It was 50 years ago when former FCC Chairman Newt Minow declared television to be a “vast wasteland.” A blogger writing for NAB, Zamir Ahmed, agrees with the vast part. But the wasteland part? “Not a chance,” he wrote.
“While the merits of his argument were debatable then, those that would make a similar case about the current state of broadcast television would be embarking on a fool’s errand,” wrote Ahmed. “Today, broadcast stations play an integral role in local communities and fulfill their commitment to the public by offering programming that educates, enlightens, and entertains.”
He noted that even in the multichannel universe with competition from cable and satellite, broadcasters still are the source for 90 of the top shows week after week after week.
Ahmed also pointed out that broadcasters are still a primary source of news and information programming despite the new presence of 24-hour cable news channels. It was over broadcast, he noted, that most of us learned about the death of Osama bin Laden.
If a citizen wants local news, or wants information in an emergency situation, the channel will likely be tuned to a local broadcaster.
He noted the advent of multicasting, and the promise digital broadcasting holds for expansion of the medium.
Ahmed’s full blog post can be read here.