TV Hijackers

Friday, May 25, 2012


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


Bohus Blahut

Hosted by:

Bob Garfield and Brooke Gladstone

Comments [2]

Often when we complain about our cable bill (Comcast, over $150/mo with no premium channels), we are treated as if we are idiots. Look at all the free TV they say. But digital signals in our home range from good to nonexistent and seem to vary with every breeze or cloud passing by. And digital signals, unlike the analog signals, do not degrade gracefully. You can watch or not watch. There is no in-between.

Or there's the "pay for Hulu+, watch on the internet" crowd. How can people who buy 48" TVs assert that one should watch TV on a wi-fi connected tablet with a low-end DSL connection? If one adds up the cost for their fast broadband, services such as Hulu, and a TV capable of receiving internet content or a box to make an old-fashioned TV internet friendly, well, I'm not sure they're saving much if any money over basic cable.

But, more specifically, the reason our cable bill is so high is that we subscribe to 4 different foreign-language packages which together cost about as much as basic cable. The programs we watch on those channels are rarely available online. (Parts of some programs may show up on YouTube, with varying degrees of quality, but it is hit or miss.) Many TV networks in other countries, even when they provide video for a program, block access to foreigners.

In short, we feel trapped. We watch at most a dozen "pure" cable channels, if one excludes the standard broadcast networks. Yet we pay for several hundred. And we have no option. Satellite service is not available in our location and, having looked at the offerings (before we discovered it was a no-go), there appeared to be little or no price differentical.

It is hard for us to conceive of a delivery system other than cable or satellite which would provide us equivalent access to TV produced in other countries.

May. 27 2012 05:36 PM
Evan from Santa Monica

Thank you for mentioning this! I only found out about this a year ago, but there's still something haunting about it.

May. 27 2012 12:02 PM

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