Random Acts of Thinking - Broadcasting & Cable

Random Acts of Thinking

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I noted that during the Senate Commerce Committee FCC oversight Hearing Thursday, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who raked broadcasters over the coals, first referred to "broadcasters," then quickly corrected himself to add "commercial" to the collective noun. Henceforth, his opprobrium was directed at "commercial broadcasters."

He opined that they aired no news except, murder-chasing on cable, and produced only junk and sex and scandal. Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln.

The amendment to add "commercial" was unsurprising given that Rockefeller's wife, Sharon, runs noncommercial WETA Washington, which is junkless, sexless and scandal-less. Well, two out of three. If memory serves, WETA was one of the stations gusty enough, god love it, in those halcyon days before indecency crackdowns and when I was a teenage boy, to air that delicious teleplay, Steambath, about God as a Puerto Rican Janitor in a San Francisco steam bath populated by gay men and a frontally, sidely, sort-of-nude showering Vallerie Perrine (whatever happened to her, by the way).

I am told by someone who ought to know that Steambath virtually evaporated after an indecency complaint not long after it aired, so I guess the halcyon days were further back than I remember.

By John Eggerton

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