No. 403 - "TV Tune-In", USA

No. 403


"TV Tune-In", USA

It has been said that, "Intelligent people, equally informed, seldom disagree." This thought is the underlying foundation for a wonderful community-wide program that is conducted each year in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. 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 to TV programming in our nation today.

In 1957, a program called "Project Postcard" was created by 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 to bring you up to date on what has happened in more recent times. Ruth Pflager moved to Waynesboro, Pennsylvania and about a dozen years ago she was instrumental in implementing this program in the communities school system. From what I can understand the backbone of this program is an Essay Contest that involves students from the 3rd to the 12th grade.

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 television 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 1159 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. The Invocation, Moderator and Welcome, Why a School Essay Contest about TV, What is "TV Tune-In"? A Word from the sponsor, Greetings from the Judges of the Contest, Recognition of Principal Funding Groups, Winners reading of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place essays and Presentation of Awards and to close out the program, ;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 TV Tune-In, USA, Waynesboro Unit: To affirm that television and the electronic media do more than entertain and advertise, THEY ALWAYS TEACH. To raise public awareness that values, morals and ideas, both wholesome and destructive are always being taught by the media. To educate viewers so that they understand they have power to influence both programs and commercials because advertisers, broadcasters and cable companies are in business to make a profit. To encourage viewers to CAREFULLY SELECT PROGRAMS and COMMUNICATE both positive and negative opinions directly to advertisers, TV stations and/ or cable companies. 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/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 PTA's and PTO's. 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 Street, Waynesboro, PA 17268. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)