Happy Boxing Day! This will be largely a rehash of things that have appeared here previously, but I thought it might be worth reiterating them. - OTA TV vs. cable and satellite TV - When the 9/11 attacks happened, the TV transmission facilities on the World Trade Center were destroyed, but, except for a very brief interruption of one of the least viewed station's signals, cable and satellite carriage of all stations continued. Only WCBS-TV had a working transmitter in the Empire State Building (same as after the first World Trade Center attack 8.5 years earlier), so they were the only station receivable off-air via antenna. WCBS-TV's ratings went up, and the other stations' went down, until the other stations got back on the air. I think the only conclusion that can be drawn is that the increased ratings were due to off-air viewers using antennas. - Radio news vs. TV news - - Power failures - There is no question that radio is more likely than TV to be receivable during a power failure. There are many battery-operated TVs and many TV-sound radios (many models of the latter are now being sold specifically for disasters), but their numbers pale by comparison with portable radios. Distasters, however, are not necessarily accompanied by power failures. When the 9/11 attacks occurred, almost all of the New York market continued to be served with electric power. The same was true of our recent transit strike and the recent heavy northeast snowstorm. - News departments - Fewer than half (but not too much fewer than half) of U.S. TV stations have news departments. A MUCH smaller percentage of U.S. radio stations do. I have taken long drives across stretches of the U.S. without being able to find any news on the car radio. - Destroyed transmission facilities - When a hurricane knocks down towers or floods transmitters, the public searches for whatever they can get. In some cases, that might be TV rather than radio. I have been at my relatives' home in rural Colorado when weather has knocked out all of the radio translators -- and phone and Internet service -- but not the TV translator. At those times, we watch TV to find out what's going on. - Pictures - TV screens can present information beyond what a commentator says. The projected path of a hurricane or tornado is easily seen instantly on a map. A list of bridge closings can be presented as a rolling or crawling graphic. After 9/11, a local political candidate here in New York set up a TV tuned to WCBS-TV outside his campaign office and placed rows of folding chairs in front of it. The chairs were soon filled, even though the TV offered nothing TV viewers couldn't get at home. I can think of more than one possible explanation. Maybe people sought a sense of community. But maybe people who normally get their news from newspapers or radio (and didn't even own a TV) felt a need to watch TV during the disaster. Other than owning a TV, I am one of the latter. Personally, I get most of my local news from the three daily and three weekly local newspapers I read. Secondarily, I get news from a non-commercial radio news station, which, despite a sizable news department, usually rehashes stories from The New York Times (and which, after the post-transit-strike mediator-requested media blackout of the continuing negotiations, announced that we should "stay tuned for complete coverage of the media blackout"). Under normal circumstances, I do not watch TV news. That makes me an anomalous American. Most Americans prefer to get their local news via TV -- even Americans who prefer to get national and international news via the Internet, newspapers, or other sources. But when disasters happen even I turn to TV. Disasters are not normal circumstances. Neither are elections. I tune to some form of TV (sometimes our local cable-news channel, NY1) to watch the results at the bottom of the screen. I can quickly discover the results I want to know about long before radio commentators get to them (IF they ever bother to cover a local state-assembly or city-council district race). Sorry for the rehash, but it seemed necessary in view of recent posts. TTFN, Mark ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.