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125 Live turns off Fox News, CNN

125 Live turns off Fox News, CNN

125 Live is cutting the cord on Fox News and CNN in an effort to curtail political arguments among members.

The organization says it will stop playing the two cable news networks in the facility’s common areas. Members are still welcome to watch the networks — or any television for that matter — on their personal devices and in the 125 Live technology center.

Sylwia Bujak Oliver, executive director of 125 Live, recently informed members of the decision in an email. She told us Tuesday that the rationale behind the ban is "really quite simple.”

“My goal is to have friendly and inviting community center,” said Oliver, who took over as head of 125 Live in 2018. “It’s like with music. Some people like to come to 125 Live because there is peace and quiet and some would like music. Therefore we encourage those to wear headphones and do whatever brings them joy, without affecting others.”

“That is what I decided to do with the news stations,” she continued. “Just have complimentary tablets for rent, so people can watch whatever channel they choose without upsetting anyone or forcing others to watch it as well in the common areas.”

Oliver said feedback from members has been “overwhelmingly positive so far.”

In a discussion on the Facebook page of the Post-Bulletin — which first reported on the 24-hour TV news ban — members of the public were mostly supportive of the decision.

“I respect this decision... they are not removing it completely, just the way to access it,” said Ken T., of Rochester. “That way members can decide how to watch preferred news programming and [the] general audience is not bombarded by news sources while enjoying 125 Live!”

Robin A. agreed: “I appreciate this as I have needed to select alternative exercise equipment to avoid seeing inflammatory political news channels at 125 Live. Thank you for removing them from the TVs.”

Brenda S., however, cautioned that the ban won’t fix the bigger problem: “I think you need to address bad behavior — not what’s on the television. If people can not control themselves in public, regardless of what the conflict is about, perhaps they should go exercise elsewhere.”

Others on social media suggested that more local gyms in town follow suit.

125 Live is not the first fitness center to remove cable news from its facilities. In 2018, Life Time, a Minnesota-based gym with 130 locations in 27 states, announced it would “remove cable news — both left- and right-leaning stations, including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC — from the large-screen TVs in its gyms,” according to a report from The New York Times.

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