Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of Fred Rogers’ historic and legendary appearance before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Communications to challenge proposed cuts for public broadcasting. If you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself. If you have seen it, please take a few minutes to renew your connection to this amazing man and what may possibly be the only real and valuable moment on Capitol Hill in the past five decades.
Found this little badge in the breakroom a while back. My guess is, if you’ve volunteered for UNC-TV during an on-air fundraiser, you may have received one of these or something like it. We always appreciate our volunteers and try to let them know it whenever we can.
This week, we take another gaze into the deep past of UNC-TV – way back when it was just one channel based on the UNC campus. What you see below is the original remote truck out back at Swain Hall in Chapel Hill. The crew appears to be setting up equipment for a live broadcast. Honestly, I’m not sure what’s going on (we do things a little differently today, as you might well imagine). It appears to be from the 1950s, perhaps early 1960s. Regardless, this is a fascinating look into the beginnings of the statewide public broadcasting network you know and love today.
When we are pledging live during our Spring Fundraiser, the studio is a buzz with activity. But when the day is done and the breaks are over, the staff and volunteers all go home and the lights are dimmed. All that’s left is an empty studio.
What do you find on the shelves of a PBS nerd? Well, I can’t speak for everyone but if you check out my bookshelf you will spy a few DVDs with familiar titles.
You might think someone who works for public broadcasting would not want to take his work home with him but you have to understand that I work in television because I love television. And many shows I’ve watched on UNC-TV over the years continue to rank among my favorites.
Public television viewers are well familiar with that regular occurrence, the on-air fundraiser. For years, the pledge drive has been a staple of the PBS revenue stream – that time of year when we come to viewers like you and ask for support. Often parodied, sometimes mocked, the fund drive is a necessary scheme to achieve our goals. However, what you see on your screen is only the tip of the iceberg. Hours of production, scheduling, meetings, planning – all of this goes into the final product. The station is often abuzz with excess activity during these pledge periods with talent and volunteers and special guests moving through our halls and into our studios. But behind the scenes … ah, that’s where much of the magic happens.
Here’s a shot of a white board used to plan an evening of on-air fundraising. What it all means, I can’t possibly say. But I guarantee that every scribble and every abbreviation means something to someone making pledge happen.
Longtime viewers of public television know the name of Bill Moyers. For decades, Bill Moyers brought thoughtful, insightful, meaningful programming to the airwaves. A quick look at our programming database shows 29 series or specials with Bill Moyers in the title (and I’m sure there are plenty of others he hosted or presented which did not bear his name).
Among the archive I discovered some time back, there was a folder of Bill Moyers publicity photos used to promote his many series. Here are a few showcasing some of the veteran journalist’s shows. Continue reading