Tag Archives | Cable

Sid Vicious Does A New York Cable TV Call-In Show

During the 1970s, if you were bored you could ring your local cable variety show to speak to “the punk of your choice” about authenticity and other problems. Via Open Culture:

Late-seventies broadcast from The Efrom Allen Show on New York cable television finds the shirtless Vicious sitting on a panel with his girlfriend Nancy Spungen, Stiv Bators of the Dead Boys, and Cynthia Ross of the B Girls. “THAT’S SID VICIOUS ON YOUR SCREENS, FOLKS,” scrolling text tells the viewers. “IS SID VICIOUS? WHO CARES? CALL 473-5386 TO SPEAK TO THE PUNK OF YOUR CHOICE.”

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Verizon Files Patent For Cable Box That Watches You As You Watch Television

Another reason not to own a TV, via Yahoo! News:

A Verizon patent idea envisions spying on TV viewers for the sake of serving up related ads. For instance, a couple snuggling in front of the TV could end up getting bombarded by commercials for romantic vacations, flowers or even birth control. The system could also detect a person’s mood or identify objects such as pets, soft drink cans or a bag of chips in a person’s hand, and room decorations or furniture.

Such a patent idea would turn TV set-top boxes into spy boxes with sensors for both seeing and hearing the activity in front of the TV. Many TV viewers already own such set-top boxes to access pay-per-view services, digital video recordings and Internet streaming.

The patent filing even suggests the tracking system communicating with whatever smartphone or tablet a TV viewer might happen to have in his or her hands.

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The Saga of Captain Midnight: ‘No Regrets’ About Jamming HBO 25 Years Ago (Video)

CaptainMidnightPaul McNamara writes in Network World’s BuzzBlog:

John MacDougall, then 25, was the lonely pamphleteer of lore, only instead of paper and ink he was armed with a 30-foot transmission dish, an electronic keyboard, and a burning objection to HBO’s decision in 1986 to begin scrambling its satellite signal and charging viewers $12.95 a month.

That move and price had offended MacDougall’s sense of fair play — and all but halted the sales being generated by his fledgling satellite dish business in Ocala, Fla. So at 12:32 a.m. on Sunday, April 27, he transformed himself into Captain Midnight by commandeering HBO’s satellite transmission signal – interrupting a showing of The Falcon and the Snowman — and putting in its place the above protest message that aired for four-and-a-half minutes.

The stunt touched off a nationwide manhunt by law enforcement to unmask Captain Midnight and a media circus that has MacDougall’s head spinning to this day. He would be caught, plead guilty to a misdemeanor, and receive a wrist slap of probation and a $5,000 fine.

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Glenn Beck Considers Starting His Own Network

Glenn Beck at the Restoring Honor rally in Washington, D.C. Photo: Luke X. Martin (CC)

Glenn Beck at the Restoring Honor rally in Washington, D.C.

Oprah Winfrey got her own network, now Glenn Beck is considering it. Will a network last if it only has it’s delusional audience to rely on? The New York Times reports:

The possibility that Glenn Beck will exit the Fox News Channel at the end of the year has prompted a big question in media circles: if he leaves, how will he bring his considerable audience with him?

Two of the options Mr. Beck has contemplated, according to people who have spoken about it with him, are a partial or wholesale takeover of a cable channel, or an expansion of his subscription video service on the Web.

Reports this week that Joel Cheatwood, a senior Fox News executive, would soon join Mr. Beck’s growing media company, Mercury Radio Arts, were the latest indication that Mr. Beck intended to leave Fox, a unit of the News Corporation, when his contract expired at the end of this year.

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