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Vast Wasteland My Ass–Why Newton Minow Wasn’t the Programming Shark He Thought He Was When He Coined That Famous Phrase

Apr 21, 2011  •  Post A Comment

It was close to 50 years ago that then-Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton Minow made his famous speech in which he coined the term "vast wasteland" referring to much of the programming on TV.

In a provocative guest blog in TVWeek’s Open Mic department, Norman Horowitz, the former top executive of a number of TV companies, explains why Minow was wrong then and is still wrong today. Please click here to read this most insightful piece.

One Comment

  1. What can one say? Norman confirms and epitomizes the worst suspicions we harbor about TV (or should I say tv?) – that broadcast television programming decisions, for the most part, have been and will always be, by virtue of its structure, based on laziness, greed and paranoia. If broadcasters could get away with broadcasting just commercials and no programming they would. I’m sure many of them have erotic fantasies of selling dead air and calling a test pattern “a special”.
    To them, eyeballs are simply a commodity to be counted, parsed and sold; not educated, uplifted and enlightened. I’m willing to be he’s an admirer of Jerry Springer, whose show I have always considered an obscenity.
    Norman doesn’t refute the “…vast wasteland” argument, he only confirms it. Go sell something, Norman. Sell something to that precious demo that your self-serving smugness helped you to loose to a truly democratic (so far) medium: the Internet!
    One can proudly prop up a dying model only so long before the shear effort becomes unbearable. Newton Minow was really about “changing channels”.

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