May 5 2001

It’s even worse…

Garret posted two interesting links concerning Channel One. One is The Facts About Channel One, written by Ken McNatt, a sophomore at Oil City High School in Pennsylvania who does “not believe that commercialism in the classrooms of schools is ethical.”


Scott wrote:

“An awful lot of webloggers have admitted to watching ‘Survivor’. Could one of you please explain to Andrea what it is? She says that without a TV of her own, she hasn’t been able to keep up with how low the niveau of modern television has fallen. (Then again, maybe she doesn’t really want to know.)”

For the non-German speakers: He is referring to what I wrote the day before yesterday, when I commented on a new trick that a German TV station has introduced to keep people from zapping to other stations while watching a programme.

I understand it is a sticker that you put on your TV screen while watching certain shows on this TV station. The sticker is sensitive to light, not unlike a photo film, and “records” what you watch. You can then send the sticker to the TV company and win something. If you are interested, the concept for this thing was thought up by tv miles (site in English and German).

To me, this sounds like the perfect big brother scenario, and I find it hard to believe that people are actually participating. But as I read in a Zeit article (in German) that some families wrote to tell the company how much they liked the sticker because they have seen a whole programme for the first time in ages. Now this is really disturbing!

Not only do people watch too much TV, they need a stupid sticker in order to keep them at a show for half an hour. Sad.

Ge ahead and read Amusing ourselves to death by Neil Postman, as Craig suggested.

Okay, back to Survivor. I may not be a TV expert, but at least I know the basic idea behind Survivor. And I’ve gathered from several posts that the winner has been declared a few days ago.

I also know there are similar shows on German TV. I have even watched one episode of the first Big Brother series while visiting my parents. [Gasp!] I had heard so much talk about the series that I had to watch it myself. And I have to admit that I find it unbelievable that people actually watch an hour of this crap every day, plus some extra shows on the weekends. Don’t they have more important or interesting things to do? Or at least more interesting things to watch on TV?

And while I’m ranting about TV, let me add that I find this article (link via Garret) very disturbing: The Phenomenon of Channel One. And although Channel 1 sends advertisement, which is supposed to finance the programme, it still costs tax money. See The Hidden Costs of Channel One. The authors of this article estimate that it costs the taxpayer US$1.8 billion annually, $300 million of which are for the two minutes of commercials they send each day.


In case you were wondering, it’s 5616 miles or 9038 km from Bonn, Germany, to San Francisco, CA. And Bonn is located at 50:43:12N 7:04:48Em while San Francisco is at 37:47:36N 122:33:17W.

How do I know? I looked it up at this distance calculator that calculates the distance between virtually any two places on earth. Neat little tool!

3 thoughts on “May 5 2001

  1. garret p vreeland

    more about channel one.

    it’s as bad, if not worse than, the coke situation.

    and here’s some interesting reading about the guy, christopher whittle, who came up with the channel one concept.

    the scary thing is, ‘edison schools’ still seems to be around, and may benefit from president bush’s educational initiative.

    oh, and i was going to try to defend my watching of ‘survivor’, but i can’t.

  2. Andrea Frick

    Thanks for the links, Garret. This really seems to be worse than the Coke situation because people claim that Channel One is educational – which it most certainly is not. Compared to that, I would call Coke ads in school almost harmless, because they don’t claim to be something they are not, like this TV programme clearly does. At least, no time is being wasted on looking at them.

    Of course I’ve never watched Channel One, but it doesn’t seem a useful news programme at all, since “according to a Vassar College and Johns Hopkins University study, only 20 percent of airtime is devoted to coverage of ‘recent political, economic, social, and cultural stories.’ The remaining 80 percent is spent on advertising, sports, weather and natural disasters, features and Channel One promotions.” (quoted from here)

    And although they broadcast commercials, it still costs the taxpayer $1.8 billion!

    Who allows Channel One to use school time for this kind of crap? Also, I was wondering how many percent of all students in the USA have to watch Channel One? (In this article, it only said something about 12,000 schools.)

  3. garret p vreeland

    personally, i didn’t realize channel one was still operating after the bankruptcy of christopher whittle. i don’t know that much about it.

    small world; i was offered a job at whittle communications in knoxville, but turned it down because i didn’t agree with marketing to kids. i didn’t lose a day’s sleep over this one …

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