For immediate release
Chicago, IL - October 19, 2011
This month, Al Jazeera English (AJE) programming will become available for the first time across Chicago, joining a growing list of US cities carrying AJE content.
As of October 31, Chicago viewers will be able to watch Al Jazeera English’s award-winning global news coverage on two channels, WTTW11 and WTTW Prime (11-2; Comcast 370). WTTW is the most-watched public television station in America, serving more than 65% of Illinois’ population, as well as sections of Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
Since February, cable and satellite providers have received more than 70,000 emails from Americans asking for access to the channel. Although many viewers watch live streams of AJE coverage online, this will be AJE’s first foray into mainstream public television in Chicago. AJE will air for 30 minutes at 6:30 am and 11:00 pm Monday-Friday on the WTTW Prime channel and from 5:30 am-6:30 am on WTTW11 on Saturdays. Additional time slots for AJE on WTTW11 will be available beginning in early 2012, which will mean even more exposure for AJE and provide viewers with more opportunities to see the program.
“We are thrilled to have AJE’s programs become available to Chicagoans,” said Amjad Atallah, AJE Bureau Chief for the Americas. “WTTW is widely known for its award-winning local and national productions, and we are pleased to now be providing global news to so many households throughout Chicago.”
Dan Schmidt, President and CEO of WTTW added, “WTTW is excited to be adding this important programming to our schedule. Our station has a long history of providing quality public affairs programming and, by adding broadcasts from Al Jazeera English, we are providing a broader perspective on critical global issues.”
This news comes just a day after Al Jazeera was named as one of the Huffington Post’s “Game Changers” at an awards ceremony in New York. Al Jazeera English is truly an international network with over 70 bureaus around the world which span six different continents.
The channel’s content is already on the air across the United States in places like Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Ohio; and it can also be viewed across Latin America and Canada. Most recently, AJE launched in New York City. Al Jazeera English is available as a live stream online at http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/. Over 40% of the traffic to the website comes from the U.S. and Americans have watched 275 million minutes of AJE live stream this year.
“The US is important for us, both in terms of news and viewership, so this latest development is excellent,” said AJE Managing Director, Al Anstey. “We are the lead provider of stories from regions like Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and we are glad to meet the demand for international news in Chicago.”
“The addition of Al Jazeera English to our lineup is an excellent complement to our commitment to news,” added Dan Soles, WTTW’s Senior Vice President and Chief Television Content Officer. “These award-winning newscasts will give our viewers access to coverage that already is being seen throughout the globe. This is another example of WTTW acting as a Window to the World for the Chicago community,” he added.
WTTW11 airs on all broadcast providers in the Chicago area (Comcast, RCN, AT&T, WOW, Direct TV and Dish). WTTW Prime is carried on Comcast, and AT&T U-verse is expected to add that channel later this year.
Al Jazeera English was established in 2006 as part of the Al Jazeera Network, with its own content, editors and journalists reaching a global English-speaking audience which currently stands at over 250m households across 130 countries. The channel has continued to grow in reach and popularity, and has been recognized for its distinguished reporting and programming including being awarded this year's Columbia Journalism Award and “Best 24 Hour News Program” at the 48th and 50th Annual Monte-Carlo Television Festival. Al Jazeera English has also won Best News Channel three years running at the UK's Freesat awards. Al Jazeera English has received awards from the Royal Television Society, Amnesty International and YouTube and has received nominations for international Emmy awards in both the News and Current Affairs categories and the Royal Television Society awards as the 2009 and 2010 “News Channel of the Year” in the UK.
For more than 55 years, audiences have turned to WTTW for quality television that informs, inspires, educates, and entertains. WTTW reaches 1.5 million weekly households over a four-state area. Recognized for its award-winning local and national productions, WTTW is committed to presenting the very best in cultural, nature, science, public affairs, and children's programming across its four distinct television channels: WTTW11, WTTW Prime, its Spanish-language channel WTTW V-me, and WTTW Create, its “how-to” channel. For more information, please visit www.wttw.com.