A E T N Logo
Support The Programs You Love DONATE NOW

AETN Executive Director Allen Weatherly Testifies at U.S. Senate Hearing

Posted on 22 Aug 2013

Hello, friends. I'm AETN Executive Director Allen Weatherly, and I'm glad to share a bit with you about my recent appearance before a United State Senate Commerce Committee field hearing in Little Rock, “Connecting Urban and Rural America: The State of Communications on the Ground.” The hearing – which focused on issues facing telecommunication and media companies in Arkansas and how statewide broadband availability can improve Arkansans' welfare by expanding access to education, telemedicine, education and business development services – was chaired by committee member Senator Mark Pryor. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel was also in attendance.

I was invited to attend the Aug. 19 hearing and was then asked to discuss AETN's service to the state, especially rural connectivity and education. My oral testimony summarized a longer testimony filed with the Commerce Committee. Senator Pryor also spent considerable time questioning me about public media and our services. I was honored to represent AETN - it was a very rewarding experience.

U.S. Senate Hearing Video

Segment 1

Segment 2

Segment 3

Some of my oral comments included:

…From the point of view of one broadcaster and media content provider - in our state, AETN provides free educational services and programming from PBS programs like "Sesame Street" to "NOVA" and Ken Burns to "Downton Abbey"… and AETN favorites like "Exploring Arkansas With Chuck Dovish," "Arkansas Week" and documentaries like our recent "Bayou Batholomew." PBS ratings are up - unusual in today's broadcast environment - so people do respond to mission-based programming.

AETN's mission is to serve everyone, everywhere, every day, free to all Arkansans no matter their station in life or location.

All distribution options are important: broadcast, cable, satellite and online services that serve as an educational avenue for AETN to reach schools with teacher training and resources, online professional development for educators, and PBS and AETN online early education resources for parents and kids.

AETN works side by side with the Arkansas Department of Education to provide all educators with quality, online, ADE-approved professional development and educational resources for K-12 educators through ArkansasIDEAS. ArkansasIDEAS is an indispensable tool for Arkansas educators, especially those in rural areas, as it allows 24-hour access online to meet their 60-hour requirement each year.  So far, more than half a million credit hours have been earned.

Education has been the heart of AETN for five decades, using connectivity to provide targeted educational services to educators, parents and kids - public, private, home-schooled and Pre-K.

Adequate broadband is vital for continuing and expanding the high-quality educational programs and services through ArkansasIDEAS that also include STEM, TESS and Common Core resources, AETN early education services and PBS resources such as AETN/PBS LearningMedia that deliver more than 30,000 video learning assets and tools for teachers to use in their classrooms.

With limited resources but using every media platform, AETN works to provide resources for children to learn, for parents to be their child's first best teacher, for educators to have free access to training and classroom resources, and give Arkansans access to unique dramas, documentaries, history, public affairs, and arts programming… accessible to all - rural and urban.

I was proud to be invited to testify about the services AETN makes available across the state. We, as always, wish to be of the greatest help to all Arkansans across the state and will make every effort to help residents of every age continue their lifelong learning process. You can learn more about the hearing and the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation on their website and watch the hearing in the video segments above. For further information about the many services AETN provides, feel free to email us at info@aetn.org or call 1-800-623-2386.


“Agri Arkansas” - June 2016
This month, join us to take a look at the Natural State’s global reach. What are the products that Arkansas farmers sell around the world, and how are we expected to fare in a declining export market? We’ll also have an update on a farm-to-fuel initiative in DeWitt and make a visit to the Olde Crow General Store at the junction of Highways 9 and 5 in the latest “Agri Arkansas.” 


“A Deeper Look: The Poverty Divide in Arkansas” airs June 27
Arkansas is currently ranked fourth in the nation with most people in poverty: one of every five people lives below the poverty line. How does this affect our state and what resources are available to help anyone who is struggling? Find out as we further the conversation about poverty and opportunity in “A Deeper Look: The Poverty Divide in Arkansas.” 


Turn Up the Heat With Sunday Night Drama
The weather isn’t the only thing heating up this summer! From “Vicious” and “Endeavour” to “Dancing on the Edge” and “The Tunnel,” get ready for new seasons, new series, a special series finale and more! Masterpiece PBS is ready for summer — with plenty of romance, mystery and even murder — and June is just the beginning.


Win an “I Can Readathon!” Event Kit - Facebook Contest
Travel to new places, different times and even new worlds this summer by reading together! You can help the kids in your life fight the summer slump and win a Harper Collins “I Can Read” event kit by entering our I Can Readathon! Facebook Contest June 13-30. Learn how you can enter and host a summer reading party for 20!


PBS KIDS ScratchJr Pine Bluff - Coding for Tomorrow
Through a grant from PBS and the Verizon Foundation, AETN Early Childhood Education has been proud to partner with Pine Bluff School District elementary schools to hold the PBS KIDS ScratchJr Camp. This camp, which directly addresses the Arkansas Department of Education’s goals to integrate computing concepts into the classroom, is revolutionary because it supports critical thought processing with computational thinking and problem solving. Learn five ways that Pine Bluff is laying the groundwork for students to achieve basic computer coding after the jump!