Off the Media Grid


Sure, we have Cox high speed Internet. And through that, we have taken control of the content that always stands ready to inundate our home. Not that the flood is a bad thing – you just need the proper spigot.

Granted, if we watched sports, the lack of cable TV would not be our choice. But we don’t, so there is nothing of a timely nature that requires the old broadcast/cablecast model here at the homestead.

TV news? Don’t watch it, haven’t for years. Don’t even have an HD antenna for the new over-air HD signals. No motivation. Cleveland stations might as well broadcast out of Indianapolis for all they speak to me, though they’d have a tough time competing there. I honestly wish that was different. But I stopped lovin’ on that sit-down-and-watch-whatever-at-the-hour-we-say a long time ago. By the time a story appears on the 6 p.m. news, it’s already been hashed over several times in other venues.

TV series, from the former Big Three to the most obscure cable channel possible? They can be watched and thoroughly enjoyed, via Netflix streaming (our choice of venue), DVD or other web sources. Must we wait till they’re released for streaming or DVD? Yes. Geez, be patient. Life happens too fast already.

So – for about a half or third the price of cable you can watch virtually anything, sans commercial, albeit on a time-shift basis.

Get right down to it, you could see pretty much watch whatever you want for free, via my friendly local library.

Frankly, we’re way behind on viewing. Having two children = for the grownups, about one hour a day of time left over for TV.

Biggest personal irony of all? I make TV for a living, and I still love it.

On the print side of things around here, the only relationship I have with the Plain Dealer is when I pick up the shopper they toss on my lawn every Sunday. Does Lakewood not have a littering ordinance? I will buy Cleveland Magazine, though – great air travel companion.

Cleveland Scene is a reliable source of things the PeeDee sniffs at, and The Independent will perform due diligence on the nearly untouchable. Both are good reads. And on-line.

Hard to compete with free.

So, by and large I get my news off the web, whether at home or via phone. A decade ago I would pick up a PeeDee because… that was all there was. I know this is no newsflash, but virtually every publication in the world is available 24/7. Why kill a tree?

Over-air radio is mostly a wasteland for this Cleveland area progressive. The Big One, WTAM-AM,  has Big Nothing for me, with the exception of Bob Becker on Saturday mornings. Even Coast to Coast AM, for the after hours crowd, has gone from fun and spooky to right-wing-toolish under George Noory. Otherwise the station just blares out hatred for the likes of me. Their advertisers can kiss my hind quarters. Other talk stations here feature second and third string trash talkers, so that they all compete for a shrinking demo, yet no station owner wants to appeal to the larger segment of potential listeners.

No question that talk radio is an ideological exercise, not a commercial one based on ratings.

Music radio is mostly a mashup programmed in some distant city. Soul-crushing boredom. Public radio? They still do news in-depth, but they nonetheless are part of the old, struggling pledge-driven model; public TV’s demo – my peers – is saving for retirement, not shelling out for programming that other cable networks do more of and better.

So I listen to Sirius when on the road, and I stream progressive radio from Seattle or play my own shuffle when at home. End of story.

Books and music are the only media that has not transformed before my eyes. Delivery methods of music have changed, but not the enjoyment I got 40 years ago and since – that remains the same. Book delivery is changing, but holding a book will likely will remain essentially the same deal.

Which is what I’ll experience, gratefully, when the Internet crashes, either in the short term or long.


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