Navigating Media Evolution: Opportunities in the Changing Landscape

The original version of this article appeared on, authored by Mark Willaman.

Consider these facts:

The aggregate total viewership of the late-night talk shows (Kimmel/Colbert/Fallon/Gutfeld), cable news shows (MSNBC/CNN/FOX), and network evening news programs (CBS/ABC/NBC) is approximately 32 million. Walter Cronkite’s nightly viewers in 1968 were 30 million – when the total population in the USA was 200 million. The recent Tucker Carlson interview with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin generated over 200 million views on Twitter during the first four days of its publishing!

The U.S. media scene is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Traditional media, grappling with financial woes and significant layoffs, contrasts sharply with the burgeoning alternative media platforms. This shift presents unique opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) aiming for media exposure.

Legacy Media in Crisis

The media industry started 2024 on a grim note, with major outlets including NPR announcing significant job cuts due to declining ad revenues. This downturn isn’t confined to national media; local newspapers are also facing extinction, with hundreds of counties now devoid of local news, a situation exacerbated by digital advertising shifts and changing consumer preferences.

The Alternative Media Surge

Despite the decline of traditional outlets, alternative media is thriving, thanks in part to a podcast market expected to reach $23.56 billion by 2023. Factors fueling this growth include public distrust in mainstream media, lower barriers to entry, and a focus on previously overlooked topics.

Platforms like Twitter, Telegram, and YouTube have enabled these new voices to bypass traditional gatekeeping, reaching audiences directly. This “bottom-up” media model, driven by diverse and independent voices, is replacing the old “top-down” approach, fostering a media landscape where trust and objectivity are paramount.

Impact on SMBs

For SMBs, the rise of alternative platforms like podcasts and blogs opens up new avenues for media coverage. These channels offer targeted reach, cost-effectiveness, and increased engagement, allowing smaller companies to share their stories with precision and creativity.


The ongoing media evolution offers a more diverse and participatory environment, challenging old paradigms and providing SMBs with unprecedented opportunities to gain visibility. As the landscape continues to shift, embracing these new platforms can help SMBs navigate the changes and carve out their space in the media narrative.