I Cut the Cord

113I finally did it. I cut the cable cord in July 2017. It had been something that I had been thinking about for well over a year now.

Each time my local cable company was gobbled up by a larger cable company nothing really changed except that my bill went up. And up. And UP.

How Many Channels Do I Really Watch

I did an analysis of my TV viewing habits and found that most of my TV habit revolved around LIVE news programs, YouTube, HBO, Showtime and Netflix.

I can spend a whole evening sometimes just going through the viewing options on Netflix and call it a night without ever watching a single program sometimes. (I know if you have this service you’ve probably done it too.)

When I looked at the number of shows I was watching on HBO and Showtime, it came down to about one program per service each. So, I’m temporarily going without either of them for the time being. But I also know that if I access these services via OTT (Over The Top) TV, I can get full access to their library vs. only selected access via a cable bundle’s On Demand offering.


The thing that had me staying connected to the cable bundle was access to LIVE TV, especially the news channels like CNN, MSNBC and FOX.

I also am a weather geek and so The Weather Channel often would be on my TV screen while I played the radio. My new set-up doesn’t access the live meteorologists on TWC but I have the TWC App on my iPhone7 and so I really have access to all the weather information I need at the touch of my screen.


My dilemma to accessing LIVE TV for news programming was solved when I learned about SLING TV. SLING offers CNN, MSNBC and FOX 24/7 LIVE. I bought the SLING BLUE package for $25/month. No contract to sign and I can terminate the service (though I serious doubt that will happen) at any time. I also added the news option to SLING BLUE for $5/month. My total TV package is now $30/month.

SLING TV now controls the lion’s share of subscribers according to comScore with more than 2 million users as of June 2017.


I access SLING through a 4th generation AppleTV. AppleTV offers quite a few other options for news and entertainment viewing. One being CBSN, the new CBS 24/7 news channel that reminds me of the old Headline News.


My fiancé had Amazon Prime when I moved in with her in Virginia but was not taking advantage of her access to Amazon TV that comes with a prime membership. AppleTV doesn’t have a way to access Amazon TV (I don’t know why this is) but Amazon TV can be accessed on any Apple computer, iPhone, or iPad. So, I downloaded it to our iPad and now stream it to our large screen HDTV with excellent quality for both picture and sound.

USA OTT Viewing Time

In a report released by comScore the research company reports that SLING, AT&T’s DirecTV NOW and Sony’s PlayStation Vue garner around 3.1 million viewers. Those same services now command 54.6% of OTT usage.

Impact on Radio

Does any of this have an impact on radio? Well it just might when you consider what Amazon just introduced in June 2017, the Amazon Echo Show.

While the radio industry was just beginning to wrap its head around the Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod and Microsoft/Samsung’s Cortana Voice Activated Devices (VADs), along comes the Echo Show with a touch screen. “In addition to its usual Alexa powers, the Echo Show is a phone, TV, karaoke machine, and digital photo frame. The screen stays on even when you’re not using it,” writes CNN tech.

The world of communications technology is changing at breakneck speed.

It’s a “Winner Takes it ALL” game.

“Just when I think I have learned the way to live,

life changes.”

-Hugh Prather

P.S. on Monday, August 7th, a great new book “Fired Up! SELLING” will be released. If you’re in sales or just a lover of inspiring quotes like me, this little book is a MUST HAVE for your library. 268 people are quoted in this book.

Full disclosure, I was one of the quote judges that worked on putting together this book. It was a labor of love and working on it made for a very inspiring year that truly fired me up.

Here’s a link to the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Fired-Up-Selling-TM-Energize/dp/1885167830/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501771980&sr=8-1&keywords=fired+up+selling+quotes



Filed under Education, Mentor, Radio, Sales

17 responses to “I Cut the Cord

  1. Gene Kauffman

    Dick, long time since the IBIB and Iowa ! I never miss your column. I recently sold my Apple TV and bought a Roku because I wanted to be able to access Amazon video and you tube, both of which, Apple does not include. I like the Roku much better. I think I paid less that 50-bucks.


    • Hi Gene, great to hear from you and thanks for being a regular reader of the blog.

      I got my 1st AppleTV as a Christmas gift. It would be a year before I used it for the first time, because when I got it, I only owned an analog TV. Won an HDTV at a state broadcaster convention auction and finally got to open up and use my AppleTV.

      Now I have that one and the new 4th generation AppleTV. I’m all Apple now – phone, tablet, iTunes Match, iCloud – and I love the Apple ecosystem. AppleTV DOES get YouTube and I run Amazon Prime videos via my iPad or iPhone without a problem. The picture is is full screen HD and crystal clear video & audio.

      Yes, Roku is a whole lot cheaper than Apple, but I like the way Apple products feel, work and holdup — and of course, I love the Apple ecosystem where everything works together and everything is backed up.

      Thanks for adding your experience to this week’s blog. I’m sure others will benefit from the conversation. -DT


  2. Steve Biro

    Two things, Dick.

    1) Check out Pluto TV. It’s a free app you can download to your computer or mobile device. See if you can get it on your AppleTV box, too. A number of news, weather, entertainment, technology and music channels. It’s like having a mini-cable TV system of your own. It even has a programming grid that looks like a cable TV menu.

    2). How much are you paying for Internet access? You have to add that to your total cost as well. The problem with many cord-cutters (obviously not you) is that they have to pay for Internet access and then add too many TV packages – Hulu, HBO, Showtime and more. They end up paying almost what they did for cable.


    • Hi Steve,

      Thanks for the heads-up about Pluto TV. I’ve not heard or read anything about that one before.

      Internet access is $45/month and yes, you need to add that to the cost of SLING TV. But I already require internet access for work and social activities, so that’s a given. Today, it’s the equivalent of having a landline phone line of days past. (I have been a cellphone only household going on 8 years now.)

      What you have to do is keep a log of what you really watch on TV and then figure out how to acquire those programs in a more affordable way.

      Ironically, being a Nielsen family twice during my time in Kentucky forced me into keeping a log and it was the second and more recent time that I really realized how much I was buying an never using from my cable provider. When I moved, I fixed that problem.

      Thanks for stopping by the blog and making a contribution to the discussion. -DT


  3. Radio will do fine (no cord, data, or fees required). We need to step up our presentation on digital devices with album art, information, offers, etc. Hopefully RDS and NextRadio will get us to that next step.


  4. packrat

    Cord cutting is rampant in America, and the payment models change once again. Have you heard that milennials have discovered an amazing secret way to get over the air signals free? America’s forgotten OTA signals, and for this generation they are as passe as the dial telephone.



    • I didn’t mention the OTA way to get HDTV because while I got 18-OTA channels in Kentucky, when I moved to Virginia, I got bupkis. So that option, is not available to all. And while I’m on it, I had students in my university classes who lived in Kentucky and did not have access to high speed internet at their home. So clearly, for some, this is not a possibility. -DT


      • packrat

        Oh, agreed. And I have an OTA box, but coupled with a standard digital antenna it is a sometime thing to get a picture out of it. I got tired of having to stand in a certain spot to receive television, so, I eventually gave up on broadcast tv in disgust, and look at the occasional local news video online–but haven’t worried about a TV, cable or no, in a couple of years at least. The last bits are lying disconnected heap in a corner of the den, with the stepson’s “vintage” nintendo hooked to the CRT. And I worked in broadcast television.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a very attractive idea Dick, but what would my 30 year old twins do who use Dad’s cable sign ons for HBO to Go, Showtime, and other subscription services on both the East and West Coasts? I need to do more study! Thanks for the starter guide.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Today was my 1st time reading your blog! Very interesting. I’m an. Old time broadcast engineer and jock, that spent 21 years building Radio and Television remote vehicles, also some home land security vechicles. I have broadcast vechicles all over the world. Now I’m partially retarded, oops this retired! I look forward to reading future missives from you and your readers!! Tony Raven…


    • You had me laughing out-loud with your comment “now I’m partially retarded…” line. I think that may characterize my current status as well Tony. Thank YOU for stopping by the blog today and spending some of your time reading what I wrote. Also thank you for adding your thoughts. Please come back again. -DT


  7. I’d love to cut the cord, but there are things we watch (particularly my wife) that aren’t available online (such as NASCAR races that aren’t on the Big 4 networks). I sometimes wonder if replacing one cable subscription with several online subscriptions doesn’t come out in the wash. Comcast, etc isn’t going to let customers use their internet service to bypass their programming indefinitely; they’ve already installed data caps in some markets (such as mine) and are the only viable choice for broadband in my market until Verizon Fiber finally gets here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brad, I’m sure that depending on where you live, some options may be difficult to access or — as you point out — data caps might prove to be a way cable operators will fight OTT.

      Again, this option wasn’t viable for me until SLING TV offered the news channel add-on option to one of its basic packages. For me, sports is a non-starter and being able to bypass those offerings to get news programming instead was a tipping point for me.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective. -DT


  8. Jim

    We finally got Youtube TV in Atlanta. $35 a month…local, news,all the sports I watch. Only drawback is you have to cast it from your phone or computer as it is not yet on Roku. No contract!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Bad news for cable and satellite TV: Cord cutting is exploding. US consumers are canceling traditional TV services at a much faster pace than expected, according to research firm eMarketer; some 22.2 million US adults are expected to cut the cord this year, a 33% year-over-year increase. And consumers who’ve never subscribed to traditional TV or satellite services are also a growing cohort: eMarketer expects to see 34.4 million “cord-nevers” by the end of the year, a 5.8% bump from 2016. These trends are bad news for traditional TV, which faces growing competition from streaming services. eMarketer also dropped its forecast for television advertising spend by $1 billion.


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