Ted Turner & CNN

Friday night my wife and I had dinner with our son Tom at Ted Turners’ Montana Grill in Bozeman. When looking at the menu I remembered the first time I ever heard of Ted Turner. Thirty years earlier I was having breakfast at the Cowboy Café also in Bozeman and watched the new CNN on the TV above the counter. I remembered thinking who in the heck is going to watch news 24-hours a day, and what idiot thought of this. I found out later the idiot was Ted Turner who went on to make a fortune, go figure. Back in the 1980’s we waited patiently for our news when it was doled out in half hour allotments on television at 5pm, and 10pm. Newspapers were on morning or afternoon cycles and in larger cites you probably had one of each, while radio gave you a five minute report every ½ hour that they usually read out of that mornings newspaper. There was really was no such thing as talk radio, cable news shows, and the closest thing we had to even an hour devoted to the news was 60-minutes. Walter Cronkite was the undisputed king of the evening news, and the most respected news anchor in history. News wasn’t the only thing we waited on back then. Saturday mornings were the only time we watched cartoons, sporting events were largely only televised on weekend afternoons, and we waited to fall asleep until Johnny Carson was over.

Today we can watch cartoons, sporting events and news anytime we want. There is no longer such thing as a publishing cycle, because newspaper websites like thedickinsonpress.com update stories to their websites constantly. Newspapers once limited space for text and photos, no longer exists because newspaper websites have virtually unlimited space. Traditional news media now share time with social networks like Facebook, and Myspace. The Dickinson Press recently launched Area Voices allows anyone with a desire to share information with our community and beyond to do so on an Area Voices blog. Ted Turner start of CNN was visionary, and he was referred to as a genius at the time, but time changes everything and I’m sure he is wishing two decades later he would have thought of Facebook.