A Brief Media Commentary on a Classic... A Charlie Brown Christmas

Dec 05, 2022 at 07:05 pm by WGNS News

This week's media commentary with MTSU Professor of Journalism Larry Burriss may hit home to a number of listeners in some way or another… it’s about a highly beloved classic known as, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” 


VERBATIM: “Christmas. A time for fun, family and good cheer. And a time for media confusion and wide-spread disappointment.

At the heart of these problems is the much-beloved Christmas tradition, watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” first aired on Dec. 9, 1965.

The program was originally broadcast on CBS, and over the years has been shown by a number of different television networks. But ownership of the program has also changed hands several times, and is now controlled by Apple, which has announced the program will not be aired over traditional television channels, but instead will be available only on Apple TV Plus.

So in one sense the program is available on your television set or computer, if you log on to Apple TV Plus for free, for a limited period of time.

But many have criticized Apple, saying the program isn’t being “broadcast.”

Well, in fact, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” hasn’t been “broadcast” for several years, if by “broadcast” you mean receiving the signal from an over-the-air station.

Instead, we have gladly watched via cable or satellite, which in one way is broadcasting, but in another way isn’t, if we only consider traditional television reception.

In addition, the program is available in a number of different formats for only a few dollars. Which means you can watch it any time you want, with diminishing costs per view.

And let’s admit it, there are who knows how many bootleg copies are out there.

But I will confess, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is special television. The animation is old-style, the jazz music track seems oddly out of place, and there have been continual complaints about the overtly religious content.

And you know what, Apple could allow any network it wanted to show the program, which in my mind would be a public relations bonanza.

Every media company I can think of is under severe criticism by almost everyone, so maybe Apple could spread some good cheer by freeing up a simple little television program. - I’m Larry Burriss.”

About Dr. Burriss - Larry Burriss, professor of journalism, teaches introductory and media law courses. At the graduate level he teaches quantitative research methods and media law. He holds degrees from The Ohio State University (B.A. in broadcast journalism, M.A. in journalism), the University of Oklahoma (M.A. in human relations), Ohio University (Ph.D. in journalism) and Concord Law School (J.D.). He has worked in print and broadcast news and public relations, and has published extensively in both academic and popular publications. He has won first place in the Tennessee Associated Press Radio Contest nine times. Dr. Burriss' publications and presentations include studies of presidential press conferences, NASA photography, radio news, legal issues related to adolescent use of social networking sites, legal research, and Middle Earth.

Dr. Burriss has served as director of the School of Journalism, dean of the College of Mass Communication and president of the MTSU Faculty Senate. He was appointed by Gov. Phil Bredesen to serve on the Tennessee Board of Regents. He was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force and served on active duty in Mali, Somalia, Bosnia, Central America, Europe and the Pentagon.


Additional WGNS News Headlines: 

Sections: News