Local Scene Stuff

The Alabama Public Television Censoring World Channel Situation


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Welcome to the wonderful and weird state of Alabama, where TV stations love to “censor” certain programs.  For example, one TV station in the past has censored certain comedy programs because they have portrayed gay couples.  And the public television station, Alabama Public Television, in the past has censored certain programs because they might offend some state lawmakers and risk the funding from the state.  You don’t see many other TV stations censoring programs, other than Utah TV stations, that censor programs because of the Mormon faith.

Now, Alabama Public Television has once again “censored” some programming because some programs are too “mature” for the kids.  Currently, APT has three channels on their antenna network, the main PBS feed, the World Channel feed, and the Create Channel feed.  Mostly all of the programs on Create are TV-G with a few TV-PG programs mixed in.  But on the World Channel feed, every program is shown four times a day in a 24 hour period.  So, if a program like an independent film or Frontline is TV-14 or even TV-MA, it is shown on World Channel, even during the daytime.  APT believes that the mature programs are not appropriate to broadcast during the daytime, when the kids are home and awake.

For starters, every TV these days, especially the TV’s that can carry subchannels, has a V-Chip.  I mean, why could APT air ads or put something on their website to show people how to set up and program their V-Chips on their TV?  Heck, even on the main PBS feed you will sometimes find a TV-14 or TV-MA program, even during primetime, where some kids could still be up.  Another thing, APT claims that they don’t have the equipment to independently control what airs on the channel.  But, on the Create Channel feed, you will find local ads filled in-between the programs.  And APT has been airing pledge programs on the Create feed.  And before World Channel, APT ran their own channel called APT IQ.

So, I don’t know if I can buy the statement on the Alabama Public Television website that they don’t have the equipment to put separate programs on the World Channel feed.  APT claims that they will soon replace their outdated equipment, and they might return World Channel to a 24 hour feed with certain programs replaced if they are too mature.  But, could they just temporary end the local ads and pledge programming on Create, and use that equipment to return World Channel to a 24 hour feed, maybe?  Another person I know, Wade Kwon, wrote about this situation on the Alabama Public Television Facebook page.  APT has deleted all the comments written by people about the World Channel situation, but I saved this comment!

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This move has made some people not happy.  Some programs like Well Read, Start Up, America’s Heartland, and repeats like McLaughlin Group, which I am not home to watch on Friday nights on APT, are not shown anymore.  Sure, I can simply watch the McLaughlin Group and Washington Week repeats on YouTube, but other programs like Well Read and Start Up are very hard to find online.  Now, you might be saying, could APT just air another straight subchannel feed on digital channel 2?  Well, there are not a lot of options.

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Some channels like the Spanish V-Me, you can forget about unless you want state lawmakers threatening APT.  Other feeds like NHK World and MHZ WorldView will never be shown here.  And there are not many other public TV subchannels that can be shown.  So for now, I guess we are stuck with seeing the Create Channel on two different subchannels during the daytime, which is very weird.  But, as what I said at the beginning of this post, this is the weird and wonderful state of Alabama.  And if APT continued to air the very few mature programs shown on World Channel, there could be calls by several state lawmakers to end Alabama Public Television, and they might have gotten their wishes.

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