Newton N. Minow, who as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission in the early 1960s famously decried the state of American television as a "vast wasteland," died Saturday at age 97.
Minow, appointed to head the FCC by President John F. Kennedy, stayed in the post for just two years. Even so, his stinging critique of television programming, delivered during a speech before the National Association of Broadcasters, reverberated long after he had left the job.
When he spoke to television executives gathered at an NAB meeting in Washington, D.C., on May 9, 1961, Americans were consuming a steady stream of black-and-white TV programming from just three networks — CBS, ABC and NBC. (MORE...)