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Posts Tagged ‘PBS’

‘No Better Place’ for Midge Woolsey, Ending WQXR Career After Two Decades

Avid listeners to Classical station WQXR don’t need a formal introduction to Midge Woolsey. She started as a weekend host under The New York Times ownership. Later, she moved to weeknights, and since 2009 Woolsey has been on the middays.

That is all about to end.

After 20 years, Woolsey is singing a Brahms lullaby, as she holds fort on her final broadcast Thursday.

“Anyone would consider it an honor to be a part of what’s gone on, and what is going on at WQXR,” Woolsey tells FishbowlNY. “I can’t think of a better place to be doing the job that I’ve been doing. There is no better place.”

For the veteran broadcaster, she’ll miss everything attached to ‘QXR.

“It’s the whole package. It’s the connection that we make everyday with the listeners,” Woolsey says.

Those loyal fans have been writing well wishes to Woolsey on their Web site. Perhaps from the strong bond that classical music aficionadoes have with their station, many comments were equally passionate about the longtime host.

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WNET Looks Back at 70s for Second Installment of Pioneers of Thirteen

Don’t put away your bell bottoms just yet!

The calendar has turned to another year, but the 50th anniversary celebration continues hasn’t ended at PBS’ Channel 13. In the second installment of the Pioneers of Thirteen, the 1970s are recalled in detail.

Three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep narrates The ’70s – Bold and Fearless, which takes viewers into an exploration of Thirteen’s second decade on air. It was an era in public television that was defined through creative experimentation. Streep had a connection with PBS before hitting it big in movies (Oscar winner in 1979 for Kramer vs. Kramer). Look for her shining in Wendy Wasserstein‘s first play Uncommon Women and Others from 1978.

Perhaps most important to the 1970s was the political scandal by which all others would be measured going forward–Watergate.

The gavel-to-gavel coverage on WNET in 1973 brought newsmen Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer together. It was the precursor for their long-running nightly newscast.

Channel 13 also helped promote the budding career of actor Morgan Freeman (The Electric Company).

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Giants of Broadcasting Celebrates 10th Anniversary

The Library of American Broadcasting is marking its 10th year of immortalizing industry greats. The 2012 edition of the Giants of Broadcasting include two career radio executives, pioneering television newsmen, a man who made a weekly commentary “must see TV,” and a man who helped launched the 24-hour news cycle.

That man is Ted Turner. He turned an upstart CNN into a worldwide cable news powerhouse. Within six years, CNN was in the black. There were the Atlanta Braves, eventually broadcast on his new station TBS. Turner also added the Atlanta Hawks to his prospectus.

Turner, who spoke briefly in his acceptance speech, talked about his proudest moment professionally in 1990 as the Gulf War began.

“I took a nap. When I woke up, I knew the war was coming, and I knew we had our people there. I turned on the television and clicked it over to NBC and there was Tom Brokaw talking. I switched over to CBS and there was Dan Rather talking in the studio. I switched it over to ABC and there was Peter Jennings talking in the studio,” Turner boasts. “Then I flashed it over to CNN, and there was the war. As a journalist, as a television news person, wasn’t that the greatest scoop of all time?”

Another major TV executive was recognized for his body of work. Sir Howard Stringer (above) had a 30-year association with CBS. The Wales-born Stringer, after earning his B.A. and M.A. degrees at the prestigious Oxford University, arrived in New York. His first job at the Tiffany Network was an entry level clerk logging commercial times at WCBS-TV/Channel 2.

Stringer is chairman of the board at Sony Corporation. FishbowlNY spoke to Stringer at the Giants of Broadcasting event. Watch the video clip after the jump.

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Thirteen Takes Stroll Down Memory Lane for 50th Anniversary

FishbowlNY readers are well aware that Channel 13 is celebrating the Big 5-0. And if we’re running a series a pieces dedicated to the major achievement, you can be sure that Thirteen has some unique plans.

Tonight, New York’s first public TV station begins anniversary celebration with a special four-part series, Pioneers of Thirteen. The first episode: The 60s–Expermental Days, dust off the WNET archival footage for memorable moments in station, if not television, history.

Interspersed are interviews with early Channel 13 staffers and managers, including the WNDT (13′s original call letters) founding general manager Richard Heffner.

But the show comes alive with the vintage clips, some not seen they aired decades ago. In the precursor to Great Performances, viewers will be treated to a young but talented Dustin Hoffman performing Journey of the Fifth Horse. It was 1966, a year before Hoffman breakout role in The Graduate.

Other were already established, such as A Conversation with Muhammad Ali, featuring, of course, “The Greatest.”

Jazz Casual has clips of Blues great, B.B. King and Mel Torme, while Aaron Copland is featured on Music in the 20s.

That only scratches the surface to the decade and in turn the one-hour program.

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Reflections of TV Pioneer Joan Ganz Cooney as WNET Prepares for 50th Anniversary

Joan Ganz Cooney may not be a household name. But Joan Ganz Cooney revolutionized viewing habits from toddlers to teens. Cooney is co-founder of the Children’s Television Workshop, a mainstay on Channel 13 since its launch in 1969. It is a perfect inclusion to FishbowlNY’s special series of interviews and posts dedicated to WNET’s 50th anniversary.

The CTW was producing programming solely for public television. Like national syndication today, it was made available for public TV stations across the country. The first show that Cooney and her CTW employees created was Sesame Street.

While each station made the decision when to air Sesame Street, Cooney had strong views for the start time.

“I didn’t want it in competition with Captain Kangaroo [8 a.m. on CBS], the only other quality children’s show at the time,” Cooney says.

To avoid the “Captain’s wrath,” CTW was encouraging PBS stations to air Sesame Street at either 7 a.m. or 9 a.m.

WNDT, (the original call letters of WNET), was not as accommodating. In a rarely remembered tibdit, Sesame Street actually had its debut on WPIX/Channel 11.

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(Video) Neal Shapiro, WNET President and CEO, Reflects on Thirteen’s Fiftieth

When the independent station taking up space at Channel 13 became a non-commercial station, history was made. It was September 16, 1962. CBS News icon Edward R. Murrow introduced new WNDT (New Dimensions in Television), thus unveiling New York City’s first educational TV station. (Watch the video clip below)

Murrow opened the initial telecast saying, “Tonight, you join me on a great adventure… This instrument can teach, it can illuminate, yes, and it can even inspire, but it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends.”

So it is only fitting that FishbowlNY honors the remarkable achievement with a series of articles commemorating the 50th anniversary of Channel 13.

FishbowlNY recently sat down with WNET president and CEO, Neal Shapiro.

While searching for clips to use in an anniversary documentary/retrospective, Shapiro says Channel 13, which became WNET in 1970, felt like more like a museum, unearthing station artifacts.

“Fifty years ago, the station was just starting and having to reinvent everything,” Shapiro tells FishbowlNY. “Fifty years later, we’re still doing some of that because in the process of discovering our history in turns out things were stored sort of haphazardly. The mediums are different…much of it uncatalogued.”

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Robert Kotlowitz, WNET’s First VP of Programming, Dies at 87

Channel 13 is making preparations for a huge celebration next month, marking the 50th anniversary of the New York City public television station. But today the station pauses to remember Robert Kotlowitz, an early executive at WNET.

Kotlowitz died over the weekend at his Manhattan home, a WNET spokeswoman confirms to FishbowlNY. He was 87.

As WNET was beginning its second decade as an educational force, Kotlowitz was exiting his role as managing editor at Harper’s Magazine. In 1971, he was named the station’s first vice president of programming and broadcasting.

Kotlowitz was instrumental in launching several PBS shows, among them the MacNeil-Lehrer Report, which he got the idea for after they hosted the Watergate hearings on PBS. They debuted nationally in 1975. More recently, the broadcast has been retitled PBS Newshour.

In 1981, while WNET struggled financially,  it was Kotlowitz’s idea to invest $500,000 in a British series. Brideshead Revisted would become one of television’s most successful shows in history, The New York Times writes. In 2000, the serial placed 10th on a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programs. In 2000, Time magazine recognized Brideshead as one of the 100 Best TV Shows of All Time.

Kotlowitz, interviewed in April for WNET’s 50th anniversary, was still unsure why he joined WNET.

“I ask myself [that] over and over again, even at this late point in my life,” Kotlowitz said.

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Fred Willard Fired by PBS for Doing Dirty Old Man Things (Allegedly)

PBS doesn’t believe in Matthew’s theory that you only live once (YOLO).

The network fired Fred Willard on Thursday as a narrator following his arrest at an adult theater where he was busted for committing a lewd act.

“Given the unfortunate news reported today, effective immediately, Fred Willard no longer will be involved with the Market Warriors series,” PBS said in a statement.

Willard’s camp fired back, denying that the 72-year-old was doing anything inappropriate.

“With all due respect to the individual officer, our belief is that Fred did nothing in any violation of any law,” Willard’s lawyer, Paul Takakjian, told TMZ.com.

Andy Rooney, Don Cornelius, Among 2012 Giants of Broadcasting

An eclectic group of TV and radio pioneers has been selected as Giants of Broadcasting. This year’s class includes the late Don Cornelius, who was the revolutionary Soul Train host from 1971 to 1993.

  • The man who gave Archie Bunker life, Norman Lear , is among the 2012 group. The producer-extraordinaire, Lear was behind some of television’s most endearing sitcoms, including All in the Family, Maude, Sanford and SonGood Times, and One Day at a Time. Lear, who turns 90 on July 27, has won four Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award.
  • Ted Turner brought the idea of 24-hour news to people’s homes, and CNN was born in 1980.  The mogul also founded TNT (Turner Network Television) and TCM (Turner Classic Movies). He was named Time‘s Man of Year for 1991.
  • Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer were the longtime PBS nightly news anchors. They were first to anchor a one-hour newscast in the U.S. and made of career at that rare feat. The MacNeil/Lehrer Report debuted in 1975. Eight years later, the tandem was expanded to 60 minutes. MacNeil, who earlier in his career worked for NBC News, retired in 1995.

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PBS, USA Today, Newsweek, WSJ Get Pinterest Users Pinning

Pinterest drives traffic, so news organizations would be smart to try and take advantage of that. By one set of metrics, PBS, USA Today, Newsweek/The Daily Beast and The Wall Street Journal are all doing fairly well. Poynter analyzed a collection of 13 media entities using Pinterest, including The Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, The Washington Post and more, and found that PBS leads the pack when considering “repins.”

For every pin PBS posts, it is repinned six times. Following PBS is USA Today (4.4 repins per pin), Newsweek/The Daily Beast (4.3) and the Journal (4.2).

The New York Times wasn’t counted in the study because the paper isn’t on Pinterest yet. There is a Times Pinterest account, but all that is there is a post proclaiming that it is “starting in June 2012.”

Better hurry.

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