>TV Revolution, part 1

>Television as we know it is going to change. Indeed, the revolution has already begun. There is no longer any need to be trapped within the confines of a broadcaster’s schedule, which is, by the diverse nature of its audience, imperfect and inapplicable to many people. The current scheduling and even business model of television was developed for a society of people who worked 9-5, made a moderate income, had a degree of disposable income and free time which could be used to recreate without compromising their financial futures.

The very businesses which were responsible for the financial futures of millions, rushed to get their products marketed to the masses via television commercials. This heavy reliance on sponsors shaped the content of the television medium, pushing it gradually into a mechanism that attracted (even developed) the perfect audience. Not only did it applaud the company man when it talked about work, but it applauded the consumer when it talked about play.

Furthermore, television programming was (necessarily) scheduled in harmony with the schedules of the middle class worker. In other words, “prime time” presented the highest quality shows on television because prime time sold the most advertising. It was marketed to the people who had the most disposable income, and was designed to educate them in more exciting ways of disposing of their income. So television had the cumulative effect of destroying initiative and productivity.

Television, as a mainstream medium, does very little to cater to artists and entrepreneurs, many of whom end up “selling out” to the status quo it represents. Both settle for creating what is saleable in this market, rather than finding the market that wants what they create. Part of this is that mainstream media propagates hostility to anything radically new or different, making the process of winning people to one’s views not worth the effort. The other part is a genuine lack of direction in such an environment.

As I understand the terms, by definition, an artist or entrepreneur must have a groundbreaking idea. The television business is based upon years, even decades, of carefully tracked ratings and marketing data, which have informed the refinement of the medium from its inception. To change anything is to make this mountain of data irrelevant, and so the one place that seems most likely to spread a groundbreaking idea, is the one place where it is not welcome.

Unfortunately for artists and entrepreneurs, television and other mainstream media has been very successful in establishing the way things are. Many people don’t know where else to look and what other sources to trust for their understanding of the world, so they default to the opinions that are most pervasive. Therefore, this hostility is not limited to the media businesses themselves, but has planted seeds of skepticism in every person one might approach directly.

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Communication

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Quotes

"For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction."

- Kahlil Gibran

"All television is educational television. The question is: what is it teaching?"
- Nicholas Johnson, author:
"We need the media to be presenting pictures of possibility not just continuing to be prophets of doom and gloom."
- Kevin Kelly, Wired

"How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortunes of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it."

- Adam Smith
"And the science is overwhelming that for creative, conceptual tasks, those if-then rewards rarely work and often do harm."
- Daniel Pink, author: Drive

"I wish we had a Problem-Solver Party because we have very big problems that need solving. And I think a lot of our attention is addressed to the wrong problems."
- David McCullough, author: 1776
"The goal shouldn't be to have a lot of people to yell at, the goal probably should be to have a lot of people who choose to listen."
- Seth Godin, author: Tribes
"The role of the media is to disseminate information, highlight important current events, and to essentially stand as a witness, an observer of cultural, political, community, and educational events. A healthy media provides a check on the government and increases the political astuteness of republican citizens."
- Stephen Palmer, The Center for Social Leadership
"Advertisers and politicians rely on a half-educated public, on people who know little outside of their own specialty, because such people are easy to deceive with so-called experts, impressive technical or sociological jargon, and an effective set of logical and psychological tricks."
- Robert Harris
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
- John Adams
"I know no safe repository of the ultimate power of society but people. And if we think them not enlightened enough, the remedy is not to take the power from them, but to inform them by education."
- Thomas Jefferson
"Fathers and mothers have lost the idea that the highest aspiration they might have for their children is for them to be wise--as priests, prophets or philosophers are wise. Specialized competence and success are all that they can imagine."
- Allan Bloom, author: The Closing of the American Mind
"He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."
(Proverbs 13:20)
"If you are not a thinking man, to what purpose are you a man at all."

- Samuel Taylor Coleridge
"I learn a lot from TV. Everytime someone turns one on, I go in the other room and read a book."
- Groucho Marx, comedian: Duck Soup
"There are two freedoms - the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought."
- Charles Kingsley

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