Remember back to a time when TV was free.

When you could watch your favorite shows…albeit having fewer channel choices.

Like 2, 4, 5, 7, 9 (that nobody ever watched anyway) 11, and 13…or if you’re south of the border 3, 6, and 10.

Simpler…never any worry that those much cherished channels would ever go away.

Then, as time went on, and you moved out to Lower Slobobia; you needed cable.

The big plus was that eventually with cable, you got a lot more choices. More channels, more stuff to browse. However, after a while it got tedious. It quickly turned into channel surfing, with nothing to watch.

Bruce put it very nicely back in the day in this video:

And not just that but it got expensive as well.

Cable companies, satellite providers, and even the phone company demanded more because program providers starting asking for more.

For instance, who could forget back when most of Central Jersey lost the Food Network.
Yeah, that was a real blow. No “Chopped” marathon, no “Cup Cake Wars”.

Then channels 6 and 7 went bye bye but were reinstated just in time for the Oscars.

But the real kicker was when Fox was lifted with the threat of no NFL coverage.

Could you imagine Eagles fans not being able to see their beloved Iggles on Fox 29 or Giant’s fans being deprived of Big Blue on Fox 5? No Joe Buck, No Goose and Moose!

However all was rectified in time.

The cable company made peace with the networks…and we were all placated for the time being that we could resume watching our favorite shows without interruption…at least for now.

Until the next time someone has a hissy fit.

And that someone has, namely the Tribune Company, which owns Channels 11 and 17.

WPIX-TV New York and several other Tribune-owned stations have gone dark on the Cablevision system amid a dispute over retransmission fees.

Cablevision said in a statement Friday that Tribune and its hedge fund owners were “demanding tens of millions in new fees from WPIX and other stations they own.”

It called on the company to stop its “anti-consumer demands and work productively to reach an agreement.”

The Tribune Broadcasting Company said the blackout happened in the middle of negotiations. It said it occurred despite its “unconditional offer to extend the current retransmission agreement with no change in its terms.”

The other stations that went dark on Friday are: WCCT, carried in parts of Connecticut; KWGN in some Optimum West markets; and WPHL in parts of New Jersey.

Both companies have dealt with transmission fee issues already this year. Tribune channels were blacked out by DirectTV while Cablevision blocked WABC from its system.

So imagine my surprise when I got home early this morning and put on the PIX 11 News at 4 to see the hot traffic girl, and was greeted with a crawl on the bottom of the screen saying “that due to right’s fees disputes…there will be no programming on this channel until further notice!”

No hot traffic girl at 4 AM.

No Mets baseball (like it matters) on PIX 11.
No Phillies (like that matters either) on PHL 17.

Welcome to the future.

Ain’t it grand!