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15-Feb-2015 11:52

John Bethell, Works Minister at the time, was a director of the Grand Bahama operator, which had launched its Freeport service in 1965.

The Implications of TV Back then, there were only 7000 TV sets in the country.

In one of the earliest controversies of the PLP's time in office, the Broadcasting Commission in 1968 signed an "unauthorised" million contract contract with an American group to build a TV station in Chippingham that wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars. After the 1968 general election, Arthur Foulkes assumed responsibility for ZNS, and plans for a TV station were restarted: "I recall many internal debates over the issue," he told Tough Call recently, "including whether we should start with colour, which prevailed.

We sent people abroad in preparation." But once again the project stalled - this time because of a dramatic rift within the ranks of the PLP itself, which eventually led to the formation of the Free National Movement: "There was much dissension in the party at that time," recalled Sir Arthur.

Political control of ZNS has been a hot-button issue ever since legislation was passed in 1956 to pave the way for television.

So there was naturally a lot of interest in local TV for the sake of popular entertainment alone. Most important was the potential political power of a television monopoly in terms of information control.What should have ignited an explosion of Bahamian art and entrepeneurship, led instead to dull mediocrity and authoritarianism.The question of how to implement television first arose in 1962, when a parliamentary committee began reviewing proposals.Second was the relatively large investment to set up and run a station, not to mention the money and expertise needed to produce local programming.That early CATV system would have carried the four familiar South Florida stations as well as local channels, but a Senate committee rejected the proposal.

So there was naturally a lot of interest in local TV for the sake of popular entertainment alone. Most important was the potential political power of a television monopoly in terms of information control.What should have ignited an explosion of Bahamian art and entrepeneurship, led instead to dull mediocrity and authoritarianism.The question of how to implement television first arose in 1962, when a parliamentary committee began reviewing proposals.Second was the relatively large investment to set up and run a station, not to mention the money and expertise needed to produce local programming.That early CATV system would have carried the four familiar South Florida stations as well as local channels, but a Senate committee rejected the proposal.The majority report, signed by Kendal Isaacs, Clifford Darling and W. Johnson, called for a national TV station to protect and promote the nation's cultural identity.