The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s new weekly TV show, “Freethought Matters,” begins airing this Sunday in eight major cities, plus Madison, Wis., covering more than 22 percent of the United States TV market. The show will start broadcasting Sunday, Sept. 2, for 26 weeks, including in four of the top 10 markets.
As an antidote to religion on the airwaves and Sunday morning sermonizing, the half-hour talk show will air Sunday mornings in eight cities.
“You can turn on the TV and be preached at 24/7, especially on Sunday mornings,” says FFRF co-founder Annie Laurie Gaylor. Gaylor and her husband, Dan Barker, a former evangelical minister and well-known atheist author, are FFRF co-presidents and typically co-host the program.
“We not only want to provide sympathetic programming for the ‘unmassed masses,’ but offer an alternative, so that religious programming does not win by default,” adds Barker.
The intent is to introduce communities to leading freethought authors, thinkers and activists. Today, the nonreligious is the largest “denomination,” surpassing Roman Catholics, at almost 24 percent of the adult population. A third of Millennials are “Nones” and a fifth of Gen Z explicitly identifies as atheist or agnostic.
In addition to returning to the Madison market, at 11 p.m. Sundays on WISC-TV 3000, where it began airing last spring, “Freethought Matters,” targeting cities with high nonreligious populations, will run in:
• Chicago, WPWR-CW (Ch. 50), Sundays at 9 a.m.
• Los Angeles, KCOP-MY (Ch. 13), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
• Madison, Wis., WISC-TV (Ch. 3), Sundays at 11:00 p.m.
• New York City, WPIX-IND (Ch. 11), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
• Phoenix, KASW-CW (Ch. 61, or 6 or 1006 for HD), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
• Portland, KRCW-CW (Ch. 32), Sundays at 9 a.m. on
• Sacramento, KQCA-MY (Ch. 58), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
• Seattle, KONG-IND (Ch. 16). Sundays at 8:00 a.m.
• Washington, DC, WDCW-CW (Ch. 15), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
Look for these well-known guests in the above eight new markets: comedian, SNL alumna, “Letting Go of God” playwright and actress Julia Sweeney; Harvard Professor Steven Pinker, FFRF’s honorary president — whose latest book is Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress; science communicator and journalist Cara Santa Maria — who appears on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “StarTalk,” and biologist Jerry Coyne, author of Why Evolution Is True and Faith Vs. Fact.
Diverse upcoming guests include international activists Maryam Namazie and Rafida Bonya Ahmed; Heretics author Steven Nadler; Native American atheist and musician Brent Michael Davids; Secular Coalition for America Executive Director Larry Decker; author Candace Gorham, author of The Ebony Project: Why Some Black Women Are Walking Out on Religion; state/church activist Marie Schaub; sculptor Zenos Frudakis, and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and former Mormon Steve Benson.
Following a 13-show debut in Madison on WISC-TV 3 this spring, “Freethought Matters” will begin airing an all-new season of guests on Sunday, Sept. 2 at 11 p.m. The first show on Sept. 2 will feature popular “Friendly Atheist” blogger Hemant Mehta, interviewed by guest hosts Andrew Seidel, FFRF’s director of strategic response, and Elizabeth Cavell, one of FFRF’s constitutional attorneys.
FFRF is the nation’s largest association of freethinkers (atheists and agnostics), with 32,000 members nationwide. FFRF also works as a watchdog guarding the constitutional separation between religion and government.
The show is produced by FFRF’s videographer Bruce Johnson, a veteran of many years in public television. Crew includes staff members Monica Schwartz, Kristina Daleiden, Lauryn Seering and Chris Line, plus various floor managers, with sound production provided by Audio for the Arts.
Please tune in to “Freethought Matters” . . . because freethought matters.