Scheduling & Content Questions
Why isn’t SOPTV airing a program I heard about or that another PBS station carries?
All public broadcasting stations have the flexibility to make their own programming choices, and so no two stations broadcast the same schedule of shows.
Why is SOPTV airing a program at a different time from another PBS station?
Some of the PBS programs that SOPTV broadcasts come with requirements that they be aired on a certain day and within a certain time frame. These shows are often anchor programs of the PBS schedule - Masterpiece Theatre, NOVA, FRONTLINE, Washington Week, etc. Other programs may have no fixed schedule requirements, but do have a limited rights window during which SOPTV can broadcast the shows. We take into account these and other factors as we plan the TV schedule, grouping programs together in ways that serve as many segments of our audience as possible. Though most PBS stations use similar criteria, each one responds in different ways to the interests of its community, and so no two stations come up with identical schedules.
Why are some programs repeated?
In order to offer multiple viewing options to our audience, SOPTV usually repeats programs one to three times within the week following an original broadcast. Some programs repeat after midnight to give viewers a chance to tape a show they may have seen earlier, missed or learned about too late to watch. Some programs are repeated on weekends or at alternate times so they can reach a different audience. Other shows may repeat due to audience requests or because a series is between seasons and new episodes are not yet available. (Few programs have enough original episodes to go without some repeats during the year). As part of our membership drives, some programs may repeat due to their fund-raising effectiveness.
Why does SOPTV need to have membership drives and pledge breaks?
Almost two-thirds of SOPTV’s operating budget comes from individual membership contributions from viewers. While a significant portion of member donations come through mail solicitation and automatic renewals, on-air drives allow us to attract the largest number of new and renewing members in the most efficient and effective way possible. Though new members are an essential part of our long-term financial health, the length of membership drives is kept to the minimum that will allow us to reach our goals. Our membership drive format is based on our own experiences, as well as the shared experiences of public broadcasters throughout the country.
Why does SOPTV air different programming during TV membership drives?
Most of our regular television programming does not have built-in breaks appropriate for fund-raising segments. Therefore, we supplement our regular programming with shows produced especially for membership drives. Since we strive to have as efficient a fund-raising period possible, we air specials that attract large audiences, including many who are not regular viewers of SOPTV, and keep the length of our drives to the minimum that will allow us to reach our financial goals. Our experience, as well as that of other public broadcasting stations, has shown that a mix of specials and regular programming results in the most effective membership drive schedule. Once a drive has ended, we evaluate results and viewer response, and make changes as needed.
Why are certain programs no longer on the air?
Programs may no longer air for various reasons. Rights for some programs have expired (this is true of many of the best-loved programs from Masterpiece Theatre, for instance) and SOPTV is no longer able to air them. Other programs may be replaced by newer shows or series. We try to serve as many audience segments as possible, to balance their competing and diverse interests and to provide a variety of programs that educate, inspire, enlighten, and entertain.
How do I request that SOPTV air a program?
Send us details via the SOPTV Contact Us page. Although we can’t promise that all requested shows will air, audience feedback and interest play a key role in our decision-making process.