Friday, April 17, 2009

The Best Things in Life are free...

by Michael Dymmoch

...Almost . Take public television. An annual membership for WTTW is $40—$0.11 a day. For the same modest donation, WYCC gives you a program guide and dozens of informative (BBC news), educational (TV college lectures), and entertaining (Night Owl Theater) programs. Annual membership is $75, which includes 2-for-1 savings at Chicago area restaurants and travel discounts. A daily Chicago Tribune or Sun-Times is $0.75, more on Sunday. And you can usually tear through either publication in half an hour. "Free" commercial television costs you about twenty minutes/hour of your time and subjects you to insultingly stupid, often disgusting messages. (There are exceptions. I find Mac and, recently, Microsoft commercials, and the new 3G/4G ads amusing.) Public TV can be "free" if you choose not to subscribe, but if you want it to continue...

Maybe I'm preaching to the choir here (yeah, I know that's a cliche), because if you're reading this blog, you're a reader, and you probably don't get all your news from superficial sources. What I'm trying to point out is that not everything going on in the world is bad news. And you ususally don't hear about the good stuff on on the nightly news. Public television (and radio) has features far below the radar (read mass selling appeal) of most commercial stations. Like Chicago Tonight's April 13 report on deconstruction. And the BBC's April 15 report on the Pirate Bay founders jailed in Sweden. Where on commercial TV will you find an expert who gets more than three minutes to explain his point or plug his book? Charlie Rose and Tavis Smiley do it every day on PBS. Chicago Tonight does it every night. When the live-on-the-scene commercial reporters do a report, it's almost always about something that happened hours ago. And the time spent on an "In-depth report" is often less than the length of the commercials advertising the report.

If this sounds like an extended plug for public Television and radio. It is. Please support them.

1 comment:

David said...

Thanks for mentioning Charlie Rose. His show is great and often overlooked.