Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Letter to PBS (KQED)

People who read this blog know that I spend a lot of time bitching and moaning about fundraising on PBS and the crappy programming that accompanies it.
Today, I wrote my very first kvetch letter to the office of the president of PBS. I tried to temper the whinyness with wit--below is my masterwork in its entirety. Don't worry. Soon, I shall write something on this blog that doesn't involve me griping.

Dear KQED,

I love you. You're one of a handful of channels that I can pick up with my rabbit ears (with new digital converter box! Yay!) , and you're one of an even smaller subset of these that is in English. I love the mysteries on Friiday nights on KTEH and I leave work early to watch Antiques Roadshow on Mondays. However, this Monday, I turned on the tube to see---The boring self-help guy who goes on about reprogramming your mind.
"Oh, Gawd," I thought.
"They're fundraising.
I could tell within seconds, by the programming, the production values, the droning monotony and the very subject of the show *EXACTLY* what was going on. I quickly flipped to the little menu. Maybe KTEH hasn't been infected, I thought.
But no.
Both channels were queued up to be playing an old concert requiring that the viewer be over fifty and on a high dose of nostalgia to enjoy.
With my amazing psychic skills, I predict that KQED will air that yearning, dreamy documentary on The Summer of Love before the week is out.
At first, I thought that you guys were trying to get people to donate money as quickly as possible in hopes that you would cut this stuff and get back to the normal programming, which is so good. Or perhaps you were trying to give us a glimpse of a dystopian future where PBS is reduced to airing films of corporate team-building seminars 24/7 due to lack of donors.
Several fundraising sessions, and not a lot of time later, I came to the conclusion that KQED fundraisers are designed with one audience in mind: Aging Rich New-Agers and Ex-Hippies in Marin County. You guys seem to think that the only people who are going to donate fall in this demographic, and so you try to butter them up with nostalgia and self-help shows. The problem is, there ARE younger people who watch public television, but if you want to remind them of how great PBS is, a 2 hour Jerry Garcia concert isn't going to do it.
If you aired a Doctor Who marathon, you could probably double your intake from Silicon valley. We have money, too!
You could probably get local scientists to let you tape their lectures, too, and run that instead of the self-help show every once in a while. That would be awesome.
Anyway, when I turn on the tube and think--"Hey! They're fundraising! I'm going to get some popcorn and some knitting and watch this business!", then I'll be more tempted to call right now.
As it is, you will have to rely on the pushiness of the little angel on my shoulder telling me I should donate, and she's often drowned out by the little devil on my other shoulder asking me why I should donate when you guys obviously are soliciting money from the rich boomers to the detriment of my monday evenings.

Kea Johnston
On-The-Fence Potential Donor


Owen said...

That idea about local scientists is awesome. I second that!

Kiyoshi said...

Or perhaps you were trying to give us a glimpse of a dystopian future where PBS is reduced to airing films of corporate team-building seminars 24/7 due to lack of donors.

This line is genius! But yeah I totally agree.. they always go for the over 50 nostalgia angle. I remember when it was Lawrence Welk junk.. :P

Scrabcake said...

Well, I was watching KTEH last night and they had a Miss Marple marathon and I gave them $$$. Hey KQED! San Jose got my money, bitchez! Are you jealous?!!!