E.V. Peterson: Having no TV guide is a bad idea

To the editor:

I was both surprised and irritated to see the announcement about discontinuing printing the TV listings, both daily and weekly.

Your excuses don't wash with the older generation these days, especially when they are continually battling with tight budgets.

For instance, we used to receive six television stations free via our roof antenna (they were more than enough for us to watch) until a few years ago, when Moffat County discontinued paying for the tower boosters that allowed us to get reception. Without the tower, those of us who wanted to continue watching TV were forced to sign up for cable. The least expensive cable package (16 channels) now costs more than $23 a month (it used to be about $16). Half of these channels are junk, but you have no choice as to what you can get in a package.

Now, I checked out some of the alternatives you mentioned for TV listings.

No. 1: Our TV has no TV guide that shows up onscreen. It sure would be handy if it did, but it must be one of those new digital ones! We figure our television has many years of life yet, and we are not about to invest in another one when we are on a limited budget.

No. 2: Our basic TV cable has no built-in TV listing/programming channel. We sure wish it did. But even if it did, you cannot view TV programming a week in advance like you can a printed schedule. You can only see what is currently on, and what may be coming up in the next hour or two on those listings.

No. 3: Bresnan's TV channel guide is neither reliable, nor readily available. It is printed monthly, so it is very inaccurate compared to a weekly listing. Also, it does not list the channel numbers; it only lists eight of the 16 channels we get, and the listings can be at least an hour or more off schedule, depending upon whether they come from east coast or west coast feeds. These guides are not mailed to you unless you pay for them. If you have transportation, you may pick up a guide at Bresnan, if they have extras.

No. 4: The Internet schedules may be available to the younger set, but a lot of senior citizens do not have access to the Internet or even computers (additional costs that don't fit into a tight budget). Again, if they have transportation, they may access the Internet for free at the public library or at a friend's home (like I am doing). Either way, they are not always going to be able to access the Internet on a daily or weekly basis.

Senior citizens tend to be more paper-oriented than computer-oriented. They like to read in a printed format (ie., books, newspapers, etc.), than does the younger generation. Your decision to discontinue printing the TV listings, in particular the weekly ones, was based upon a younger generation's viewpoint, not a senior citizen's viewpoint. I can see the wasted space printing a daily TV schedule (which we never looked at anyways), but the weekly format was extremely nice to have, and we saved it out of the Thursday edition each week to use.

Your electronics are a convenience for you of the younger generation. And from what I have read of your staff profiles, the majority of your employees are younger than 30. With such a young point of view in charge, you forget that the older generation is not into all the funky, new-fangled electronic gadgets. You need to keep that in mind when generating editorial decisions based upon your little toys that are not owned or used by the elderly in this town.

E.V. Peterson

Craig

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