Zvi Richard Dor-Ner, 75, Executive Producer

From WGBH QuickNooz

The WGBH community mourns with sadness the passing of Zvi Dor-Ner, former WGBH Exec Producer. Zvi died yesterday morning at age 75. He had been doing what he loved—skippering his beloved boat around the world—when in late January he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Photo of Zvi Dor-Ner and Pesya Altman from their sailing blog, http://www.sailblogs.com/member/meanderingnina/

Zvi began his distinguished career in 1966 as a WGBH news cameraman. He returned in 1979 after working in television in his native Israel and honing his journalistic skill as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Before his 2009 departure from WGBH, Zvi executive-produced such milestone productions as the duPont-Columbia Award-winning series ARABS AND ISRAELIS; the International Emmy and George Foster Peabody Award-winning PEOPLE’S CENTURY; COLUMBUS AND THE AGE OF DISCOVERY, which doubled the average PBS prime-time audience with its premiere and for which he authored the series companion book; WAR AND PEACE IN THE NUCLEAR AGE; APOLLO 13: TO THE EDGE AND BACK; the Emmy Award-winning business series ENTERPRISE; and more than a dozen films for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, FRONTLINE, and NOVA.

“Zvi’s impressive portfolio includes some of WGBH’s proudest moments and reflects his wide-ranging curiosity and intellect,” says WGBH Vice Chair and former President Henry Becton. “He was a master storyteller, and masterful at choreographing the complex international production partnerships that enabled such sweep and range.”

“Zvi was WGBH’s own Columbus,” recalls former VP for National Programming Peter McGhee. “He was resourceful, daring, and creative…a generous and loving man and loyal friend. His body of work is an enduring monument to and measure of the man.”

A service in Zvi’s memory will take place Tues, 4/11, 12 noon at Mount Auburn Cemetery’s Story Chapel. Rest in peace.

From the Nieman Foundation

Zvi Dor-Ner, a longtime WGBH executive producer and NF ’77, died April 6 at his home in Brookline, Massachusetts from pancreatic cancer. He was 75.

Dor-Ner spent 30 years at WGBH, Boston’s PBS affiliate, starting as a cameraman and going on to produce several award-winning series and historical documentaries. He worked on celebrated programs such as “Apollo 13: To the Edge and Back,” “People’s Centruy,” “Columbus and the Age of Discovery,” “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age,” and “Arabs and Israelis,” along with more than a dozen films for “Nova,” “Frontline,” and “American Experience.” Throughout his career, Dor-Ner and the programs he produced won awards including a duPont-Columbia award and multiple Emmys and George Foster Peabody awards.

Born in Poland shortly before the Germans took the city in 1941, Dor-Ner and his mother escaped to Israel; his father and most of his immediate family members were killed by the Nazis. After serving in the Israeli army, Dor-Ner began his career in 1966 as a news cameraman at WGBH while earning a degree in communications at Boston University. Following his graduation, he returned to Israel to work as a camera operator, producer, and director for various entertainment and documentary programs for several years. After his Nieman Fellowship in 1976-77, he rejoined WGBH and stayed there until his retirement in 2009.

Preceded in death by his wife Alexandra Dane, who died in 1991, Dor-Ner is survived by his girlfriend, three daughters, and four grandsons.

The captain and his boat nina on January 15, afternoon, in Shelter Bay Marina, Panama. By Pesya Altman.

From ObitTree

Zvi Richard Dor-Ner, 75, died Thursday, April 6, 2017, at his home in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Zvi was born on July 13, 1941 in Lvov, Poland just weeks before the Germans took the city. His father Nathan and most of his immediate family were killed by the Nazis. Zvi and his mother Joanna (nee Berl) escaped to Israel where Zvi attended school, served in the army and began his career as a cameraman for Israeli television.

Zvi was a journalist and an exceptional story-teller. After graduating from Boston University and spending a year as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, Zvi spent 30 years as an executive producer for WGBH, the Boston PBS affiliate. The historical documentaries he produced won many awards including a duPont-Columbia award, as well as multiple Emmys and George Foster Peabody awards. Zvi chose topics that were fascinating, complicated and often controversial. He transformed them into vivid and compelling stories– he had a natural gift for narrative which he honed, over decades, into a science.

Zvi loved sailing. He built his first boat at the age 12 and launched it from the beach in Bat Yam. As an adult he captained his ketch ‘Nina’ across the Atlantic several times exploring the Northeast, Caribbean and Mediterranean. He made a thorough study of dockside fish restaurants, maritime museums, cockpit sunsets and cold-water swims. Every year after his retirement in 2009, his friends looked forward to a letter from the ‘Meandering Navigator’ that would describe his anticipated four month itinerary and invite them along for two weeks at a time.

Even at home, he was everybody’s port in a storm. His guest room and kitchen were almost always inhabited by the recently heartbroken, the newly arrived, or the otherwise lost. He offered warmth and optimism but also clear-eyed perspective to all of them.

Zvi was married for 23 years to Alexandra Dane. Together they traveled all over the world, lived in Boston and Paris and Jerusalem and had two daughters: Daphne and Tamar. When Ali died in 1991, Zvi raised his 12 and 13 year old daughters alone. In 1997, Zvi had his third daughter, Anna, with his then-partner Win Lenihan. From the beginning, Tamar, Daphne and Anna have enjoyed and adored each other.

Zvi was an exceptional and unusual father. He had high expectations when it came to academics but never missed a chance to take his daughters out of school to travel the world. He cultivated their skepticism and their independence – even when it came at the expense of their alignment to his point of view.

As a father of three daughters, Zvi was delighted by his four grandsons and they were delighted by him.

He is missed by friends all over the world, in Israel, Poland, Paris, Portugal, London and beyond. In addition to his three daughters, he is survived by his four grandsons, Henry, Felix, Gideon, and Abe, and his girlfriend Pesya Altman.

A service for Zvi will be held at noon on Tuesday, April 11th at the Story Chapel in Mount Auburn Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Nieman Foundation (to promote and elevate the standards of journalism, nieman.harvard.edu) or to Etgarim (empowerment and social integration of people with disabilities, etgarim.org).

From Hanna Golebiewska

Hanna Golebiewska sailed with Zvi between 2011 and 2014.

Since Zvi paid a lot of attention to historical facts, I would like to correct some points mentioned in the obituary:

Zvi was actually born two weeks before German troops took Lvov. His mother did not have a chance to escape to Israel as Israel did not exist yet. It was by chance that he was born in Lvov; they were actually living in Lublin at the time.

His father, with a “Jewish” appearance, had to hide in surrounding villages while his blond-haired mother was working as a nurse in Lublin hospital having little dyed-hair Rysio (Zvi’s given name) with her. His father and an uncle were taken by Germans and later shot in Lublin Castle.

Just before withdrawing in 1944, the Nazis massacred its remaining 300 prisoners and Zvi’s father and uncle were among them. It was a very important fact for Zvi. The names of the father and uncle were put on a monument in Lublin just recently and Zvi was planning to go there in July to participate in an anniversary of the massacre.

After the father had been arrested Joanna escaped from Lublin and, after long voyages, was hidden with little Rysio by a Polish railwayman in Lowicz where they stayed until the end of the war under a fake name Bialozorski.

They lived in Cracow after the war and went to Israel in 1949 where Rysio was placed in a boarding school while his mother went to live in Paris, and this influenced his future emotional life. In Israel, Rysio Dorner (Bialozorski at that time) became Zvi Richard Dor-Ner.

I met Richard when he was already retired and wanted to spend more time sailing; he always had discoverers in mind. Richard, who had sailed all his life, bought his current boat in 1993. With American flag S.V. NINA, he sailed extensively on the US east coast and with which he has crossed the Atlantic in 2000. Since then he criss-crossed the Mediterranean from West to East and from North to South, often more then once. I belonged to that part of his life. We crossed on the Nina East to West in 2013.

This is what Zvi wrote about himself on his sailing profile:

I have sailed since childhood. When I did not sail, I was a TV producer of documentaries on historical subjects. I have done it for many years and as a result know something about documentaries and history. I have published two books: one about Columbus and the age of Discovery and one an Emergency Action Guide for Sail and Motor Yachts. This in addition to more then 300 documentaries. I am qualified as Yachtmaster offshore by RYA and have a 100-ton license from the USCG. I crossed the Atlantic back and forth. I sailed extensively in Europe and the Mediterranean. Now I sail in the Caribbean and central America.

We cruise for several months every year. The boat is left in a different port when I don’t sail then I pick it up with a crew of friends and sail for 5-6 months. While I stay on board all the time, most of the crew changes every 3-4 weeks. I like to have a crew that knows sailing and something else very well. For each segment I like to assemble a crew of 2 or 3 that is diverse and interesting with a mix of talents, skills, knowledge and experience. Most of the times it works extremely well.”

Richard’s wrote this after crossing the Atlantic in 2013 (12/27/2013):

Today, in the morning, Nina entered the “Galleon Passage” between Trinidad and Tobago. It is only thirty miles wide, but we see neither of the two islands. It is disappointing to pass, what is an important marker on our trip without seeing it. One way or another, on the basis of GPS the Atlantic Crossing is over. It did not change, the Atlantic. It is still just the same as it has been for the last few days, gray, overcast, with occasional rain and, as we still sail with wind and swell just astern, very very rolling. We have another seventy miles before we drop anchor or dock.

This is the fifteen and last day of our passage. For a cruising boat our size it was a very fast transit indeed, all of it under sail. In fact, for the whole trip we have been flying just one sail, our large 140 percent Genua. It is rigged with its working sheet lead through a snatch block attached to the end of the main boom which is extended, with a boom vang, to all the way out to port or starboard depending if the trade are blowing from slightly North or slightly South of East.

The only sailing maneuver we carried out was to jibe occasionally and furl and unfurl the sail frequently, almost akin to changing gears while driving.
We have been lucky with trade winds. A very high pressure era above Bermuda and the Azores provided those. We seldom had wind of less then twenty knots, frequently for days and nights at a time, we where powered by 35 knots of wind.

Our speed log registered speeds it has never seen before, of 10, 12 and 13 knots as we surfed down 16-foot waves. This was a blessing, but there was also a punishment. The strong winds produced a huge massy swell coupled with another distinctive wave train from slightly different direction combining in a distracting, disorganized, yet powerful sea that hived and shook us in many uncomfortable ways.

The swell rolled Nina terribly, often from gunwale to gunwale, in the first days inducing semi-seasickness and limiting all of us to only the most basic and necessary actions. Eventually it became just a nuisance requiring a lot of energy and planing for the simplest action, making a sandwich for example.

Sixty feet up from the deck, the top of the mast will move violently through such rolls, inscribing a very large arc. Frequently this would force the air out of the sail which will then snap violently as it refills with wind on its swings back to the other side. The sound of this routine was like a gun shot and as wrenching. You kind of know that the sail can’t take this kind of punishment forever, sometime it will have to give in and tear itself to shreds, or destroy its fittings…It did not do that, but the possibility was constantly on my mind and it was it scary…

We had equipment failure on small and large scale. Often, I was able to deal with problems then and there, while other remain waiting. The Genset, which creates electricity to charge batteries and toys, died on the second day. A sunny, happy Spanish mechanic fixed the atomizer of its little diesel just before departure; he changed the two bolts holding the injector down and one of those tore. We had to charge batteries by running the main engine two hours a day and face the fact that this was our only way to generate electricity.

Our automatic pilot worked great in the worst conditions but gave up eventually, now we mostly have to stear manually. Steering manually in a following wind and great swell requires a total concentration and doing it for six hours a day is just tough.

However it sounds, none of it was grim, it was not even hard, even if often tiring. We had great time. For me there was the added tension of being in charge, and having, presumably, have answers to every contingency. I did not, and often there are no good answer beside endurance.

Now it is all over, the Atlantic is smaller. The experience of dealing with it in such an intensive way will sink in eventually and be digested on another level than the nuts and bolts, both actual and figurative.

Fred Barzyk’s Snapshots: Scene 6 – The Waiting Room

This entry is part 21 of 22 in the series The Fred Barzyk Collection

barzykThis is the sixth in a series of reminiscences by Fred Barzyk, longtime WGBH producer and director. Watch The Waiting Room, below.

Ah, yes … The Waiting Room. This was my last TV drama production. After almost 60 years of trying to create situations where I could direct dramas, it finally comes to an end. This half-hour show was the only way for me to say “goodbye” to all my actors.

I love actors. I love how they are willing to give of themselves, to be vulnerable to critics, to wrap themselves in personas not their own, and how they love what they do.

It has always been my style to support their work. My job as a director was to protect them from outside noise, let them practice their craft surrounded by people who appreciate what they are doing. I, as the director, would always stand next to the camera and act as their “audience.” I would stifle a laugh when they said a funny line, or get depressed when things were going wrong for the character. I hoped this helped. I tried my best.

The Waiting Room is the most personal drama I have ever done. It came to me in the middle of the night, the whole thing just popped into my head. I got up from bed and wrote the script at 2:00 in the morning. It’s probably why the whole story is a little murky.

With that murky premise, I think I have to give you a little back-story so you can maybe understand the motivations behind the script.

I was this kid on the South Side of Milwaukee, growing up in a blue-collar neighborhood. I was an only child, spoiled rotten. My Dad worked at International Harvester. He worked there for 50 years and was proud of it. He was also proud that he graduated from High School. He was devoted to doing crossword puzzles. His mother had died of Spanish influenza. He and his sister were placed in an orphanage for several years. His father remarried and they joined Grandma Barzyk in her little grocery store.

My Mom ran away from home when she was 13. Her mother died young, her father remarried and soon there were 4 other girls. She never got over the loss of her mother or the entrance of so many other girls in the family! So she ran away in the middle of the night, boarded a train in Clinton, Indiana, and went to an aunt who lived in Milwaukee. Soon she was a “live-in” nanny at a Jewish family’s big house on the East side of Milwaukee. She lied to the family that she was 16; not her real age of 14. That lasted a few years until the boys got measles and she had to leave.

She ended up as a nurse’s aide at Milwaukee Children’s Hospital, feeding kids in the contagious disease ward. During WW2 she worked the night shift at a factory making artillery shells. I can still remember her smelling of copper filings and oil. But her longest job was a sales clerk at Gimbel’s Department Store, downtown Milwaukee. She worked in the men’s dept. but she liked to say she worked in men’s underwear.

My appreciation for the aesthetic seemed to develop around the age of 6. We were renters, the bottom floor of a two-family house. We had concrete walkways to the front porch and alongside the house to the back porch. From the sidewalk you would have to climb up 2 concrete steps. Each of them (like all the others in the neighborhood) were neat, with sharp corners. For some reason, I thought they would look better if they were rounded. So I got a hammer from the basement and attempted to round them off. It wasn’t pretty. My Mom said I had gone too far. The landlord never complained. I went back to see the house a few years ago and the ragged corners are still there.

And then there was my piano playing. For some reason, I thought I could be this great piano player. Hell, my Mom’s cousin had the most popular swing band in Milwaukee. My aunt Frances was a friend with a famous Milwaukee Pianist: Liberace. So I took lessons. I was really bad. Very bad. My father kept saying it must be the teacher so I kept going to other piano teachers.

One time, as I was waiting for my lesson to begin, I heard this kid in one of the rooms reciting a monologue. I wanted to do that instead, and so I began elocution lessons. I even ended up in a play a “walk-on” role with no lines at age 10. But the real moment of truth happened at one of those horrible piano recitals. We kids would sit in the back room, all-nervous, dressed to the nines. And then I realized that if I made some goofy sound I would break the tension. So I did.

Did it ever break the tension. They started to giggle, trying to hold back. I did it again and again, till I had them laughing out loud. This was it. This is what I wanted to do. Entertain a crowd. The teacher came in and yelled at us. She pointed at me and said “Freddy Barzyk, you cut that nonsense out. You are going just too far, do you understand?” Boy, did I ever.

I went to Marquette University in Milwaukee because that is what my parents could afford. I lived at home and the tuition was only $250 per semester. I thought maybe I would be a sports announcer. Soon as I took my first acting class, I was hooked. I realized I wanted to be a stage director.

I mean so many things were happening in the theater. Guthrie had established his regional theater in Minnesota, and then other regional theater started popping up all over the country.

Then there were the plays! My Fair Lady, Long Days Journey into Night, West Side Story … all on Broadway. Off Broadway was happening too. European playwrights were being celebrated: Bertolt Brecht’s “Three Penny Opera,” Eugene Ionesco’s “Bald Soprano,” Luigi Pirandello’s “6 Characters in Search of an Author.”

The theater was happening. And I wanted to be a part of it.

I planned to go to Yale Drama School. The problem was that I had no money. A dear friend of mine insisted that I apply for a scholarship to Boston University for a master’s degree in Communication. The deal was you had to work 3 days a week at a little educational TV station, WGBH. I got in. BU was disappointing. Channel 2 was great. I spent all my time there.

After the scholar year was over, my boss, Greg Harney, offered me a 3-month directing gig to cover for one of the full- timer directors who went off to Saudi Arabia on a special assignment. That happened two more times. Greg knew I still wanted to go to Yale Drama School. He had another plan for me.

I found myself back in Milwaukee, trying to figure out how to raise monies for Yale. I would take strange little jobs. One day, I was working at a Polish Newspaper, “The Novini Polski.” I would do cold calls. I would take the big newspaper in town, use their “Apartments for Rent” section and then pitch the owners to place an ad in “The Polski.” You know, these Polaks are reliable, clean, and would pay their rent on time.

Suddenly the boss yells out to me, “You got a phone call.” Who the hell could have found me here? My mother must have given them the phone number. I was shocked. It was Greg Harney.

“Ok, Fred, this is it. I am offering you a full-time TV director job. $85 a week … but no more talk of Yale and the theater. You have to commit.”

And then it happened.

I paused, looked back at the room full of callers trying to convince people to put an ad in a Polish newspaper, and finally said … “Ok, but you have to let me do a TV drama on my vacation. I would need 4 days in the studio.”

Pause on the other end.

Had I gone too far once again?

Finally … “Ok.”

I was now a TV director who would be allowed to do dramas. It turned out to be the best of both worlds. I had not gone too far.

First thing I did was go to every community theater production I could squeeze in, constantly looking for actors who would volunteer for my plays. My volunteer assistant was Sally Dennison who went on to cast Antonini’s “Zabriski Point.” She also helped cast “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” I now had an actors group of 20 people.

I was given $10 for the rights to a play I selected, “Five Days.” I had use of the art department, scenic, and TV crew. All props, costumes, any out-of-pocket costs would have to been picked up by me. It worked. Elliot Norton, famed Boston theater critic, agreed to introduce the play. It was a Brechtian anti-war play, done “live on videotape” with black and white cameras. The management liked it. I was given permission to do another.

There was a teacher at MIT who was an aspiring playwright. I took his play and paired it with a French farce and called the show “2 for Laughs.” (WGBH is on Channel 2). Pete Gurney was the playwrights name. Pete has gone on to have a very successful career in the theater. He is now known as A.R. Gurney, author of “Love Letters,” one of the most often performed contemporary plays across America. His TV play was lost in a fire that destroyed WGBH back in 1961. As luck would have it my first TV play survived and is now in the WGBH Archives.

In the new WGBH building, I did an outrageous play called “The Pit.” This time WGBH picked up all the costs. “The Pit” was a surreal play featuring a little girl who has fallen into a pit and an older man, a Good Samaritan, who tries to get her out. Of course, he never does and is finally hauled off to prison as a “subversive.” It didn’t have a lot of good reviews. Except for the one that really mattered. Kurt Vonnegut saw it and laughed.

My dear friend, David Loxton, who worked at WNET, New York’s Public TV station, suggested we approach Vonnegut and see if we could do an original TV movie based on his work. For some reason, he agreed!

It was called “Between Time and Timbuktu.” This time I hired real pro actors but filled out the rest of the bit parts with my coterie of local actors. This was it! The beginning of my long career working with actors.

Here are some of the names I have been fortunate to work with:

  • Lily Tomlin
  • Dan Ackroyd (Collisions)
  • Gilda Radner (Collisions)
  • Jane Alexander (Letters of Calamity Jane for CBS Cable)
  • Matt Dillon (Great American 4th of July & Other Disasters for PBS)
  • Christian Slater (Secrets for Hearst Network)
  • Barbara Feldon (Secrets; she was Agent 99 on Get Smart)
  • Christopher Reeve (Last Ferry Home for Hearst)
  • Ashley Judd (Ryan Interview by Arthur Miller for Kentucky Public TV)
  • Eddie Bracken (Ryan Interview; stage actor and movie star 1940’s)
  • Bob and Ray (Between Time and Timbuktu for PBS, + Double Channel show)
  • Kevin McCarthy (Between Time and Timbuktu for PBS)
  • Bruce Davison (Lathe of Heaven for PBS)
  • Kevin Conway (Lathe of Heaven)
  • Morgan Freeman (Charlie Smith; started on Sesame street, became a huge Hollywood movie star)
  • John Amos (Listen Up for PBS)
  • William Conrad (Great Whodunit!; star of Gunsmoke)
  • Gene Barry (Great Whodunit!; radio, TV stage star, was great in the musical La Cage aux Folles)
  • Tammy Grimes (“She wanted to me to be her “director” …nope)
  • Geraldine Fitzgerald (Great Whodunit!)
  • Tyne Daly (No Room for Opal for Hearst Network; one of the few actors who had trouble with me as director)
  • Claire Dane (Opal; has become a movie/TV star)
  • Theresa Wright (featured in a lot of movies, worked with Alfred Hitchcock)
  • Ben Vereen (song and dance actor; was in Jenny’s Song for Westinghouse Network)
  • Jean Stapleton (Tender Places; famous for Edith in All in the Family TV series)
  • Jerry O’Connell (Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss; fresh off film Stand By Me, now in several TV series and movies)
  • Rosie Perez (Poof! for PBS; made splash in Spike Lee’s first movie)
  • Ed Asner (Listen Up; lead in The Mary Tyler Moore TV series)
  • Richard Kiley (Madhouser; star of Broadway musical, Man of La Mancha)
  • John Goodman (Flashback for HBO; gone on to be Hollywood movie star)
  • John Houseman (Cable Arts, in many films, worked with Orson Wells)
  • James Wood (Andrew Silver drama, went to Hollywood and did well)
  • ,Jane Curtin (Pretzels for HBO, original SNL cast )

And now, here in Chelmsford, I returned to my roots. I found great volunteer actors, had the latest video equipment and a dedicated volunteer crew, which allowed me to continue this long love affair I have with actors and my little dramas.

We raised the money for this production by the use of Kickstarter, an Internet fundraiser. We raised over $4,000 to support this production.

Well, we did it. Former WGBH professionals who also volunteered their time and talent joined my trusty group of Chelmsford Volunteers, some in their 70s: Bill Charette, John Osborne, Bob Burns, Debbie Dorsey, and Marcia Hully. God Bless them all.

In many ways, this little movie was a final tribute to the many actors who graced my pictures with their amazing talents. It’s still hard to believe that a kid from Milwaukee actually worked with all these wonderful actors. I must have died and gone to Heaven.

Jim Kaup, 71, scenic carpenter

jim-kaupJames Albert Kaup of Watertown, 71, with grace and courage, died at home on January 25 after a long illness.

Son of the late James A. Kaup and Ruth Connolly Kaup, he is survived by his wife, Deborah Myerson Kaup of Watertown, his sister, Susan Kaup Kelley and his nephews, Andrew, Matthew, and Daniel Kelley.

Jim was quiet and unassuming, unless he felt called upon to make a stand on a principle. An autodidact with a vast knowledge of many subjects, he listened more that he spoke. His sense of humor endured to the very end. Some people thought Jim “could do anything.”

From the mid 1970s until 2006 Jim was a scenic carpenter at WGBH, a job that utilized his many talents. As president of AEEF, the in house union, he negotiated for fairness and safety.

In his youth he was involved with Club 47, a folk club in Harvard Square. Later he designed posters for the local concerts. While taking courses at Boston Architectural Center he interned at The Architects Collaborative.

A celebration of his life will take place in the spring. Donations in his name may be made to Good Shepherd Community Care or the charity of one’s choice.

  • Published in The Boston Globe from Feb. 2 to Feb. 7, 2016. Source

From Chas Norton

A celebration of Jim’s life will take place on April 30, 2016, at 9:30 am at Story Chapel, Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge.

Seven thousand video tapes transferred to digital

From WGBH Archives — July 2014

On March 11, 2013, WGBH Media Library and Archives’ Archives Manager Keith Luf and Digital Archives Manager Michael Muraszko loaded 7,010 tapes from the WGBH vault onto 12 palettes, which were then shipped via an 18-wheeler to be digitized at Crawford Media Services in Atlanta, Georgia for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.

Only a few months later would the WGBH MLA in collaboration with the Library of Congress be selected as the permanent home for the American Archive collection, an initiative to identify, preserve, and make accessible as much as possible the historic record of public media in America.

wgbhaapb-tapes

WGBH’s tapes were stored in 306 archives boxes, totaling 459 linear feet (longer than 1 1/2 football fields!) and comprising more than 6,400 hours of content. In many cases, the archives staff knew only the program title of the tapes — they often knew nothing about the recorded participants.

The content dated back as early as March of 1947 and was as recent as 2005. The MLA sent material on 15 different video and audio tape formats, the majority of which had exceeded the manufacturer’s intended lifespan. MLA’s Keith Luf compared the situation to a child’s 18 year old cat, which everyone knew wouldn’t — and couldn’t — be around much longer.

In June of 2014, WGBH’s 6,400 hundred hours of content was returned. In addition to the original 7,010 tapes, the content was delivered as digital files on a second copy — on 17 LTO-6 tapes…. stored in one box!

wgbhaapb-lto

And with the digitized material came a new ease of accessibility — the MLA staff have been able to easily watch or listen to the digital files and discover content they never knew had been sitting in the vault for all these years.

Among the new discoveries includes a 1967 10-minute monologue by American historian and activist Howard Zinn on the social unrest of the times; a recorded speech given by JFK in either 1962 or 1963 at the Armory in Boston; and a 1975 video recording of a cello class taught by Harvard professor Mstislav Rostropovich, who during the recording asked a graduate student in his class “What kind of a name is Yo-Yo?”

As additional funding has become available, the MLA has recently coordinated with Crawford on the digitization of 800 more hours of 3/4″ videotapes and 1/4″ audiotapes, which will be shipped out next week.  Who knows what we’ll find next!?

Ben Wattenberg, 81, author and host

From Current.org

Ben Wattenberg, a neoconservative author and host of a nationally syndicated talk show on public television, died June 28 in Washington, D.C. He was 81.

Wattenberg-1170x752

Think Tank With Ben Wattenberg aired from April 1994 through January 2010. Episodes featured historians, anthropologists, political scientists, demographers, economists and social philosophers taking deep dives into single subjects. Notable guests over the years included director Sydney Pollack, entrepreneur Elon Musk, economists Milton Friedman and John Kenneth Galbraith, author Kurt Vonnegut, feminist Betty Friedan and social critic Camille Paglia…

Before Think Tank, Wattenberg also hosted weekly programs produced by WGBH in Boston and WETA in Arlington, Va.

Frank Lane, 74, Cameraman and Studio Engineer

From the Boston Globe

Francis X. Lane of Hyannis, formerly of Norwood, passed away peacefully at home on June 28 at the age of 74.

lane-BWBeloved husband of Nancy E. Lane. Devoted and loving father of his son Ryan C. Lane of Natick and adoring daughter Elizabeth B. Lane of Norwood. Francis was the youngest of eleven children born to the late Thomas M. and Nora (Cunningham) Lane of West Roxbury and the son-in-law of the late Patricia (Brown) Wolley of Norwood and Francis W. Cooney of TN. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Ronnie Lane of Braintree, and many nieces and nephews.

Francis (aka Franny, Frank and Fran) was a cameraman and studio engineer for WGBH TV (Channel 2) for 35 years until his retirement in 2003. He was the former president of NABET-CWA Local 18 and the former treasurer of the Barnstable Newcomers Bowling League. In addition to bowling, he loved the beach and playing cribbage, but his greatest joy came from spending time with his family and many friends.

A funeral service will be held on Friday, July 3 at 11 AM at the Kraw-Kornack Funeral Home (1248 Washington St. in NORWOOD) immediately following a visiting hour at 10 AM. Burial will be at Highland Cemetery in Norwood. The family is especially grateful to his dedicated nurse, Diane Munsell.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to VNA of Cape Cod Hospice, 434 Route 134, S. Dennis, MA 02660.

bordett-lane2

Memories

Elizabeth Lane

My dear father, known as Frank to his ‘GBH family, passed away over the weekend. I always loved hearing his work stories (Zoom, the news, the Pops on the Esplanade, the BSO, The French Chef with Julia Child, This Old House, The Victory Garden…the list goes on), visiting him at the station, watching the Auction in hopes of catching a shot of him behind the camera, his days in Master Control, and his many escapades with his best friend, Greg Macdonald. He retired in 2003 after 35 years. Feel free to share your memories of my father!
Elizabeth Lane’s photo.
June 30 at 11:40am

Bob Manosky

I’m very sorry to hear this. Frank and I worked together on many many WGBH programs. He was a great guy.
June 30 at 11:50am

Ben Mayerson

Frank was such a character. He was a leader, a master of his craft, a Teddy Bear, and just an all around super great guy. To you my friend!!
June 30 at 11:51am

Tonia Magras

My deepest condolences! He was a dear friend and father figure to me. Always with a great big smile and bear hug! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time. I will miss him dearly!
June 30 at 12:16pm

Jack Comeau

I’m so sorry to hear this. There was always something that seemed indestructible about him. At first look he could seem intimidating. I remember thinking, “Who’s this leg breaker?” It took only minutes to discovery his kind, sensitive sense of humor and intelligent. I love working with him on many of the shows that you mentioned above. The world will miss him.
July 1 at 12:17pm

Ilene Fischer

Truly one of a kind. Frank made every shoot that much more fun.
June 30 at 12:20pm

Emily Yacus

Frank was wonderful. I worked with him from 1998-2001 or 02, sitting as an admin assistant behind Master Control. Thanks for sharing these pics of him- I’m smiling and teary at the same time.
June 30 at 12:29pm

Chas Norton

Frank was perhaps one of the brightest persons I ever met; his insightful and trenchant words were always right on.

May he rest in peace!
June 30 at 1:41pm

Dick Heller

Back in the old everybody-does-everything days of the Auction, Frank took over as Director. After a few minutes he handed the headset back to me saying, “I’ll never talk back to you, ever again.” Wonderful guy, always a pleasure to work with.
June 30 at 1:51pm

Cathy Page

Oh no…. I’m so sorry to hear this. Frank was a wonderful guy.
June 30 at 1:56pm

Emily Norman

I’m so sorry for your loss. I loved seeing his friendly face around the hallowed halls of GBH.
June 30 at 2:04pm

Kevin Kalunian

I’m deeply saddened by this news about Frank , but happy that I got to know him on a few rare overnight trips for La Plaza, Say Brother, or other programs that we worked on for The Foundation. He spoke very highly of his colleagues, some who have posted here, and others that left us already for another journey elsewhere. Frank also often mentioned his family while we waited for some event to happen, or while at lunch. He will be missed dearly.
June 30 at 2:14pm

Nancy Walker

I’m so sorry for your loss….Frank was a gentle giant to an 8 year old Zoomer…after College I came back to work with your Father in the field …I was a Production Assistant for Local Programming…what a wonderful person..RIP Frank
June 30 at 2:17pm

Mark Helton

Frank was a true pioneer at Wgbh and the broadcast nation. I learned a lot from both he and Greg. It was a honor to work with your father. Although only a freelancer for gbh all these years, Frank always made me feel welcome at the station and with the union. A pleasure to work with. Peace to Frank, and to his whole family.
June 30 at 2:42pm

Scot Osterweil

Frank was a wonderful guy to work with. On Pops shows he was always Camera 2, the camera at the far back of the hall, getting the widest shots.
June 30 at 2:54pm

Scot Osterweil

In ’85 When Pops played the Lincoln Memorial, camera 2 was at the top of the Washington Monument. But more memorably, he was just a kind, thoughtful person.
June 30 at 2:56pm

John M. Sullivan

So sad to hear this. Frank was warm and wonderful man!
June 30 at 2:59pm

Kathy Gleason

I am so very sorry for you and your family,
June 30 at 3:25pm

Joe Forte

My condolences. Franky was a lot of fun to work with. Sad day.
June 30 at 3:33pm

Mark Helman

I don’t think I’ve ever worked with anybody as well-liked as Frank. My best to you and your family.
June 30 at 3:42pm

Courtnay Malcolm

Frank was one of the first people I met when I started at WGBH in 1991. When I directed the auction Frank and Greg would always play pranks on me and sometimes I would laugh so hard I nearly fell out of my chair. My thoughts are with you and your family.
June 30 at 5:10pm

Maria Agui Carter

Frank was lovely and shot some of the first things I worked on at WGBH. So, so sorry to hear of his passing. Sincere condolences.
June 30 at 6:34pm

Mike Wilkins

We were happy to have Frank at the NABET 18 picnic last fall!
wilkins-lane
June 30 at 6:37pm

Hilary Finkel Buxton

Sending sincere condolences… Frank was always kind, and wonderful to work with!
June 30 at 7:59pm

Alison Bassett

So sorry to hear this news, thinking of your family, and what a great and talented man your father was…
June 30 at 9:14pm

Frank Coakley

Frank was one of the first people I met when I came to work at WGBH in 1981. He was tough, smart, funny and most importantly a good friend with a heart of gold. RIP brother, my thoughts go out to his family and his many friends and admirers.
June 30 at 9:17pm

Amy Tonkonogy

I am so sorry to hear this. Frank always made me smile. He had such dedication to Gbh and taught me so much. My thoughts to your entire family.
June 30 at 9:21pm

Sharon Corey Sleicher

My time at WGBH was a few years ago but I remember your father because he was always friendly, kind and fun to be around.
June 30 at 9:24pm

Bruce Bordett

Such sad news. Many happy memories of working with Frank and Greg. He is, and will be missed. This shot from the day the Pope came to Boston… Late 70’s
bordett-lane
June 30 at 11:25pm

Marcia Hulley

So sad. Frank was a great friend and mentor to me — like so many others at wgbh. It was a delight working with him over the years. An amazing cameraman, an amazing man. My heartfelt condolences to his family.
July 1 at 12:17am

Sherylle Linton

Jones Frank was just awesome. I worked with him frequently back in my Say Brother days. I am profoundly sorry for your loss. May he rest in peace.
July 1 at 12:38am

Lo Hartnett

Whenever I saw frank behind the camera for pledge, I knew things were in good hands. He always made me smile.
July 1 at 5:38am

Russ Fortier

I’m so sad to hear about Frank. He was a wonderful professional. Attentive and pleasant, he was, as I recall, virtually error free as a cameraman on the shows I directed. Most notably, as others have mentioned was his camera (2) at Symphony Hall; a deceptively challenging position. I recall one broadcast in which Frank had to zoom back from a single shot of the concertmaster (first violin) to a cover shot of the entire orchestra over 32 (slow) measures of music; a devilishly long move. Perfectly done. So normal and routine for Frank to deliver that way.
July 1 at 7:56am

Jennifer Jordan

Love the shot of him shooting at the Kennedy School Forum! I remember him well from my days both at WGBH and directing the Forum. Class act and all around great guy.
July 1 at 9:28am

Elizabeth Lane

Thank you all so much for sharing your beautiful memories of my dad. It’s bringing us so much comfort hearing from people who loved my dad as much as we do.
July 1 at 9:56am

Syrl Silberman

I worked with Frank for 12 years at WGBH. He was truly one of the kindest people I’ve ever known and more often than not made difficult times in the studio less so. I could always count on him to do whatever was needed and do it well. I can honestly say that I loved him and fully understand how much you will miss him. I wish you comfort.
July 1 at 10:04am

Anne Sweeney

God bless your family. May Frank rest in peace.
July 1 at 10:23am

Jane Arsham

I had the pleasure of working with Frank in the “early” years 1968-80. He started a year after me and we had a great friendship. Frank laughed a lot (I can still hear him) and enjoyed both work and play. He loved to sing Irish songs and we joined him often at a pub in Norwood I think it was!! He was a talented camera man and always willing to pitch in and help out in anyway he could. I don’t remember him ever saying no when I asked (which was often). Although we lost touch after I left GBH, he remains in my heart. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
July 1 at 10:36am

Edye Baker

The auction volunteers loved Frank and the way he made them feel like stars!! MANY memories of him. Sincere condolences to you and your family.
July 1 at 12:14pm

Vladimir Stefanovic

My deepest condolences. Frank was really an awesome guy. RIP Frank.
July 1 at 1:45pm

Nora Sinclair

So sorry to hear! My sincere condolences. I loved working with Frank in the studio, always a pleasure.
July 1 at 2:00pm

Ben Mayerson

Literally on this day, I quoted one of the lessons Frank taught me. “I only move at one speed, and this is it.”

It wasn’t a statement of non cooperation. It was a declaration of pacing, proficiency, and calm. I recall that mantra often, from my teacher Frank Lane.
July 1 at 4:53pm

Susan Dangel

In my brain and heart, when I think of WGBH, I think Greg and Frank. Your father was one of a kind. All those Pops shows and how he made us laugh. So sorry for your loss.
July 1 at 11:46pm

Larry Lecain

I loved Frank. Kind, generous , welcoming,quick to share a good story. He seemed immune to the pressures of long lens camera work at Symphony Hall. Frank was willing to share his insight on the ironies of life, work and people he knew. I miss him.
July 2 at 7:03am

Christy George

I loved Frank, too. One moment at the Ten O’Clock News stands out: I covered John Lakian’s libel trial against the Boston Globe, and for five weeks GBH was the pool camera – a rarity to be so well staffed. So all the Boston TV stations were using video shot by Frank and Greg. And their reporters were blown away. Years of shooting the Pops had taught Greg and Frank how to follow the action seamlessly and gracefully. Their camerawork made the trial seem like a Hollywood movie. And when a much-lauded commercial station shooter filled in one day, all the reporters grumbled. They wanted Frank and Greg back! I was delighted our guys got the respect they deserved.
July 2 at 2:46pm

Elizabeth Lane

Love these stories!
July 2 at 2:48pm

Nancy Walker

The dynamic duo!!!
July 2 at 2:53pm

Mary Helen Doyle

Frank was always a bright light bouncing (in his big way!) through the engineering tape room downstairs at GBH. He always welcomed a quick fun chat, never really grouchy as I remember, despite whatever the day had been. I’m so sorry to hear that he has passed, I’ll never forget him.
July 2 at 9:49pm

Bernadette Yao

I am deeply sorry for your loss, Elizabeth. I send my sincere condolences to you and your family. I remember your father with great affection and I am so sad to hear of his passing. I always looked forward to seeing him since my childhood days on ZOOM, and through the years after college when I sang with the TFC, BSO & Pops at Symphony Hall, and during live pledge drives and auctions when I worked behind the scenes at WGBH. Years later, whenever I visited WGBH, he would greet me with that familiar grin, and share what was going on in the moment as if no time had passed. I will remember Frank and his kindness always.
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Boston-based ‘Frontline’ names new executive producer

From Boston.com — 5/13/2015 

Frontline founder David Fanning has stepped down after three decades as the executive producer of the landmark public television series. He will be replaced by Raney Aronson, the show’s deputy executive producer.

frontline1

This is the first time the top leadership position at the Boston-based investigative documentary series has changed hands.

In its 33 seasons, Frontline has won every major award in broadcast journalism, including 69 Emmys, 31 duPont-Columbia University Awards, 17 Peabody Awards and eight Television Critics Awards. Fanning received his own Lifetime achievement Emmy in 2013.

Fanning will stay with Frontline and, beginning June 1, will develop new projects as executive editor at large, according to a statement released by WGBH, which produces the show.

Aronson has been with the series since 2001.

‘Frontline’ Getting a Change in Leadership

From the New York Times — 5/13/2015

“Frontline,” the PBS documentary series, is getting a leadership change for the first time in its 32-year history. The founding executive producer, David Fanning, is stepping down at the end of the month, and Raney Aronson, the colleague he has been grooming for several years, will take over.

Mr. Fanning, 68, said that he wanted to start making documentary films again, and that he needed to step aside for the show to continue to thrive.

“This is a generational shift,” he said. “There’s no question about it. That’s a discussion that Raney and I have had for some years now, about bringing some younger producers in, identifying them, looking for the next generation. We want ‘Frontline’ to survive.”

Mr. Fanning’s new title will be executive producer at large. He said he would also have an opportunity to “beat the bushes for major funders and donors and new sources of revenue for the series,” he said.

Mr. Fanning began preparing Ms. Aronson for the job years ago, and in 2012 all but named her his heir apparent when he gave her the title of deputy executive producer. He said her leadership would be critical for keeping the show relevant at a tricky time in the media business. He also said bringing in “new blood” was important to keeping the long-form documentary series alive.

“If we don’t do it, it doesn’t get done,” he said. “There aren’t many places left in the world, in television certainly, that does this. You can’t expect the independent film community to operate under the banner of journalism because it’s often not what they do. This kind of journalism matters and these hourlong films, 90-minute, two-hour films, the big multipart series, we do become real works of record. We need them in the culture.”

“Frontline,” which had its debut in 1983, is produced by WGBH in Boston. Over the years it has won 69 Emmys, 31 duPont Columbia University Awards and 17 Peabody awards. “Frontline” recently won awards for a documentary on ISIS and the National Football League’s concussion crisis.

Ms. Aronson, 44, joined the show in 2001. In the last few years, she has made it her priority to work on joint-journalism projects with organizations like ProPublica, the Center for Investigative Reporting and ESPN (the latter pulled out of the concussion documentary “League of Denial,” before it aired, to great controversy). She is also working on partnerships with digital outlets like YouTube and Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism in order to find new ways to broadcast their work.

She said she had been “given the gift of time” over the last three years to work on these types of partnerships before stepping into the big job.

“In a lot of ways, we’ve been working on the ideas that I care about, like working aggressively to find new audiences,” she said.

But with every prospective deal with a player in new media, she said, her job remained fundamentally in line with what Mr. Fanning created decades ago.

“When I look to the future, my biggest gaze is on making sure we always protect the big important work we should be doing,” she said. “That is what I care about most: protecting the big important journalism.”

Emily Rooney steps down from “Greater Boston”

From the Boston Globe

rooneyAfter 18 years, Emily Rooney is stepping down as host of WGBH’s nightly news and opinion show “Greater Boston,” and will instead focus on “Beat the Press,” the weekly program she also moderates, the station announced Thursday.

In addition, Rooney, the daughter of the late great Andy Rooney, will become a “special correspondent” to WGBH News and continue to appear regularly on 89.7, WGBH’s radio station.

“When I came to WGBH in 1997, I was an on-air rookie tasked with shaping a nightly news and public affairs show that would be accessible to everyone,” Rooney said in a statement. “I’m proud of the program we’ve fine-tuned over the years and grateful to WGBH for giving me the chance to reinvent myself. It all happened in large part due to the loyal and dedicated staff who have stayed with the show all these years.” 

Morash to receive Lifetime Achievement Emmy

Russ MorashFrom NATAS via BuzzworthyRadioCast.com

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) announced that Russ Morash, the producer and director of the historic, “The French Chef,” with Julia Child and the creator of “This Old House” and many other iconic public television programs will be honored at the 41st Annual Daytime Creative Arts Emmy® Awards with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Fifty-four years of combined programming, 13 Emmy® Awards, and one groundbreaking career later, the father of how-to TV most emphatically deserves a lifetime achievement award,” said Malachy Wienges, Chairman, NATAS. “I am thrilled that Russ has been chosen as this year’s Lifetime Achievement honoree,” said David Michaels, Senior Executive Producer of the Daytime Emmy® Awards. “This is part of our conscious effort to acknowledge the career contribution of those people who work in the Creative Arts. We couldn’t be happier for him and we’re very excited to be presenting this honor at the Daytime Creative Arts Emmy® Award gala surrounded by all his peers!

“When I first moved from New Zealand to the US almost 30 years ago, the Daytime TV shows that caught my attention were created by Russ Morash,” said Brent Stanton, Executive Director, Daytime Emmy® Awards. “His innovation of using specialists in the role of hosts on such shows as “This Old House,” “The Victory Garden” and “The New Yankee Workshop” helped to pave the way for the proliferation of the Lifestyle genres on television and the internet.”

“As a brilliant creator/producer/director, Russ Morash used his personal passion and love for well prepared food, gardening, home improvement/repair and woodworking to develop a whole new genre of television programs,” said Norm Abram, Master Carpenter, This Old House and Host, The New Yankee Workshop. “Russ always wanted to learn more himself, but more importantly he wanted to share knowledge with others. The experts and craftsmen he featured on the shows he created did just 2 that. Generations have been and will continue learning “how to” thanks to Russ who started it all over 50 years ago with Julia Child.”

Russ Morash

Russ Morash was fresh out of college when he entered the young world of television in 1957. At the time, his employer, Boston’s WGBH, had been on the air for only two years. He immediately put the theater training he’d received at Boston University to work mounting productions and dealing with talent. He knew talent when he saw it, and when he began working with a “strange woman with this strange accent” named, Julia Child, “The French Chef” — and “how-to television” — were born. Over time, Russ’s personal enthusiasms — cooking, gardening, home repair, woodworking — would become, through his choice of talent, tone, and content, America’s first foray into “reality television.”

In 1975, he dragged two huge studio cameras outside to record the first episode of “Crockett’s Victory Garden” in raised beds set up in the station’s parking lot. Three years later, he convinced his bosses to buy a dilapidated Victorian home so that he could document its rehabilitation under the hammer of Norm Abram and the showmanship of Bob Vila. “This Old House” has been running for 35 years and counting!

Part of Russ’s “mad genius,” according to his Emmy® Award-winning cameraman Dick Holden, was to free the TV-making process from as many technical encumbrances as possible, pushing portable cameras and wireless microphones into new areas. “For electronic field camera use, everything we were used to seeing before changed with those shows,” says Holden, “and most of what we see today began then.”

His remarkable success continued with the launch of “The New Yankee Workshop” in 1989 and “Ask This Old House” in 2002. All of Russ’s programs are all based on a simple and revolutionary idea: authentic information, presently clearly by experts themselves. Often, through sheer force of will, he brought these programs into being. He taught and inspired a generation of TV producers who follow in his footsteps. Ultimately, his legacy is generations of TV viewers who value the expertise, work ethic, and skill of craftsmen and women and who know the true value of a job well done.

Help us catalog WGBH “firsts” in national public media

Dear WGBH Alumni:

PBS is putting together a list of significant national “firsts” for PBS and public media. We already have a timeline covering WGBH from 1946 to 1978, and many entries include national innovations. Now, we’re looking for your recommendations and verifications for more!

Please remember, the following are not yet verified, so add your recommendations, corrections, and confirmations in the comments box at the bottom of this post.

Recommendations (to be verified)

  • 1958: WGBH acquired  an  VR-1000A and became the first NET member to use videotape recording techniques. (More.)
  • 1960: WGBH produced A.R. Gurney’s first TV drama, Love Letters. The only recording was destroyed in the fire.
  • 1963: WGBH received its first Academy Award for Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel with the World Fred Barzyk reports that it was the first and only Academy Award to ever be given to an educational television station.
  • 1966: Julia Child was the first educational television personality to receive an Emmy Award.
  • 1968: Martin Luther King’s death almost caused a city wide riot, except for WGBH and city government broadcasting a James Brown concert. Watch the video here: James Brown in the Boston Garden – April 5th, 1968
  • 1968: WGBH produced the first double-channel TV show, What’s Happening Mr. Silver? Viewers were asked to put two TVs six feet apart, tune one to Ch. 2 and the other Ch. 44. Six months after the first broadcast, WNET WNDT (Ch. 13) and a commercial station (Ch. 9) were the only other stations to do the same thing.
  • 1972: PBS pioneers the development of captioning, making television programs accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers.
  • 1972: Nam June Paik, renowned video artist, creates the worlds first video synthesizer. During the broadcast of one of his works, Paik blew out the WGBH transmitter. It is now on display in a German Museum.
  • 1974: NOVA, the first weekly science documentary series, joined the PBS lineup.
  • The Chicken that Ate Columbus
  • 1980: WGBH Workshop and QUBE, the largest interactive service in the country, produced a live interactive drama, The Chicken that Ate Columbus.” From David Atwood: QUBE was launched in 1977, I joined them as Manager of Production and Operations in the fall of 1980 in time (as I remember) to be there for “The Chicken that Ate Columbus.”
  • 1980: This Old House, the first home-improvement program on U.S. television, tackled its first fixer-upper
  • 1987: Created the first digital audio broadcast.
  • 1990: PBS makes television accessible to blind and visually impaired audiences through the launch of the Descriptive Video Service (DVS).
  • 1994-95: Created the first audio streaming server (featured Frontline Waco: The Inside Story) and the concept of the web as the companion to the TV program.
  • 1998: PBS Digital Week features the first national broadcast of a high-definition and enhanced digital program, Ken Burns’s Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • 1998: PBS becomes the first national broadcaster to distribute high-definition (HD) programming to member stations for broadcast.
  • 1999: Created the first live radio and television streams and established a presence on Apple’s QuickTime TV.

Undated recommendations

  • Henry Morgenthau’s Negro and the American Promise is first to have an all black discussion on race in America. Featuring James Baldwin, Malcolm X, and Dr. King, the interview made the front page of the New York Times when broadcast, and was later made into a book.
  • Catch 44 was WGBH’s first public access series.  Although only broadcast locally, it made the front page of the WSJ and the BBC emulated it, calling their series “Open Night.”
  • The first environmental documentary was Austin Hoyt’s “Multiply and Subdue the Earth” on PBL.
  • Vietnam, a Television History, was the first long-form doc coverage of the Vietnam War.
  • The first coverage of tennis on TV was WGBH’s coverage of Longwood.
  • ZOOM was the first show created by kids (they supplied the content), for kids (who sent up to 30,000 letters per week).
  • Did Al Potter and Greg Harney do the first trans-atlantic broadcast for ETV?
  • The Victory Garden was the first series to follow the planting and growing of a garden in real time.
  • This Old House was the inspiration for the commercial sitcom Home Improvement.
  • WGBH was the first broadcast station to air stereo sound on their FM station which was in sync with he BSO concert on Ch. 2. This engineering feat was then taught to other PBS stations by our engineers.
  • Was NOVA the first PBS station to produce an IMAX film?