"When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there for a day without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland." -- Newton Norman Minow as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission in a speech given to the National Association of Broadcasters convention on May 9, 1961
The newly arrived RVs at the campground were setting up this afternoon. After hooking up to shore power, water, and sewer, the next item was to get a TV signal from a communication satellite. Those RVers on a smaller budget set up the tripod and mounted the dish. They then proceeded to point the dish at that satellite 22,000 miles out in space. Soon there were the beeps and whines from the signal finders of the TV or the gadget until a picture is seen on the TV.
At one time, I was one of those RVers. However, most times my subscription to DirecTV was on vacation. Six months (or whatever that time was) later, billing started again. TV may have been a wasteland in 1961. Today it is a garbage dump.
I make the wild assumption that little has changed since I watched TV three to four years ago. That was when I quit the TV habit permanently. From the 200 channels, there were less than a dozen channels that I watched. The ones I recall were Discovery, History, Learning Channel and PBS out of New York. To get PBS, more money was shelled out for the east and west coast feeds from DirecTV.
The most frustrating thing was watching a one hour "educational show" on the History or Discovery channel. Every ten to fifteen minutes there were two to three minutes of commercials. The show returned as the narrator spent several minutes reviewing what was already seen. At the end of an hour, there may have been 35-40 minutes of "education". So I acquired one of those TIVO type devices. The shows were recorded and they were never viewed. It took a long time to realize I wasn't a TV watcher.
Essentially I was paying about $70 a month for four channels which I watched for perhaps a total of seven hours a week. Maybe. There were better ways to spend $70 a month. Buys lots of books.
Never been much of a TV watcher. Born before TV, I didn't grow up with the TV habit. At the University of Wisconsin, TV watching was at a bar on State Street. As a family man, I was reading or constructing something most times. That personal computer (an Apple IIe) in 1981 provided another diversion.
Looking back, I realize that the TV was there for others. It was a habit to have a TV in the house. Fortunately the TV habit was kicked.
A piece of trivia: The S. S. Minnow of the 1964–1967 television show "Gilligan's Island" was sarcastically named for N.N. Minow to express displeasure with his assessment of the quality of television.