May 02, 2024

WLS - Chicago

My wife told me about the history of WLS in Chicago following attendance at a quilting retreat, which I didn't know about (the history of WLS - I knew about the quilting retreat), so I had to look it up. Now you get to look it up as well (click here).

Wow.

WLS = World's Largest Store (which was Sears in 1924). By creating a radio station, Sears could sell radios in the catalog, providing "engaging content" for people to listen to on their new radio. 

They were doing Amazon Prime stuff a hundred years ago.

Then Sears sold the station and moved on. What might have happened had they taken a different direction?

My Dad would try to pull in WLS from a 140 miles away on his radio, and often had success ... he liked to listen to Larry Lujack (click here). Wow. Radio changed from 1924 to 1982 ... and changed from 1982 to today, don't you think?

Sears also did other quilting stuff ... setting records that still haven't been beaten (click here).

Side Note:  WGN came from "World's Greatest Newspaper" (click here). Those folks in Chicago had a high opinion of themselves, didn't they?

What's the point of this?

Sears was Amazon a hundred years ago ... bringing us to Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ... everything has a season. How in the heck could Sears be so innovative, so ahead of the curve ... and end up like ... well ... Sears? I mean, will somebody look back in 30 years and say "I remember when Amazon Prime broadcast original programming, NFL games, NASCAR, and Pickleball.tv? Yeah, probably.

Which brings me to your business.

All of our businesses are in a constant state of dying. Mine too. If there isn't something new, clever, innovative ... something that gives the existing audience a reason to continue while attracting a new (and younger) audience, then you know where we're headed, right?

It might seem inconceivable that Amazon could end up like Sears. But Sears ended up like Sears. It's coming for all of us unless we find ways to resonate with the customer in new and interesting ways.

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