While reading about the concept of “Live Television” I had to ask myself, is television live anymore? If the answer is yes, I believe that we have strayed away a bit. In Jane Feuer’s reading on the concept of live television she brought up many interesting points. She also raised some questions in my mind. The quote that she used to explain how media moguls view live television confused me a bit. “They argue convincingly that by postulating an equivalence between time of event, time of television creation and transmission, viewing time, television as an institution identifies all messages emanating from the apparatus as ‘live’ the live program is thus taken as the very definition of television” I wonder, was the original idea behind television, to be “live”? While pondering this thought, I wanted to incorporate McLuhan’s idea of Hot & Cold media. McLuhan categorizes film as hot media meaning that it doesn’t require much audience participation. If television was meant to be live, then it was created with the intention of being audience based. However, I think that we may have strayed away because, film is also a part of television. In adding film to television, we may have altered the purpose of TV.
After reading I also wondered, how “live” television really is, if we have commercials constantly disturbing the flow of programming. Raymond Williams spoke about flow and how it’s a way to keep viewers engaged, not just with their current show but also with the rest of the programming on the channel. Another interesting point that was brought up in this reading was the idea that sports was not made for television. I personally don’t enjoy sports and I don’t understand how one can get riled up simply by watching at home. However, it was interesting to me the way Feuer spoke about editors using time lapse and replays as ways of highlighting specific memories. Fuer said the reason behind this is because, the rest is not very interesting..
I was reading a blog online called Atlasobscura. It spoke about an intentional delay that media companies were using “Seven Second Delay” the purpose of this was to 1. “Allow ‘live’ on-air broadcasts of listener phone calls. Up until that point, only one side of a phone conversation could be aired due to FCC privacy regulations.” 2. increase soundclarity and depth when it was layered over itself. Now media networks have “Dump Boxes” which is basically a filter in which they get cut out any media that can be viewed as indecent. They also have editors ready to cut to commercial the minute something remotely inappropriate happens on “live” television. Two examples used to justify the creation of the dump box were, Janet Jackson’s Super bowl, wardrobe malfunction. The second was the on-air death of talk show host Christine Chubbuck. While I understand both examples and support the reasoning, I can’t help but feel like this may defeat the purpose of television being “live”. Television is supposed to expose us to the parts of life that we can’t experience in person. We should be able to witness certain things without having footage edited, or shots cut away.
It’s hard to determine if television is live anymore. However, I feel that media companies are doing viewers a disservice by altering what we have access to.