Storm Brewing in Bama Over Public TV Dismissals


Alabama public television is losing some key players fast. Three of the five members of the fundraising Alabama Educational Television Foundation Authority re­signed, reports the AP, after the Alabama Edu­cational Television Commission (the board that oversees public television in the state) dismissed the director of Alabama Public TV, Al­lan Pizzato, and its deputy director, Pauline Howland.

A factor in the shakeup appears to be some commission members championing programming from the Christian group WallBuilders, which the AP says “promotes the idea that the United States is a Christian nation based on the Bible,” and others opposing it.

Foundation chairman Joe Mays, who served with the authority for about two decades, resigned after Pizzato was let go, as did two of his colleagues.

One member of the commission, Rodney Herring, said the disagreement over WallBuilders programming on Alabama public TV was “at best minimal” in terms of its role in Pizzato and Howland being booted.

Herring said the topic of WallBuilders, which was on the agenda for the March 20 meeting that preceded Pizzato and Howland being fired, did not come up in the meeting. But the minutes from that meeting show Herring talking up the Christian programming, and Pizzato countering that the programs may be in violation of FCC license.

In an interview, former deputy director Pauline Howland mentioned “grave concerns” regarding WallBuilders programming.

Members of the commission are appointed by the governor.

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