The Charleston-based independent television cable show, which tries to save the Lowcountry one viewer at a time, started going out to 17 million homes across America on April 2.
The biweekly TV show (Monday and Friday at 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at noon on Comcast C2) is working to create a state that ranks at the top instead of the bottom of national standings by telling stories of people who are doing good work around the state, says The Connection host Pat Jobe.
Since it began airing in Charleston in October, The Connection has spread to four other S.C. cable markets. On April 2, it began airing on Free Speech TV (Dish network channel 9415) Saturdays at 8 p.m. Free Speech reaches 138 local cable outlets around the country through the Dish network. It can also be viewed online at www.theconnectionshow.org and is available as a free video podcast.
The Connection presents viewers with a half hour of issues and progressive solutions that affect every South Carolinian, Jobe says. Each show asks, "How can we build a fairer, more compassionate state and world?" The program seeks to spark dialogue around social issues in S.C., highlight innovative work being done on those issues, and inspire more people to get involved in making a difference.
Past programs have covered a free college course for people on the margins, the health care crisis, citizens patrolling to rid their neighborhoods of drugs and violence, organic farming, a mothers' support group, Amendment One, biodiesel, and innovative entrepreneurs. The second in a series on race relations in S.C. is currently airing. Upcoming shows will discuss childhood sexual abuse, youth involved in bettering their communities, payday lenders, and affordable housing.
The Connection should be able to find a national audience, says Alice Gray Gregory, the producer of the program, because it deals with national issues. "Racism and payday loan sharks and child sexual abuse are problems everywhere," she says.
"Free Speech TV has told us they like the South Carolina focus and they think the audience will like it, too," Gregory says. "We are telling the personal stories behind the statistics, and people everywhere identify with personal stories."
The Connection also sponsors a biweekly gathering at Kudu Coffee at 4 Vanderhorst St., where people come to watch the show and discuss the issue afterwards. Musicians are also invited to play after the show airs. The next meeting will be April 17. --Will Moredock