Channel hopping here in the UK is dead easy.
As you scroll up or down through the 300 + channels we have access to here it is reasonably easy to identify from the 30 seconds of the programme you get to see whether or not you think it’s what you want to watch, if it’s the film or sport or whatever.
Our hotel had a choice of about 30 channels and although there was a channel list in the hotel guide, it was barely helpful. So we channel hopped every day.
The first channel was the weather channel. As the US is so large it is hardly surprising how diverse the weather is across the 50 states. Then we got to WESH2 a local Central Florida channel claiming to have the most accurate weather. They seemed to get it pretty close at any rate as far as we could tell.
But the news that went roundabout it was like nothing we had seen before. There was little of any substance in it. The economy got about 5th place and there was little political comment. Top news stories seemed like we were watching Jerry Springer or one of the other daytime chat show programmes that freely reported crimes against property and people, showed the victims AND the ALLEGED perpetrators, with court dates etc, interviews with grieving and emotionally distraught witnesses. How a fair trial could result beats me!
And then there were the sponsors…
We were lucky enough to catch a couple of wheel of fortune shows. Brought to you by (4 or 5 sponsors). Prizes and … provided by (4 or 5 sponsors). Every time someone won a game (I mean the small individual rounds not the whole programme) we went to commercial breaks. At the end after Mike from St Paul had won the car, we went to a “word from our prize sponsors” and then returned in time for only the final credits. It was certainly clear that the TV station wasn’t paying for the prizes but it explained why you could never assess what TV programme you were watching while channel hopping ‘cos every few minutes there was a commercial break. And I thought GOLD was bad for the length of its ad breaks!
All in all US TV was pretty rubbish. We complain bitterly about our repeats, the channels of trivial and shallow programming, like Living, but its streets ahead of the US. The TV licence is a small price to pay for the BBC.
And now a word from our sponsors…