In a nutshell, part of the budget reduction plans going through the American government right now involve auctioning off some of the airwaves used by local television stations. According to the website thefutureoftv.org around 1/6th of Americans get their television through free means (which means the other 250 million or so pay for it (like me – a huge schmuck)). Last time I checked the FCC’s job isn’t to sell the public airwaves to private companies so we can lose our access to them; their job is to lease these signals to various companies so they can provide us with entertainment and information – information necessary for a functioning democracy (or republic if you want to get technical).
While watching a rerun of Star Trek: The Next Generation I saw an advertisement for this website (The Future of TV). According to them the American government is moving to sell more of our public airwaves to private companies, therefore making access to information for lower income Americans more difficult. Personally I didn’t like the idea of moving from analog broadcasts to digital ones about two years ago but I’m in the minority here; now, according to this website’s propaganda, access to basic information is being threatened. Their main argument is that by creating less competition the corporations gaining access to these signals will raise their prices (since they’re the only game in town) and they claim this is un-American. If their argument is valid I have to agree.
While I don’t use a basic antenna and pay for my television I believe it’s wrong to take public airwaves and give them to private companies. These are public airwaves and the FCC is just guarding them for us…supposedly. We’re already under constant bombardment by various institutions telling us what to think, buy, think is funny or sad, and so forth but television is good for more than just commercial programming – it’s also good for receiving information pertinent to our lives. Also, I live in Florida and don’t think it’s prudent to block information regarding weather (such as hurricanes) from people just because they’re broke.
Click here to check out the website I’m discussing. If I’m wrong about their agenda and what’s going on please let me know. From what I can see I think this is a bad move but I’m open to information which would change my mind. However, I’m fairly confident I’m not happy with the American government’s latest string of decisions – after all, Orlando just lost its local PBS affiliate. Luckily it was picked up by the University of Central Florida (UCF) but it’s a travesty the local university has to take over for the Public Broadcasting System. Plus, you have to have cable to receive it and that’s just wrong that people of a lower socioeconomic class can’t watch Sesame Street anymore.
Here is the commercial I saw while watching the antics of Captain Picard, Commander Riker, and the rest of the Enterprise D gang.