Johnson's article "Everything New is Old Again" focuses on the unique dynamic of sport programming. She refers to sport programming as the last vestige of "mass" broadcast television with shared cultural value because of its "water-cooler talk" content. Its something everyone shares and watches because its what everyone talks about, making it a shared cultural value. The reading examines sport programming's synchronicity with network-era television practices from past and present by its centrality to institutional branding and claim to cultural relevance through the critical role of the NFL shaping the business of television sport. Also, it explores the unique "hybridity" of sport television between network-era and post-network era audience appeals. "Sport programming represents a symbolic and actual "bridge" between network-era practices and post-network realities. It represents a unique hybrid or articulation between network television's traditional role as the site of "mass" audiences, communal, national spectacle and the post-network era's characteristic proliferation of content" (Johnson 116). What this means is that sport programming connects the past with the present. It continues the network-era's (past) traditional role by bringing to together mass audiences to watch its programming but it also incorporates the post-nework era (present) by incorporating new media (i.e. internet and mobile devices).
Sport on television really began to increase in the 1960's with the emergence and success of the National Football League or NFL. The Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 made the unbelievable exponential increase of sport television possible, it allowed professional sport leagues to broadcast all of their teams as a package to a network or networks. When the NFL merged with the AFL to create what is now the NFL as we know it, they split their television package with CBS and NBC. ABC got in on the action in 1970 and created one of the most popular football broadcasts to this day of Monday NIght Football. Today the most popular sports programming station, ESPN, was launched in 1979 and was purchased by ABC in the early 1980's. "ESPN's early and continued intertwining with ABC calls attention to the ways in which sport content and the business of television sport, historically, have connected network-era practices and industry "players" to post-network practices and entities. From the early beginning of sport television the so-called "bridge" created by Johnson between the network-era and post-network era could be seen. Once FOX emerged on the seen of sports programming with a major sport broadcast rights contract, Johnson argues was necessary for the post-network transition to begin. The "hybridity" of sport television can be seen in its terms of scheduling and viewing rituals that are often communal and public rather than domestic and intimate. In terms of scheduling, its unique in its unpredictability to overlap or stretch prime time's borders and its main events usually exist outside of prime time. Its viewing rituals being communal and public, meaning its common for groups of people to get together and watch sports together, date back to the network-era. When people would go to movie theaters to watch major news events, or important speeches. However, its been the main source of introducing new modes of television technology and applications (HDTV, fantasy football), which makes it the poster child for the post-netowork era. This highlights its hybridity. "Sport is both the epitome of network-era spectacle and communal "event", as well as ideally predisposed to being parsed out in small "bytes" of information or highlights and news alerts best suited for miniaturized technologies" (Johnson 123). It puts traditions of the past and combines them with traditions of today, it is the perfect media to condense into a tweet, or short video on your phone. The television of sport thus is our last major shared cultural value. It continues to construct community by bringing society together while introducing ways of new technology to be shared and individually experienced.
DQ: Is Johnson correct in saying that with the amazing new technology of sports broadcasting that it is better to watch on television than actually be there?