Three words: Stevie Ray Vaughn.
Please keep reading, do not get me wrong. I absolutely love Stevie Ray Vaughn. I have several CDs with nearly every song he performed, video of him playing live, and I think by far he is my favorite guitarist ever. And once a month, PBS plays Stevie Ray Vaughn videos. Why do they play Stevie Ray Vaughn videos instead of their usual programming of 1950s variety show reruns, heavily left leaning political commentary, the newest garage band, or opera? Because it’s time for the monthly pledge drive.
And that, my friends is capitalism. I love the PBS pledge drive shows. They did a Pink Floyd concert, Queen, and some more cultural stuff like Victor Borga and some classical master pieces. But seriously, PBS pledge drives are the best time to watch PBS because they bring out the shows you would actually be willing to pay for. And then they break in for 15 minutes to tell you that for a pledge of $125 you can get your very own Stevie Ray Vaughn CD as a thank you gift. But they also lie to you and tell you that they need the funds so that they can show great programming like this all the time.
It’s not true. What they mean to say is pledge money so that they know what to play for their next pledge drive.
I watch PBS a lot. I love britcoms. My wife loves the new Dr. Who. She also loves costume dramas. My son loves Elmo and nature shows. If it wasn’t for the leftist political commentary, the fact that my tax dollars are already funding it, and the fact that pledging money gets you more of the Antique Roadshow, cooking shows, This Old House and opera, not more Stevie Ray Vaughn and Are You Being Served, I might actually give to PBS. I mean, where else can you see Mr. Bean and Hugh Laurie in a comedy about the trenches of World War I.
I would not stop watching PBS if they showed commercials. After all, in between shows we already have spots for the latest Masterpiece Theatre preview, the corporate sponsors of PBS, the uber-wealthy families and foundations who give PBS grants, and of course a quick mention of “taxpayers…er, I mean viewers like you”.
If they replaced 15 minute pledge breaks with commercials and showed stuff people wanted to see, just like every other TV station, they would come out ahead. I believe that’s true even if they showed a symphony performance or a nature show. Surely no one can make the argument that Elmo would struggle for viewership.
At least that would be true for my household. Of course, NOVA might have some difficulties with the majority of our country believing in God and on the fence about Global Warming, and Frontline might have to cast conservatives in a positive light at least once a year. Oh yeah, and NPR would have to work on just how much they sound like a mouthpiece for the DNC. After all, Air America showed that liberal talk radio struggles in the free market.
Ron Schiller may be an anti-Semitic, hateful leftist who thinks all Tea Partiers are racists and all mainstream media groups are Zionists, but he is not the reason PBS should be defunded. PBS should be defunded so that they can compete in the free market and have to show good programming, like Stevie Ray Vaughn and ‘Allo, Allo!’, all the time.