An Idea That Never Was – The Radio Newspaper

Have you ever thought about ideas that could have been great but never were? We’ve missed out on a lot of great things. One example being the radio newspaper.

Back in 1934, radio was the high demand technology of the time, and a man by the name of W.G.H. Finch was about to revolutionize this new format. This sounds big, but you’re probably never heard of him, right? That’s because his idea never really went anywhere….

W.G.H. Finch had, in some ways, seen the future. Radio waves were carrying information from towers into homes all around the world, and if voices could be delivered, why not text and images?

Picture of W.G.H. Finch, the inventor of the radio newspaper (via smithsonianmag.com)

W.G.H. Finch, the inventor of the radio newspaper (via smithsonianmag.com)

 

This is how the “radio newspaper” was (sort of) born. It was a radio and printer all in one, able to print entire newspapers for you every night, and it was genius for its time! In fact, it paved the way for fax machines and wireless printers.

So what went wrong? Why have you never heard of a radio newspaper?

Well, the short answer is… a lot of things. The timing, the FCC regulations, whatever you’d like to blame it on, it failed because of struggles.

That’s the thing about great ideas, they come with struggles.

What if W.G.H. Finch had pushed harder? What if he got creative and developed a new wireless frequency that didn’t conflict with radio signals? What if he had pushed through the red tape and made the “radio newspaper” as common as household computers?

Sounds kind of crazy doesn’t it? Way too many “what ifs”!

Well, In 1977, something similar happened, but with a much different result. The “home computer” was invented.

At the time, this idea was crazy. Computers were only for big research labs and large corporations, so what kind of everyday suburban family would pay for one of those things?

It wasn’t easy, but Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak began to push through the challenges, forming what we know as Apple today. And yes, they had a lot of struggles along the way (Jobs even being fired from his own company), but that didn’t stop either of them.

No matter how you feel about Apple, they paved the way for what we see as a normal way of life now. The simple idea to make computers part of our everyday lives wasn’t so crazy after all.

Photo of Mac on a table by Ruthson Zimmerman

Photo by Ruthson Zimmerman

If an idea is easy to execute, it isn’t going to change the world.

I bet you have a great idea right now. One that keeps you up some nights and you have pages of notes about. It seems like a never ending cycle of dreaming of what could be. So what’s stopping you from making it a reality?

Is it time? Too many hurtles? Not enough resources?

Whatever it is, a truly great idea is worth getting creative to make happen. Learn to manage time better, find ways around those hurtles, and look for ways to get more resources.

If you’ve decided a great idea is impossible, you’ve already doomed it to fail.

Get obsessed about how you spend your time.

Time is the one thing that every great idea needs. Time to find ways around hurdles, time to get more resources, time to plan, etc.

Over the past few years I’ve grown to understand that time is the most valuable resource we have. It can be spent in many ways but never refunded or earned.

So if you’re big idea hasn’t seen the light of day, what have you been doing with your time?

I’ve recently asked myself this question. It seemed like life kept getting in the way at every turn and my big ideas seemed harder and harder to conquer.

In an attempt to find some clarity, I wrote down seven things I do to save time as a reminder that I am in control. But after writing those and this article, I realized how helpful it might be to share those time savers with you in a helpful and meaningful way.

↑ Even the info you’ll receive here was an idea that almost never was. It took a small amount of work to write down what I do, but it took much more work to share how I it and package that into daily achievable goals.

Trust me, if I can have an idea and make it a reality, you can too. Please don’t give up on your dream.

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