Really, was this necessary?
Those who know me recognize that I'm not a religious person. In fact, I often point out the failures and hypocrisy of religious organizations. But it really rubbed me the wrong way when I read in Rob Owen’s “Tuned In” column in the Post-Gazette that WPXI television in Pittsburgh is booting from Channel 11 a Catholic Mass that has been broadcast on that station for decades on Sunday mornings. Owen reported that the program will be shifted to the over-the-air RTV channel and WPXI’s cable station, PCNC. But anyone who gets their television signals via a satellite dish won’t be able to see the Mass. The reason for the change, according to WPXI, is that it will allow the station to begin its Sunday morning newscast at 5:30 a.m. rather than 7 a.m., in order to directly compete with WTAE’s morning news program. Here was the explanation offered by WPXI program director Mark Barash: “We were feeling like there was an audience looking for news on Sunday mornings, and our viewers were kind of saying, ‘Where’s your newscast?’ and we didn’t have one.” Yes, Mr. Barash, you did have one. It started at 7 a.m. Does he really expect us to believe that the station was being inundated with calls from people saying, “Dammit, I got up at 5:30 a.m., and you people didn’t have a rehash of yesterday’s news and video from a couple of overnight car crashes!” I'm not buying it. I don't know this for a fact, but I'm willing to entertain the notion that ratings and money somehow enter into this equation. And the needs of shut-ins and others who faithfully watched the broadcasts of the Masses? Hmmm, maybe not so much.