Part I.There is a huge array of satellite dishes behind the Baskin Robbins at Neil and Green. Take a picture of them. Find out where these dishes point to and what they do.
Part II. Prior to the assignment, I was aware that WCIA was a local news station for Champaign, but I was not aware that its communications center was on Neil and Green. I was also interested to learn that WCIA is an affiliate of CBS, which may provide and answer to how they get some of the funding for all of this technology. The numerous satellite dishes on location were not difficult to find, but they were caged off to prevent damage. Damage would, in turn, cause the interference of signals. The satellite dishes were not difficult to find, and when I found out the satellites were for the news station, I had an idea of what they might be used for. I was not able to get in touch with anyone from WCIA, but I was lucky enough to talk to my uncle, who now works for AT&T, to ask him my questions. He has a lot of knowledge on the topic, and was able to help me understand how the satellite dishes worked, and what their multiple uses were. First, I’d like to talk about one of the reasons that these satellites were used for which has hardly anything to do with communications, but can show how its uses advanced overtime. My uncle explained that the satellite dishes’ original use was for predicting weather patterns. As the years passed, there were alternative uses found from these satellite dishes, but they were only available to those who could afford it. With that being said, these satellite dishes can provide many different uses. WCIA, as mentioned earlier, is an affiliate of its’ “parent” station CBS. This is where the other uses for the satellite dishes comes into play.
Part III. The whole time I was under the impression that the satellite dishes were used primarily for sending out broadcasts, but I found out that they are actually used to receive certain broadcasts from the “parent” station. WCIA gets to pick which shows that air for its’ audience, and in the process, the WCIA saves time and allows them to air a broad spectrum of shows. The capabilities that the satellite dishes afford, along with the re-organization of the company, the WCIA is able to provide a service that is cheap, convenient, and sure to be used by all the people in the area. As mentioned in Chapter 3 of the Culture and Technology text, consumers look for products which are convenient (p.27-40). The variation of shows helps to promote the culture on campus that strives for diversity. Economically, they have an advantage over the other local T.V. stations that do not have national affiliates. The television companies were probably one of the first industries that took advantage of this technology. However, its influence on culture and technology can be seen when similar technologies are starting to be used by cell phone companies, Internet providers, and et. c., to improve the efficiency of their products. Besides the community gaining from this technology, the University's culture has also been improved as an indirect use of the satellite dishes. The University is very prestigious, and usually has the best available technology for college students. These satellite dishes cater to the idea of having the latest and greatest technology, and it also promotes the University's greatest principle of being culturally diverse. The creation and use of satellite dishes has allowed WCIA to report on news and provide shows aimed at a very diverse audience because it can receive information from all over the world. Students are able to find out what's happening in the world, or find a show that they would like to watch. Students are able to see these various options of viewing entertainment, and are left with a feeling of being welcome by the community, as well as the University.
Slack, J. D. and Wise, J. M. (2007). Culture and Technology. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.