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NBC News Is a Gas Gas Gas

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Since the sanctity of the restroom has long since been breached by display ad cases perched insolently and obtrusively at eye level above urinals in many a way station, one of the last public spaces left where a modern guy can gather his thoughts in relatively unmarketed peace is the gas station. Sure, there are little cardboard signs urging you to pick up some Diet Coke and inorganic doughnuts in the station’s mini-mart, but if you pay at the pump you don’t have to go inside, and you can easily do your business without ever taking note of these modest little importunities.

Who hasn’t spent his average of three minutes securing liquid freedom, staring at azure skies overhead, musing on epistemology or last night’s ball game, high-octane gasoline surging manfully from pump to tank, fuel nozzle firmly grasped in a symbolic handshake with the Spirit of Personal Mobility?

Well, now you can flush this lone remaining bastion of contemplative calm down the for-customers-only, get-key-from-attendant toilet, as NBC Universal Television Stations group and VST Media Network are partnering to deliver customized local news, weather, sports and entertainment video, and headlines to on-pump screens at gas stations in markets with NBC owned-and-operated stations.

A program lasting three minutes, cobbled from local NBC newscasts in each market and updated twice daily, will be triggered when the fuel nozzle is lifted. And of course there’s room for advertising — State Farm Insurance and Tropicana are the first companies to sign on.

VST currently has video screens at 17 Shell gas stations in Los Angeles, and says it will expand to up to 500 stations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego this year, as well as stations in markets across the country with NBC-owned stations.

There is no escape.

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About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted, Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.
  • Dawn

    I might be confused, but were you implying that you pump gas and urinate at the same time?

  • Eric Olsen

    [chortle!] um, no

  • Dawn

    really? Well, I am still confused by the toilet reference. Honestly I refuse to use gas station bathrooms – they are DISGUSTING.

    Are there going to be t.v.’s in the johns now too?

  • i always wondered why that stuff in the window washer box failed to clean my windshield…..hmmmmmm.

  • Eric Olsen

    Actually, urine might be a step up from the contents of some gas station washer fluid, BUT the urinal reference is completely separate from the freaking TV-at-the-pump reference. they are connected only by their intrusiveness – but you knew that.

  • i wonder if ads will do any good? i mean, shoot, they have ads now at most of the pumps and i just ignore ’em…staring off into space.

  • Eric Olsen

    that’s what I was saying, but TV is different

  • Ty

    I am getting sick of TV EVERYWHERE. In one chain of grocery stores here (Albertsons), there are TV’s everywhere with small pieces and tons of ads. It’s revolting.

  • Dawn

    I think all TV’s in public places should show Spongebob Squarepants. Not only would we all be entertained, it would have the double effect of keeping my kids out of my butt while in the check out line.

  • Eric Olsen

    the dulaity of TV is that we demand that it be beguiling to the point of inducing a trance, yet we are then resentful when it is so