Channel One Sending Out Two Signals

January 19, 2000

Dr. Paul Folkemer, VP of Education for Channel One, told the Valley Grove, PA school board this week that Channel One is now sending out two signals. One signal is for children under 13 and the other for 13 and older. The only difference he mentioned concerned PG13 movies. It seems that Dr. Folkemer, the person who approves all commercials, will only force ads for violent and sexually-charged PG13 movies on children after their thirteenth birthday.

Jim Metrock, Obligation president said, “Dr. Folkemer and the rest of the marketing gang on Madison Avenue have a lot of nerve. They know the content of the movies they dump on kids and they know that many parents don’t want their children to be exposed to the movies that make Channel One so much money. It is not Dr. Folkemer’s right to decide for parents what movies are going to be promoted to their children. What parent would ever want ANY movie advertised to their child during school?”

“Is the news different for the younger students? Now that there are two signals, there is little reason not to have two newscasts,” said Metrock. “Are the other commercials different? Will Channel One lighten up on the depressing content (teen suicide, teen depression, gun violence, eating disorders) for the younger students? I doubt Channel One will do anything that will undermine their profits. The welfare of children is not a high priority for Channel One.”

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has guidelines for what and how advertising is displayed to children under 13. Channel One’s decision to have two signals may make it easier for the FTC to investigate Channel One. Obligation has filed an FTC complaint against Channel One in 1999 for the deceptive use of small print in contests run on the in-school TV show. No action has been taken yet.

“What is ironic is the fact that no middle school should ever be showing Channel One because the standard contract, and Channel One sales literature, states that the show is specifically intended for ‘teenagers’ not for pre-teens,” Metrock said. “Any school showing this program to pre-teens is asking for trouble.”


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