Cincinnati TV, circa 1972

I’m way behind on posting extra Reds material, mostly because I’m struggling with a revision to the Reds story itself.  But I wanted to throw up a link [warning: huge .pdf] to this wonderfully weird essay from 1972. It’s by Robert L. Steiner, then a professor at UC, and is titled “Visions of Cablevision: The Prospects for Cable Television in the Greater Cincinnati Area.”

This is a fun read (or at least a fun skim) for several reasons. First, it reminds you of the time when cable TV was still new and, for network TV, still scary. (In fact, a lot of the essay’s rhetoric can map on to current debates about cable TV vs. the Internet. ) Second, it reminds you of how much Cincinnati’s entertainment options have changed. At this point, the very first Mayor Luken was assembling a “Task Force on Urban Cable Communications” — and only a handful of Reds games were cropping up on TV, and then only on WLWT (still the local NBC affiliate). Third, it’s just an bizarrely written document that moves from technical diagrams of coaxial cable to discussions of old FCC rulings to TV viewing habits in Akron, Ohio.

Steiner does all this in a folksy style, as well. I’ll include a bit from one section on the rights to sports and movies — what Steiner calls “the steak and fried chicken of the television menu. Remove them from the menu, and you may as well close up the restaurant.” Again, it’s weird, but for the right reader in the right mood, it’s a lot of fun.


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