Television's Trying Times

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Friday, May 25, 2012

On the Media explores the world of television, including how the industry is coping with changing consumer habits, the future of the communal viewing experience, and television on the web.

TV Hijackers

On a Sunday evening in the late 1980's, two or more unknown men hijacked the signal for two Chicago area TV stations. They broadcast a spooky, subversive, disturbing message -- twice. Brooke talks to Bohus Blahut, a Chicago broadcaster, who saw the broadcast and was unable to forget it. 


Doctor Who Theme - Delia Derbyshire/Ron Grainer

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How We Watch TV

There are a lot of ways to watch TV -- free streaming online, via a traditional cable or satellite package, paying for services like Hulu Plus, etc. But the TV industry makes vastly different amounts of money depending on how you choose to watch. We invited Peter Kafka, media reporter for the website All Things Digital to play the part of a mustache-twirling cable baron and explain which of our staffers have viewing habits he can support and why.

Earle Hagen and Herbert W. Spencer - The Fishin' Hole

Red Foley - Television

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Chaos Scenario Revisitied

Back in 2005, Bob explained his Chaos Scenario about the future of media--including TV.  Now, he reflects back on predictions he made and the status of television viewing today.


Baba O'Riley - The Who

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Is Online-Only TV Ready For Prime Time?

This year the Upfronts - the model that was once used by television channels to sell advertising and show off their slate of shows - was passed to a new platform – online.  Digital programmers held the first ever event to show off their online programming, called the Newfronts.  Bob talks to Sahil Patel, reporter for the online trade publication Cynopsis, about what the brave new world of online-only TV holds in store.

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Producing Television for the Internet

The world of shows produced expressly for consumption on the web seems to be expanding rapidly, attracting not only amateurs with cameras, but seasoned Hollywood veterans. Brooke talks to culture reporter Alyssa Rosenberg, and the co-creators of the web series Husbands, Brad Bell and Jane Espenson,

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The Incredible Value of Live Sports

Live sports broadcasts account for a big part of your cable bill. Why? Because cable providers know they can count on sports to draw large audiences even as audiences shrink for other types of programming. Peter Kafka of the website All Things Digital returns to talk with Bob about the remarkable rise of ESPN and the importance of live sports to the cable ecosystem. 


Will We Ever Watch TV Together Again?

Web TV services, DVRs, and on-demand TV encourage us to ignore the broadcast schedule and watch at our convenience. So what will become of the experience of watching the same show at the same time as your friends? Bob sits down with David Carr, media critic at the New York Times and Matt Zoller Seitz, New York magazine's TV critic, to see if the water cooler will evolve or perish.

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When is it OK to Spoil?

People who watch TV when it actually airs and blab about it online can ruin it for those of us who watch shows at our leisure. Their excited Twitter chatter about the great twist in last night’s Mad Men is frustrating if you haven’t yet watched last night’s Mad Men. New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum is a prolific tweeter who began grappling with this problem after Twitter users complained about a phenomenon they called Nussbombing. She talks to Brooke about her evolving system of spoiler etiquette.


Big Joe Turner - TV Mama

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