Saturday, June 8, 2013

STOP CABLE TV! (in 1969?)

My love of television was no doubt fueled by growing up in one of the first communities in the USA to have cable TV. Although Cable originated in the late-1950s, the Triad area of North Carolina was chosen for a rapid expansion in the late-1960s.

A multi-channel concept was a no-brainer for folks in New York or San Diego but would people in the 'fly over' states actually pay for something they were essentially getting for free? It was thought at one time that only folks who got very bad reception would even want Cable.

An aggressive campaign against cable TV was waged in 1969 by local TV broadcasters and movie theater owners who felt threatened by the idea of multiple channels and clear reception. There was even an alarmist ad that ran with the movie previews in the theaters that warned of the slippery slope that would come with the dreaded wire.

Oh, you don't believe me do you? Here it is:

TV blof - cable TV 1973For whatever reason my dad subscribed to Cablevision (as it was called then) so we were treated to Superstations in Washington and Chicago as well as our locals (we had three UHF independents). Eventually WTBS replaced WGN.

Here's an ad for the Cablevision service from 1972 - 10 whole channels! We also got HBO when it was first offered in 1973 or so -  they seemed to play the same 30 movies over and over, month after month. It took a long time for HBO to shake that image and win over subscribers.

I saw a headline, 'Remember When TV Was Free?' When everyone cuts the cable, TV will be free again... hell, they'll pay YOU to take it, they'll force you to have it. The absurdity of paying to have 20 minutes of commercials dumped into your home every hour? One day they'll laugh at the idea. I am already...