News In Brief

A piece of TV trivia from Newton Minow

Kai Ryssdal May 9, 2011

This final note today, a moment in our collective cultural history. Fifty years ago today, the then-chairman of the FCC, Newton Minow, gave a speech about television. When it’s good, he said, there’s nothing better. When it’s bad, though, television becomes “a vast wasteland” — the phrase by which the speech has been known ever since.

Among those television types not thrilled by Minow’s speech was Sherwood Schwartz, the guy who created “Gilligan’s Island.” Here’s Newton Minow from an interview with KPCC not too long ago.

I loved that. He wrote to me and he said he was insulted by the speech, and then he named the boat after me — the S.S. Minow.

So now you know.

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