Did WCCO pay you $500 not to watch TV in 1979?

Regular readers know I have a huge soft spot for Twin Cities TV historian Tom Oszman and his TCMediaNow site. Well, he has a new, awesome find and he needs our help.

WCCO’s 1979 hour-long documentary “A Death in the Family” is a classic piece of Dave-Moore-era earnestness and self-criticism. To gauge “TV’s effects on our society,” the station asked 45 families if they would give up the tube entirely for a month in return for $500 — about $1500 in today’s dollars. Twenty-seven said no. WCCO picked five.

As Oszman notes, “Keep in mind the year is 1979 and you have no cell phone, Internet, Facebook, newsfeeds, iPod, Play Station.”

The title comes from the TV technician who likens the loss of TV to “a death in the family.” As one woman puts it, “We are not a family with money, so we really are going to have to develop and use our imaginations.”

These days, how much money would someone have to pay you to go a month without any screen — TV, computer, phone?

Anyway, Oszman is hoping to find anyone who participated in the experiment three decades ago. You can reply on his site, try him via Twitter or get in touch with me and I’ll forward your info to him. Me, I’d love to know if the participants were changed in any long-term way.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by patricia gessner on 09/15/2010 - 07:05 pm.

    i am one of the families

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