Television is changing. It is in somewhat of a transition stage. Many are swapping TV’s for laptops and free-to-air shows for Netflix. This should not be feared however. Television has changed various amounts of times since its development, and it has never noticeably plateaued in popularity since its birth. Lets not dismiss the fact that we all have some great enjoyment watching television, and have memories that will stick with us all our life. How big have these changes been? What do the older generation consider a ‘television memory? Having a conversation with my father would take me one step closer to answering these questions.
Interviewing my Dad was very interesting. Coming from a family of dairy famers, and outdoor enthusiasts, the introduction of television changed the whole dynamic of my Dad’s life. It helped me gain insights into how the introduction of Television changed the childhood of many young children; an enthralling game of backyard footy exchanged for a seat in front of an old western film. I also used the information from the interview to compare and contrast aspects of television from the past era to this modern era. Many things are different between our childhood television habits. “I was 12 years old before I’d even seen television, and in those days it was black and white, but still so exciting. Prior to owning our own television we’d go to our grandparents and watch old westerns”, he says. All the shows I viewed would be in colour, his in black. He had 2 channels to choose from, I had over 10. Finally, his show of preference would be old westerns, whereas mine was The Simpsons.
Whilst on the phone interviewing my Father, the conversation reminded me very much of Abraham ‘Grampa’ Simpson; in particular, his ramblings. I’m sure many people experience much of the same every day when interacting with the older generation every day. Each of my Dad’s responses to a question would sway further and further away from the topic, until it had transcended into a conversation farfetched from the original topic. He recalls, “There was this kookaburra, that would sound when the programming was about to start. When we heard that we would rush towards the TV and sit down. It was in black and white, and there were only two channels, the ABC and a local station.” The conversation then evolves… “Now in those days you had an electrical salesman who would come out to your house and set it up, show you how to work it. Electrical and television repairs were a big part of the industry as well.” However, lots of the things he did mention really help to gain the context surrounding their TV habits. One aspect is hugely different from the current generation, now with over 20 free-to-air channels and hundreds more pay-tv channels, there is a vast array of content for viewers.
“Are there any particular memories you have watching television?” I ask. His voice perks up, and his tone becomes brighter, as he reminisces about a past era. “It would definitely have to be the moon landing. That was a big moment for television. I remember being at school; there was no other schoolwork that day, they just set up all the rooms with TVs. This allowed all the kids to see this historical event and to be a part of history.” This was a moment in the conversation, which I became very engaged. This was a defining moment for television itself, and to be able to experience it sounded incredible for all kids involved. It struck a chord with me, and was really interesting. Despite all the technology in television progressing and evolving, this moment- even in televisions early stages- surpasses many television memories we have in today’s day and age. Having a packed room full of people eager to witness this event in the media surely would’ve added to the importance of this recollection.
Many underestimate the importance of television. It paved the way for a change in the way people view and interacts with the media and is still one of our most popular mediums. These brief conversations above, give a small glimpse of the joyful moments many people have experience in front of the “idiot box”.