Skip to comments.THE JFK ASSASSINATION: THE MEDIA IN 1963
Posted on 11/18/2013 9:13:31 AM PST by Nextrush
Television was the established cutting edge media in 1963 drawing in the young and continuing a rise to its zenith in the decades to come.
Radio and the newspapers had their place in the pecking order but they were on lower rungs.
Television was dominated by three major networks with two of them (CBS and NBC) being the leaders in ratings and advertising dwarfing the third network (ABC) in those statistics.
Cable distribution of television programs was in its infancy and limited mainly to retransmitting over the air stations from the cities to rural areas.
Around 580 analog television stations were broadcasting over the air signals with some using translators and cable systems to reach wider audiences outside their local areas.
Most of the stations affiliated with the three networks with others going it alone in the larger cities as independent stations broadcasting sports, old movies and rerunning old television shows.
A small group of educational television stations operated and they would soon develop and expand in their reach with taxpayers footing the bill. For the moment much of their support came from commercial broadcasters who donated used equipment and made some financial contributions.
Perhaps they were prodded along by government???
That's because the Kennedy Administration's Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton Minow had decried television as a "vast wasteland" in a 1961 speech.
Edward R. Murrow, who had joined the Kennedy Administration as Director of the United States Information Agency, had made a similar speech to television news directors in 1958 causing a stir and friction with his then employer, CBS.
ABC was able to gain some prime time ratings traction in the late 1950's by programming "action" shows with western and crime themes. These new shows revved up the violence and sexual content. The other networks didn't sit still, they countered with their own action shows.
Technology was on the move in 1963 as NBC was inching its way towards a full color television service. The FCC had approved the RCA-NBC color system in the 1950's.
By 1963 NBC gave its viewers an educational hour in color at 6am, an hour or more of daytime shows and an hour or more of prime time shows in color, with the "Tonight Show" also being broadcast in color late at night.
There was no color on CBS and ABC only broadcast a few cartoon shows ("The Flintstones" and "The Jetsons") in color during the 1962-63 season.
NBC would make the full color conversion in the 1965-66 season and the other networks would quickly follow.
The ability of television to cover breaking news live was restricted in 1963 to microwave video links from bulky "mobile units". These tractor trailer or bus sized vehicles would bring studio cameras to field, establish links with a local station and begin sending video as soon as the cameras warmed up. It took studio cameras used in the field (the minicam was not full developed yet for local use) some 20 minutes to warm up so they could be used.
Networks would switch to local station studios for reports on breaking news that would include newsfilm shot in the field by the local stations. Connections from the networks to local stations were telephone company microwave links on the ground stretching thousands of miles across the country.
There were no internet video links in 1963 or satellite links to send video domestically either. The Telstar satellite across the Atlantic provided an intermittent link depending on its orbit. A Pacific satellite video link was about to open up at the time of the Kennedy Assassination.
It might be one station out in the country or three in a medium sized city or five or more if you lived in a populated area in or around the big cities.
The hundreds yea thousands of channels or video options we can see today were but a dream.
We all felt terrible, especially for Jackie and the children, even though I am reasonably certain that both of my parents voted for Nixon three years earlier.
Saw CBS’s special the other night, it was mainly just the old ‘historic’ films. Did not seem to be sappy, schmaltzy, editorialized or anything, just the historic films and discussing things like that was the first time in TV history they went wall-to-wall coverage of an event. It was straight-forward.
If that happened today, the first thing that would happen is NBC would brand Oswald “a former marine so obviously a right wing militia type” then they would photoshop an NRA logo on his tee-shirt in that photo of him holding up the rifle, then somehow get racism involved in it, then they would blame Republicans for it while doing everything they could to hide Oswald obsession with Marxism.
If we’re smart we’ll use this week to educate people on the nature of communists like Oswald and Leftism in general.
It was like that when I began watching television in the mid 1960’s. I had a set in my own room by 1968.
The local educational station ran test patterns in the middle of the day back then in between their broadcasts for schools.
Today they would say the Indian was offensive, claim the cross is promoting Christianity which offends Muslims and say the arrows pointing slightly right is promoting right wing politics.
I remember they played the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ or something religious. Those were better times.
Why does almost every cable channel put an annoying logo at the lower right corner of the screen which sometimes blocks what can be viewed? Hate that.
Yep, pretty much a vast wasteland from a liberal point of view. Shows like: My Three Sons, Ozzie and Harriet, Make Room for Daddy, Lucy, Andy Griffith, Dick Van Dyke Show, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Dragnet, Father Knows Best, Lassie. Spewing all those family and American values all across the land. Nothing like the Progressive and cutting edge educational stuff that we have today. Can you imagine, no PBS, no MTV, no MSNBC. Barbaric.
In 1960-61 hundreds of students watched cartoons in color at Penn State on one lonely tv set in the large hall. We marveled that we could actually see colored dots jumping around to form fuzzy figures.
CBS was still pouting because the FCC had un-selected their color system in favor of NBC’s after the Korean War.
The reason we have so much discussion of “conspiracy” is because the Left can’t look bad or be held responsible for bad things happening.
I was at the campus radio station one night back around 1980 when a left-wing African Studies major did a documentary featuring the last speech of Reverend Jim Jones before the mass suicide with the poisioned Kool Aid.
The student was using the tape, where Jones described his People’s Temple as “Marxist-Leninist”, as proof it was the CIA who was behind all the deaths in Guyana.
The Jones speech was of course a broadside at all his enemies, real and imagined.
Jones was a left-wing kook himself and the leftist student felt the need to rewrite history to fit.
All the more so with the Kennedy Assassination.
And look at what is going on in Venezuela today. Toilet paper shortages and shop owners being arrested for making “obscene” profits.
That’s because the Kennedy Administration’s Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton Minow had decried television as a “vast wasteland” in a 1961 speech.
He wouldn’t have had a chance in hell of getting elected without it — and Kennedy was the first to acknowledge that.
They are called watermarks and I’m pretty sure the content providers make them to that to help prevent piracy. Also, it identifies their stream so if somebody posts to YouTube, they will be able to send Google a take-down notice.
There was pecking order in the media.
During World War 2 they made Bill Paley of CBS a colonel, but David Sarnoff of NBC got to be a brigadier general.
too bad the DuMont network crashed and burn in the mid-50’s
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