Last night in New Media class, I had a moment of — epiphany? despair? irony? — while giving my report on uses and gratifications theory. I was talking about growing up in Austin with just one TV station: the CBS affiliate KTBC, which was owned by Lady Bird Johnson.
The closest NBC and ABC stations were in San Antonio. If you had a big outside antenna, you could get them. We didn’t, so most of the time we got fuzzy, snowy pictures that weren’t worth watching.
About 80 percent of the class appeared not to fathom that. I felt like part of an oral history project; someone should have been recording me talking about the days of “old media” for the Library of Congress. It is very strange to be part of “living history” and still be alive and kicking.
According to Wikipedia, I am not remembering this correctly. The Wiki article on KTBC says it actually carried shows from all three networks: 65 percent were CBS programs, and the remaining 35 percent were split between NBC and ABC. I sure don’t remember it like that, but if it’s on Wikipedia, it must be true, right?
It was a huge deal when UHF station Channel 42 signed on, because we could get NBC programs. The Wik says Channel 42 began broadcasting in 1965, which means I probably did see some of the original “Star Trek” broadcasts in 1966 and 1967 on NBC.