Will you be able to see ‘Interrupted Lives’? Depends on your local station

August 25, 2009 by

For more information on the Interfaith Broadcasting Coalition and its programs, go to:
www.interfaithbroadcasting.com

The hourlong documentary “Interrupted Lives: Catholic Sisters Under European Communism” is scheduled to be offered by ABC Television on Sept. 13.

But whether you’ll actually be able to see it on your local ABC channel hinges on the verb “offered.”

Under a 30-year-old agreement between the three major American television networks and a group of faith organizations, religious programming is regularly created and then distributed nationwide.

Here’s how it works:

The Interfaith Broadcasting Coalition was formed in 1980 to provide ABC, CBS and NBC with religious programming.
The five members of the IBC are the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Council of Churches, the Islamic Society of North America, the New York Board of Rabbis and the Union for Reform Judaism.

About 100 million people in the United State attend churches, synagogues and mosques represented by those organizations.

Each year the members of the IBC have the opportunity to help produce documentaries and liturgical programs that are then provided to the network partners.

 ABC’s “Visions & Values” series gives the IBC four one-hour time slots.
NBC’s “Horizons of the Spirit” also provides four hours.
CBS produces the half-hour “Religion & Culture” documentary series four times a year in collaboration with the IBC.

Each network then offers the IBC programs to all of its affiliates by satellite. But each local station makes its own decision about whether to air a program, and when to air it.

As an example, “Native Nations: Standing Together for Civil Rights” is an IBC program offered by NBC in June. As of the end of June, it had been aired once in Kansas (by NBC-affiliate KSNT in Topeka) and had not been shown at all by any of the 25 local NBC stations in Nebraska, Missouri, Colorado, Iowa or Illinois.

A search of both the NBC and KSNT web sites for “Native Nations” turns up nothing, so there’s no way to tell if it will be aired again.

For the fall of 2009, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is providing “Interrupted Lives” to ABC as one of the “Vision & Values” hours. The IBC web site lists the documentary as being offered on Sept. 13, but there is no corresponding “Vision & Values” section on the ABC-TV web site.

Local ABC stations will make the decision whether to air it.

Viewers can contact the local network affiliate to ask that it be aired, and can check the IBC web site for other upcoming programs.

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