As we celebrate our 80th birthday with the third of three special issues, we do so at a fascinating, crucial and sometimes daunting time in the television and content delivery business. And that's exactly how we like it. For 80 years, Broadcasting & Cable has kept you out front of the latest news in the business, and we are showing no signs of slowing down. One of my favorite aspects of our job is the interaction with the newsmakers in our world-from the boldface names in the CEO suites to those we see on camera. We love to cover your latest moves, to talk with you about why you do what you do, to offer our readers context and analysis that unfortunately is becoming less and less prevalent in today's media world. So as we turn 80, we thought it a good time to pull up and tap into a handful of those great minds and address some of the most compelling topics in the business. And we decided to eliminate the middleman. With that, we asked some of the most influential people in our industry to put pen to page. We asked them to share with us-and you-their thoughts on some of the most important issues in our business today, from broadcast to cable to the Internet, affecting everyone from Hollywood to Madison Avenue to the Beltway.
Below, you will find:
- Veteran journalist Ted Koppel on the dangers of the news business giving viewers what they want to see, rather than what they need to know.
- CBS chief Leslie Moonves, perhaps the broadcasting industry's greatest cheerleader, on the ongoing, important impact of network television.
- Discovery creator John Hendricks on the power of branding and the crucial need to stick to your brand once it's established.
- Longtime sportscaster Al Michaels on what remains the most important aspect of sports broadcasting, even as technology constantly changes the game.
- FCC chairman Julius Genachowski on the vital nature of broadband.
- Former Vice President Al Gore on the importance of independent news voices.
At the same time, this week we look back and forward with our trademark wink and a smile, as we celebrate being 80 and fabulous with:
- A year-by-year look at some of the biggest moments in television throughout our history.
- You know all of those 30 under 30 and 40 under 40 lists? We love those, but we don't discriminate here at B&C, so we offer our "8 over 80" -- a look at eight big names in our business who are doing better than ever.
- Dating back to the days when we were just called Broadcasting, our classifieds have always been a go-to place for people looking for that first-- or next -- big job move. So we highlight one such story, and show you where you can find (and share) many more great stories of people who got hired out of these pages.
- Where do station call letters actually come from? Our hard-hitting news team goes inside this highly volatile story.
We hope you enjoy our little look back and forward as we celebrate turning 80 in style. And here's to 80 more years of covering the business we love.
-- Ben Grossman, B&C Editor-in-Chief
Giving the Public What It Wants, at a Price
By Ted Koppel
In the days before texting and emails and tweeting, the high cost of cabling or telexing, when messages were priced by the word, put a premium on an economy of language. Reporters were expected to save their organizations money by employing the fewest words and the tersest form of cablese. Following a dispute with an editor, Ernest Hemingway memorably demonstrated the form by tendering his resignation with this commendable example of economy: "Upshove job asswise."
Why Network Television is Just Getting Warmed Up
By Leslie Moonves
On the remarkable occasion of Broadcasting & Cable's 80th anniversary, I'd like to take this opportunity to celebrate the incredible lasting power of another institution in our industry: network television.
Resist the Temptation, Stick to Your Brand
By John S. Hendricks
When the idea for Discovery Channel came to me in the spring of 1982, I had a clear vision for what I wanted the network to be a showcase for the type of compelling nonfiction programming that had inspired me, such as Carl Sagan's Cosmos and great BBC documentary series like the Ascent of Manand Kenneth Clark's Civilisation. What I didn't have was a brand. I remember leafing through periodicals such as Broadcasting magazine, looking at the early television network broadcast brands, as well as the new cable brands that were springing up across the country.
The Game is the Game
By Al Michaels
I have one of the world's great jobs. And so I often tell people that if reincarnation does exist and God wants to get even with me in my next life, I'll be working in a sulphur mine. In Mongolia.
The Search for Intelligent Discourse
By Al Gore
If your interest is in breaking news, horse-racing coverage of the election, or socalled fair and balanced coverage, you can certainly find it. In fact, you can find breaking news just about anywhere on air, online, and on mobile devices. And since new news is considered of highest value, the media naturally puts great importance on getting news first, and scoops are considered all-important. I would like to humbly suggest, however, that the broadcast industry ought to consider taking a step back to think about how both television news and our democracy might benefit from a shift in our mindset away from just breaking the news, and toward fixing it.
Harness Communications Technology to Benefit our Country
By Julius Genachowski
Eighty years ago, 1931, radio ruled the airwaves, but a new technology-television- was on the verge of transforming America. At the end of that year, RCA began transmitting experimental television broadcasts from a small antenna at the top of the recently finished Empire State Building. CBS News' visionary president, Fred Friendly, was among those who would later point out that this emerging new technology has the power to dramatically change our world for the better. Friendly called television "the greatest teaching tool since the printing press."
The Story Behind Broadcasting's WOW Factor
Call letters offer a fun, fascinating view of stations' history
Aging Great, Fully
Our '8 Over 80' choices inspire us with the life in their years
Readers share personal stories from job listings in B&C
B&C's 80 at 80
As B&C celebrates its 80th anniversary, we decided to look at a list of people, shows, jobs, companies and more that are dictating where the television business is heading.