That consumer hatred is turning to gold for Joe Bingochea, president of Channel Master.
published an item about a lawsuit Comcast settled recently with the
Massachusetts attorney general. The cable provider agreed to refund $700,000 in
overcharges and cancel debts of 20,000 customers. It seems Comcast’s
advertising neglected to disclose fees that typically increased the price of
multi-year packages by 40%. Unhappy customers were required to pay as much as
$240 to cancel or change a subscription.
An estimated 25 million subscribers broke free from their pay-tv
service this year, a 33% increase over 2017.
Who doesn’t hate their cable or satellite television
provider? The cable and satellite companies force customers to pay for unwanted
channels to get the channels they do want. Because they sold only package deals.
The television providers refused to remove their blinders; they thought they
could resist a la carte pricing forever. Although they also provide Internet
service – and lobby against net neutrality – they didn’t see the Internet would
soon wreck their business model.
That consumer hatred is turning to gold for Joe Bingochea, president of Channel Master. The seventy-year-old company has doubled the size of its Arizona factory to meet surging demand. Its product? Television antennas.
television allows viewers to subscribe to only channels they want. They don’t need
to pay for ESPN2 to get HBO; they only pay for the HBO channel. And they’ve
learned what mom and dad knew: the local stations, including major network
affiliates and PBS, broadcast their programming for free. All one needs is an
antenna to grab the signal from the atmosphere.
Which explains why Joe Bingochea is so happy. After years in the doldrums, his company’s products are in demand again. Channel Master also offers DVRs that work with antennas, because today’s viewers are accustomed to watching what they want when they want. For less than a hundred bucks, a person can become an ex-customer of the pay-TV companies.
Are you anxious because you do not have enough to worry
about? How about piles of rocks? Stone stacking is the latest thing on
Instagram and Facebook. Posters put up selfies with hashtags #RockStacks and #StoneStacking. (Facebook
owns Instagram.) In your travels you’ve probably seen and marveled at
cleverly-built small stone towers.
Killjoys, though, are not pleased. Zion National Park posted a photo of someone’s artistic
rock piling with the caption “…leave rocks and all
natural objects in place.” The post went on to say, “Stacking up stones
is simply vandalism.” The problem? Moving a lot of stones can result in
erosion, damage to animal ecosystems and disrupt the flow of rivers. Hikers depend
on sanctioned cairns for navigation in places without clear trails. Park
rangers, environmentalists, and hikers have reactions ranging from annoyance to
Vikings built stone cairns (worked better than bread crumbs) to find their way back from explorations of Finland in the ninth century and as markers for those who followed. Now tourist guides are pleading for them to be left alone and not mucked up with twenty-first century imitations.