The "best" of cable access
By Ransom Riggs
Remember public access television? In these heady days of satellite tv and internet streams, we don't hear as much about it, but back when you could count the number of channels you had on your fingers and toes, local cable access channels were a lot harder to ignore. Often unwatchably boring -- our local station regularly featured a guy who would read the newspaper to the camera -- they occasionally featured the craziest stuff on TV. Cracked did a great feature on insane moments in cable access, but of their seven picks, here's our favorite: a show called Let's Paint TV, in which its host paints while jogging on a treadmill and, better still, making blended drinks. The guy is just out of his gourd, and we love it!
Yes, public access TV is a beautiful, federally-mandated thing, but cable giants like Comcast and Verizon are lobbying to have public access budgets they're required to provide reduced or eliminated altogether. For now, at least, we've still got our PubTV -- but perhaps not for much longer. Of course, there's YouTube and a hundred other internet-based alternatives, but it's not quite the same; the stars of public access do it live, they do it regularly, and they're just weirder (sorry, Numa-Numa guy).