How We Watch TV

Friday, December 28, 2012


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 moustache-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


Peter Kafka

Hosted by:

Brooke Gladstone

Produced by:

Katya Rogers and PJ Vogt

Comments [10]

Avery St. Clair from San Francisco

OTM is always interesting, listenable programming. But the How We Watch TV segment this week was puzzling -- no hint that there's a perfectly viable option NOT to watch. No one needs to watch television at all. I believe you should have included, among the commentators representing consumer behaviors, a "control" who finds TV irrelevant, who doesn't support the cable barons in any way at all.

Dec. 31 2012 11:13 PM
Stacy Harris from Nashville, TN

If there's a way those of us cable subscribers who don't watch sports programming can band together so that we can lower our cable bills, I'm on board. Just as I'm tired of my insurance premiums escalating to subsidize the uninsured, paying higher prices on almost everything I buy due to "shrinkage," and forking over more than my fair share to purchase products I consume or services I receive, I want to send a message to Congress that the disproportionate "Disney" cable TV tax should only be assessed those who specifically demand that their cable subscriptions include sports programming.

Stacy Harris
Publisher/Executive Editor/Media Critic
Stacy's Music Row Report

Dec. 30 2012 11:15 PM

This program ends with a nice song about Television ( one can hear it in the last minute of the program segment .) Who sang that song and when ?

Dec. 30 2012 11:09 PM
Walt Jaschek from St. Louis

Just arrived with the same exact question as Kwilly from NYC: what TV show did Brooke call "awesome" on today's show? Was it Breaking Bad? Or Homeland? If so, she was right. By the way, I'm a cord-cutter who gets NO commercial TV coming into my house at ALL, and I see a limited amount of shows from DVD, YouTube or iTunes.

Dec. 30 2012 06:26 PM
kwilly from NYC

Can anybody make out what Brooke Gladstone (or was it Katya Rogers?) says near the end, when Peter Kafka says that there's "Let's admit: There's some awesome TV." Someone says, "Yes! Like x." Kafka says, "Yes, there you go" and Gladstone says, "It's the best ever!" I'm curious to know what they're so thrilled about!

Dec. 30 2012 03:27 PM

Regarding the statement that even basic cable has ESPN is not correct, as I have basic cable and I do not have this option. I even went on the cable and it is not there. Excepting for PBS, it is a wasteland .

Dec. 30 2012 10:55 AM

My last (and first) TV blew up in the mid-90's. I had dropped cable years before and watched mainly PBS and some news. After a few weeks I went to the video store. I saw a wall the entire length of the store flashing at me in unison. An alarm went off and a shiver up my spine. I turned around and left and haven't looked back. Now I listen to public radio and catch my news on the internet. I couldn't imagine what I'd do with 500 channels or whatever.

Dec. 29 2012 10:00 PM

"...if you don't get TV for a day you freak out." Nope, I'm pretty sure there are a lot of us who just don't watch. The only thing you discuss that I pay for is an internet connection, and hardly ever download content, and only then free content. I'm 53 years old and don't see that I'm missing much of anything by skipping television in its myriad forms. The few times I'm in the room at someone's house and the box is on, the jumpy, cut-up nature of it drives me out of the room in fairly short order.

What are the alternatives? A few -- Read books. Listen to TED talks and School of Life sermons. These are much more interesting, much more thought provoking.

Dec. 29 2012 07:24 AM
Rick Evans from 10473

Hey, Brooke. There is still that ORIGINAL fourth way to get TV if you don't care about ESPN or HBO. It's called a UHF antenna. Yes we are a small minority but by ignoring us public radio gives the impression of being a bunch of payTV shills and sock-puppets.

Dec. 29 2012 06:23 AM
Robin Datta from Fresno, CA

I last watched TV for a month or two after I got back from Bushdaddy's war. The most remarkable thing was an entirely new set of commercials. Since then the only times I have seen TVs were in patient's rooms while at work. Since I retired three years ago, the only TV I have seen on was a widescreen at a friend's . My last TV set was not turned on for over a decade since my father moved to an assisted living facility, and even that I gave away two years ago.

But it continues to be a very effective method of controlling the lumpenproletariat.

Dec. 29 2012 05:38 AM

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