PBS. Today’s excuse for not writing a blog

I’m snowed under. Truly.

Finishing book, finishing promo film, working on radio piece, doing taxes, sorting out insurance people after car crash, worrying that the right contestants might not get through on American Idol when clearly an Adam Lambert-Lil Rounds finale in May will make everyone’s life complete and possibly usher in a new era of international co-operation among warring nations…. I have a lot going on.

So I’m not doing a blog today. Bottom line.

In fact, I’m beginning to think that bloggers are people who resort to  writing down their thoughts as a handy alternative to doing anything useful or constructive. Watching TV would be one example. Whereas all I seem to do every day is write down my thoughts in one way or another. I make a living from it. So to then do it in a blog as well is beginning to seem kinda superfluous somehow.

Also when I blog I’m doing it for free. And every time I watch PBS, America’s version of BBC TV, I’m reminded what a bad business model ‘doing stuff for free’ actually is.

PBS – also known as The Begging Channel – is freely accessible to all. Each day they show a range of taped shows, from news hours to concerts to lectures, and whatever else they have lying around the office.

They’re also notorious for introducing Americans to truly mediocre Britcoms such as A Fine Romance and Are You Being Served? that were ratings winners when  I was about nine years old, and convincing them somehow that they are a freshly-minted example of the state of British entertainment today. In fact, it can’t be long before a British variety series I helped write when I was 15 and still in school – The Two Ronnies – gets shown over here, billed as the latest comedy craze. 

“Hang on, run that by me again. A short guy and a fat guy performing skits together? Really? Oh, you crazy goddamned English!”

The reason PBS is known as the Begging Channel, though, returning to my point, is because they proudly broadcast all their shows for free.

F-R-E-E. 

Including classical concerts by puffer fish chanteuse Sarah Brightman, and really excellent self-help lectures by such people as Wayne Dyer and that Rich Dad, Poor Dad guy. Which is fair enough. Who among us doesn’t like free stuff?

But then – then, they go and spoil everything by interrupting the shows with pleas for money. Every twenty minutes or so, some frumpy woman with a bad hairstyle, who wouldn’t be allowed on any other network with those looks and that dress sense, turns up to ask viewers to stump up cash for these so-called free programs. Pledge a financial donation of up to $300, she implores us, so that PBS can keep showing a wide range of “quality programming” – vintage comedies, stimulating lectures, and beautiful concerts by shrill, posturing divas with mannequin hands that we promise will be interrupted every twenty minutes next time as well with even more begging.

Meanwhile, in the background, a coachload of pensioners with similar fashion sense stare at a bank of phones that sound like they’re ringing off the hook but which nobody appears to be answering.

And they go through this ritual repeatedly. Week in, week out, year upon year, interrupting their shows with cheesy panhandling. No matter how much we send them, they’re never satisfied. They never have enough money, it seems, with which to broadcast their free programs. 

I, of course, have never sent them a penny, I can proudly tell you. My view is this: if you’re stupid enough to operate a TV network without advertising or other visible means of support, don’t then come to me and expect me to give you money for a service I can get for nothing. It’s not going to happen.

So that’s PBS. Now, extrapolating this money-pit scenario to my blog…

I write books. I get paid for that. I do radio. I get paid for that. I write material for a blog, for which I receive praise, comments, criticism, and attention, but never any money.  I mean, where’s the sense?

In short, ladies and gentlemen, I am not Sarah Brightman and will not be treated as such. Thank you and good day.

 

PBS gets three magic carpets out of five, simply for showing up.

TV Swami – he say NO to blog-writing.

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2 Comments

Filed under Television commentary

2 responses to “PBS. Today’s excuse for not writing a blog

  1. bogeysmom

    It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who thinks the British comedies shown on PBS are just awful. I live in Rochester, NY and on Saturday night our local PBS affiliate runs “Keeping Up Appearances,” “As Time Goes By,” “Executive Stress,” and “French Fields.” To be honest, I’ve never even seen the latter two but “Keeping” and “Time” have been running since the Inquisition for which they are much better suited.

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