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DSS: The Last S Stands for "Sucks"

In other news, noted TeeVee contributor Chris Rywalt has had his digital satellite receiver installed and is now trying to get his local broadcast channels. For an up-to-the-minute report, we take you now to Rywalt's house in New Jersey where Chest Huntley is standing by. Chest?

Thanks, Bob. We're standing here in Chris Rywalt's living room, where he's turned the air blue. How? By attempting to get decent reception on his TV set while using language that, frankly, we can't repeat on the air. To summarize, however, he questioned the ancestry of the antenna, suggested bizarre anatomical anomalies were afflicting the coaxial cable, offered to perform a violent sex act upon the antenna wire, and demanded the retribution of a just and angry God be called down upon the genitalia of employees of all major networks.

Why this harsh invective? We interviewed people close to the case.

You're the Bell Atlantic employee who installed the DSS system in Rywalt's home. What went wrong?

Well, Chest, mainly I think it's because I cut the cable going from the cable company into Mr. Rywalt's home.


There wasn't enough room in the little hole from the outside to the inside for two coaxial cables, so one had to go. Why would he need cable, anyway, since he's got DSS now?

You are aware that DSS doesn't carry any of the major networks?

Yeah. So he needs an antenna, and he didn't pay the $129 to have us install one. To heck with him. Let him use his own antenna.

There you have it. Now here's a salesman from Home Depot. Sir, did you sell Rywalt one of these antenna signal amplifiers?

I sure did.

Did it work?


Do they ever work?


Did you sell Rywalt one of these fancy amplified RCA set-top antennas to replace Rywalt's old and ugly set-top antenna?

I sure did.

Did that work?


Do they ever work?


One last question. Is it true that Rywalt got reception just as well without any antenna hooked up at all as he did with one?


Thank you. And now we take you to the smoke-filled room where we caught up with the Network Honchos who filed the suit in Miami forcing DSS to stop carrying network programming. Sir, were you thinking of inconveniencing Rywalt specifically?

Yes, indeed. That's why we filed when we did. We felt certain the time was right for Rywalt to get DSS and when he did, we wanted to make sure he'd get no networks. That's what he gets for changing to improved technology. See if he thinks 200 channels of bass fishing and E! and the Paint Drying Channel are better technology than Law & Order and The Nanny.

Is it possible that Rywalt could get a waiver from you, allowing him to get his network programming through DSS?

[chuckle] I don't think so. When he tried to call WABC, we just routed him through to an incredibly rude recorded message telling him it wasn't our problem, it was his.

Any idea why Rywalt can't get good reception despite having a line of sight from his roof to the Empire State Building?

Since everyone has cable, we dropped the signal strength of our broadcasting stations. Doesn't pay to pour all that wattage into the atmosphere if no one is watching.

Why the reluctance to allow networks on satellite systems?

Well, we want people to be able to see their local affiliate programming, like news, weather, and of course, local ads. If everyone could just get DSS and get the same networks as everyone else, all our local affiliates would dry up and blow away, and we can't have that.

But Mr. Rywalt lives in the New York City metropolitan area. All of his local affiliates are carried on DSS. He'd be watching the same programs, just over another medium.

That's what he said. Too bad.

Mr. Rywalt called TCI Cablevision, his current cable company and the reason why he got DSS in the first place. This is the customer service representative who spoke with Rywalt when he called. What did he ask you?

Mr. Rywalt wanted to know if we had lifeline cable service -- service of just the broadcast channels, only over cable.

And you told him?

We did. It's $12 a month. Mr. Rywalt wanted to know if we could sell it to him for a lower figure. I told him the price was not negotiable.

What did he say next?

He said that he thought that was stupid. I told him the price was set by the FCC. He wanted to know why the FCC sets the price at $4 a month for most other companies and $12 a month for Cablevision.

And you didn't know.

I told him I didn't. And that the price was still not negotiable. He said he thought it was silly for Cablevision to lose all of the money from him when they could still get some of the money from him, if they'd just lower the lifeline price. I told him we couldn't. Then I hung up on him.


We pride ourselves on service here at Cablevision, and part of that service is teaching our customers their place in the world.

Finally, we have Dawn Rywalt, Mr. Rywalt's long-suffering wife. Thank you for talking with us today.

Sure. Fine.

How do you feel about not having networks?

He could have thought. He could have tried the antenna before cutting the cable. He could have solved this problem earlier. He could have talked to me about it.

He is a thoughtless bastard, isn't he?

Really. All I want is The Nanny and Law & Order. Maybe the news once in a while. All I have now is MTV-2 playing Slim Shady videos all day and seventeen channels of Showtime showing Police Academy movies and "Critters 2".

So there you have it: Chris Rywalt, inconsiderate son of a bitch. Back to you, Bob.

You'll keep us posted on any developments, Chest.

Absolutely. We'll be here if anything happens.

Thank you. And now, the local weather, followed by the local sports.


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