Dish Man Has 5,000 TV Channels, and Counting
SCOTT SIMON, host:
The latest Nielsen numbers show that Americans spend a record amount of time channel-surfing, four hours and 32 minutes per person each day. My gosh, that's longer than "All Things Considered." Most American homes now have more than 100 channels available so it can be difficult to tell the difference between all but a few. This week The Register-Herald newspaper in Beckley, West Virginia, reports that Al Jessup has installed 12 satellite dishes around his home. This means he has more than 5,000 television channels at his fingertips.
Al Jessup joins us from his home, and thanks for taking time away from the tube for us.
Mr. AL JESSUP: Sure like talking to you.
SIMON: So what do you watch all day? Give us some idea.
Mr. JESSUP: It's the weather first, then I'll flip it to "Daily Buzz," which is on WB, watch a little bit of ABC, a little bit of PBS, a little bit of ABC, and at 10:00 "The Beverly Hillbillies" comes on. News around the world--Canada, Jordan, Iraq, Iran.
SIMON: From overseas.
Mr. JESSUP: I like to watch Jordan news because it tells better news than what they tell in this country.
SIMON: May I ask, what do you do for a living, sir?
Mr. JESSUP: For 25 years I was an ice cream man. I pushed an ice cream cart around Beckley.
SIMON: And so now you're retired?
Mr. JESSUP: Yes.
SIMON: Oh, so you have some time on your hands.
Mr. JESSUP: Right.
SIMON: How many television sets do you own?
Mr. JESSUP: Just three.
SIMON: Forgive this indelicate question, but do you have to pay a lot of money to these satellite services?
Mr. JESSUP: About 78 a month and the free-to-air stuff is free.
SIMON: You know, there are a lot of Americans who will concentrate their television viewing around one special night of the week. Do you have a special night of the week that you just...
Mr. JESSUP: Saturday.
SIMON: Saturday. What do you watch on Saturday?
Mr. JESSUP: I watch RFD-TV.
Mr. JESSUP: They're--yeah. They have music, country music, blue grass.
SIMON: Boy, now do I hear this correctly? You want to get a 13th satellite dish?
Mr. JESSUP: Oh, yes.
SIMON: And what would that enable you to watch and listen to?
Mr. JESSUP: I think I'm going to point it toward the East, because there's a bunch of East satellites out there running around.
SIMON: Al Jessup of Beckley, West Virginia, has got 12 satellite dishes, one more on the way, and has more than 5,000 channels available to him.
Thank you, Mr. Jessup.
Mr. JESSUP: You're welcome.
(Soundbite of "Television Man")
TALKING HEADS: (Singing) Television man and I'm gonna say, we are still good friends and I'm trying to be. Watching everything and I gotta say, we are still good friends. You know the way it is. Television man, I've got what you need. We are still good friends. I know the way you are. Television man. I know you're trying to be. Watching everything, and I gotta say, that's how the story ends.
SIMON: And it's 22 minutes before the hour.