FastPipe Media » HDTV in Oklahoma

I hate AugustFest on OETA

During most of the year, OETA carries great national programming from PBS and even produces some very good local programming. They carry as much or more high definition programming than the other major networks.

Except once a year when they go on the air to raise money. I understand that they need funding to make contributions toward all the great programming they carry the rest of the year, but during this one two week period the choices they make are just awful.

Tonight, while the rest of country was getting a new broadcast of Great Performances celebrating Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday, OETA is carrying a rerun of Great Performances from last December called “Hitman: David Foster & Friends” and featuring among others Celine Dion.

I’m sure that David Foster has written some great songs for Celine, but here’s what we’re missing from the official PBS press release for the new Pete Seeger episode:

Joining Seeger for this extraordinary concert event were more than 40 artists, including Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Kris Kristofferson, Richie Havens, Roger McGuinn, Ani DiFranco, Taj Mahal, Ben Harper, Dave Matthews, and many others who performed songs inspired by Seeger.

They will be airing the Pete Seeger special on August 7th, but there’s no guarantee it’ll be in HD. And between now then they’ll be finding the worst programming in their archives to fill the time. As an example, the Bruce Springsteen concert they have scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. will be on OETA OKLA, their dedicated SD channel while Lawrence Welk will be on their regular HD channel.

Maybe I’m getting old, but if OETA wants people under 70 to donate money, they should find some programming performed by people under 70.

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  1. trueview
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    I find the fund raiser irritating too; and I donate money. I do not like some of the programing either but this is how they get part of their funds to stay on the air. They produce most if not all local shows in HD so that is a nice touch.

  2. mdeatherage
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    I posted something to my own blog over five years ago about why I don’t contribute to OETA, and most of that hasn’t changed. They do slightly better on some issues solely because they’ve become more mainstream, but they’re still against diverse points of view, have tons of money, and use it only to suck up to the big-pocketed donors who don’t want diverse opinions.

    America’s Test Kitchen has been in high-def for at least 3 seasons now, but OETA still airs it letterboxed on all four sides. Everyday Food, when they deign to run it, runs in full beautiful HD. It’s mystifying.

    And that’s not even mentioning (because I didn’t have HD at the time) that OETA actually produces four (five?) video channels, but in OKC, you can only get two (three?) of them if you pay for Cox Digital Cable.

    Think about that carefully—donor-supported and taxpayer-supported public television programming that’s produced and aired solely for the benefit of customers of a private company. (In every sense of the word: Cox Communications is privately held, not publicly traded. You can’t buy shares of Cox.)

    I have less money now than I did then, and I’m not spending it on a “public” television station that is actively working against the very concept of “public” television.

  3. Posted July 31, 2009 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    I obviously have OETA issues as well. I actually wondered if they weren’t carrying the Pete Seeger special because he’s an avowed communist and that would be un-Oklahoman.

  4. mdeatherage
    Posted August 1, 2009 at 3:54 am | Permalink

    I don’t think that’s the reason, but I remembered tonight that they pulled similar pre-emption on a special honoring George Carlin six months ago.

  5. ggore
    Posted August 1, 2009 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    OETA runs fundraisers twice a year, Festival the entire month of February, and Augustfest for a couple weeks in August. OETA’s audience skews quite old, so you always see lots of “aging rocker” stuff during this time. Some PBS stations do fundraising every other month, so we should consider ourselves lucky to only be bombarded twice a year.

  6. Bobarino
    Posted August 2, 2009 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    They better not interfere with my 40yr old Lawrence Welk shows in primetime on Saturday nights.


  7. gladys
    Posted August 6, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    I watched the Mark Twain Prize George Carlin Special on OETA. And it was great. I am sorry you missed it. It is because of specials like the Mark Twain Prize that I donate to OETA.
    Also, if OETA thought Pete Seeger was a communist and that might not go over so well, why did they run “Bruce Springsteen: The Seeger Sessions?” And, if that is a concern, why have I seen so many Woody Guthrie specials on OETA? I must be missing something.
    I am happy to have OETA all year round. I don’t watch as much during the “pledge” time. But that’s ok, I figure Oklahomans that don’t watch during non pledge time are watching and donating so I can keep watching the other 48 weeks a year.

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