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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Who's Got the Two-Thousand-and-a-Half?

I live in a deeply retarded city.

The Chicago Tribune reports today that local developers have proposed building a 2000-feet-tall, $300 million tower on the city's lakefront, to be designed by Cesar Pelli, that would serve solely as a broadcasting tower for local television stations. It would dominate the skyline. It would be the tallest structure in the world. And, aside from hosting broadcast antennae, it would have no functional utility whatsoever--no office space, no floors, nothing. Just a big tower.

Which is remarkably stupid even before you consider the fact that 85 percent of Chicago's households don't get their precious television signals over the air--they get them from cable or satellite hook-ups. In other words, the $300 million tower would have zero impact on the vast majority of Chicago's television homes. And the number getting over-the-air signals--all of which are currently served perfectly well by the broadcast facilities atop the Hancock and Sears towers--will only dwindle as WiFi-based IPTV and other technologies continue to demolish the boradcast-era model. They might as well put a dirigible docking station up there while they're at it.