Look, I don’t blame you that my DVR crapped out 41 minutes into taping Saturday’s airing of “Great Performances: Billy Joel: Live at Shea Stadium.” That’s not your fault. It’s not even Garth Brooks fault, I don’t think. These things happen. Modern technology is unreliable.
So Saturday night when I discovered that my DVR had failed on me, I figured, no problem, my friends at PBS will surely re-air such an important program. So I picked up my copy of “nine Magazine” (That’s right. I’m a member. No freeloader me. Well, technically it’s The Wife who writes the check and sends it in, but it’s community money. I’ve never called the bank to stop payment.) and turn to the last page to check the Repeat Schedule.
Globe Trekker — Tuesdays 10 p.m.; Thursdays 3 a.m.
Heaven Can Wait — 4/9 8 p.m.; 4/16 9:45 p.m.
Waitaminnut. Where’s Great Performances? I turn to the article on the show on page 8. There’s only one time listed: March 5, 5 p.m.
Seriously, Channel 9? Now we have a problem.
This is PBS. You repeat stuff all the time. You air “Donnybrook” three times a week. Nobody ever paid $50 or more to watch Ray Hartmann perform at Scottrade Center. Has Bill McClellan ever written anything as sublime as “New York State of Mind?” I think not.
Billy Joel is a national treasure. He’s well-loved in St. Louis. He’s performed here many times to large crowds. I was at many of those concerts. I can assure you they were well received.
I’m getting ready to call Cookie Monster to see if he can do anything when The Wife chimes in, “It’s Pledge Month. I’m sure they’ll be airing it again. It’s just not on the schedule.”
Hmm. That makes sense. I pick up the guide again and see what’s on tap for Sunday. “Membership Medley: 12-5 p.m.” I look through the rest of the listings for the month. Every night the same thing. “Membership Medley: 7 p.m.-1 a.m.”
Membership Medley? Could you be any more vague, Channel 9? Well, I guess you did have to put together the magazine a month or more early so you couldn’t plan out your pledge programming that far in advance. Fair enough.
I turn on the TV and see what it’s programming schedule says. Surely it’s more up-to-date. “Pledge Programming: The best of PBS pledge programming.” Well, that’s less than helpful. That could mean anything from a 2-hour infomercial by some self-help guru to a Lawrence Welk retrospective. Do you really think I’m just going to sit there all day with your channel on in the hopes of catching Joel at random? Is that your plan, Channel 9?
The internet! There’s nothing more up-to-date than the internet. There’s no excuse for not having up-to-the-minute programming listings on the internet. That’s what it was made for. I go to http://www.ketc.org. I click on “What’s On.” I look at the schedule. “Pledge Programming.” I click on “Pledge Programming.”
“Sorry, no episode information available.”
C’MON. What does your web guy do at http://www.ketc.org, Channel 9? How can you not know what you’re going to air on the day you’re airing it? Do you just have a bunch of shows on a dartboard and at 7 p.m. you throw a dart and air whatever show it hits, and then two hours later do it again? That’s no way to run a television station, Channel 9.
So, if anyone at Channel 9 happens to read this, please leave a note in the Comments section as to when exactly you plan on re-airing the Billy Joel concert. I’d appreciate it.