Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Reading: Wu, Tim. Ch. 16 and 19 in The Master Switch; Campbell, W. Joseph. “Fright Beyond Measure? The Myth of The War of the Worlds.” Post thoughts about the reading here for discussion.


  1. I found this weeks reading on Ted Turner to be very interesting because I have researched Turner in the past. As silly as it sounds the first time I heard of Turner was because I went to his restaurant, Teds Montana Grill (which has the best burgers ever) a few years ago. Through his broadcasting stations, he really changed the way the television business was run. Before Turner made the superstition and CNN, it was an era of where most American families only got 3 or 4 stations. If they were not watching the local stations, the only way that people got their news was through the paper. It was an era where local stations had power and advertising revenue because of this lack of alternatives. Turners new stations, along with the rise of cable killed this business plan. Now, people could get their news 24-7 from a large national network. Turners gave people more of a choice of where to get their news, similar to the rise of the internet in the 1990's.

  2. First of all -- lololol at AOL.

    But seriously, the AOL/Time Warner merger should've been brilliant. It seems Time Warner finally learned that instead of resisting new media, you should accept and even better, invest in it. But, you can't expect users to pay for both Time Warner and AOL, there needed to be a more effective system to get users to have both.

    As I look at the AOL diagram, I have to think: how long could AOL have lasted? Obviously it didn't, so I'm curious to know how long AOL thought they could hold out with this system until phone companies cut out the middle man.

    When Levin says, "There's something about being able to say, 'I'm the CEO of the world's largest media company'" speaks to his true intentions that blinded the ability to actually make him that, at least in the short term. In reality, all Levin needed was a little divine intervention.


  3. Chapter 16 dealt with the transformation of the cable industry due to the work of ted Turner, founder of CNN. the author wrote that, “cable offered choices really only in the commercial range - enough, however, to suggest what a truly open medium could deliver to the nation, for better and for worse” pg 216. But I would disagree with this assertion that when given the freedom to direct programming, the nation will always choose the commercial. Today cable television programming broadcasts a wide range of programming, from the commercial to the elevated. I think the author made this assumption before taking into account the rise of really great cable television shows like Mad Men, Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, The Wire and etc.

    I remember getting the AOL CD’s in the mail. We used to get so many of them that I would break them up into pieces and use them in art class to make shiny mosaics. AOL became a joke. And now thanks to Chapter 19, I know why. The wild speculation and then the dot com crash, and the timing of Steve Case and all those mismanaged mergers; somehow all culminated in having 12 copies of the same program CD.

  4. I think these two chapters were by far the most interesting. I loved learning about Ted Turner, who he really was...and who he really Knowing someone's background truly gives into who they are as a person and why they are a certain way. It's interesting to see how cable has transformed today. Cable was so important when it first came out. Cronkite would have about 20 million viewers a night!

    Ted Turner carried out his word when he said, "I can do more today in communications than any conquerer ever could have done, I want to be the hero of my country."

    Look what he has started, how it has changed history. The impact cable has made from presidential debates to trusted news sources.

    Nevertheless, after meeting with Ted Koppel tonight, he said something that I really thought made sense. He said that if we did away with cable news networks (MSNBC, FOX) then American democracy would change (in a positive way) drastically. He emphasized the importance of objective news. The question is, did we ever get it to begin with?

    As for AOL...I think we never really thought too much past it...or the progression of "AOL." I remember having "aim" was the coolest thing, ever. But once technology was clear they wouldn't last much longer.