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Traditional Holiday TV Specials Not as Special These Days, Prof. Jeff McCall '76 Tells Florida Times-Union

December 8, 2004

frosty.jpgDecember 8, 2004, Greencastle, Ind. - "Jeffrey McCall, professor of communicationis at DePauw University in Indiana, thinks that television isn't quite the ritual element that it used to be, when a whole nation, or even a whole family, sat down together to watch," writes Roger Bull in the Florida Times-Union. Bull's article examines whether Christmas specials, which have been repeated on television each December for decades, have lost their impact over the years. Bull writes, "Those holiday TV specials have become as much a part of the Christmas ritual as hanging stockings and decorating the tree. Decades of families sat down together to watch Rudolph and Frosty and A Charlie Brown Christmas." (image courtesy of Rankin-Bass/Rhino)

Dr. McCall, a 1976 graduate of DePauw, argues the specials are less special than they were in years past because the dynamics of watching television has changed. "One of the key things to keep in mind is that televison doesn't provide common experience for families anymore. It's no longer the electronic fireplace," the professor tells the newspaper. "We don't have people around it the way we used to. You've got multiple TVs around the house. Kids have TVs in their rooms. And we've got so many channels out there for the niche audiences," McCall adds. "If you watch something artsy, you go to A&E or PBS. There's MTV. You don't have to watch the generic specials like Bob Hope that used to be so popular."

McCall adds, "Where they are being shown, it's filler. They're not going to be generating the large audiences that they would in the past. They're not done in the holiday spirit that they would have a generation ago."

Read the complete story online at the Jacksonville, Florida newspaper's Web site by clicking here.

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