If you’re at your computers, I guess you’re already sitting down for this…

Word has just come in that The Atheist Experience‘s time slot is, for the first time in its 12 year run, being shaved from 90 minutes to one hour. I haven’t yet heard when this change will go into effect.

There’s already a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth about this on Facebook, but apparently there’s nothing we can do. I don’t think we’re being targeted or anything. What’s probably going on is a change in ChannelAustin policy by which they’re trying to cut back on longer shows in order to fit in more programs per day. Either way, it sucks, and it’s going to take some real adjusting.

One thing that’s going to have to happen is some real ruthlessness in dealing with tedious, rambling callers, like that “collapsing wave-form” dude from last Sunday. And hopefully our atheist fans will at last get the message that, while we love them dearly, it’s preferable to use the email address, and not a phone call to the show, to tell us what an awesome job we’re doing. We should be more strict about demanding a caller make his point within, oh, 30 seconds, or we’ll have to let him go. Since I don’t inhabit the host’s chair any more, I can’t promise the regular hosts will agree this should be the practice.

If I may be allowed to air a personal gripe? If you’re wondering why I don’t have any more details about this, it’s because I found out about it, just half an hour ago, from a Facebook post by Matt. While I know it’s important to let the fans know right away, I think it would have been — oh, what’s the word — a courtesy for the cast and crew to have been informed, personally, ahead of time.

In any event, the show will go on! We aren’t ones to let something as petty as having our time slot chopped by a third to stop us speaking truth to power and all that! You can expect the same spirited blasphemy and hard arguing and hilarious Jeff Dee tirades you’ve been getting all these years. It will just be in a more concentrated package. We love and appreciate the support of all our viewers, new and old, all through the years, and we plan to be around for many, many more years yet!

Addendum: Matt has sent us all an email explaining the changes and apologizing for what’s turned out to be an honest goof. There has in fact been email discussion going on the last couple of days about all this, but it’s been taking place on the ACA board’s private email list, and wasn’t being shared with the TV list, which Matt assumed was being done. Several of us on the crew are not on the ACA board, and I guess that got overlooked. So, consider feathers unruffled.

The new time slot goes into effect the second Sunday of October (we’re being pre-empted on 10/3 by the fucking Mormons again), and we’ll be back in the big studio we were using ten years ago, which the guys have been trying to get for a long time in order to accommodate our ever-expanding studio audience. So kudos to them for managing that. For more details as they’re revealed, just keep checking the website.


  1. says

    I hope this will not cut down on the exposes that Don and Tracie and Jenn do sometimes. They provide excellent counterapologetics information that we just cannot get in a debate with a stupid theist caller…though I love those

  2. Steve says

    I thought it used to be only an hour years ago, then went to 90 minutes. Maybe, I'm just confusing it with something else, though.

  3. Martin says

    Gee. So we piss God off and all he does is dock us 30 minutes? He must be losing his smiting touch. What happened to the hardcore motherfucker who used to flood whole planets and firebomb cities?

  4. says

    Dare I say it? I think the show will actually be better at a 1 hour length. I've noticed that when I watch the streamed shows each week, I start tune out and glance at my clock… approx. half an hour before the show actually ends. I think the condensed time restraint may tighten things up a little, and I agree with Martin: far less leniency should be shown towards the 'ramblers'.

  5. says

    The Diane Rehm Show (NPR affiliate WAMU, 88.5 FM in the DC area) is ruthless but fair with rambling callers. If they don't get to the point within a minute, Diane reminds them to make their point or ask their question. If they still fail to make a point within the next minute, she hangs up on them.Additionally, you could eliminate the introductory news and ACA updates. Maybe just giving people a list of events and updates might be enough, telling people that more information can be found at the web site.I've often thought a good thing to do would be to lay down some caller ground rules at the beginning of each show. Things like:* Get to the point within a minute, or you'll get a warning. After the next pointless minute, we hang up.* We will interrupt you whenever we think you're making a logical error, state a false premise, or make an unfounded assumption. We want to make sure we understand your perspective, but we strive to not go down rabbit trails of misunderstanding.I love your work. It's really helped me to come out this past year as an atheist to my friends and family. I'm sure you can find a way to keep up the high-quality work while keeping it to 60 minutes.

  6. says

    Well … to use the vernacular … that sucks. I am hoping that you will consider cutting back on the announcements somehow. I know they are important, but with only an hour using up as much as ten minutes seems a less than ideal use of time.

  7. says

    Hopefully this will be a positive change, and result in better callers! Its really about the dialog between the theist and atheist that this show is so popular.Perhaps you could do a theist guest (doesn't have to be xian) more often!

  8. says

    My favorites are always the stupid, or the rare intelligent, theist callers. I think that it's kind of boring when they just have congratulatory phone calls that "preach to the choir" for 10-15 minutes.

  9. says

    It happens as we age Martin. Even god can't pull off the same stunts that he could in his youth. Could it be that the rapture will be nothing more than a cranky old man yelling "Get off my lawn!"?Sucks about the shorter AETV though. 🙁

  10. says

    Okay, I cooled down a bit. I've been in the fetal position the last 10 min.You guys should start using the hold button to punish people who don't get to their question/argument quickly. Being on hold for an extra 15 min while you take another call might teach them to get to the point.Or, have the call screeners prep the callers beforehand, so they know they better spit out their comment, or their best argument, within the first 30-90 seconds of getting on?Or you could pull the move they do in radio, where you just put them on hold (or hang up) when the conversation seems to drop off and move onto the next caller without giving them last words? It makes for more rapidfire calls.Anyway, this might be a good thing for the show, if you guys handle it right.

  11. says

    I think an hour will be OK. Because there's no real commercial interruptions, public access shows of all kinds feel a bit less tight and focused than other forms of programming. It's the nature of the beast.I think it would be better if the hosts treat the pacing and style of the show a little bit more like loosely-paced talk radio. You guys definitely shouldn't make it as if the callers only get 15 seconds, get dropped, and then the hosts comment on what the caller just said. I hate that extreme, too. Calls can certainly be longer than that, and disagreeing calls longer still. But having the calls be more crisp, focused and shorter than they are now would be good. Nothing's worse than the caller who's been talking for 15 minutes, and then says "One more thing, guys…" and have the hosts give him that leeway. Too much.The show's great already – don't think I don't appreciate it. But this might not be an altogether bad thing.

  12. says

    I seriously hope this will tighten up the show, cut down on the atheist chaff and get on to theist callers, Last weeks show (675) really annoyed me in the two callers prior to Troy ringing, I would have loved that call to have been much longer but he only had 9 minutes. I love you guys and I know the show will only get better.

  13. says

    This change is global, it's not targeted at us.We've looked into the possibility of getting 2, 1-hour slots back-to-back, but it's not going to happen for the fall season.I apologize that Martin wasn't informed. We've been discussing it at shows for the past couple of weeks (when I first heard of this) and we've been discussing it in e-mail over the last 24 hours (which is when I first found out it was finalized).Unfortunately, all of my e-mail goes to one address, so I didn't realize that it was being discussed on the board list instead of the TV e-mail list – so I thought that everyone was already aware.It goes into effect October 3rd, but we won't have a show on October 3rd because of the Mormons.Also, as an FYI, we're moving to the main studio.

  14. Mobius says

    This probably isn't the first time it's been said, and I know that it has nothing to do with the ACA or the Atheist Experience, but having duplex phones would probably help speed things along. I don't know how many times I've been listening to one of the hosts yelling the caller's name to tell him/her to stop talking only to hear the caller continuing to ramble on.

  15. says

    Well, call me a troll, but I think you're all stupid. There.I love the show, and anyone who claims to do so and still says that he'd rather have 60 than 90 minutes of it, that's, well, you're morons. Every one of you. I hate you. I know that's irrational, but I'm still in shock, okay?Now I'm going to find a small dark lonely room where I can cry the night away.(And since I've been misunderstood before, hint: This commend may not be completely serious. Still…)

  16. says

    I hope you keep trying for the double slot – that would really make my winter. I think a great format would be a presentation for the first hour and callers for the second.

  17. says

    As far as the pre-emptions byt the (shudder) Mormons…what's preventing you guys from doing the same thing in return? What makes them so special?

  18. says

    I'm with Muriel 100%. Having less time to do the show will not mean that we get a better class of callers. It means that we will have 33% less time available to play caller roulette in hopes of GETTING good callers.It also means and that when, for example, Tracie would like to do one of her excellent 45 minutes presentations, she will be forced to either cut the presentation drastically or leave very little time to do callers at all.We will, as Martin says, soldier on; and yes, the announcements may be reduced to waving at our web page and email address, which will please some people. But don't try to make me pretend that this is a benefit, because I think we should do all we can to get the full time allocation back.

  19. says

    @kazim: Despite the sad occasion, I feel honored. Nay, privileged. Maybe both. I shall now print that comment of yours, have it framed and build an altar to the man who was Don Alhambra del Bolero.Good night, sir. (Yes, it's night here.)

  20. Martin says

    Garion: It's been going on for years, and involves some kind of contractual thing they've got with ChannelAustin that, I guess, just keep getting renewed. In the past, what we'd do when we came back on the Sunday after would be to just devote heaps of ridicule to the Mormons all down the line. Such as reading from their "Steps in Overcoming Masturbation" guide.

  21. says

    …an altar to the man who was Don Alhambra del Bolero.……Oh yeah! LOL.Took me a minute to remember what you were talking about until I remembered my Spanish Inquisition Halloween episode, waaaay back in history.Since you went to the effort of spelling the name correctly, I must assume you already know that I can't take credit for inventing it

  22. says

    If you've ever tried to host a broadcast of any kind, you know it's not easy, not just something "anyone can do." It looks easy. But it's not. The TAE crew is awesome at it.The shorter show will have its silver linings. Like someone already said, it might force things to move along faster, which will compel the babbling callers to keep-it-short.

  23. ribidons says

    Incidentally, how are your (TV) ratings? I know you have a fairly robust web presence for an informative (you still fit the bill) public access show run on a shoestring. Still, I'd suppose that, in general, theistic programs get depressingly decent numbers; how many people are actually tuning in to hear from the [null] side of the Force?

  24. says

    @Kazim:"Having less time to do the show will not mean that we get a better class of callers."I, for one, certainly never claimed that, though I do think the new limit will inculcate a stricter attitude to people who cannot condense what they are saying into a clearly defined point.Sometimes I literally groan as the hosts (whomever they may be that week) sit silently whilst a caller drifts away from their own point into limitless whimsy. Now I know that many others enjoy watching callers entangle themselves like this, but hopefully hosts will feel more pressure to keep callers on point.I agree about Tracie's discussions though – I'd hate to see them abandoned.

  25. says

    The way you said it almost made me think that was actually a show – "The Fucking Mormons". Which would be hilarious, I'm sure. Though I'm not sure how the station feels about religious porno…

  26. says

    Pre-empted by the fucking mormons? I wasn't aware that they produced porn on local public access?In all seriousness though, this sucks. But you guy's'll make the best of it. You always do.One suggestion: Perhaps you could alternate between shows where you have no presentation and just a sort of theme for callers to chat about, and shows where you guys take few IF ANY callers. I only say this because I am very much a fan of Tracie's long presentations, and I would hate to lose them.

  27. Martin says

    The Fucking Mormons could also be a cool band name, if you imagine a lineup like that in Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" video. One male lead singer and all his wives… except they'd have to be underage and not slinky supermodels.

  28. says

    Hi.I know you are in the Studio, so you may need to exit afterwards, but for the longer presentations, perhaps you could keep the camera rolling and do some extras like Bill Maher's Overtime segment. Thus the TV show would be and hour, but the posted Internet show would be 90 minutes.I guess part of the point of the presentations may be to provoke discussion, so maybe this idea is no so good, even if the technical issues of studio occupancy were overcome?

  29. says

    I agree with Muriel and Kazim in that this isn't a good thing.But I'm sure it can be turned to be something good (excellent moment to say: Romans 8:28 >:). Matthew had an interesting idea, or you could try to get two slots (the whole international army of TAE watchers can prove to the directors or to whoever needs it that the show is very important).Or you could do it more frequently, or from another place directly to the Internetz, so you don't have to wait for Mormons engaged in sexual acts. Maybe you can put up videos from other events you organize (lectures, bat cruises, dinners anything).So don't be sad or pissed of, start a revolution! 🙂 (without guns and that kind of atheist stuff. – for those who don't get it, this was some kind of bad joke).So come on crew, surprise us 🙂

  30. says

    @Martin (this is off topic): it sounded fun, so I clicked on the link about "Steps in Overcoming Masturbation". My "favourite" part of it is: " Never read about your problem" – that's exactly what religious people do. I myself got such advice not long ago about… science (it was like: read Christian books in the topic). Of course it quite angered me. They claim that lying is so bad it'll send you to hell, but it doesn't stop them to do it to serve their skydaddy.

  31. says

    You could change the premise and title to "The Atheist Experience Extreme!", with "Extreme" in a zig-zaggy font family.

  32. DementedSnake says

    While it's slightly annoying that we'll only get to hear your wonderful rants and stupidity-beatdowns for an hour a week, I find myself agreeing that if anything, it'll make your show more disciplined. I imagine you guys will become more, what's a good word…concentrated?Maybe the studio is docking your time slot because you don't get enough crazy callers? I'd bet a hundred dollars that all of the churches around you guys are telling their followers never to call. I wonder if putting "Call In!" fliers around town would seem desperate…

  33. says

    This whole "now the show will be better" mentality reminds me of how the current government is planning to pay for new medicare spending. The plan is to "cut waste" and make billions. Now, that's not really a bad idea on the face of it. But if this is an option, why weren't we doing it all along?Sorry for the stretched analogy. I work for medicare and it's a big pet peeve. The bottom line is that, while we must buck up and live with it, 30 minutes less is thirty minutes less. You guys have worked hard at bringing it to us and I doubt you can just make super improvements just because of less time. Is Austin Cable access this competitive? I'm all for making sure it's fair. But in many towns, there's an info scroll on access channels more often than not. If they cut your time for that it would be insulting.

  34. Sillysighbean says

    I like to watch the show, but I usually listen to the podcast over 2-3 nights in segments, often rewinding the good parts (ie.smackdowns). I really like the researched topic presentations, especially Tracie. i would listen to a bonus 30 minute podcast. I know it is more work, but just sayin. This show makes my week. Greetings from the Jersey Shore.

  35. says

    @ Demented SnakeI asked that before and got a "no". It would have to be approved by the ACA as promotion I believe.@SillysighbeanGreatings my brother!

  36. says

    Sillysignbean makse a good point, how about making the topics of the shows offered by the co-hosts as podcasts like the Non-Prophets? It is effort but a good way to work around the problem.

  37. says

    @rrpostalI think it's more trying to maintain an optimistic attitude.Sure, it sucks, but that doesn't mean you can't derive something good out of it.You won't do that if you're mopey and emo about the situation.

  38. says

    @JTI agree. People are looking on the bright side of this turd. Sorry to be a wet blanket. I didn't mean it to sound as divisive as it reads, either. I shouldn't fault people for being more cheery than I.

  39. says

    re: rrpostalI want to ask the same question, is Austin cable access that competitive that there's always something on? I know up here in Canada our channel normally has announcements of whats going to be on, granted my city is much (162,000) smaller. Does Austin have more public access stations available to you?

  40. says

    Sorry to hear the news. I echo the sentiments of those that say the show can be (almost) just as good if you lose the announcements and start using the hold button when people really need to shut up and let you guys talk. But, I realize that is going to be difficult (or impossible) and I, for one, always want more of your show, not less. I hope you don't cut the anti apologetics, and I hope you still manage to engage the opposition. The goal is to make them feel like hey have enough time to make their point, but have them make it faster.I am sorry to hear the news.Nick

  41. says

    Things happen for a reason, right? Hopefully callers are more concise and less Youtube fans call up their comments on air.Serioualy, Martin's post on this forum was awesome along with many others. Epic lulz

  42. Martin says

    To the Christian who just tried to post a link to a proselytizing YouTube video: over here we call that spam, and fearmongering about imaginary hells doesn't work on us anyway. If you have questions to ask or you want to engage us in discourse, that's something else entirely. Feel free to do that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *