When to Watch

On OETA main
Oklahoma Forum Sunday Apr. 27 @ 12:30pm
On OETA okla
Oklahoma Forum Thursday Apr. 24 @ 2:30pm
Oklahoma Forum Sunday Apr. 27 @ 2:30am
Oklahoma Forum Sunday Apr. 27 @ 3:00pm
Oklahoma Forum Sunday Apr. 27 @ 7:00pm
Oklahoma Forum Monday Apr. 28 @ 4:00am

The Sheet

The Blog for Oklahoma Forum

Oklahoma's weekly, statewide discussion program, Oklahoma Forum, provides civil, meaningful discussion of news and issues that impact citizens statewide. Hosted by Emmy Award-winning journalist Dick Pryor and produced by Emmy Award-winner Mickie Smith, Oklahoma Forum is more than sound bites and spin. It is purpose-driven television - seeking answers, providing insight – about life in Oklahoma and its people.

Education Reform

Written by Dick Pryor on Thursday February 3, 2011





In a down economy, education is increasingly being viewed as critical to economic resurgence and job growth. Oklahoma is no exception. In a state that reveres being number one in football, education continues to languish near the bottom of the national heap. There are enough statistics for everyone on all sides of the issue to make their point, so we won't go into that here. What we will do is present some of the ideas and issues related to education reform on our latest Oklahoma Forum program.

How do we make our schools better and prepare our students to success in the 21st Century workplace? There are no easy answers and lots of questions. On this week's program we discuss charter schools and school choice, time reform, and educational scholarships – some of the ideas presented to change the education paradigm. This program was inspired by National School Choice Week (Jan. 23-29, 2011) and growing movements to provide educational opportunities inside and outside of the traditional public school system.

Our guests are Steven Crawford, Executive Director of the Cooperative Council for School Administration; Bill Price, Chairman of the Oklahoma School Choice Coalition; and Linda Hampton, Vice President of the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA).

There are many thoughtful voices weighing in on education reform, and this is only the beginning of programs we plan to dedicate to discussion of schools and education policy. So, we invite you to take a listen, and let us know of an education topic you would like to see explored in future programs. Guest suggestions are also welcome, too.

Until next time,

Dick Pryor

(Pictured above, left to right:  Host Dick Pryor, Bill Price, Linda Hampton, Steven Crawford)

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Politics, Religion and Civility

Written by Dick Pryor on Thursday February 3, 2011


We discuss the role of civility in religion and poltics with The Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of the Interfaith Alliance.  Rev. Dr.  Gaddy leads the national nonpartisan grassroots and educational organizations, The Interfaith Alliance and The Interfaith Alliance Foundation and serves as the Pastor for Preaching and Worship at Northminster (Baptist) Church in Monroe, Louisiana. Rev. Gaddy is the host of State of Belief, a weekly radio show by The Interfaith Alliance that is carried on AirAmerica. State of Belief is based on the proposition that religion has a positive and healing role to play in the life of the nation. Rev Gaddy is one of 20 international religious leaders on the Council of 100 Leaders, a group created by the World Economic Forum to improve dialogue and understanding between the Western and Islamic worlds.

In addition to being the author of over 20 books, Welton provides regular commentary to the national media on issues relating to religion and politics. Some of his appearances include CNN Presents: The Fight Over Faith; PBS's NOW with Bill Moyers; PBS Frontline's The Jesus Factor; PBS's The Newshour with Jim Lehrer; NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw; CBS Evening News with Dan Rather; ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings; numerous National Public Radio stations including KQED's Forum in San Francisco and KCRW's The Politics of Culture in Los Angeles; CNBC's Capital Report; CNN's The World Today with Wolf Blitzer; CNN's Inside Politics with Judy Woodruff; PBS's Religion and Ethics Newsweekly; CBS's Freedom to Pray; C-SPAN's Washington Journal; NBC's Dateline. He is the former host of Morally Speaking on NBC affiliate KTVE in Monroe, Louisiana.

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Public Service Media

Written by Dick Pryor on Friday January 14, 2011


Pictured above, left to right:  Host Dick Pryor, Kelly Burley, Kurt Gwartney and John McCarroll.

There has been a lot of talk in the last few months about public broadcasting.  NPR's dismissal of newsman Juan Williams for remarks he made while serving as a commentator on Fox News stirred the pot and crtitics seized upon the opportunity to call for reductions or elimination of funding for public broadcasting.  Public television and radio stations receive about $460 million in federal appropriation each year through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  CPB provides funding to stations that air content from NPR and to public television stations that provide PBS programming.  The rest of the money needed to operate stations across the nation comes from state legislatures and private sources (individual and corporate).  Although partners on some projects, NPR and PBS are separate entities.

Ironically, the calls by some in Congress for defunding CPB come at a time when public broadcasters, providing public service media content over the air, on-line, and mobile, are increasing their local content offerings to better serve the public.  Research (Roper Poll) indicates that again in 2010 public broadcasting was chosen as the most trusted institution in America.

And, industry research indicates that the audience for public radio and television stations is growing.  More than 170,000,000 Americans (55% of the U.S. population) watch or listen to public broadcasting outlets each month for news and information and educational, science, and cultural programming. In fact, a new website has been  launched to provide more information about public media:

With that as a backdrop, we discussed how public service media is perceived and how it is changing to meet the needs of the citizens who rely on it, with Kelly Burley, Director of KOSU Radio; Kurt Gwartney, News Director of KGOU Radio; and John McCarroll, Executive Director of OETA-The Oklahoma Network.

They explained how their organizations are maintaining during these difficult economic times and growing their services through collaborative efforts and public-private partnerships.  Indeed, public media is changing to meet the realities of today.  We encourage your comments. 

What do you think about public service media?  Let us know.

Until next time,

Dick Pryor

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Getting down to business

Written by Dick Pryor on Monday January 10, 2011


As Mary Fallin has prepared to take the oath of office of governor, we heard a familiar refrain:  "We need to create a more business-friendly state."  Oklahoma is not alone in facing economic problems and concerns about jobs.  How to promote economic growth and retain and create jobs is the challenge facing the new Fallin administration and other state leaders. 

This week on Oklahoma Forum, we talked to three leaders of the state's business community to learn more about what they think should be done on Main Street and Lincoln Boulevard to push Oklahoma's economy forward.  Our guests were Fred Morgan, President and CEO of The State Chamber of Oklahoma; Roy Williams, President and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber; and Mike Neal, President of the Tulsa Metro Chamber.

So, what makes a state business-friendly?  It's a combination of factors, including tax policy, infrastructure, workforce, image, and quality of life.  And more.  It's interesting to note that Forbes magazine ranked Oklahoma as the 20th best state for business and careers in 2009, but only 33rd in 2010.  Forbes ranked Oklahoma 7th in economic climate, which was an improvement from 9th in 2009, but a couple other factors dragged the state down. 

In 2010, Forbes ranked Oklahoma's labor supply as 41st and its quality of life 41st (down from 38th in 2009), which resulted in an overall business prospects ranking of 50.  Yes, 50 - last in the U.S.  That has to be distressing, given all the work that has been done in and out of state government to improve the state's business attractiveness in the last several years. 

Roy Williams made news last December when he told reporters at the Oklahoma City and Tulsa chambers' joint presentation that the state's image has also suffered from certain policies, including immigration policy.  Williams said that Oklahoma often doesn't appear on potential business expansion lists because of laws or comments made by state legislators and that are considered "extreme" by others in the business community.  Neal added that image is a huge issue for site selection executives.  Williams and Neal explained their comments on the program.

The three guests had similar solutions for the state's economic issues, including workers compensation and lawsuit reform and tax policy.  Education and health are also big issues.  One national publication ranked Oklahoma City the 5th worst place to live among major cities in August, 2010.  The publication cited Oklahoma City's sedentary lifestyles, obesity, high cardiovascular disease and overall lack of fitness for the poor ranking.  Oklahoma's workforce is not as capable as it should be to attract certain high-skill, high-wage jobs, and without those jobs, a large percentage of the state's citizens will continue to live in poverty.  About one in six Oklahomans currently lives below the poverty line.

I invite you to go to the web sites for the three chambers and check out their agenda for the coming year.  Much of it is familiar, but some of the proposals may surprise you.  It is interesting to note that for the first time, the three chambers have come together to present a unified jobs agenda that translates over most of the state, including rural areas.

Until next time,

Dick Pryor

(Pictures above, left to right:  Host Dick Pryor, Fred Morgan, Roy Williams.  Mike Neal is not pictured.)

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Governor-Elect Mary Fallin

Written by Dick Pryor on Friday December 10, 2010


Governor-Elect Mary Fallin has been keeping a fast-paced schedule since her historic election on November 2nd.  She has been working on the transition to the governor's office while continuing her duties as congresswoman for the 5th Congressional District.  Fallin's election was truly historic.  Her race against Democrat Jari Askins was only the fourth gubernatorial race in American history pitting two women against each other.  Her election, with 60% of the statewide vote, made her the first female governor in Oklahoma history.  And, on January 10, 2011, when she takes the oath of office, she will become one of only 34 women in U.S. history to hold the position of governor of a state.

During our half-conversation we talked about the campaign, her management style and agenda for the upcoming legislative session.  Continuing her priorities established as legislator, Lieutenant Governor and U.S. Representative, Fallin will place a premium on job growth and creating a state that is "business-friendly."  She will also be looking at reorganizing government and improving Oklahoma's educational system. 

Mary Fallin becomes Oklahoma's 27th governor on January 10 at 12:00 p.m. and OETA will air the ceremonies live, statewide.  We will also air a one-hour re-broadcast on the evening of January 10th for those who may have missed the inaugural ceremonies earlier in the day.

Thanks for reading.

Until next time,

Dick Pryor

(Pictured above, left to right:  Host Dick Pryor, Governor-Elect Mary Fallin.)


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