sophisticated dramas, and Disney with family movies. Most of them decided not to be pigeonholed, and Genre-Busting works also became common. Disney, for example, does this often with their movies now as the only live-action movies they release under their namesake film label are big-budget remakes of their animated classics aimed at pre-teens and teenagers, while movies based on their non-Disney franchises are handled by their Marvel and Lucasfilm brands as well as the 20th Century Fox movie studio.
  • Since its inception, the Disney Animated Canon been associated with traditional hand-drawn animation, with their first film being Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. However, in 2005, they abandoned 2D in favor of CGI. Their first CG film in the canon, Chicken Little, was panned by critics and moviegoers alike, many of whom felt the studio abandoned Walt Disney's vision of creating timeless stories in favor of competing with modern CG movies that were (then) using DreamWorks Animation's formula of using dated pop-culture references, adult humor, and just squarely aiming at pre-teens. However, when John Lasseter and his Pixar brain trust stepped in, that strategy was quickly stopped, and Walt's original business strategy was put back in. He also made an attempt (although short-lived) to return to hand-drawn animation with 2009's The Princess and the Frog and 2011's Winnie the Pooh. Although the return to hand-drawn didn't exactly turn out as planned, that doesn't mean their CG movies are bad. In fact, most of their fare in The New '10s, including Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen (2013), Zootopia and Moana, were universally acclaimed during their initial releases, and became box-office hits. Not to mention they still incorporate hand-drawn animation techniques in their CG films to actually make them feel like the traditionally animated classics that made them popular, and they're also still doing hand-drawn animated shorts. In short, even though there are no hand-drawn features at the moment and Lasseter would later be forced to resign due to sexual misconduct allegations, Disney is still the only animation studio in Hollywood that appreciates its heritage, yet at the same time follows Walt Disney's philosophy to "keep moving forward".
  • After the events that lead to the Avoid the Dreaded G Rating trope (parents complaining that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Gremlins were too violent for kids, resulting in the creation of a new rating), this trope affected the trailers that played before specific movies. It's very common to see, for instance, a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie have at least two trailers for kids' movies, or films given a "heavy PG rating" with a random trailer for a kids' movie in between the other ones.
    • The reverse can also sometimes happen, with PG-13 films having trailers on children's movies for the same reason. This can create a problem, as some trailers for movies with this rating contain moments that could scare young children. Occasionally, this practice is a Justified Trope, usually because said trailer is associated with the company who made the film it appears in front of, like Star Wars trailers playing on Disney movies.

Unique Situations

  • Cartoon Network Studios, and its subsidiary, Williams Street Productions, 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.

Total Abandonment
  • The Sun was founded in December 1910 (under the name The World, changing its name to the Daily Herald in January 1911) by the trade unions as a pro-labour (and pro-Labour Party) broadsheet for "political radicals". After World War II, it entered into decline and, in 1964, changed its name to The Sun, still a broadsheet but now catering to both "political" and "social radicals". As that didn't stem the paper's decline, in 1969 it was sold - after a struggle between magnates Robert Maxwell (who promised to keep its alignment but with redundancies) and Rupert Murdoch (who promised the same, but with less redundancies) and trade union pressure in favor of the latter - to Murdoch... who reneged on all his promises and turned the paper into a Conservative-leaning tabloid. The change was so profound that no one recognises its early history anymore.

    Record Companies 
Total Abandonment
  • 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, The 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.


  • Creation Records started in The '80s as an outlet for Alternative Rock bands, scored early successes with acts like The Jesus and Mary Chain, and by The '90s 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.
  • Fat Possum Records was founded in 1991 to give exposure to hitherto unknown blues artists, primarily from the North Mississippi Hill Country (R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, T-Model Ford, CeDell Davis, Paul "Wine" Jones). Unfortunately, many of these performers were in their 60's and 70's when they signed on to the label. As they predictably began to die off, Fat Possum found itself focusing more on indie-rock and folk. Their most recent blues releases have largely been archival material to which they have purchased the rights.
  • Unique Leader Records started out as an underground label that was run by several members of Deeds of Flesh and mostly featured decidedly non-melodic brutal death metal acts. Within roughly six or seven years, numerous acts on the label (namely the aforementioned Deeds of Flesh, Disgorge, Gorgasm, Spawn of Possession, and Severed Savior) had managed to gain quite a bit of buzz and were getting on tours with big-name acts, which did a great deal to increase the label's profile. Two bands changed this: Rings of Saturn and Halo of Gunfire. The latter went nowhere, but the former already had a decent social media presence and crossover appeal with the deathcore fanbase and wound up turning into a major hit. They struck it big again with Fallujah (who had already abandoned their deathcore sound by the time that they were signed, but still had a lot of pull within that circle), and the message was clear: their brutal death days were over and they weren't even trying to pretend otherwise. While they do still sign brutal death acts, they have signed enough deathcore, tech, and even djent acts over the past six or seven years to make it clear that they are no longer the label's main priority. This became particularly prominent in the late 2010s, as they were signing almost nothing but deathcore in the first several years following Erik Lindmark's death in 2018, when Jamie Graham was in more or less complete control, but started to change in the early 2020s as Matti Way began to sign more death metal acts once he settled in. That being said, some of their post-Erik deathcore signings have been completely removed from what they would have signed under Erik (who was mostly signing deathcore by the end, but not to the same extent - nonetheless, some of it was definitely his call alone, as Signs of the Swarm and Brand of Sacrifice were his discoveries) - acts like Bound in Fear, Distant, and The Last Ten Seconds of Life would have been very out of place even during Erik's lifetime, and they went even further out with the Thrash Metal act Extinction A.D. in 2021.

Major Shifts That Fit

  • 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. The 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.

  • 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 throughout The New '10s, 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 decade 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.
  • The Rock in Rio festival is often criticized\mocked for showcasing too many artists that are not rock by any means, particularly as its inaugural edition in 1985 had a respectable line-up. While editions outside Rio de Janeiro - so far, in Lisbon, Madrid and Las Vegas - might be weird considering the festival name, it's not such a problem in comparison.

Major Shifts That Fit

  • 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...
  • The Dutch holiday Sinterklaas has dealt with the Cross-Cultural Kerfluffle of his sidekick Zwarte Piet — who is generally played by a white person in Blackface, and thus comes off as an ugly racial caricature to many foreign visitors and immigrants rather than just a guy covered in soot — by having some "Het Sinterklaasfeest" festivals either recolor him to not be Zwart or abandon him entirely and focus on "Sinterklaas", who is still the main star of the show.

Unique Situations

  • 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.
  • Anime conventions like LA’s Anime Expo and DC’s Otakon have and still are mainly focused on showcasing anime, manga, Japanese Video Games, and general Japanese culture. However some fans in recent times have been noticing non-Japanese shows, movies, and games being showcased as well. For most anime con-goers, this isn't much of an issue as most of such works have been influenced by anime and Japanese culture (much like genre fiction TV and films in a comic convention) or are Japanese-Western co-productions, although there are some works showcased that have little to no influence from anime, rather only there because such works are generally liked by a good portion of anime fans. In addition, there are some anime cons that organize themselves more like a general comic convention instead, which can play this trope straight in this regard if anime does get pushed to the side by western events. But of course much like comic conventions in general, content related to anime in has always been welcome in anime cons to begin with, so whether such content "fits" the con naturally comes in a case-by-case basis, and varies among people.
  • While still retaining the original ethos in many forms, some longtime Burning Man participants have complained about the festival now being a "destination" for rich yuppy types that will come to BM in specially kitted out RV's and setting up "secluded" encampments, bragging about going to BM without contributing to the entire festival as a whole. Also, the gradual increase in admission pricing (Over $1000 for a single person to get into BM) makes the "getting back to nature" aspect of BM look expensive.

Total Abandonment

  • T.G.I. Friday's, as explained by Cracked and this interview with founder Alan Stillman, began life as a singles bar (arguably the first in the nation, in fact) in New York in 1965, with Stillman describing it as a way for him to meet stewardesses, fashion models, secretaries, and other young, single women. The company expanded into the South and Midwest during the '70s, gaining a reputation as a chain-restaurant version of CBGB or the Viper Room. Stillman left the company in 1975, however, and new CEO Daniel R. Scoggin set about softening Friday's' image in the late '70s and '80s, de-emphasizing alcohol as the chain expanded, especially as families were starting to frequent the restaurants during the day. By the late '90s, it had become a byword for the Kitschy Themed Restaurant, such that Office Space parodied it with Joanna's dead-end waitress job at "Chotchkie's"; said film forced the real T.G.I. Friday's to tone down some of its kitschier elements. A far cry from the edgy reputation it started out with.

Unique Situations

  • 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, Dunkin Donuts, and Tim Hortons, 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.
    • And that's only part of it. The other half included de-emphasizing Ronald McDonald and the other mascots (to the point of almost putting them on a bus) and changing the environment of the restaurants wholesale (more subdued with all those wood trimmings and lack of bright colors, and the playland has pretty much shrunk, if not removed altogether, at some restaurants).

Total Abandonment
  • 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 '80s 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.

    That strategy came back to bite them in the ass later on, as A&F struggled during the late 2000s and into the 2010s; the Great Recession turned one of the brand's main selling points, its high price and exclusive image, into a liability virtually overnight, as the displays of wealth that A&F came to be synonymous with were now seen as elitist, the domain of Jerk Jocks and Alpha Bitches. Long-simmering controversies surrounding the hiring and treatment of the stores' clerks (in 2006, Jeffries stated in an interview that they only hired "good-looking people" to work in their stores because their target demographic was The Beautiful Elite) only furthered the image of a brand that was stuck in the past, as did its highly sexualized marketing, which came to be seen as tacky in an age of greater awareness of sexual harassment and assault. All this allowed low-cost "fast fashion" brands to eat A&F alive in the early-mid 2010s, with drastically shrinking revenues and many stores closed. In 2017, Fran Horowitz, fresh off of turning around A&F's sister brand Hollister, was promoted to run the company's mothership, and she proceeded to turn it around by both toning down the overt sexuality and focusing on quality products, successfully banking on fast fashion's "you get what you pay for" reputation to drive sales from people looking for longer-lasting clothes.


  • Hot Topic was founded in 1988 and, over the course of The '90s, 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 Gen-X 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. As CDs declined in popularity, stores began removing the music preview stations and pushing the CDs away from the center of the store (and most if not all stores have ditched CD sales entirely). 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. The majority of the merchandise they sell near the front of their stores is currently based on major movie, television, book and video game franchises, with many comparing this shift into it becoming a Disney Store in all but name.

Unique Sitations
  • The NCAA's Big East conference began in 1979 as a basketball-centric conference for colleges located in the northeastern US's major urban centers to ensure their programs would remain relevant with championship tournament's new focus on conference play. However, complicating matters were that three of the schools (Boston College, Syracuse, and Pittsburgh) also fielded major college football teams that participated as independents. Afraid of eventually having those teams poached by a conference that sponsored both football and basketball, the conference expanded to include schools like West Virginia and Miami that did not fit the mold of the other schools (being located outside of the region and more suburban and rural in nature). The conference continued to expand to include more football teams, which ultimately created instability with the conference due to the unusual "football" and "non-football" structure. After several programs were lost and added in between 2005 and 2013 as part of the extensive conference membership changes within the entire NCAA, the conference's remaining non-football schools (Georgetown, Villanova, Seton Hall, St. John's, Providence, Marquette, and DePaul) announced they were splitting away from the football schools, joining with three other basketball schools and taking the Big East branding with them to reestablish the conference as a basketball focused one. However, even though the conference has returned to its basketball roots, the name has become a misnomer as half of the conference members (Marquette, DePaul, and the newly added Butler, Xavier, and Creighton) are all located in the Midwest.

    Theme Parks and Hotels 
Total Abandonment
  • In The '90s, 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 The Golden Age of Hollywood theme took hold, but as of 2013 that was dropped 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 for acts like Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil, 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 (a Titanic museum, Carrot Top's stage show, etc.), and finally the casino itself lost its Egyptian decor as The New '10s approached. They couldn't completely eliminate the theme, however; some of the ancient Egyptian theme elements remain 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 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl made pirates popular again — the pirate booty and dead men's bones were pulled from the casino (less-ostentatious decor was allowed to stay), the skull-and-crossbones marquee outside was pulled down and replaced with a 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. 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, though the ship battle was permanently dismantled in 2014 to make way for a CVS pharmacy and a Marvel Cinematic Universe exhibit.
  • 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 remodeling 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 one in upstate New York — and, as the closure of FAI took the chain's recipes for signature dishes with it, it's pretty much 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 amenities 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 if it fails to meet corporate standard).
    • 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.


  • The North American "classic" Disney Theme Parks (specifically, Disneyland and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom) have struggled with keeping their Tomorrowland pavilions relevant since The '80s, when its original 20 Minutes into the Future theming and mildly educational attractions became Zeerust. Changes started at Disneyland in The '80s with Captain EO and Star Tours, which were straight-up science fiction attractions rather than edutainment. In The '90s, 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, sea life, 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). But families, and 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 pavilion. Since The '90s, while World Showcase has seen little change, most of the original Future World pavilions were completely overhauled or replaced to combat Zeerust, and the educational content of newer attractions is meager. World Showcase's two ride-through attractions have become Disney IP-based, with the Frozen (2013) retheme of the Norway Pavilion in particular catching a lot of backlash (since its characters are from a Fantasy Counterpart Culture inspired by the country). It's now known only as Epcot, and a major overhaul is underway in The New '20s to add more attractions based around Disney IP.

Major Shifts That Fit

  • 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 three 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 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; the soundstages sat empty and the backlot tour was severely scaled back by the end of The '90s. The animation unit was shut down in a consolidation effort at the Turn of the Millennium, leaving a bare-bones series of films and lectures about the animation process behind. Since that left only light edutainment and straight-up entertainment attractions, as The New '10s passed the park became effectively the Magic Kingdom with a Hollywood theme. It was renamed Disney's Hollywood Studios since management chose not to renew their deal to use the MGM name and icons like Leo the Lion, and two Magic Kingdom-style pavilions opened in 2018-19: Toy Story Land and the East Coast version of Star Wars Galaxy's Edge. Much like the Norway Pavillion's sudden transition to essentially a Frozen area, The Great Movie Ride (a beloved and never "slow" ride since its creation) was replaced in early 2020 with a ride based off of the 2010s Mickey Mouse shorts (though this was partially justified — thanks in part to Universal Studios and Six Flags parks getting the rights to newer hit movies, no show scenes representing movies made post-1981 were ever added, leaving post-Generation X visitors bored).
  • Adding to Disney's Humiliation Conga, their main theme park rival Universal Studios have overall stayed out of this territory, despite having a few attractions that didn't fit in certain areas. See here for more.