Living history

I’ve been around the broadcasting business now for 37 years, and in that time I’ve lived through a lot of what’s known as history.

I remember when cable first was birthed, and the engineers at the station laughed because it wasn’t up to “broadcast standards.”

I remember brainstorming a music video channel with co-workers in Milwaukee and coming to the conclusion that it wouldn’t work, because the music industry wouldn’t license the music for it.

I remember when CNN was born, and all of us big‑J journalist types looked down our noses at it with disdain and an assurance that it would never work.

I remember when networks actually paid affiliates to be a part of their distribution chain.

I remember when “must-carry” came along and affiliates were in the driver’s seat with the cable companies.

I remember when video tape replaced film in newsrooms and how all the photographers at first laughed and then cried when they went from a lightweight CP-16a film camera to an RCATK76 AND a portable tape recorder. It would never work, they said.

I’ve been through 45s, albums, 8‑tracks, cassettes and CDs.

I was there when Betamax duked it out with VHS and lost.

I remember when I got my first computer and when our newsroom underwent the transition from those floating rundown devices to computerized versions.

I remember my first experience with a station Website, and how we all viewed it as a pain-in-the-ass.

And for the last ten years, I’ve been working in this world called the internet, and I just shake my head when I hear familiar refrains about quality and how this thing or that “won’t work.” I look out at YouTube,,, and thousands of vlogs and other forms of what Jeff Jarvis calls “small TV.” How can we be so stupid, I ask myself, not to see what’s really happening in the world of video and video news?

Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt said recently, “…we specifically formed the view in 1994 that the Internet ought to replace broadcast television…”

That’s ancient history in terms of the Web, but it clearly states what now is obvious.


  1. Terry,
    You’ve got seven years on me. But I well remember the TK76 days — I worked for the fledgling broadcast division of Sony when we launched our TK — killer, the BVP300 — half the weight of the TK, better pictures — but a certain Canadian broadcaster (not the CBC) wouldn’t buy them because “they weren’t rugged enough.” The same network technical director said “Betacam will never talk off.” It got to the point that you could predict success for any product this guy dissed. Those were the days.

    My first camera (in my first company) was a Sony BVP330 recording to a BVU-50 portable recorder in 1981. The glass on the front of the camera alone was worth about $15K. The Sony HVR-Z1U HDV camera I use today (at 6K CDN) is a galaxy apart in quality, image and size. And the oddest thing is that the HD footage I’m shooting is primarily ending up as 16x9 Flash videos at a size of 320 by 180 pixels. And the viewers love the quality.

    We live in interesting times. Thanks for your recent link to rosenblumtv. He is just as important a voice as you are.

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