Technology: Beaming At The Voters

Satellites and gadgetry give candidates a boost

In the final days before this week's Iowa caucuses, Massachusetts Democrat Michael Dukakis wanted to make a televised, in-depth appeal to the state's elderly voters. Since the message could not be targeted through the national networks, and there was no statewide network, the candidate simply assembled his own custom-made grid of stations. The Dukakis team bought time on local cable channels, rented a broadcast-size dish antenna and made arrangements to use a communications satellite orbiting 22,300 miles over the equator. The patchwork network enabled the candidate to conduct a live call-in show in which his image was beamed up to the...

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