TLC Reader Focus: Mental Engineering
I am always fascinated when I discover that The Left Coaster has a reader who does something interesting and unusual in his or her career. The most recent discovery is reader John Forde who is the Host and Executive Producer of the show "Mental Engineering" which runs on public television. Here's part of a Wikipedia entry on Mental Engineering (minus the URLs in the entry):
Mental Engineering is a public television series where host John Forde leads a panel discussion featuring critical—and humorous—analysis of TV commercials.
Funding has been a major issue for the program, as Forde does not want to solicit or accept donations from corporations. He did obtain some assistance from Lutheran Brotherhood, a non-profit life insurance company, along with production help from Twin Cities Public Television (TPT). Forde essentially gave the show away for free, paying TPT a US$120 uplink fee to distribute each program through public television's satellite network. By September 2001, the program was airing on stations covering 41% of the U.S., and was most importantly carried by notable PBS outlets WGBH in Boston and WNET in New York City. The show received rave reviews from The New York Times and other influential news outlets, even prompting a congratulatory letter from Bill Moyers.
At nearly every step along the way, the show has been considered a "no-budget" program, though the Super Bowl appearance did warrant a nicer set. Some episodes have had production costs as low as $300, including the uplink fee. Nonetheless, the show has continued to attract nationally-known figures to act as panelists. Sam Simon, Greg Proops, Louis C.K., and Jeff Cesario are among those who have contributed their observations.
According to Bill Moyers:
'Mental Engineering' is the most interesting weekly half hour of social commentary and criticism on television.
The video below is a brief ad for the show that John sent me. Take a look and visit his website for more.
P.S. I welcome email from readers who do interesting and unusual things that might appeal to the general public and to this blog's readership. However, I can't guarantee I will write about it.