Saturday, March 03, 2012

You Can Influence TV!

Angie here: I felt this article was so good that I am posting it (with proper attribution as required). After you read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA
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Friday, March 2, 2012

You Can Influence TV!

By Beverly Caruso
Special to ASSIST News Service SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (ANS) -- You've probably considered-at least once or twice-selling or giving away your television set. You've become disgusted with the selection of shows, or frustrated with yourself for watching questionable content. You may be angry that your children are exposed to certain material. Maybe you've felt helpless about having any influence over what is aired.

American family watching TV together
You can have influence! Here are five steps to take toward influencing what is broadcast on television:
1. Be selective in what you and your family members watch. Television is a business. Advertisers pay for the shows because viewers watch the shows and buy their products. Producers make the shows because viewers watch the shows and keep the advertisers paying the bills.
Those advertisers make their decisions about which shows to spend their money on based on ratings. This is determined by professional agencies that use scientific methods to determine what percentage of viewers are watching specific shows. If you don't like or approve of a television show, change the channel or turn off the set.
2. Complain in an effective way. We usually think we need a national campaign to protest what we don't like. More often we simply complain to one another. You may be unhappy with a show and know others are unhappy also. To be effective, let the advertisers know about it. But do so politely and as a local group, using an appropriate business letterhead.
When 500 members of a church in Duluth, Minnesota, or Auckland, New Zealand, write to notify a sponsoring manufacturer that members of their churches have agreed not to purchase his product as long as he sponsors an offensive show, the manufacturer will pay attention. He knows that if the group is unhappy, there are probably other groups as well that won't buy his product.
This means we will need to pay attention to commercials aired during a show and write down the sponsors' names. Then we'll have to research to learn the address of the corporate office and the CEO. With Internet access, such a search can take only a few minutes. Some sites have special links for offering feedback. Make use of these, but don't overlook the effectiveness of a personal letter addressed to the top executive.

An Egyptian family watching TV
 along with their camel
(Photo: SAT-7)
Once you've located the information, keep it handy so you can refer to it each time you want to make contact. Then share that contact information with others who might take action.If you can't find the information on the Internet, call your local public library. A Reference Department librarian may look up the information you need. Or go to the library and ask for the appropriate reference books. You'll find addresses and chief officers listed.
Most important, we'll need to take the time to pray about how to write in such a way that our message will be received.
3. Unite your efforts locally. We tend to think that a national campaign will be most effective. Often it works just the reverse. When Americans protested against the movie, "The Last Temptation of Christ," they created massive media attention across the entire country. Many in the movie and television industry believe that the movie would have flopped and quietly disappeared without those well publicized protests. They may be correct. We don't want to crea te free advertising for a show; instead, we want to get the attention of the advertisers and producers.
4. Affirm those who broadcast things you want kept on the air. Protests are not enough. If you do like a show, let the sponsoring manufacturers and the television station know you like it, and why. Most letters and phone calls they receive from television viewers are negative. When a sponsor receives positive feedback he's naturally going to pay attention. The rule of thumb: producers and advertisers calculate that each letter represents several hundreds of viewers. The same is true of producers and network executives. Let them know which shows you like and why. Be specific.
5. Pray. Perhaps our most effective tool of influence is our least applied. Perhaps we are praying against those shows we disapprove. Are we praying for those that have positive qualities? There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Christians in the television industry trying to improve the selection and quality of programs that reach our homes. W e can pray for them. They may not be able to keep all offensive content off the air. Yet when an actress suggests to her director that alternate words would better communicate the story line, and therefore offensive words are not broadcast, she has been effective. When a script writer gets his wholesome story accepted by a popular show's producer, he will influence thousands of lives.
We will not reform the television industry easily. It won't be accomplished this year. You and I can adopt a producer, an actor, or a writer-not necessarily a Christian. And we can pray regularly for him or her.
Prayer groups, Sunday School classes, even youth groups, can adopt a certain show. We can learn about the show, about the people behind the camera as well as in front. We can pray for God's Spirit to draw them unto Himself; we can pray for Christians to be hired to live godly lives inside the industry; we can pray for God's conviction to constrain the decision makers; and we can pray for Christian viewers to do the responsible thi ng-whether it's to change the channel or to send a letter to the sponsor or network CEO.
We can make a difference!

Bev Caruso, and her husband Pete, have served the Lord together for over 50 years. They pastored two churches for a total of 35 years. From those churches they sent over 100 individuals into fulltime Christian service. They have preached or taught in 35 countries: in schools and colleges, barrios and offices, prisons and jungles. Whether encouraging weary pastors or missionaries or praying for the sick, speaking through an interpreter or teasing with their grandchildren, their love for God and His people shines through. Bev's many books include Tools for Improving Relationships; Developing Godly Character in Children, now in its sixth edition; Getting Your Writing Into Print and Getting It Read; and Loving Confrontation. They recently coauthored: Keeping It Fresh-A Love that Keeps on Growing based on the Marriage Enrichment Seminars they team-teach. The Carusos continue to teach and preach. They also are directors of a hospitality center for traveling missionaries and ministers in Southern California. They have three grown child ren, eight grandchildren, and currently nine great-grandchildren. They can be contacted at: Or visit their website:

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