When radio was first introduced in 1921, the technology struggled to acquire widespread acceptance in the home.
There were paperboys advertising a new print edition of a newspaper three times a day, and RCA, the market leader in radio box production, couldn’t change the idea in the market that radios were merely another delivery mechanism for news coverage.
Dempsey vs. Carpentier, the most lucrative boxing match of that age, sold more than 90,000 tickets in New Jersey and had a purse of $1.7 million.
It was the most sought-after ticket in town and a must-see for everyone.
RCA’s future CEO David Sarnoff came up with the brilliant idea of broadcasting the sporting event live over the radio.
A “nice to have” became a “must have” for the first time when Sarnoff reframed the radio as your gateway into the live event with everyone else in attendance and ushered in the age of the radio and television.
Changing the way people think about the radio from a box of news to a gadget that brings a live boxing match into your living room was a simple gesture that reframed the radio and made it a runaway hit.