Seth Godin on the evolution of every medium, when applied to the television industry:
TV used to be driven by the guys who knew how to run cameras and transmitters. Then it got handed off to the Ernie Kovacs/Rod Serling types. Then the financial operators like ITT and Gulf + Western milked it. And finally it’s just a job.
Yep. TV has become predictable.
Though I wasn’t part of the early days of public broadcasting, every account I’ve heard or read suggests it was a time of remarkable innovation and experimentation. There wasn’t a lot of money, but there was a lot of passion tied to a powerful mission. These days public TV doesn’t do commercial-style media well. But it also doesn’t do mission-based media well.
There are outstanding examples of great media creation within the pubcasting world, but as a whole we’ve blanded the place up and disconnected it from our communities. Time to rethink the mission and re-energize the work. And it might just have to start with the engineers.