"When television is good, nothing . . . is better," the wise man said. "But when television is bad, nothing is worse."

Sit yourself down in front of the TV for a day, he said.

"You will see a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons. And endlessly commercials — many screaming, cajoling, and offending. And most of all, boredom. True, you'll see a few things you will enjoy. But they will be very, very few."

Sound familiar? That's FCC Chairman Newton Minow in an address to broadcasters — 53 years ago today. It's a speech Minow hoped would stress the need for public interest programming, but wound up being remembered for labeling the medium "a vast wasteland."