Former Alabama Public Television Executive Director Allan Pizzato spoke with CPB Ombudsman Joel Kaplan in a column posted today (July 26). The interview provides Pizzato's first detailed statements since his termination by the Alabama Educational Television Commission on June 12, under pressure from the commission to run shows from conservative activist David Barton.
"The programming decisions of what is put on the air and what is said on the air," Pizzato told Kaplan, "is the responsibility of the management, executive management and the programmers of that station. It is not the responsibility of the board."
"That to me is the biggest issue because this is bigger than Alabama Public Television and much bigger than Allan Pizzato," he said. "This is an issue that I know has managers worried all over the system. If there is a governmental agency that is responsible for the license of the station those entities keep an arm's length distance from that board making programming decisions. And my feeling was this was a direct violation of that. It's something that commissioners in the past had agreed to. This commission had not agreed to it. This was my way of trying to get them to see here is the reasoning . . . we never got to that discussion."
Kaplan weighed in: "The demand by some political appointees of the Alabama Educational Television Commission that APT staff broadcast tapes by David Barton's Wallbuilders group was improper, unethical, and outrageous."