Your NPR news source

Al Jazeera English hits Chicago cable waves

SHARE Al Jazeera English hits Chicago cable waves

Starting today, Chicagoans have cable access to news from Al Jazeera English. The Qatar-based channel will air its international coverage on local public television station WTTW. WTTW11 and WTTW Prime will carry 30 minutes of Al Jazeera English on weekdays at 6:30am and 11pm, and an hour on Saturdays at 5:30am. Chicagoans may already catch AJE on a digital subchannel of public television station WYCC, but AJE officials expect to reach a much wider audience through the new cable distributor.

Since it launched its English language channel in 2006, Al Jazeera has failed to find a national distributor. It was saddled with a bad reputation brought on by criticism by some administration officials under former President George W. Bush. They characterized AJE’s older, sister, Arabic-language channel as an anti-American, pro-terrorist propaganda unit during the earlier years of the Iraq war.

But that perception began changing with AJE’s coverage of prodemocracy uprisings in the Middle East. Amjad Atallah, AJE’s Bureau Chief of the Americas, says American viewers began watching AJE’s live webstream to keep track of the protests, bumping up the channel’s online traffic by 2500 per cent. The channel also won a prestigious journalism award from Columbia University. The company has strongly touted its debut on a Chicago cable channel. “We do consider this a big stepping stone,” said Atallah, “and WTTW is a fantastic channel to partner with.”

The Latest
Liesl Olson started as director at The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum earlier this month. She joins WBEZ to talk about her future plans for this landmark of Chicago history. Host: Melba Lara; Reporter: Lauren Frost
The city faces criticism for issuing red light camera tickets at intersections where yellow lights fall slightly short of the city’s 3-second policy. And many traffic engineers say the lights should be even longer.
There was a time Chicago gave New York a run for its money. How did we end up the Second City?
Union Gen. Gordon Granger set up his headquarters in Galveston, Texas, and famously signed an order June 19, 1865, “All slaves are free.” President Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday last year.
As the U.S. celebrates the second federal holiday honoring Juneteenth, several myths persist about the origins and history about what happened when enslaved people were emancipated in Texas.