gimme some sugar, KLRU

I am pleased to learn that KLRU (the PBS station in Austin) is showing the controversial Postcards from Buster episode “Sugartime” tonight at 8 pm.
KLRU has posted a press release about this decision here and it is well worth reading.
The “controversy” in this episode centers around Buster (a cute animated bunny) travelling to Vermont to learn about how maple sugar is made. The children he meets in Vermont have two moms, instead of a mom and a dad. I know you are all shocked. The moms don’t smooch on camera or promote gay rights (I know you were expecting something naughty with a title like “Sugartime”), but they might as well be for all the ruckus this episode has raised.

When U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings found out about the episode, she complained loudly to WGBH (which produces the show) and to PBS. The show is partially funded with federal grant money.
PBS announced that it would not air the episode and would pay to replace it with another episode instead. However, WGBH offered it to public TV stations anyway. I don’t know how many stations are choosing to air the episode (I read 35 in a few news stories), but it is very good to see that KLRU is one of them.
KLRU’s press release includes the following sensible statement: “Parents may watch the program with children, review the episode before making a decision, tape the episode for later viewing, or decide not to watch. That is a personal decision, one which we cannot, in good conscience, presume to make.”
Unfortunately, this episode is providing a wonderful excuse for Congress to cut funding for public TV programming. Perhaps if many parents show their support for the episode … well, I know. I’m cynical enough that I suspect that won’t have much effect. I wish it would. It’s certainly worth trying, isn’t it? Surely we can be as loud as those “Focus on the Family” clowns.
I learned how to read when I was four years old and my mom gives most of the credit to Sesame Street. Sesame Workshop produces fewer and fewer episodes of the show each year because they just don’t have the money anymore. Other good educational children’s shows have been cancelled entirely due to lack of funding.
I haven’t ever seen Postcards from Buster myself. I know it’s based on Arthur, which I’ve seen … well, I was pulling an all-nighter a few years ago and a marathon session of Arthur episodes was the only thing on TV. It was interesting enough to keep me awake while I wrestled with a scary Pagemaker file for a few hours in the middle of the night. I liked Arthur’s feisty sister D.W. best.
I won’t get to watch the episode tonight, because I have a class (interestingly enough, in the same building as the KLRU studios). I’m not exactly the target audience, anyway. But if you have small children, take advantage of the opportunity to watch the show with them and let KLRU know how much you appreciate their airing it. Obviously, the best way to show your support for a particular program is to enclose a check, even a small one, with your words of appreciation and thanks.
(In fact, I believe it is Pledge Week over at KLRU. I find those things as annoying as you do, but they are effective. I am still trying to decide whether showing this episode during Pledge Week is very smart or very risky of them … I guess they’ll find out tonight.)