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“I can get free air down the street at the BP station. Why should I have to pay for television?”
~ Oscar Wilde on Free-to-Air

For those without comedic tastes, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about Free-to-air.

Free-to-air (often shortened to fXe for no readily apparent reason) is a form of television broadcasting found chiefly in the arid, tropical regions surrounding the Primed Meridian (most notably Gibraltar) The term derives from the fact that these fXe stations broadcast their signals primarily in the lower, less commercialized portion of the atmosphere. This leaves viewing open to those that can't afford to purchase air through conventional means, also known as Poor People.


In the early 14th century, the Spanish attempted (as they seem to quite frequently) to occupy Gibraltar. While ultimately the Gibraltarian military was able to fend off the woefully impotent Spaniards (official memos refer to the invading force as "Cute,") the attack revealed some of the inherent flaws in the Gibraltarian systems of governance, checks, balances, checks and balances, and balancing checkbooks.

The resulting economic backlash resulted in the Gibraltarian media becoming rife with satire, with a thick undercurrent of stinging social commentary. Such satire was outwardly endorsed by both sides of the political spectrum, along with the majority of the visible light spectrum, and my cousin's ZX Spectrum.

The problem, however, is that this satire went largely unnoticed by the general public. As 99% of the population of the world was solely Poor People (prior to 1929) they couldn't afford to breathe the Nitrogen-Rich, expensive air above them. Instead, they were forced to make use of the low-flying, television-deprived air around them.

The Gibraltanese figure-heads knew what they needed. They needed a man; possibly one with a plan. Fortunately for the Gibraltans, they found neither, so they began wasting taxpayers' dollars on funding what they called the Gibraltarinos Can Now Watch The Television Because The Air Is Free project, (later shortened to "Free-to-air" after labor disputes). This system was quickly adopted in many other countries, and fXe was born.

How to Receive Free-to-Air Broadcasting[edit]

  1. Purchase a television, idiot box, or boob tube. Any will do.
  2. Acquire a specially designed fXe free-air transceiver antenna, sometimes referred to as "Rabbit Ears." This nickname is a misnomer: the antenna is not actually manufactured from the ears of a rabbit, nor does it have anything to do with rabbits.
  3. Alternately, if you can't find a proper antenna, you can place a rabbit on top of your television set, and inform it that you will withhold carrots if it does not keep its ears in the proper position to receive the broadcast. (Note: does not work with boob tubes)
  4. Inhale deeply

Differences from Normal Television[edit]

While generally considered by cognoscenti to be the 17th most important invention of late 14th century Gibraltar, Free-to-Air broadcasting does have some negative aspects. Mostly, these stem from the fact that the following people like money:

  • Actors
  • News Anchors
  • Producers
  • Directors
  • Camera Men
  • Best Boy Grips
  • Key Grips
  • Gaffers
  • Interns
  • Sexy Interns

Because of the lack of money involved in inhaling free air, none of these are involved in fXe broadcasts. As a result, fXe programming consists almost entirely of robots, and as such, has very little emotional content. For instance, "Human Interest Stories" are entirely absent from fXe news broadcasts.

Despite this, there have been a myriad of celebrities that have wholeheartedly supported and endorsed the concept of fXe broadcasting. Universally, fXe has been praised by celebrities who are convinced their opinions matter, when they actually don't, including George Clooney and Kanye West.

See Also[edit]