I’m a media fan. It’s built into my genes. It would be so, even if I hadn’t spent many decades in the business.
I’m innately curious about people, places and things. I want to feel connected and spend a lot of time paying attention to what others are paying attention to. It’s always been that way.
As a little Little, I would listen to old radios in our house. We couldn’t afford anything new, so my frugal dad bought things at thrift stores.
Our first radio was operated by a 6-volt car battery. With no speaker and only one set of earphones to listen, my mother would place a large, ceramic mixing bowl on the table, set the earphones inside and we would gather to the hear the news and our favorite programs amplified by the bowl. It might have looked funny, but it worked for us.
Then, we got a portable radio, which was perched on top of the ice box. Walter Winchell brought us news of the war. Later, my dad came home with the neatest electric grandfather clock with a radio inside. It was a gem and I often wonder what happened to it.
There were early television sets, but not until I was in high school, with snowy TV signals brought in by an antenna on the roof. It required climbing high to strap the antenna to the chimney and screwing “stand-offs” into the side of the house to guide the wire. There were only a couple of stations available, but when we put a “rotor” on the roof, it was great fun to turn the dial on top of the old Fada television set and watch one snowy scene evolve into another.
After moving to Plattsburgh, I bought a white TV set shaped like a Sputnik. Welcome to the space age. I bought my first color set from Sears near the intersection of Broad and Cornelia streets and signed up for the first cable system, called “Dimension Cable TV.” It was the brain child of the late Beardsly VanEtten and operated with a huge tower on the hill here in Morrisonville.
Look how far we have come, with TV programs on our telephones and other handheld devices. We can be in touch with anyone, almost anywhere, either directly or indirectly. Dick Tracy would be proud of a new watch with amazing connectivity and even glasses that would amaze Flash Gordon.
Not that I enjoy the taste of sour grapes, but what’s up with the ubiquitous “Breaking News” proclamation these days? To me, it’s like the boy crying, “wolf.” It seems as though it trivializes the concept to the extreme.
A very long time ago, I devised a radio sound and voice with echo to let listeners know that something very special was to about to be announced. If you were listening passively, your reverie was interrupted when you heard the piercing notes followed by my voice saying, “We interrupt this program for a WIRY news bulletin, bulletin, bulletin.” You ran over, turned up the volume and knew that it was a true bulletin, not “breaking news” about a minor event.
And, while my soap box is in place, I wonder why some reporters begin every other sentence with the word “now” when it seems to have no relevance except to fill in the space. I suppose it’s better than saying, “Um” or “Ah.”
But, enough griping. I’m truly excited to have survived the “good old days” and to live in an era of being able to stay in touch with friends, family and the world of news in ways I could only dream about in my youth. There are endless possibilities and I look toward to the future with great expectations.
I confess that I read this newspaper from cover to cover every day with the pages in my hands. I read books by dog-earing the pages with jelly on my fingers. And, as for greeting you, this is a good way; but an in-person hug and a handshake are even better.
Have a great day and please, drive carefully.
Gordie Little was for many years a well-known radio personality in the North Country and now hosts the “Our Little Corner” television program for Home Town Cable. Anyone with comments for him may send them to the newspaper or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.