Radio days have long been surpassed

Published 7:28 pm Wednesday, January 30, 2008

By By Lowell McGill
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen it is time for the 6:00 evening news with H.V. Kaltenborn brought to you by Johns Manville.”
Well if you lived back in the 1930s or 40s you would have heard this famous newsman on your radio. Or you may have heard, “It’s time for High Adventure with Lowell Thomas.”
You may have heard some of your radio programs like Gene Autry and the Melody Ranch Show or The Lone Ranger.
It’s quite possible the radios you were listening to in those days were powered by batteries. A long wire was attached to the back of the radio and ran up the wall where it was tacked to the eves of the house and extended to a nearby tree or tall pole. At times signals would be weak and would completely fade out. That’s the way you got your news and entertainment in your home in those days.
Today I want to tell you about a completely new concept in news, sports, music and entertainment. It is programming sent to your personal computer over the Internet. For $49 I have software that brings in more than 300 stations to my computer. Having just purchased what seems like “High Definition Reception” on my new Buena Vista monitor I have TV right at my fingertips. Now, the amazing thing about this is no monthly payments are required. It is a one time only investment. You may ask about the quality of the picture. The quality is outstanding. Again, you must have a good, late edition computer with high speed Internet. And, by the way I don’t sit at this computer all day watching “TV” on it. I use my computer in my office for my writing and my flood insurance adjusting work.
But here is even greater news. For less that $200 I can buy equipment that will send my computer signal to my TV. In other words I will be able to watch TV in my den with programming coming via the Internet to my computer.
One other important aspect of the Internet is obtaining college degrees right at your home via online classes. I really do not understand why anyone wants to go away to college, pay out high cost rooming and board and high gas prices, when he or she can get their degrees online. Now, I have new information that high school courses are being offered online. Teachers are being trained who have qualified with the necessary courses and are teaching online. Two of my sons have completed necessary requirements to begin online teaching. I am sure there are others from our are who do online teaching.
As you have been reading and hearing next year all TV sets must be altered and programming will be modified. Not being a technician, I don’t know anything about the technical aspect. I do expect more and more companies to make available this concept, which I now have. As we get toward that important “changeover date” next year we will hear more about this new Internet TV innovation.
I have gathered a great deal of information in my research on this subject. I will not discuss company names offering this programming in this column. I suggest those who are interested can go online and “Google up” all this related information.
But I can say that right now this one-time investment provides me programs on my computer such as news, sports, movies and general entertainment. Regulation will probably show its face as we near that all-important date. Probably cable companies and dish companies will fight the concept of Internet to computer reception without paying monthly fees. I just don’t know what the final results will be on this.
But for right now I have no monthly fees to pay. More than 300 stations are available. And, a few of the stations are found on current dish and cable systems.
It will be interesting to see what develops between now and the changeover date next year.
Yes, this is a long way from those old radio days.
Speaking of those old program columns, you’ll be reintroduced to shows such as Renfro Valley, Life of Riley, Your Hit Parade, Flash Gordon, The Shadow, Jack Benny, Fred Allen, The City Service Band of America with Paul Lavalle, Manhattan Merry Go Round and many, many more. I’ll also tell you about the “Red and Blue Networks” which were so popular then. I’ll tell you how these two networks were phased out and how news networks replaced them.
For now keep watching and reading about Internet TV to the computer to the Den TV.
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at

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