The name of the program is "TV Tune-In USA,” and was born in response to the content of the media, which has been proven to affect small children for the rest of their lives. Here is a little background on this program that may be of interest, especially if you are concerned about the quality of TV programming in our nation today.
In 1957, a program called "Project Postcard" was created by the American Association of University Women to give advertisers and broadcasters an idea of how people felt about violent shows on television. In 1975, Ruth Pflager, president of the Radio-TV Council of Greater Cleveland, and Grace Noon, president of Ohio Church Women United, encouraged and supported Project Postcard as a statewide activity that involved the viewer mailing individual critiques of TV shows to sponsors and broadcasters in an attempt to give direction to the media's financial supporters.
Shows which were offensive and gave children the wrong messages were noted, reported and encouraged to be removed from the programming. The strength of positive critique was also promoted.
In 1979, both CWU and AAUW in Ohio passed resolutions concerning broadcasting, and Project Postcard evolved into "TV Tune-In USA.”
Now that's the background, but let me bring you up to date on what has happened in more recent times. Ruth Pflager moved to Waynesboro and about a dozen years ago she was instrumental in implementing this program in the community’s school system. From what I can understand, the backbone of this program is an essay contest that involves students from grades 3-12.
To go back a moment to what I said in the beginning, "Intelligent people, equally informed, seldom disagree" is what happens when students focus on the merits, along with the evils, of TV viewing, and are better prepared to make wise choices. What's so exciting for me is that this annual essay contest is no small matter and this past year there were 1,159 different essays. The whole community gets involved and student winners are given cash prizes for their work, so there is a little more incentive here. The highlight of this program is the "TV Tune-In USA” Annual Student Essay Contest Awards Luncheon.
So you will have a little better feel for what I am saying, here is what is listed in the printed program:
n The Invocation;
n Moderator and Welcome;
n Why a School Essay Contest about TV?;
n What is "TV Tune-In USA"?
n A Word from the Sponsor;
n Greetings from the Judges of the Contest;
n Recognition of Principal Funding Groups;
n Winners’ reading of essays for first, second and third place.
n Presentation of Awards; and
n The Wrap up and Sign Off.
On the program are many of the outstanding members of the community, so you can see it's a really big deal.
To minimize the risk of misunderstanding, please allow me to give you the purposes of the “TV Tune-In USA” Waynesboro Unit:
n To affirm that TV and the electronic media do more than entertain and advertise ... they always teach.
n To raise public awareness that values, morals and ideas, both wholesome and destructive, are always being taught by the media.
n To educate viewers so they understand they have power to influence both programs and commercials because advertisers, broadcasters and cable companies are in business to make a profit.
n To encourage viewers to carefully select programs and to communicate both positive and negative opinions directly to advertisers, TV stations and cable companies.
n To network with other community groups to address the tremendous impact of television and all forms of the electronic media on our lives and society.
I was very impressed that there were so many different organizations that were part of this outstanding program. The Waynesboro Area Rotary Club, Lion's Club, Comcast Cable, The Record Herald, and several church and community groups were the principal funders of prizes and awards for the winners.
Of course, the school district was involved along with people who served as judges, parents and caregivers, and a number of school PTAs and PTOs.
In my heart, I know these people are making a big difference in the lives of the children in their community. If you would like to know more about how your schools or community could get involved, contact "TV Tune-In USA” at 6 West Second St., Waynesboro PA 17268.
(Editor’s Note: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)