I keep resisting the notion that the impending network affiliation switch between WICS Ch. 20 and WAND Ch. 17 is any big deal. I mean, the community isn't losing anything. The same network TV shows will be available and the respective news organizations will remain unchanged. Still, when I read the news, I too felt a bit of, well, shock.
Maybe it's because something very familiar is changing. Imagine if the city suddenly switched the names of MacArthur Blvd. and Stevenson Drive, one for the other. They would be the same streets going the same directions. No buildings, homes or business would move. Yet it would be somewhat disorienting. A bit of everyday reality would have just flipped; the earth would have slipped slightly on is axis. So that's where I think the interest/concern comes from.
I grew up here at a time when there were only three channels available and, of course, no cable or satellite TV. As a kid, TV was a pretty important piece of my world. In early grade school I could tell you the entire primetime lineup for all three stations for each day of the week. I was not allowed to watch that much TV but I sure as hell knew what was on for the times I could watch. I distinctly remember thinking it odd that grown-ups often didn't know what was on at any given time.
In that sense, something very basic to me is touched by this. Ch. 20 has always been an NBC affiliate! While the world changes in small ways daily, certain things seem immune to change, and when they do change feeling unsettled is a reflex. Intellectually, I really don't care that much about the network realignment but it's still bothersome at a basic level. Maybe its just one more thing to make me feel older.
By the way, Jim Leach has started discussion over at Look Back Springfield on Springfield broadcasting memories. Head over and join in.