The Wisconsin State Journal had a piece
yesterday about the absence of the Big Ten Network from the channel line-up of Charter Cable. Despite being a UW alumnus, I really don't care if we get the BTN or not. In fact, I guess I'd prefer we didn’t when there's other channels I'd rather have added. Charter carries enough goddamn sports as it is. In addition to the stuff carried by the affiliates of the major networks, we've got six ESPN channels (including one in Spanish), the Golf Channel, the Speed Channel, several Fox sports channels including one dedicated to soccer, College Sports Television, Fuel TV, and the Versus Network whose coverage includes that of hunting. Those hunting programs sure must be exciting. And as Bill Lueders noted
(scroll to bottom) last month, Charter recently began offering several new Christian channels so there's even more crap on TV now.
None of this is to say that Charter is Satan because there is some good stuff to be had on cable these days. I am glad we get IFC, the Sundance Channel, and BBC America, for example. But when our local cable monopoly starts thinking about expanding the channel selection, there are some networks I'd like them to consider that don't involve sports or Jesus. They also don't involve people pimping their favorite means of transportation or remodeling homes. Instead they offer a chance at learning and hearing new perspectives. Here's some stuff I'd like to see Charter carry:Link TV
- looks like it would give news and views of life outside of the United States. It'd be great to see non-whites on other continents doing something other than being killed.Free Speech TV
- non-corporate media. 'Nuff said.The Documentary Channel
- docs on Canadian animators, Cab Calloway, surfers, Iraq, and just about everything.Classic Arts Showcase
- life beyond indie rock: "animation, architectural art, ballet, chamber and choral music, dance, folk art, museum art, musical theater, opera, orchestral, recital, solo instrumental. solo vocal, and theatrical performances, as well as classic film and archival documentaries".The Science Network
- C-SPAN for science. Listen to scientists actually explain things in detail instead of suffering with soundbites. And no crackpots are given time so the coverage has a patina of "balance".The Tennis Channel
- OK, so I lied. But I include this only for my friend Otto so he can timeshift instead of having to take time off from work to listen to tennis on the Web.