Wrastlin’ for Eyeballs and Eardrums

“Afternoon everybody.”


“How’s the world treating you Mr. Peterson?”

Then, we would wait… every Thursday night… at 9:00 PM… Channel 3… NBC.

What would Norm’s zinger be? 

What pithy, funny, unexpected thing would Norm Peterson bless us with tonight?

Those were the days: Appointment Television. 

We weren’t walking around with a supercomputer in our pocket. You know, the thing we call a phone? We waited. We couldn’t skip the ads. We couldn’t watch 26 episodes in a row. 

That would be 13 hours by the way. The folks at NBC would make 275 episodes of Cheers.

8,250 minutes of production and comedy.

If we did choose to “Stranger-Things-Binge” that entire run of shows, all eleven seasons, we would be sitting in front of a television (humor me, we didn’t consume stuff on our phones – they were plugged into a wall with a lit key punch pad) for 5.7 days straight. 

No sleep. No breaks. Almost six straight days of watching television. 

But now. Now, I can watch every Norm response in a compiled YouTube video in 18 minutes and 37 seconds. It’s mainlining Norm-isms as we all wait for the “it’s a dog eat dog world and I’m wearing milk bone underwear…” response. 

Slam Dunk, Normy. 

The purpose of sharing this memory? To share that we never left NBC for another channel at that time slot.


You did not change the channel. It was “must-see-tv.” My dad would yell at me if I did.

They hooked us with Cosby at 8:00 PM. Anchored us with Cheers at 9:00 PM. 120 minutes of prime time ad dollars overcharged to advertisers that didn’t know if their ads were even seen.  Oh, at 10:00 PM, I had to go to bed, because my parents watched Hill Street Blues and it was a little spicy back then. Hey, let’s be careful out there.” This one only takes 2:38.

Fast forward. 

Today, the content I loyally consume is delivered directly into my ears through Apple Podcasts. Why Apple Podcasts? Calling Al Reis and Jack Trout!

For me Apple Podcasts was first. The Power of Positioning.

It was the first place I listened to music on a device. So, it’s where I thought all podcasts lived. Don’t make fun. I also listen to Pandora, too. Now, it’s just a habit. 

A few months ago, one of the podcasts I listen to each day started piling in the ads. And, there was a Wonderly subscription service suddenly available. If I sunk a few bucks a month I could get early episodes and skip the ads. But, come on. It’s daily. No thanks. 

Eventually the locked content came unlocked. All good. No subscription needed. I’m fine. 

Patience Grasshopper.

But today. Today. Amazon pulled a Gene Kelly Dance Step. A Michael Jackson MoonWalk. They Doug Flutied Apple Podcasts. 

They got me to move. 

I am an Amazon Prime subscriber. Who’s not? Thanks, COVID. And my favorite podcast today said “Amazon Prime Members listen with no ads and get all the episodes early on Amazon Music!”

What? Heresy? I opened the app. All the episodes were unlocked. Hot diggity! Are you kidding? No additional subscription.

I now listen to podcasts on Amazon Music. Amazon is learning what I like, what I listen to, pairing that with what I buy, what I search and don’t purchase, what I skip, how I shop – and, I don’t care.

Really, before you tell me I sold my soul – I don’t care.

I changed the channel. The parallel, if Cheers moved to channel 7 or 11 back then – so would my eyeballs. 

So what? The difference today?

This move is so impressive because of the data collected. And, the fact there are many, many, many more channels than the three we had in Follansbee, West Virginia, in the late 1980s – it’s mind boggling.  

Each of those channels are fighting for our attention. Every minute of every listen, every show and every post, every search and every meme and every viral video. 

Who wins in this? We do. 

I used one subscription service (Amazon Prime) to get more of what I want. How I want it. When I want it. So, I’ll give them some data. 

They used content to add value to the Amazon Prime Subscription.

Good Content. Drives Audience. Produce It.

I just wanted to hear what the response was after everyone in that Boston bar would greet Norm. And, if Sam and Diane would ever get together. And, what silly thing Woody would say. And, what amazing factoid-truth-bomb Cliff the mail man would drop on us. 

“How’s the world treating ya’, Mr. Peterson?”

“Like a baby treats a …” – I won’t ruin it, watch the video.

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