On today’s The Writer’s Almanac, I read that this is the anniversary of the first paid radio commercial in 1922. Ah, so that’s where it all began! Herbert Hoover thought it shouldn’t be allowed.
I had to have a small laugh because I know how my husband absolutely hates the commercials, feels there are more and more of them every day, and believes it’s all a conspiracy. It drives him crazy when he switches channels when a commercial pops up during, say, a motor race, only to find that the other channel he was watching, flipping back and forth, is also running a commercial. We don't, as we once did with broadcast, get these programs for free. It annoys him that he has to endure the ads even while paying a hefty monthly fee.
It does seem to me that many channels proliferate just for the income of it, not for the service. I remember in years past hearing the annual broadcast channels announce the renewal of their licenses. Part of their license to broadcast was their service to the community. Anyone who disagreed with the license renewal could complain to the FCC. Not anymore! Cable channels, like many under the Discovery banner, consist of repeats, repeats, repeats, strung together with a boatload of commercials. Many old shows are pulled apart and reassembled a bit differently and touted as being new. Even the staid BBC fills its daily schedule with reruns of the ever angry Gordon Ramsey, Top Gear, and Star Trek: The Next Generation, which is now over 20 years old. It costs little to repeat some of these productions ad nauseam, and the income from the commercials must be quite handsome.
Such is the way of the word these days. If it were just me here, I’d be happy to stick to the PBS channels, making my annual contributions in lieu of all those ads.