Newton N. Minow, F.C.C. Chief Who Deemed TV a ‘Huge Wasteland,’ Dies at 97

Newton N. Minow, who as President John F. Kennedy’s new F.C.C. chairman in 1961 despatched shock waves by means of an business and touched a nerve in a nation hooked on banality and mayhem by calling American tv “an enormous wasteland,” died on Saturday at his house in Chicago . He was 97.

His daughter Nell Minow mentioned the trigger was a coronary heart assault.

On May 9, 1961, virtually 4 months after President Kennedy known as upon Americans to resume their dedication to freedom across the globe, Mr. Minow, a bespectacled bureaucrat who had not too long ago been put in command of the Federal Communications Commission, acquired up earlier than 2,000 broadcast executives at a luncheon in Washington and invited them to observe tv for a day.

“Stay there with no e book, journal, newspaper, profit-and-loss sheet or score e book to distract you, and hold your eyes glued to that set till the station indicators off,” Mr. Minow mentioned. “I can guarantee you that you’ll observe an enormous wasteland.”

The viewers sat aghast as he went on:

“You will see a procession of recreation exhibits, violence, viewers participation exhibits, system comedies about completely unbelievable households, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, homicide, Western dangerous males, Western good males, personal eyes, gangsters, extra violence and cartoons. And endlessly, commercials — many screaming, cajoling and offending. And most of all, boredom.”

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