NET Offerings Questioned, Criticism Heard
Fourth of a series
By Rowland Bond
Spokane Daily Chronicle
While the classroom offerings seem to have aroused very little antagonism and considerable support from parents and teachers, the National Educational Television programs shipped in for showing over KSPS have at times, particularly during the first year, caused some caustic comment.
Although it seems obvious that there has been a lack of mature judgment in the production of some NET programs, it also seemed during the early days of KSPS that the immaturity also extended to this end of the line. While the public here might be accused of provincialism by the Ford Foundation and other subsidizers of NET, on the grounds that the four-letter words are a part of the American culture, there also exists a rationale that properly questions the esthetic value of bringing those words into living rooms.
Few adults would expect that every foot of film from NET be reviewed and all excess verbiage and irrational dialogue deleted. Time is part of the problem in the booking and shipment of these canned programs. Some of the thought adjustment must come from the production sources.
Some fine things on television have come over NET and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a federal agency. Things like William Saroyan’s “My Heart’s in the Highlands,” Shakespearian and Grecian drama, Art Hodes’ “Jazz Alley” and reviews of some psychological techniques being used in modern mental hospitals.
“Jazz Alley” (now discontinued) had the advantage of being the only program on the air that caught the true and unadorned beauty of America’s native art form. This is one of the few times that the creative instrumentalist was allowed to retain his dignity as an artist on television without having to wear a funny hat and play second fiddle to a third-rate vocalist.
It is with programs like these that television becomes truly educational by bringing cultural materials that the viewer has not often had a chance to see.
KSPS has, through its NET offerings, given many segments of opinion and facets of American and world culture over Channel 7. But critics have expressed regret that some of these opportunities for exposure have been muffed at the production end by the people who stood to receive the greatest benefit.
Friday, March 20, 1970