Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rooftop TV Antennas

Originally, cable television was for people who lived too far away from a local TV outlet to receive it with an antenna. Consequently, Barstow, California, had cable long before Los Angeles, Chicago, or even New York City!

As a student at Tennessee Technological University, living in the dormitory, a cable box came free with the room. Without it, the only channel we could pick up was WCPT-TV, channel 55, in Crossville. That station has long since left the air (1983). We didn't have any "premium" stations. We couldn't even get WTBS in Atlanta (today's TBS). But we could get two of the three network affiliates in Knoxville, most of the stations in Chattanooga, the lone ABC affiliate in Bowling Green, Kentucky (site of then arch rival Western Kentucky University), and everything that came on in Nashville. Since we were on the dividing line between the Central and Eastern Time Zones (but living in the Central), we had to think of the clock accordingly. The 6:00 news on channel 9 (ABC) in Chattanooga came on at 5:00 in Cookeville.

A few years later, the movie channels were added then the special interest channels. Today it's possible to watch everything on TV and never watch anything airing on the local stations. Since the channels can show nothing but commercials, it's not really worth watching most that comes over the air...

I can also tell you about how, in the 1970s, when there was a tropical storm in the Pacific Ocean somewhere off the coast from Los Angeles, we could get some amazing "skips." I can remember watching something on KNBC, channel 4 (Los Angeles) in 1975. The wind blew and we were watching a news broadcast from somewhere in North Dakota. The picture was absolutely clear! You can't get that with cable!

No comments:

Post a Comment