Sunday, April 18, 2021

Pulling the plug on satellite TV

| August 30, 2020 12:00 AM

A few months ago, after deciding we no longer wanted to pay $118 a month for satellite TV, we decided to pull the plug for good. We had been watching less and less TV, spurred by the lack of good programming and the incessant commercials that were driving us nuts.

Sure, there were a couple of TV series we enjoyed, such as “NCIS,” and I’m a sucker for “Grey’s Anatomy” and the “Project Runway” type shows. But it was simply no longer worth the money. Thankfully, my husband is a rare male specimen who doesn’t watch sports. So the decision wasn’t all that difficult.

For full disclosure, we do have Netflix and can get our TV fix that way. I confess I did watch the entire multi-year series of “Breaking Bad” during the COVID lockdown this spring.

One of the reasons we had kept dishing out dollars for DISH was to have access to the local news. And while local TV news shows are important, I get my fill of the news every day at work.

Last week I had to spend a night in a motel in Missoula, so out of habit I flipped on the TV. The political ads were unbearable and the programming just as dismal as I remembered. We had made the right decision.

TV has never been a big deal for me. My parents didn’t own a television until I was in junior high, but my grandfather, who lived in the other half of our gigantic farmhouse, had a black-and-white model with rather fuzzy reception. There was no connecting door between the two halves of the house at that point in the early ’60s, so Mom would bundle up my older brother and I and send us around to Grandpa’s quarters every day, even in the winter, to watch “Captain Kangaroo.”

I can count on one hand the shows we watched as a family in those days: “Bonanza,” “Wild Kingdom,” and “The Wonderful World of Disney.” I regularly snuck over to Grandpa’s to watch “The Red Skelton Show” with him.

Even in college, no one had a TV, and when we moved to our hobby farm outside of Sidney, Montana, in the early 1980s, there was little to no TV reception, even with an antenna, so our kids also grew up without the “boob tube,” although we rented VHS tapes way back in the day.

These days, we can find pretty much all we want on our laptops, iPads and phones.

Perhaps the biggest bonus of not being tied to television is the time it frees up for other, more important things. Badminton anyone?

News editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or