When I was in trans info collection mode, my VCR was taping as much trans themed programming as I could find in the run up to my eventual 1994 physical transition.
One of the things I noticed as I taped those talk shows, documentaries and other programs of interest is that they always seemed to pop up during February, May, June and the November sweeps months.
So what's the 'sweeps months'? It refers to the Nielsen television ratings system that has dictated whether your fave programs stay on the air or are cancelled.
The sweeps term dates back from 1954, when Nielsen would collect the paper diaries sent to selected homes in the eastern US first, then 'sweep across the country toward the west coast. The diaries are then aggregated to get the ratings that television programs scheduling decisions and advertising dollars for local television stations, cable systems, and advertisers.
The November, February and May sweeps months are considered important for programming, while the July sweeps tend to be important for personnel decisions.
The May 2015 sweeps month is starting today, and will run until May 20, The July sweeps period will be from July 2-29 and the October one will commence on October 29 and run through November 25.
It's probably why ABC's 20/20 scheduled the Bruce Jenner interview for Friday, and you've had interviews all week on MSNBC of trans kids. While I was flipping channels last night I stumbled across a MTV Catfish show that involved a Houston area trans woman.
And naw, I haven't met the Houston trans woman featured in that show (yet).
And yes, it's always the time when the talk show circuit would schedule their trans themed programming. Maury would run his infamous Man Or Woman shows during sweeps periods, and Jerry Springer would stick the outrageous trans themed topics on during that time as well..
And when the public is getting most of the news and information about trans people from television, and sweeps month sees higher levels of trans themed programming good, bad or indifferent, it''s always a concern that the programming in question if it's good gets praised by us, and the bad stuff gets called out.