Matt and the Tooth Fairy

June 10, 2008

During a recent conference call with investment analysts, Alloy’s CEO Matt Diamond stated that 75% of Channel One’s “about 6 million” student audience watched Channel One News each day.

That begs the question: what planet is Matt Diamond from?

Mr. Diamond has probably never graced the doorway of a classroom that has a Channel One TV set hanging from the wall. He probably has never talked with a principal of a “Channel One school.”

If Mr. Diamond had a better grip on reality, he would understand that few schools are honoring the Channel One contract. Many don’t want to honor it and many can’t. There isn’t any time for Channel One. Communities are demanding more from their public schools. Schools have responded by eliminating wasted time and one of the first things schools do is end the showing of Channel One’s TV show.

It’s a different educational world than 1990 when Channel One made its controversial entrance.

In the early 90’s Channel One quickly signed up schools in poorer areas that felt these “free” TV sets were going to impress parents. As Dr. Michael Morgan of the University of Massachusetts – Amherst said in his study of Channel One in 1994: “the use of Channel One in low-income, socioeconomically deprived schools presents an illusion of providing more and better educational facilities which only contributes to widening the societal gap.”

In 2008, the Channel One Illusion doesn’t work anymore. If your child is in a school that still shows Channel One News, you know your school is not taking academics as seriously as they should.

Channel One is disproportionately found in lower-income communities. Obviously, Alabama has a large percentage of schools with Channel One. Obligation is based in Birmingham, Alabama. We have been reporting on Channel One since 1996. Obligation has NEVER found a school in Alabama that honors the Channel One contract.

Some schools show the program to an empty or nearly empty classroom before the first bell. That way a school can say they have shown the program yet they won’t waste any school time. Some schools allot 10 minutes or 5 minutes for the showing of the 12-minute Channel One News show. Some schools show the program with the sound turned off. Some schools may show the program with the sound on but only a day or two a week. Some schools haven’t shown Channel One News in years and are still considered a “Channel One school.” Channel One does not want to strictly enforce its contract. If they did, Channel One would have to close up shop.

This summer more schools will call Channel One up and ask that they pick up their ancient TV sets. Good schools can no longer afford Channel One’s “free” TVs.