How Did I Know?

You may use this content, but please cite (c) 2005, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein..

I suppose just about everyone is interested in the future. After all, it's where we will spend the rest of our lives, not to mention our childrens'. I have been fascinated by technology and future depictions of technology (was it Popular Mechanics or Popular Science that had the cover story of personal helicopters and another on automobiles that should have been driving themselves on the road?).

Although I cannot reduce it (sorry, Doug), I have had good luck in predicting the future of emerging communication technologies (especially popular applications) since I was an undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Here are some example predictions I made in 1978-1979:

1. The possibility of 100 or more television channels on a cable service had been discussed for years. Many skeptics scoffed at the notion, noting there would have to be a telephone book-sized TV guide, and no one could know what would be on when or on what channel. My prediction was that radio already showed us what happened when the medium was carved out into smaller audiences with network radio in decline. The result? Format radio (country, album-oriented rock (in many forms), talk, news, jazz, classical, etc. What could we learn from radio? Simple. People tuned to a station any time of day and they had a notion of what would would be on the air based on the station's format.

What did this mean for the multichannel television universe? I argued that it meant "format television." Viewers could tune to a channel and know what format (or genre) of prgramming would be on the air. I suggested channels devoted to rock concerts, sitcoms, news, sports, weather (Qube in Columbus had one channel devoted to one thing: weather radar), and even Westerns (hey, Reagan was president and Westerns had been lost in the shuffle; however, the Western channel came ouf only recently). In addition, I thought of the production costs of sporting events such as golf tournaments. Networks usually braodcast the final rounds on Saturday and Sunday, but igrnored the first rounds played on Thursdays and Fridays. In a multichannel universe, I didn't see any reason why the first rounds could be broadcast.

Hence, I envisioned a future that included something like CBS 1, CBS 2 and CBS 3, where CBS 1 might be the entertainment progeamming we were used to, CBS 2 could be CBS sports, and CBS 3 could be news (CBS radio might even help here). Format network television. Check Disney, ABC, and ESPN for an example that comes close to ABC 1, ABC 2, and ABC 3.


Post a Comment

<< Home