Unification News for August 2001

Unificationism: The Television Show

by Erling Lea

The airways are a very good place to stir up things and bring good ideas to light. Mass media is a powerful way to witness because people in the audience can't argue with the lecturer, whether or not they agree with him. Someone might change the channel, but he or she can't affect the many more who continue to watch.

TV is a very powerful medium. People have tendency to blindly follow it, whether or not they consciously agree with what they've seen. Also, because so many people look for entertainment more than any real message, TV tends to be very shallow in content. Some channel surfers are bored of reruns and fluff, looking for something new. Access TV stands out and is known for its novelty. Many viewers check it out. Even the mainstream media watches for something worthwhile and fresh coming from access TV.

Access TV was started around the mid 70ís. It was created to offer a source for people to air their opinions without having their words twisted and edited away by the mainstream media like ABC, CBS, NBC and others. The mainstream media donít like access TV and have worked steadily to get rid of it. They have to give a small percent of their revenue to access TV, and they donít like the idea that members of access TV can air programs virtually for free. The only reason it has survived so long is that it is nearly the last place where citizens can use television to exercise their freedom of speech based on the first amendment. Clearly, the mainstream media donít like that. They want to represent the opinions of America, and usually their views are very liberal, with the exception of special cases such as the Washington Times.

The set up of access TV differs from other networks. Most TV stations have an editor-at-large who checks all programs and gives a final OK for them to be aired. Access TV is different in that the producer is responsible for content, and has sole control over what is aired. As a result, access TV reflects a wide variety of shows and opinions, but no producer has a right to criticize other producers' views. It's one place voicing many ideas. Personally I like the freedom of not dealing with bosses and other people when I air my programs--I have complete control. Financially it's a loss, but the spiritual rewards are a Blessing -- especially knowing that I witness to 10% and 25% of my town population every week! Statistics show that many people watch access TV.

Many mainstream media shows like Barney started on access TV. The biggest problem access TV has is that since the producers aren't paid and most programs are not sponsored, the quality of their programs suffers due to lack of funding. It's nearly impossible to create and air big attractive TV shows through access TV. But most access TV stations provide cameras, studios and editing bays free for members. A membership usually runs around $ 100 a year, plus camera and editing classes that usually are offered for a onetime fee of around $50. Producers pay for their own videotapes. Advertisements and calls to action are prohibited, so access TV is a source of information or entertainment only.

Pat Garlinghouse, the executive director of HMS (Houston Media Source, where I presently air Unificationism, based on the teaching of True Parents), often reminds the producers that we should never take our freedom for granted. It's a privilege for us to have this source of freedom of speech. She always fights hard with the city to raise money so that we can operate, and this fundraising is always difficult. Many access stations go off the air because no one funds this important information channel. They rather let the mainstream pollute our airways with what I consider secular and superficial nonsense. For more information please write or call anytime: Erling Lea, E-mail: erlinglp@hotmail.com Ph: 281 693 2487 Fax: 281 693 3703.

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