When I was 4-ish (1978), the big thing for me to watch was public television. WETA Channel 26. MR. ROGERS, SESAME STREET, and THE ELECTRIC COMPANY.
I don’t think we got cable until 1981 (when I was 7) or so… Back when A&E and Nick were the same channel, there were 5 movie channels (everyone knows about HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and even The Movie Channel, but few people remember the Home Theatre Network), and HBO wasn’t descrambled but was set at the tap for your house. (Meaning I could get it in my room via a cable split without a cable box, unlike the descrambled channels.)
You know what the most memorable moment of all that programming was for me? Not a specific show, but the period of silence between SESAME STREET and THE ELECTRIC COMPANY; the period of time where the screen is completely black for an unpredictable amount of time (TV programming was not necessarily run by computers back then, and WETA 26 was, after all, a local public station), followed by someone insanely screaming “HEEEYY YOOOOUUU GUYYYYYYYSSSSS!” and THE ELECTRIC COMPANY logo.
Anyway… The silence between the two shows scared the shit out of me. I wasn’t scared of the “Hey You Guys!” scream as much as the anticipation of waiting for it to happen. It filled my adrenal gland and my soul with a sense of dread. The same sense of dread I feel today if I wake up and notice that the music has inexplicably stopped playing. Is the power out? Did my computer fry? Will I be able to sleep without anything to entertain me enough to keep my thoughts from madly racing?
I’ve never been a fan of silence. I listen to music 24/7/365. I don’t sit in silence. Period. Ever. Even if I’m sitting outside in the middle of the woods, alone, I’m going to be projecting my hearing as far as possible, trying to hear as many different sounds as possible. It took me awhile to realize that my dislike of silence goes all the way back to the 1970s. At least I’m consistent.