DAVID BIANCULLI

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1961: FCC Chairman Newton Minow Delivers His 'Vast Wasteland' Speech
May 9, 2012  | By Christy Slewinski
 

On this day in 1961, at the the National Association of Broadcasters convention, the newly-appointed Federal Communications Commission chairman Newton N. Minow delivered his "Vast Wasteland" speech, which challenged broadcasters to create more intelligent, educational programming.

Some believed Minow's assessment of television to be spot-on. Others felt his views were elitist and condescending. His words spurred controversy and debate that continued long after he stepped down from his post in 1963.

One well-known producer famously took offense to Minow's ideas and the decisions he made during his FCC tenure: Gilligan's Island creator Sherwood Schwartz acrimoniously named the "tiny ship" that left its passengers and crew stranded on a desert island the S.S. Minnow.

 
 
 
 
 
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