Sunday, March 26, 2006
Never have I felt so abused as a TV viewer as I did watching the NCAA men's basketball tournament on the CBS network. There were so many TV timeouts to pad the show's advertising revenue that the natural flow of the games was disrupted.
And how about those flyover ads that distract you from what programming there is? And, on many cable networks, what began as a half-hourly network ID logo in the lower right has become a continuous, more visually prominent, and larger chunk of the screen.
I want TV advertising minutes per hour regulated the way they used to be and these greedy and selfish practices stopped. If that means less profit for media companies, well, boo hoo, readjust, because the airwaves in this country belong to the people, not to the temporarily licensed custodians abusing their public grant.
I think Congress and the President are pushovers for these giant media companies. I think our elected representatives are suckers for the celebrities trotted into their offices, on the one hand to secure deregulation of broadcast ownership and practices, but on the other hand to seek longer and more stringent copyright protection for their properties to the detriment of the public domain and fair use. I think politicians are a little scared of the networks, too, because network news organizations could decide to go after any politician who doesn't vote their way.
I may come back and update this post with links to show what has happened to our television and radio; but this is a commonsense matter I am trying to start a buzz on while I'm mad as hell and not wanting to take it anymore. Even Walter Cronkite has recently criticized the networks for shortening the nightly newscast to pack in more ads.
We need a President and a Congress and an FCC that will roll these encroachments back: hold hearings on how many minutes of advertising time should be allowed, counting flyovers and network logos, which are self-advertising; and get us more choice in cable and fiber-optic Internet and entertainment access. "Cable" is not immune from regulation; cable also uses the public airwaves, for microwave and satellite links.
Here's a good overview: "The Public Interest Standard in Television Broadcasting"
UPDATE: It’s time for cable companies to face competition.
UPDATE: The Next Big Fight Over Media Ownership.
UPDATE: The National Entertainment State, 2006.
UPDATE: As the Fall Season Arrives, TV Screens Get More Cluttered.
Posted by Steve Tapp at 7:00 PM