Borderline's love/hate relationship with WGBH

Boston has an extensive local public TV system, WGBH (aka Channel 2, and Channel 44). Borderline watches it a lot with the kids and Mrs. Borderline, and has some observations that need to be shared.

One is the fundraising pitch. I know it needs to be done to keep all this great programming coming to us, blah blah blah, but can we cut down on the bogus claims about commercialism? On channel 44 right now, people are pleading for money. Text superimposed on the screen reads:

"WGBH is non-commercial public TV"

Yet at the same time on channel 2, they have something that looks like an infomercial, an hour-long program called "The RealAge Makeover." What gives?

Don't get me wrong. Borderline loves public TV, especially some of the kids programming (except for Boobah) and the documentaries and Frontline. And the cooking programs. But jeez, don't claim its non-commercial, when there's an infomercial by some doctor or financial guru or new age mystic running on 2 or 44 every other night.

Also, while I'm on the subject of bad public TV programming, can someone at WGBH please take all of the tapes of that crazy Teutonic violinist Andrew Rieu and launch them into the heart of the sun? Classical music is great and all, but this guy is Frankly (get it? get it?) irritating as heck. He's on all the time, especially on weekends when there are fund raisers. If WGBH is going to do classical music on TV, why not videotape some of the live studio sessions that they play every day on WGBH radio? Why rockstar Rieu? Is he paying WGBH to show his programs, in order to sell more CDs or DVDs? Why not show video of some equally talented yet more obscure artist who really needs the exposure and would give more variety to WGBH?

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Anonymous LaDivina said...

I'd (almost) pay money just to get rid of that Celtic Women yawnfest. I swear I had a bigger voice in 3rd grade than these fully grown women do.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Jesse said...

I don't think the RealAge show is an infomercial. It's actually pretty informative with some good, if not obvious, basic health practices (like, walk half an hour per day).

12:22 PM  
Blogger Borderline said...

Sorry Jesse. While this isn't the infomercials like you see on channel 56 on Sunday at 3 am selling bowflex or whatever via an 800 number, the WGBH programs are promotional vehicles aimed at pitching a philosophy or lifestyle change, which is usually attached to a book, DVD set, or the speaking career of the featured hosts. The worst offender in this category was the Japanese-American finance guru who had specials earlier this year pitching some very, very risky investment advice. Anyone remember his name?

Another factor which places these programs in the realm of infomercials is the origin: RealAge and other programs are not produced or commissioned by WGBH or PBS or public TV as far as I can tell.

And yes, the advice about health is useful, but so is the stretching advice you see on the bowflex infomercial.

10:12 PM  

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