At a speech at Stanford Tuesday night, American Atheists President David Silverman announced that the organization would be launching “the first television channel dedicated to atheism” this summer:
“Why are we going to television?” he asked the audience, a mix of about 100 students and people from the local community. “It’s part of our strategy of going where we are not.”
Silverman, 49, said the television channel, which will be available via Roku, an Internet streaming player that attaches to televisions like a cable box, will run atheist content seven days a week, 24 hours a day. He estimated it will reach 7 million households and will be free, at least initially.
So while it’s a great strategy for AA to “go where they are not,” it would arguably be an even better strategy to go where an audience is… (What would get more views? An AA billboard in Times Square or a show on the atheist channel?)
But I’m just ripping on a proposed idea and that’s not necessarily fair. What’s going to be on this channel?
The channel will air video of previous atheist events, such as footage from past American Atheist conventions and speakers at 2012‘s Reason Rally in Washington, D.C., as well as content provided by atheist video bloggers and other atheist groups.
That’s a smart move, actually — and it explains why they’re not just putting everything up on YouTube. Some of it is there already and they couldn’t charge for the rest of the content if they uploaded it on the site. Plus, AA has hundreds of hours of tape from past conventions and their own public access show that are just sitting around… Why not put it somewhere?
Then again, since you don’t need to look further than YouTube to see atheist content anymore, one could make a compelling case against the need for a TV channel… but, again, I’m just playing Devil’s advocate.
I like the fact that AA is trying something new. Even if it fails, they should be commended for stepping outside their comfort zone. It might not appeal to you, but it could be a big deal for someone else.
Even if it’s unclear how many viewers they would have, how much money they would ever make (or lose) from this venture, or whether they would change any minds, it’s a risk worth taking.
(Bonus points to anyone who comes up with the best name for an atheist TV channel!)
***Update***: Kimberly Winston points out that the channel now has a name:
We have an official name for new Atheist TV channel. It is (drumroll) . . . ATHEIST TV!
— Kimberly Winston (@kjwinston11) May 8, 2014
So original, I can’t believe it.
(Image via Shutterstock)