Granada comes under fire
ACONFUSING limelight has been turned crazily on the ."Look-Listen" Catholic radio-TV apostolate in Britain and the Granada Television Company serving the North West of England.
The limelight, mishandled during the weekend and earlier this week by indiscreet reporters after a conference at the Catholic TV and Radio Centre in Middlesex has pictured 40 delegates of the Look-Listen movement, as threatening, unreasonable, grousers, and Granada television contractors as obstinate, biased, adversar
On both subjects the limelight is set at a deceptive angle.
The "Observer " on Sunday, under the headline CATHOLIC WARNING TO GRANADA spoke of action which Look-Listen groups were going to take "if Granada did not lift its ban " on religious programmes.
The " Daily Express" on Monday headlined a similar report: TV BOYCOTT THREAT BY CATHOLICS.
In this apparent furore. one imagined Granada chiefs anxiously considering representations from the "Look-Listen" movement. Yet when I phoned Granada no details of any recommendations put forward at the Look-Listen conference had been received. The press had been circulated about dissatisfaction expressed at the conference, but Granada had been left out— receiving, in effect, a stab in the back with garbled reports of what had actually taken place at the Catholic TV and Radio Centre.
Granada was unable to give me any comment on the Look-Listen resolutions and recommendations because they had only the reports of newspapers to go on as to what these resolutions and recommendations were!
When I informed Granada that one of the resolutions passed stated: "If Granada persisted in excluding religious programmes, Catholic organisations should discriminate in the support given to their advertisers". a Granada spokesman told me: "Granada presents appropriate religious programmes during the major Christmas festivals.
"Last Good Friday, for instance, Granada televised afternoon liturgy from Westminster Cathedral; this programme was followed at 4.35 by a portrayal of events leading up to the Crucifixion. "Last Christmas. at 10,45 on Christmas Day, a programme of Christmas carols, readings, etc., was presented under the title of 'The Nativity'. This was followed by a Methodist service."
The Granada spokesman declared: "The Christian point of view is expressed in many varied programmes on Granada TV". He added that Granada had recently received a large number of appreciative letters from Catholics following Granada's televised interview with Archbishop Heenan of Liverpool. The Coronation of Pope John was also seen by Granada viewers.
" if the Look-Listen movement will list points which have caused them disquiet we shall be able to look into them" the Granada spokesman added. When told of this, Look-Listen's north-west committee secretary said: "I have not yet had time to make representations to Granada, but they will be advised about recommendations and resolutions formed at the conference". LookListen, he said, was concerned about the absence of any regular mid-week religious programmes on Granada such as: no epilogue, no family-prayer programmes, no Mass (or any other regular religious service) for the sick, In a Christian community these were desirable programmes, wanted by the majority. "We feel," he added, " that Granada's outlook is that such religious programmes as epilogues arc not a commercial proposition ".
A Government television Act states that advertising may not be presented immediately before or after any televised " religious " programme. But ATV, for example, times the presentation of advertising matter in a manner which enables them to transmit religious programmes without undue loss of advertising revenue.
ATV puts on every night of the week a five-minute "Epilogue" in
which a Christian leader (priest, parson, or minister) gives a spiritual talk. ATV also presents a Sunday morning service every week.
Once a week BBC TV puts on a eight-minute epilogue and a religious " View Point" or "Late Night Final " programme.
Granada, which is responsible for mid-week programmes, puts on no religious programmes of this type.
It was decided at Look-Listen's weekend conference to ask Granada to make a change in this direction.
At the conference were delegates from Lancashire, Cheshir e.
Southern England, and Scotland.
The BBC was criticised for giving fewer religious programmes on television than ITV, and for not giving an equal share of time allotted for religious programmes to Catholic presentations.
BBC and ITA are to be asked by the Look-Listen movement to institute a family viewing period which would end between 8.30 and 9 p.m. each night with a short religious epilogue. During this family viewing period it was suggested that adult only" pro grammes should be excluded and the timing of the epilogue should be brought forward to constitute a `natural and desirable point for children to stop viewing.