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PBS Stations Skip Jan 6 Hearings in Favor of Kids Programming

Many stations have chosen to air the hearings on digital subchannels instead.
  • Photos: ABC News, PBS
    Photos: ABC News, PBS

    Lost amid the hubbub over Fox News not airing the initial January 6th hearing in prime-time has been the fact that many PBS stations have opted not to air (or only partially air) the subsequent daytime hearings.

    Instead, many stations have relegated the hearings to digital subchannels and/or streaming, airing childrens programming on their primary channels.

    In an interview with The Washington Post, one station manager explained the decision.

    “We have a commitment to the parents in Wyoming to provide a ‘safe harbor’ on our main channel for their children during the day,” said Terry Dugas of WyomingPBS. As of Tuesday morning, he said, “we’ve received no complaints.”

    One place viewers are complaining is on Twitter, with commenters calling the decision "absurd," "ridiculous," and "a damn shame."

    As we've previously reported, last week's prime-time hearings were viewed by at least 20 million, putting it on par with viewership for major television events like a marquee Sunday Night Football game or The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

    Other PBS stations have leaned in to the enormous public interest in the hearings. Washington's WETA has been airing the sessions on its primary channel and two sub-channels during the day and again in prime-time.

    “This is a way for public media to differentiate itself from commercial providers,” Miguel Monteverde, WETA’s senior vice president and general manager told The Washington Post. “I’m shocked that there aren’t more [public] stations highlighting this. It’s riveting TV.”

    Jed Rosenzweig is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Primetimer. 

    TOPICS: January 6 Committee hearings, PBS