Cable television's multichannel capacity is offering the American public alternate perspectives on the news. More and more foreign organizations are taking advantage of the opportunity to present their versions of the news directly to the American public. There have been shows about Israel, Islam, Ireland, France, and Britain - in most cases produced through ethnic citizens groups.
In February and March the federal President of Austria, Rudolf Kirchschlager, visited the United States and for the first time an Austrian president met with an American president at the White House. President Kirchschlager also toured the United States to promote Austrian-American friendship, the dialogue between East and West, and Austria's neutrality.
Network television paid very little attention to the Kirchschlager visit. So the Austrian Foreign Ministry, funded by some commercial Austrian organizations, produced a documentary of its own: Beyond the Sound of Music - A Look at Modern Day Austria. Instead of the all-too-familiar Lippizzaner horses and the Vienna Boys Choir, this film documents President Reagan talking about Austria's neutrality and President Kirchschlager commenting on anti-Semitism and the current middle-European economic situation.
''Beyond the Sound of Music'' will be aired nationwide on cable network SPN (Satellite Programme Network) at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2. In New York it will also be shown on Manhattan Cable TV in the week of May 7-13. (Check local cable systems for individual airing schedules.)