“Al Jazeera America” is on the air

As of August 20th, a new TV news channel quietly and without much fanfare began broadcasting, having purchased the FCC license formerly owned by Current TV (famously co-founded by Al Gore). That channel: Al Jazeera America.

Al Jazeera America’s original plan was to have about 60% of U.S. specific coverage, with the remaining 40% coming from their existing Al Jazeera English programming.

However, that’s now changed to having coverage generated almost entirely by their U.S. based news teams, with additional input from their international organizations.

In an interesting peripheral detail, apparently they’re broadcasting with far fewer commercial advertisements than their competitors (CNN, MSNBC, Fox, etc.).

At present, according to Al Jazeera, the channel is available in roughly 40% of all U.S. households, and is being carried by DirecTV, Dish, Comcast, 4DTV, Verizon fiber, and other down-market cable carriers. AT&T U-verse doesn’t have it, and word is Al Jazeera and AT&T are in a legal tussle over an alleged breach-of-contract by AT&T. Time-Warner Cable is currently in negotiations.

As I’ve been composing this post, I’ve been watching it on DirecTV, and unfortunately they still have the low-rez signal. Still, it’s watchable, and in the last hour they’ve been covering the Bradley Manning sentencing. Now, at the top of the hour, they’re covering reports of the alleged Syrian chemical attack.

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In general, except for the relative (and rather refreshing) lack of excessive commercials, it looks and feels like any other TV news channel, although with a slightly different (and what feels like a more progressive) spin on the coverage.

Anyway, if you want to see how and where to tune into Al Jazeera America, you can go to their website and enter your zipcode in the box in the upper right. I’ll definitely be checking it out over the next few days/weeks.

Besides, every time Al Jazeera America gains another viewer, Bill O’Reilly’s blood pressure goes up by another point. It’s worth watching for that alone.


Published professional writer and poet, Becca had a three decade career in technical writing and consulting before selling off most of her possessions in 2006 to go live at an ashram in India for 3 years. She loves literature (especially science fiction), technology and science, progressive politics, cool electronic gadgets, and perfecting Hatch green chile recipes. Fortunately for this last, Becca and her wife currently live in New Mexico. @BeccaMorn

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  • star2brite

    ….comes filth!! Makes me wonder what her parents are teaching her!

  • star2brite

    Thank heavens!!!

  • star2brite

    Oh my….I wish all those of you who think carrying Al Jazeera America is the most wonderful thing that could happen would be forced to live in a country controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood. You’d be hightailing it back in no time….especially the women! Good heavens! What idiots would ever support a religion that wants to RULE us?

  • NE_Wombat

    Not in my market (greater Boston). It has two slots on Comcast.

  • Jugurtha

    They are a virtual monopoly in pockets of Central Florida where even UVerse and FIOS can not approach. The funny thing is even Time Warner has publicly stated that they are in negotiations with AJAM. As for BrightHouse, not a word, in the meantime their cable is loaded with some Bullshit channels that probably nobody watches.

  • fletcher

    Bill O’Reilly only watches the Islamic porn channel Al Brazerra.

  • arcadesproject

    poor colleague. sounds like an advanced case of moron.

  • arcadesproject

    ‘….out of the mouths of babes….’

  • arcadesproject

    I watched the first Egyptian revolution on AJE live stream. Coverage was excellent, far superior to anything else I saw. Now the AJE live stream has been turned off and I can’t get AJA from ATT. Boo hoo. I do have the AJA mobile site on my telephone and bookmarked on my home computer.
    Wanna make a note of that , NSA?

  • MyrddinWilt

    The English version of AJ has a decidedly BBC look and feel. The way they do interviews, the on screen graphics, sets etc. are all very much BBC house style.

    There is a reason for this AJE started when the BBC was planning to launch an Arabic TV service then withdrew at the last minute with the whole thing ready to run. Al Jazerra spotted the opportunity and moved in.

    One thing to remember when CNN, Faux etc are slamming AJE is that they are attacking a competitor. So the attacks have to be seen through that lens.

  • Indigo

    We don’t have sharia, we have bible-belt.

  • Indigo

    Here in carefully bible-belted Bright House country Orlando, there is no Al Jazeera at this time.

  • worfington

    While traveling in Europe last year, the only English language station in our hotel in Munich was Al Jazeera. After watching for about 10 minutes, my 16 year old turned to me and asked, “Why the fuck don’t we have any real news like this in America?”
    From the mouths of babes…

  • Go AJ, at last a real news station.

  • pricknick

    I’ve watched it for years when possible. It’s so refreshing to hear in depth commentary without all the chuckles and off subject inputs from the guests. You know that billo watches it constantly so as to gain more right wing hatred.
    His head exploded long ago.

  • douglas01

    If I thought watching Al Jazeera would raise O’Reilly’s blood pressure everything I watch it, I would watch it 24/7 until his head exploded.

  • houstonray

    Just started watching it. It’s a refreshing news. By the way it is on Comcast, that’s who we have here in Houston, TX. It’s also got some familiar news faces and voices. It’s just news…news stories that seem thoughtfully produced and they present both sides of a story in the segments I’ve seen. Then the segment is over and no one told me what I should think about it.

    Sort of reminds me what CNN ‘used’ to be years ago when they didn’t have to do 30 seconds of a news story and then have 5 minutes with two or three pundits (no offense John, I know you are on CNN on occasion, and I understand and appreciate the Progressive pundits).

    I will be very anxious to see how they cover a live breaking news story, such as a crash or weather event.

    I mentioned at work that I had watched Al Jazeera and my Fox News/Republican coworker about had a stroke right there in front of me. Terrorist news. Do the anchors have to smile when they talk about 9/11. Why would you waste your time watching that. Blah blah. Sigh.

    Good for AJA, I hope they last long.

  • Etaoin Shrdlu

    Al Jazeera bought the cable channel from the owners of Current. The FCC does not license cable channels. I watched several hours of programming, and it was straightforward and calm, not unlike the Channel 4 News in England. Much like a television version of All Things Considered, with full coverage to stories. Climate coverage was exceptionally good.

  • Mighty

    Is there anyway to stream it online?

  • Lyram

    I’m watching it right now on Comcast. It’s good and in-depth, as advertised.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    That which raises Bill O’Reilly’s blood pressure is a good.

  • grandpamike1

    Er, Comcast, Time Warner, Uverse, so far have dropped the channel.

  • cole3244

    i watched al jazeera today because i usually watch steph miller on that channel (directv).

    i hope steph is going on the air somewhere but i will definitely watch al jazeera to get even handed news coverage which will be a pleasant experience.

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