As a kid growing up in this rural area of upstate New York, we could drive and pick up local radio stations from Binghamton, Cortland, Ithaca, Owego, and other areas. It did not matter whether the stations were AM or FM. The exception might have been with WENE as they reduced their power at night. So, with AM radio, we could pick up WKBW out of Buffalo, WABC our of New York City, or WQXR (classical music) out of New York City. We could even received Wheeling, West Virginia AM late at night. Try to do any of this today.
What do we get today? Driving to Owego, NY, on NYS 38 and encounter the “mountains” (hills”) north of Owego and few of the stations come in. When I once drove to a job at IBM Federal Systems Division (today, Lockheed Martin), I never ever remember losing a local station by the hills to the east of NYS 38. Today, we do.
We had a large antenna at the top of our home (2 stories plus a large attic). With this antenna, we could pick up Binghamton AND Syracuse television stations. That was VHF. We could put up a special UHF antenna to pick up additional (besides VHF 12) Binghamton channels and Elmira channels. Try to do that today and I am told it is near impossible. So we are stuck with only one source. Spectrum “cable” TV and Internet. We experience buffering and often a connection with Spectrum which reminds me of the wait we had for a 1950s vacuum tube television to power up.
Due to the hills here, we were one of the first areas, along with those in the hills of Pennsylvania, to get wired for cable television. Now we were able to receive clearer pictures, particularly on the local UHF channels, but also with ABC channel 9 (VHF) out of Syracuse. What a thrill that was!
But we had a choice. Either use cable television or use, possibly upgrade, our own antennas. Here we are in the 21st Century and, due to the FCC, we don’t have choices. How much money rolls into the FCC from the big corporate conglomerates, in order to give us this centralized supply-side economics? Your guess is as good as mine.
In those years, the FCC utilized the Fairness Doctrine of the late 1940s bipartisan effort, to moderate what was on the air. The idea, too, was to not allow one ownership in a local area of ALL the media. Boy, has that changed today. This idea was a smart idea so that one company did not own it all. The ownership was spread around to others. Seems to me that Gannett owned one of the local Binghamton stations (today Fox 40, which was once WINR Television and broadcasting the NBC network). Today, Seem to remember that the rules changed and WINR had to be sold. The result was NBC WiCZ 40 and WINR Radio. All done to spread the ownership around, rather than allowing big centrally controlled supply-side economics companies to own an entire market, as what is allowed today.
OK. So, the power of local television and radio broadcasts is reduced. Got ya! Yes, so we can have the all thumbs approach to more mobile phones, the bandwidth for local television and radio had to be reduced. All thumbs and access to nothing but Internet, fake and false news. Destruction of local news outlets, whether newspapers with local INFORMATION (not just news) in detail. Plus, the loss of local television and radio by numerous owners who could vary what the public received in news and entertainment.
Oh, sure. Now we have channel 12, but also MeTV. We have My 8 (whatever that is). All these additional ones are on top of CBS, NBC, ABC. It’s nice because the PBS television can add extra channels for kids, create TV, and perhaps others.
But try to receive this myriad of stations and channels here in “country bumpkin” land of rural Tioga County. There might just be a clearer line, with less hills, to Elmira, Ithaca, and Syracuse. Yet, the distance and the weaker channels preclude us from receiving such. And the FCC says Spectrum cannot put the additional channels out for us to receive. Tough rules based on what the supply-side economics corporations want from the top of their “divine right” stools.”
How many other rural areas face this obstacle in America? I don’t remember rural areas being treated like chopped liver (or stools of shit) in those years gone by, just because we had a less dense population.
All thanks to the Internet and mobile phones. I can recall that Spectrum in Florida denied us mobile phones three times. Three times we mentioned we needed the phones delivered to us in South Florida. Three times, we received acknowledgement that, “oh, yeah, we understand you have not yet moved to Melbourne, so w will send to your South Florida address.” That in a state where people are so mobile.
Never happened. By the third strike, one got rather angry at being treated in such a lousy manner. And here we are. In upstate New York with Spectrum and no other choices for Internet.
Mobile phones and Internet are more important than local television, radio, and newspapers. How perverted will America get, beyond just what I have described? It is disgusting.
And all the digital technology has moved outside the USA, while President Biden and the Democrats would like to do something about such a situation, from infrastructure to regulatory concerns. And what do Republicans do? Sabotage President Biden and the Democrats.
I just have to say all this because it disgusts me with regard to local control we once had when IBM was here in the Southern Tier. Now, it all flies out the window.
And we live happily ever after.