Monday, December 18, 2006
PBS pledge breaks
Will PBS ever show the James Taylor concert when they’re not doing a pledge break? Or anything decent for that matter? It seems that PBS is either groveling for money or showing a FRONTLINE where we learn that DDT is bad.
But when it’s piper paying time, expect to see the old black & white heavily medicated Judy Garland variety special, the surviving geriatric kings of Doo-Wop, a documentary on the Mama’s & Papa’s (shown on an endless loop in New York because Mama Michelle Phillips once participated in their pledge break), and a black & white Roy Orbison concert that looks like one of Dick Clark’s old home movies.
It’s pretty clear who they’re aiming at – the disposable income rich baby boom generation.
I have some questions.
Who are these pitch people that the local stations get to do these pledge breaks? In L.A. they’re not even recognizable on a Stephanie Edwards level. It’s too bad Dr. Gene Scott is no longer with us. He could’ve gotten on there, filled their quota in two hours and still brought in enough extra to fund his new chapel ice skating rink.
At what point are they going to realize WE’VE HEARD THE SPIEL? For thirty years now. And some of it no longer applies. They say PBS is commercial free. Uh… not really. In addition to the pledge breaks (which usually drone on for at least ten minutes), the underwriters manage to sneak in commercials during their shows. PBS also claims they’re the only educational channel on the dial. Not so anymore. Now we have the Hitler Channel…I mean, HISTORY CHANNEL, DISCOVERY CHANNEL, BIOGRAPHY CHANNEL, ANIMAL PLANET, FOOD CHANNEL, local access, and numerous other informative alternatives.
I’m still a proponent of Public Broadcasting and would love to see it succeed. But a new campaign is necessary. So here’s what I propose: PBS should realize their audience is baby boomers, and go right for them. Instead of stressing education and lack of commercials, what about saying this?
“Look around, baby boomers. All of the commercial networks HATE YOU. They don’t give a shit if you’re watching. In fact, they’d rather you DIDN’T watch because you’re pulling up their precious average age. Do you think you will EVER see Roy Orbison on ABC? Fuck no. (I think you can still say fuck on PBS) They’ll rerun EMILY’S REASONS WHY NOT first. The only mama & papa you’ll see on ABC are Jim Belushi and Courtney Thorne-Smith. Face it, War Babies, you’re obsolete, irrelevant, just taking up space. We’re the only network you have left. So give generously, boomers, or face 500 channels all covering Lindsay Lohan’s rehab attempt. Is that what you want?? The choice is yours but hurry. These Doo-wop groups are dropping like flies.”
Short of Dr. Scott I think that would work. And they wouldn’t have to give out tote bags either.
Maybe then, just once, I could enjoy the James Taylor concert without clutching my wallet.