Subject to Change: Guerrilla Television Revisited

By Deirdre Boyle | Go to book overview

4. The World's Largest TV Studio

Michael Shamberg was practicing yoga at the McBurney YMCA in New York City when a name came sailing at him out of the blue. Top Value Television. The 28-year-old author of Guerrilla Television was delighted, realizing that Top Value Television would also read TVTV. It was the perfect name for the video group he was getting together to cover the upcoming Presidential Nominating Conventions. 1

It was February 1972, and Michael Shamberg wanted to put into practice some of the theories he had been formulating about alternative video. He had worked as a journalist for newspapers in Chicago and done brief stints at Time and Life. He had been to the '68 convention in Chicago, and in 1970 he took a half-inch portapak to the Conservative Party Convention, where he experimented with political interviews and event coverage, producing a "Media Primer" for Raindance, the theory-and-practice video collective that he helped form. He knew his way around the political scene; he also knew that if a group of video freaks went to Miami and did a good job, they could get major recognition because the networks and the national press corps would be there.

TVTV was not alone in seeing the conventions as an opportunity to sell itself. Anyone in America with something to sell came to Miami expecting to get a piece of the power and the money. As Timothy Crouse noted in The Boys on the Bus, "Hookers peddled ass, Mr. Peanut peddled goobers, pushers peddled dope, managers peddled dark horses, and the networks peddled themselves." 2 Why not peddle alternative media? Reporters had attended the first convention in 1831. In 1926 Lee DeForest, broadcast pioneer and inventor, speculated that what television needed was a live event to draw attention, such as a national convention. The networks later used the conventions to introduce their innovations--coast-to-coast network broadcasting in 1952, Huntley-Brinkley in 1956, the "creepie-peepie"

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Subject to Change: Guerrilla Television Revisited
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Introduction xiii
  • Contents xvii
  • I. Underground Video 3
  • 2. Subject to Change 14
  • 3. Guerrilla Versus Grassroots 26
  • 4. the World's Largest Tv Studio 36
  • 5. Mountain Guerrilla 48
  • 6. Four More Years 55
  • 7. Communitube 65
  • 8. Gaga Over Guru 72
  • 9. Prime Time Tvtv 89
  • 10. Broadside Tv 96
  • Ii. Impeaching Evidence 105
  • 12. Changing Channels 116
  • 13. Furor Over Fugitive 128
  • 14. Living Newsletter? 139
  • 15. the Good Times Are Killing Me 146
  • 16. Super Video 158
  • 17. Intermedia 165
  • 18. Hooray for Hollywood? 172
  • 19. the Big Chill 183
  • 20. Epilogue 190
  • Appendix Information on Apes by Broadside Tv, University Community Video, and Tvtv (top Value Television 209
  • Notes 223
  • Bibliography 259
  • Index 271
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