Like a lot of you, I probably watch too much television.
I'm not going to stand here (well, sit here actually) and make the case that watching television is generally bad for you, distracts from the family experience, or somehow warps your mind. And as a host of a radio show, I now appreciate how many folks enjoy listening versus watching, but hey, I still like TV!
But I am just old enough to remember when television only had a few channels, you had to get up to change the channel, and the broadcast day was not 24 hours. At WTMJ, I think only Gene Mueller and Jeff Wagner could relate to this.
What I've learned from watching too much television, both as prep for my 8:30-noon radio show and as entertainment, is that there are a significant number of channels that I never, ever watch. I'm paying for them, but I don't watch them.
The television ratings company Nielsen, a company I used to work for, tells us that there are more than 200 channels in the average American television household, and that we watch only about 10% of those.
Think about that for a moment. You're paying for hundreds of channels and you watch what, 20?
The bigger picture, and the one I'm blogging about, is in the appreciation of those other 190+ channels and the concept of expansion of one's own universe. I decided to explore a bit.
There are shows about fashion, fishing, furniture, and nearly anything else you might think of. The production quality of said shows goes from the stunning digital quality of a new Star Wars film, to something you and your buddy shot in middle school on your parent's old VHS recorder.
What great lesson is out there that our regular, ordinary, everyday 20 channels can't deliver? How about variety, texture, context, maybe a different way of looking at things?
Whether it's politics or the culture of the country, breaking news, technology, or what's happening in Shorewood, it's easy to fall into patterns or ruts.
One of the definitions of rigidity is the inability to be changed or adapted. And as we shuffle through our existence on this planet, it's remarkably easy to be forced into a mold that fits one thing, or idea, and not another.
The best leaders have always understood that change is important and necessary.
Show me someone who says "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" and I'll show you someone who will never get past their current lot in life.
Einstein said this. “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” Smart dude.
What does all this mean?
There's a whole big old world out there. Invest in the discovery. Dip the toe. Ask a question.
I did a story on the radio show recently about a couple businesses (a fitness company and a ferry operator) who have decided to pull the broadcasts of cable news networks from the television monitors in their gyms and on their ferries.
A few customers complained that the shows were too political, so in order to make those customers happy, they deleted those channels. And you know what, they're going the wrong way!
They should have challenged those customers, and said, we don't limit what our customers can see or hear, you can make your own decisions.
A life lesson instead of a silly concession. Brilliant.
But then again, what I do know? I just work in radio.