News About Channel One – June -Dec. 1999

December 31, 1999


News About Channel One – First Half of 1999 (Second Half of 1999)


Channel One –
Peddlers of Despair

May 21, 1999 – Channel One Restarts Intrusive Web Ads

U.S. Senate Hearing on Channel One



Ralph Nader, Pat Ellis, Jim Metrockand Phyllis Schafly at the May 20, 1999 U.S. Senate hearing on Channel One. Mr. Nader and Mrs. Schafly testified against Channel One at the hearing and Mrs. Ellis and Mr. Metrock of Obligation submitted written testimony. The hearing clearly exposed Channel One’s commercial exploitation of schoolchildren.


The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on Channel One on Thursday, May 20, 1999.

Press Release

– Channel One Markets Violent Movie to Captive Audience of Children




One of the Most Violent and Horrific Movies of 1999 Pushed on Children In Wake of Columbine Shootings







May 18, 1999 (Birmingham, AL) A Birmingham, AL-based child advocacy and media watchdog organization is complaining again about the controversial in-school TV show called Channel One. This time Channel One is marketing violent programming to children.

Channel One is a daily TV news show for students between the ages of 11-18. Channel One loans a school system a TV network in exchange for promising they will show the program with its commercials to students at least 90% of all school days. Most educational organizations oppose Channel One or the showing of commercials in a classroom.

Jim Metrock, president of Obligation, said, “On May 7, Channel One had the nerve to urge children as young as ten and eleven to see the PG-13 movie ‘The Mummy’. This movie got this stiff rating because of the violence that permeates the film. There is human to human violence that includes many killings by rifles, handguns, automatic weapons, swords, knifes and other less traditional ways to kill people. This movie is one of the most violent and horrific movies of 1999.” Channel One’s timing on advertising this violent movie was questionable. It came only days after the last Colorado shooting victim was buried.

“Channel One is ‘forced TV viewing’,” said Metrock. “Parents aren’t able to monitor their child’s exposure to violent programming that Channel One chooses to advertise.” Channel One has received criticism over the years for pushing age-inappropriate movies on a captive audience of schoolchildren.

Just weeks before, Channel One was criticized for running an in-school commercial for the sexual-innuendo-filled PG-13 movie “Never Been Kissed”. Channel One’s VP of Education, Dr. Paul Folkemer, has publicly said he gives final approval to all commercials. Metrock said, “How could Dr. Folkemer urge children to see a movie like ‘The Mummy’ where the first few scenes show a man being butchered to death, followed by a suicide, and then by a extremely graphic hanging scene? How could Dr. Folkemer approve a movie like ‘Never Been Kissed’ where the movie starts out with a female character uses a pencil and her mouth to simulate giving oral sex. Both movies go down hill from the start, yet Channel One apparently is indifferent to the sensitivities of its youthful audience.”

Channel One has run a commercial for “Stephen King’s ‘The Shining” which was a brutal TV-14 made-for-TV movie. Channel One ran an ad that urged children to see the most violent primetime network show “New York Undercover”. The ultra-violent movie “The Quest” was hawked to kids. Channel One has played more than once the music and lyrics of the shock rocker Marilyn Manson on their program.

Metrock said, “The music of violent groups has been a mainstay of Channel One over the years. They used gangsta rap music to get the kids attention for the commercials. Obligation has asked for a list of all the music played on their show for our children and they have refused to publish the songs. The reason is clear. There is much to be ashamed of. Channel One has to address its sorry history of promoting violent and sexually-charged entertainment to America’s children.” Channel One will be discussed at a Senate hearing (Health, Education and Labor Committee) this Thursday, May 20.


May 13, 1999 – From Jim Metrock

May 6, 1999 – Press Release – Group Asks PRIMEDIA for List of Channel One Movies and Music

Premedia Seeks

to Sell Education Group As Financial Results Disappoint; Will

Keep Channel One for Now

April 22, 1999 – Message From Jim Metrock

This week I was in Las Vegas attending the National Association of Broadcasters convention. The last night I was there instead of seeing the bright lights of the town I decided to go see the movie Channel One recently urged children to see. (See below.) I paid $6.50 and sat down and watched “Never Been Kissed.”

Within a few minutes of the start of this PG-13 movie any caring adult would realize that this movie should not be promoted to any child. I have no idea what goes through the mind of those Channel One executives that pick the junk that is promoted on Channel One and I really don’t want to know. All I know is that they ought to be ashamed of themselves.

The first dialogue in the film has a sex-obsessed young woman telling the lead female character about who she “did” last night. Then she tells the main character that “If you aren’t getting any you think nobody should be getting any.” The next scene talks about grabbing a “bull by the balls”. The main character says, “I can grab a bull by the balls.”

The next scene is in a corporate boardroom where the sex-obsessed woman is sitting across from the man she “did” last night. She quickly grabs her breasts to get his attention. Somebody says “Holy S—“. The woman later takes a pencil and simulates oral sex as her last-night lover watches from across the table. (Who approved this movie for promotion on Channel One? Did that person actually preview this movie?)

That was the first four minutes of the movie. It gets worse.

Channel One offered prizes to those children who would spend their allowance on this movie. Their “See-It-And-Win” contest helps advertisers measure Channel One’s effectiveness in selling movies to children. I have a hard time imagining a caring adult doing this to kids.

The condom and banana joke runs on for an incredibly long time.

Like “The Waterboy”, which was also pushed by Channel One, this is a mean-spirited movie. Oh yes, at the end there is a speech or two that says people ought to accept other people for who they are. That does not erase the terrible messages that ran throughout the movie. (Much like the final thoughts of Jerry Springer don’t cancel the hour of filth he produces.)

The Channel One-promoted “Waterboy” made fun of a mentally retarded young man. In “Never Been Kissed” the main character, because she is shy, acts strangely in a scene which causes someone to ask her, “Are you in Special Ed?” The three girls sitting with her laugh at that. That saddens me. I wish it would do the same to the insensitive Channel One folks that have set an extremely low standard for the products they advertise to children.

One message from this movie was that popular students drink, and drink a lot, and do drugs. One specific message is “Pot can make you feel great.” (See the movie for yourself and imagine a 12-year-old child sitting beside you watch this junk.)

Another message is about body image. A girl looks at a skeleton in class and says “That’s it – nothing but water and Ex-lax before the prom.” Funny? Not in the context I saw it in. The only people laughing during this movie are the Channel One executives who pushed this offensiveness onto kids in exchange for cash.

The sex-obsessed woman is mistaken for a high school sex ed teacher. She tells the kids, “You like a guy. You do it with him. He doesn’t call.” Funny.

This movie also shows a male teacher falling in love with an apparent teenage student. The student is in reality nearly the same age as the teacher but that is unknown to the teacher. That reminds me of Dawson’s Creek, also heavily promoted by Channel One, where a teacher has sex with her 15-year-old student.

“Seventeen” magazine was shown in this movie as a song entitled “Seventeen” was sung. That is what you call “super product placement”. It could be a coincidence that Primedia’s “Seventeen” was advertised in a movie that Primedia’s Channel One pitched to kids, but I don’t believe in coincidence. Not with this company.

One thing you have to give Channel One credit for -they have a lot of nerve.

Jim Metrock


April 16, 1999 – “See It and Win” Commercials Are Back on Channel One

April 14, 1999 – Commercial Exploiters Take Big Hit at NSBA Convention

San Francisco, CA – The Center for Commercial-Free Public Education and Obligation teamed up and shared a booth at the annual National School Boards Association convention this past week. The traffic was heavy and we got our message out to board members and superintendents from across the country.

Obligation handed out copies of the newly produced “What A School Board Member Should Know About Channel One”. The Center gave out literature on Channel One and other noxious forms of commercialism in schools. Both organizations were pleased with the support they received from visitors to the booth.

The great debate about commercialism in schools on Monday was an overwhelming success. PepsiCo got smart and chose not to share the stage with Channel One. The focus then was put on Channel One. It is hard to give an unbiased opinion about who won, but I think even Channel One folks would say they got beat up. Channel One showed a sample program and that back-fired.

A board member complained about the anorexic-looking Monica Novotny being a bad role model for children. Another said they did not like Channel One showing a battered boy in a war area being shown. She said she wanted to be with her child when he saw such horrible images.

Another board member said that Channel One is no problem at her school because no one watches it. It didn’t get much better for Paul Folkemer, the Channel One executive who was in the line of fire for two hours.

More about this convention later.


Model School Board Resolution

It is the policy of this school board not to :

(1) Enter into a contract that grants exclusive advertising or grants the right to the exclusive sale of products or services throughout the district to a person, business, or corporation.

(2) Enter into a contract that prohibits a school district employee from disparaging the goods or services of the party contracting with the school board.

(3) Enter into a contract or permit a school within the district to enter into a contract for products or services that requires the dissemination of advertising to pupils, or allows any corporation or business to gather or obtain information from students for the purposes of market research.

Contracts entered into prior to the operative date of this policy may remain in effect, but may not be renewed if they are in conflict with this policy.


April 5, 1999 Hearings Will Look Into Channel One

The Washington Post reported on April 3, that Channel One will be the focus of a Senate Labor Committee hearing. Channel One’s money did not stop this from happening. Other committees will hopefully turn their attention to this commercial exploiter of kids.

Ralph Reed is the mystery man of the moment. Why would this gentleman accept Channel One’s money to promote forced showings of commercials to schoolchildren? Did he not research this issue? Since he was evidently unavailable to give the Washington Post a quote, one would have to assume he realizes he has made a really big mistake. He stands to lose credibility with his entire base of conservatives.

The country owes Senator Richard Shelby much for his efforts to get informational hearings on Channel One. Obligation agrees with him that nothing can be harmed by focusing public attention on the commercialization of public school classrooms. Jim Metrock, president of Obligation, said, “If Channel One thrives in the sunshine, then so be it. If it melts away to nothing, then good riddance.”

“Congressional hearings are just the shot across the bow,” said Metrock, “The battle for the integrity of our classrooms hasn’t even begun. Channel One’s lucrative pipeline into public schools will be the topic of school board meetings for the next several years. I can’t imagine a school board anywhere in the country considering entering into a contract with this marketing company.”

In the Post article, Grover Norquist continued to state that Channel One costs taxpayers nothing. He previously wrote an article in which he even called Channel One a good thing for taxpayers. Metrock said, “Mr. Norquist apparently does not appreciate the value of time. He continually fails to tell readers that there is a cost to Channel One – one hour a week of school time.

Taxpayers will be able to understand the real cost of Channel One, even if Mr. Norquist continues to suffer from economic myopia.”


April 2, 1999 – Note from Jim Metrock:

The national conversation about Channel One is well under

way. This is what we wanted. This is what parents and other taxpayers 

need. Channel One is hiring very expensive lobbyists all over 

the country. That’s what they are best at – lobbying. They are 

really spending money in Washington DC to derail informational 

congressional hearings on their TV show. This may work for awhile, but it will ultimately fail.





Why does this company dread congressional hearings? That’s

easy. They know what they have done and what they are planning 

on doing to schoolchildren. Quickly go through our 1999, 1998 

and 1997 Channel One pages on this web site and you will understand 

all the problems that PRIMEDIA has never accepted responsibility 

for. Obligation has file boxes upon file boxes of Channel One 

abuses that have never made their way to this web site. We are 

in the process of cataloging all Channel One TV shows and web 

pages. The abuses are breathtaking. Pity the poor Channel One 

executive having to answer questions about their attitude toward schoolchildren.









If we can help any school board, PTA/PTO, teacher organization,

taxpayer group, senior citizen group, education reform group, 

legislator, or any individual, please contact us at 205-822-0080. 

We are fighting for nothing less than the integrity of our classrooms 

and our educational process and, more important than that, the integrity of our children.






New Channel One Audio Tape Available for shipment – April 21


If Your Schools Have Channel One

“What a Board Member Should Know”

by Jim Metrock, President, Obligation,



This tape is aimed at school board members that have Channel

One in their schools. It is, however, a great resource for anyone

who wants to find out more about this marketing company and their

TV show.



9.6.99 You will be able to hear this tape on this web site soon.



Write to: Obligation, Inc., 3100 Lorna Road, Suite 311, Birmingham,

AL 35216 to request a copy. Note: Permission is given to duplicate

tape at will.




Want yet another example of Channel One’s contempt for teachers and students? Channel One executives are always seeking new ways to increase advertisers’ sales to children. They now have a new campaign for Blockbuster Video, one of its national advertisers. Channel One is promoting the idea that Blockbuster videos can help teach children tolerance. (See press release below.)

Channel One is urging teachers to rent videos from Blockbuster, such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Stand and Deliver”.

Schools need more movies and Channel One’s TV show in their classrooms like a bicyclist needs a kidney stone attack. Why does Channel One promote movies over books? Money, Honey.

Channel One serves its clients. Schools are not clients. Blockbuster is a Channel One client. Their money pays the salaries of Channel One executives.

Does Channel One think students can learn better from watching a movie than from reading the book? Does Channel One regard teachers so lightly that they assume they won’t be offended by this idiotic attempt to promote Blockbuster movies over reading?

There will be little tolerance for Channel One and Blockbuster Video in schools that are trying to raise reading scores. The Channel One exec who thought parents would like more Blockbuster Video in their child’s life, especially at school, may not be up for a Christmas bonus this year.













< In Alabama,


we have a fondness for reading Alabama-born Harper Lee.




Channel One’s president

is from CBS Entertainment. Why spend the time reading when you

can rent the video from Blockbuster? >















<The book


“Stand and Deliver” is out of print, but this is a

wonderful book about the teacher the movie is based on, Jaime

Escalante, who believed in the innate integrity of his disadvantaged





Channel One’s studio is

in the heart of Hollywood. Their mentality is Hollywood. Lou

Diamond Phillips who plays “Angel” is a hunk too. Channel

One believes that kids need that to keep their attention. They

think reading newspapers for current events and books for learning

tolerance is too difficult for students. (It is ironic that the

James A. Garfield High School, the school where this story takes

place, had low expectations of students, much like Channel One

has. Escalante came in and raised the expectations and his students






Press Release – Group Decries Channel One and Blockbuster Partnership

March 10, 1999 (Birmingham, AL) The controversial in-school TV show, Channel One, is teaming up with Blockbuster Video to promote movies in schools. Obligation, Inc. is a Birmingham, AL-based media watchdog organization that has opposed Channel One’s commercial exploitation of schoolchildren. Channel One is a 12-minute infotainment/news program that requires students to watch at least two minutes of commercials.

Jim Metrock, president of Obligation, said, “Channel One says that teaming up with Blockbuster and the American Film Institute will help schools use movies to teach tolerance. That is absurd. Channel One is a marketing company that is teaming up with Blockbuster, one of its advertisers, to get kids to rent more movies and video games.”

Blockbuster announced yesterday that they are in a partnership with Channel One Network to enhance curriculum in America’s classrooms through the use of movies. Channel One’s VP Paul Folkemer said in yesterday’s press release that a good way to start talking about tolerance is to discuss a character in a movie. “Channel One is blatantly pushing an advertiser’s product and making it look like it’s educational,” said Metrock. “What our kids need is more reading not more TV viewing. Channel One and Blockbuster have insulted students, teachers and the American public with this marketing ploy.”

“Children need to read “To Kill a Mockingbird”, they don’t need to watch Gregory Peck’s movie on school time. Blockbuster wants Channel One to help funnel children into their video stores,” said Metrock. “This ‘tolerance-via-Blockbuster movies’ is the initial phase of a much larger advertising campaign.”

Channel One raised eyebrows last year when their web site ran a story (“When Movies Become Book Reports” 1/98) telling children how to cheat on book reports by watching movies instead of reading the assigned book. They instructed students on which movies were not true to the book so they could avoid being caught. As the Channel One writer said in the article: “Cheating isn’t easy – and let’s be honest, you are cheating – so you’re going to have to put a little work into this.” Channel One then went on and encouraged children to buy the book and skim it along with watching the movie.

Channel One got in trouble with educators and parents when they reviewed R-rated movies on its web site. Last October, Channel One ran ads for the age-inappropriate movie “The Waterboy” (PG-13 profanity, sexual content) on its in-school TV show. Metrock said, “Channel One delivers an unhealthy dose of the popular culture and mindless commercials each day to a captive audience of schoolchildren who can be as young as ten. School systems should say ‘No!’ to Blockbuster trying to enter the school house door and ‘Get out!” to Channel One.”

Obligation is a part of a diverse coalition of organizations calling for congressional hearings on Channel One and for national advertisers, like Blockbuster Video, to remove their commercials from Channel One.

Other Resources:

Gary Ruskin, Commercial Alert 202-296-2787 (A Ralph Nader-related organization.)

Andy Hagelshaw, The Center for Commercial-Free Public Education  510-268-1100

Kevin McAliley, Pres. Channel One, 212-508-6800

Schools with Channel One urge their students to purchase only one magazine. Click here to see the cover of the age-inappropriate magazine that

Channel One and schools push on children as young as ten.


February 23, 1999 – Kids Can Order Beer and Booze From Channel One Advertiser

They are back at it. In the past, Channel One’s web site recklessly provided links to sites with age-inappropriate content and even pornography, now they are encouraging children to go to “”. Channel One’s notorious web site ( has numerous banner ads for this Internet company.

Once a child goes to ShopNow, he or she can click on “Wine and Spirits”and from there a child can choose several sites to place orders for cases of beer, vodka, bourbon, etc. by just typing in a credit card number. There is not even a warning to children that it’s illegal to buy alcoholic beverages if you are a minor.

“Add this to the hundreds of mistakes Channel One has made over the years,” said Jim Metrock, Obligation president. “Channel One will continue to make these mistakes because when they look at children they see cash. This is not a company parents would want around children.”

February 12, 1999 – Schools Can Own the TVs?

February 12, 1999 – Channel One Continues to Exceed 12-Minutes

Press Release – Local Group Instrumental

in National Effort Against Channel One

Letter to Ernie Allen, President of The

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

January 30, 1999 – Channel One Continues to Breach Contract By Going Over 12-Minute Limit

January 29, 1999 – “Millennium Minute” To “Creatively Integrate Your Brand” With the News


To News About Channel One – Second Half of 1999



Tags: , , , ,