From the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress and Boston public broadcaster WGBH will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 with a series of panels featuring pioneers and experts in public broadcasting Friday, Nov. 3, 2 –6 p.m.
The symposium — “Preserving Public Broadcasting at 50 Years” — will be held in the Montpelier room on the sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave., SE, Washington, D.C.
The event is free, but tickets are required and there may be special restrictions. To secure tickets, visit this event-ticketing site: preservingat50.eventbrite.com.
Signed by President Lyndon Johnson, the act established public broadcasting as it is organized today and also authorized the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to establish and maintain a library and archives of non-commercial educational television and radio programs. CPB established the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) in 2009 and, in 2013, the Library of Congress and WGBH assumed responsibility of AAPB, coordinating a national effort to preserve and make accessible significant at-risk public media.
A Library report on television and video preservation in 1997 cited the importance of public broadcasting: “[I]t is still not easy to overstate the immense cultural value of this unique audiovisual legacy, whose loss would symbolize one of the great conflagrations of our age, tantamount to the burning of Alexandria’s library in the age of antiquity.”
The initial AAPB archive, donated by more than 100 public broadcasting stations, contained more than 40,000 hours of content from the early 1950s to the present. The full collection, now more than 50,000 hours of preserved content, is available on-site to researchers at the Library in Washington, D.C., and WGBH in Boston, Massachusetts. Nearly a third of the files, however, are now available online for research, educational and informational purposes at americanarchive.org.
During the symposium, panelists will examine the history of public broadcasting, the origins of its news and public affairs programming, the importance of preservation and the educational uses of public broadcasting programs for K-12 and college education, scholarship and adult education. Also highlighted will be some of AAPB’s most significant collections, such as the “PBS NewsHour” and its predecessors, which are currently being digitized for online access, and full interviews conducted for “Eyes on the Prize” and “American Experience” documentaries.
- Read more at the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress and WGBH invite you to the symposium “Preserving Public Broadcasting at 50 Years” in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 and the formation of The American Archive of Public Broadcasting.
- Friday, November 3, 2:00pm – 6:00 pm
- The Library of Congress Montpelier Room
- James Madison Memorial Building
- 101 Independence Avenue, SE
- Washington, DC
- Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden
- U.S. Senator Edward Markey
- Corporation for Public Broadcasting President Patricia Harrison
- WGBH President Jon Abbott
Four Panels Highlighting the Legislation, Early Days, Public Affairs, Documentaries and Educational Contributions Featuring Special Guests:
- Paula Apsell
- Clayborne Carson
- Dick Cavett
- Margaret Drain
- David Fanning
- Stephen Gong
- Jennifer Lawson
- Jim Lehrer
- Nicholas Johnson
- Newton Minow
- Hugo Morales
- Lloyd Morrisett
- Cokie Roberts
- Sharon Percy Rockefeller
- Bill Siemering
- Judy Woodruff
For more information and to register: preservingat50.eventbrite.com
Friends and fans of our late WGBH colleague Valerie Gunderson are invited to a special event: A CELTIC SOJOURN in memory of Valerie Gunderson Osiecki, Sat, 10/28 in WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio.
The evening is part of a fundraising effort for the scholarship fund established in Valerie’s name by her husband Ted Osiecki and managed by The Cape Cod Foundation.
Fittingly, the scholarship supports college-bound high school seniors from Cape Cod or the Islands who are pursuing degrees in the arts, as Valerie — both a violinist and a published poet — had a passion for the arts.
Brian O’Donovan’s show and Celtic music were always favorites for her and her husband.
A CELTIC SOJOURN will broadcast on 89.7 as usual (3-6pm), and dedicate the last hour to Valerie with special guest performances from Fraser. A light reception (6-7pm) will follow.
Valerie, who died far too young at 59, was our longtime Director of Budget Operations and a key member of the WGBH family for more than 25 years. Feel free to spread the word to former ’GBHers.
From the Boston Globe — August 14, 2017
For the people at the science television series “Nova,” Aug. 21 will be sort of like election night, at least when it comes to deadlines.
The program — produced by WGBH Boston — has decided to film that day’s total solar eclipse and air it hours later. It’ll be the series’ fastest turnaround to date.
“I used to do live television in earlier periods of my career,” said senior executive producer Paula S. Apsell, who’ll be running things that day. “This feels very much like it.”
Apsell said “Nova” will set up crews in Casper, Wyo.; Salem, Ore.; NASA’s Ellington Airfield in Houston; and Irwin, Idaho. Some PBS stations are planning to send their own footage of the eclipse for the special.
Participating experts will include Williams College professor Jay Pasachoff, who’s logged 65 eclipses.
“We’ll have five edit rooms,” Apsell said. “All of the material will come into each edit room.”
The eclipse should be visible (in some places better than others) at about 1:15 p.m. on the East Coast, and “Eclipse Over America” should be ready to air on WGBH at 9 p.m.
“Nova” has already prepared content about the history and science of solar eclipses to accompany the footage. Producers have a 52-minute show already done, which will help if weather isn’t in their favor.
Apsell promises “Nova” “will be getting the most pristine shots of the eclipse.” She also said everyone working on the project will get “Eclipse Over America” glasses for safety. “Nova” will give out some of those glasses at “An Eclipse for Everyone,” an event at the Boston Public Library on Tuesday night. (Seating is limited.)
Apsell probably won’t need a pair herself; she said she won’t get to see much of the eclipse as she runs the show from Boston.
From Yahoo News — January 15, 2017
PBS’ ‘Nova’ To Broadcast Fastest Turnaround Film To Date Hours After Solar Eclipse
PBS’s Nova will air its fastest turnaround film to date, Solar Eclipse on Monday August 21, 2017, hours after the United States experiences the first total solar eclipse since 1979.
The cosmic spectacle will pass through 13 states, and everyone in the continental U.S. will have the opportunity to see at least a partial eclipse, making it the most widely viewable eclipse of all time. Starting at 10:15 AM PDT (1:15 PM EDT), a lunar shadow 73 miles wide will take one hour and 33 minutes to travel from Oregon on the west coast to South Carolina on the east, allowing continuous observation for 90 minutes.
Solar Eclipse (working title) will be the ultimate companion to the celestial event. Nova will follow teams working on the forefront of solar science and solar storm detection, use CGI animation to reveal the sun’s secret mechanisms and integrate sequences of the eclipse itself — including scenes filmed at iconic locations along the path of the eclipse — user-generated content, NASA footage and more.
“Nova is thrilled to provide our audiences across the U.S. with an up close, in-depth look at this extraordinary scientific event,” said Senior Executive Producer Paula S. Apsell. “We are excited to share the experience with viewers — wherever they are — and the fascinating information it tells us about the inner workings of our sun.”
Excerpts from the Boston Globe – April 24, 2017
Steve Schwartz began his last radio show like he had so many others, cuing up pianist Horace Parlan’s “Wadin” — the song’s bass line striding purposefully out of the speakers, backed by the subtle swish of brushes on cymbals. “Good evening and welcome to jazz on WGBH,” he said as the song’s last notes faded.
For jazz fans throughout Greater Boston and beyond, there was a hint of sadness in every tune he played during “Jazz from Studio Four” on July 6, 2012, as he edged closer to signing off a couple of minutes past midnight.
“As you may or may not have heard, this is my last program for WGBH radio — starting here back in 1985 and working my way towards bringing you jazz on a Friday night. And this will wind it up,” Mr. Schwartz said, before turning to the business at hand: more than three hours of carefully chosen music.
“The gentleness of his voice made his show easy to listen to, but he wasn’t just a great voice. He was knowledgeable about the music, too,” said Eric Jackson, a longtime colleague and host of WGBH-FM’s “Eric in the Evening” jazz show. “He knew the music. There are some announcers I’ve heard who I thought were abrasive, arrogant. Steve was this warm presence who invited you in when he was on the air with the sound of his voice and the music he played.”
Mr. Schwartz, whose tastes in jazz were first shaped by an interlude he spent in California as a teenager, died in Seasons Hospice in Milton March 25 of multiple myeloma. He was 74 and had lived in Jamaica Plain.
“My father wanted to make a change, so when I was 15 we moved to Los Angeles,” Mr. Schwartz said in an interview published on The Arts Fuse website. “It was there that I first heard jazz on the radio, and I was hooked.”
During those years, Mr. Schwartz “heard different musicians, Charlie Mingus, Chet Baker — people who really moved him,” said his wife, Constance Bigony.
Indeed, when Mr. Schwartz began hosting jazz radio programs after returning to Boston, “he advertised his show, especially in the earlier years, as ‘acoustic jazz,’ which says a lot about his musical tastes,” Jackson said.
“In later years, he would surprise me when I’d hear something with a little electric piano in it,” Jackson added with a laugh. “I’d think, ‘Wow, he’s playing that.’ ”
In 2012, WGBH eliminated Mr. Schwartz’s Friday show. Jackson, who had been on weeknights, is now on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
After the public radio station announced the changes to make room for more news and information programming, jazz fans were so upset that they protested and held a jazz funeral.
“It wasn’t a total surprise, but it is a loss,” Mr. Schwartz told the Globe a couple of weeks before his final show. Boston’s jazz community, he added, “is losing an important venue for musicians to promote their events.”
In a February 2014 video interview that is posted on YouTube, Mr. Schwartz said that “to me the best part of doing radio was being able to promote the local jazz scene: Who’s coming into Scullers? Who’s coming into the Regattabar? Who’s got a new CD out? Local talent, playing here and there. Online, you know, it’s — I hate to say the word — just jazz.”
Of all the perks of hosting a radio show for nearly three decades, he added, “I just want to say that promoting the local jazz scene one night a week was most, most gratifying.”…
WGBH hired Mr. Schwartz to run the equipment for a taped overnight blues show. Then he suggested launching a jazz show to fill the time between the end of the blues program and the beginning of Robert J. Lurtsema’s “Morning pro musica.” Mr. Schwartz eventually was hired as program manager, and also was the engineer for live jazz broadcasts at WGBH…
For Mr. Schwartz’s many fans, his last show was a eulogy of sorts — played out in favorite jazz tunes — though no one could have guessed he would be diagnosed with multiple myeloma only a few months later. He ended with a set of songs sung by Karrin Allyson. Ever the professional, he signed off as if it were any show, not his last.
“Thank you for your phone calls earlier tonight. They do mean a lot to me and it’s great to hear from you,” Mr. Schwartz said. “Have a good weekend. Thank you for listening.”
By Tom Reney – From Jazz News You Can Use
Friday night, as I was noting Day 30 of a cold virus, my friend Steve Schwartz was admitted to Seasons Hospice in Milton, Mass.
Yesterday morning, while driving east for lunch with my niece in Beverly and afternoon drop-ins at bluesman Peter Ward‘s 60th birthday gig in Cambridge and a visit with Jack Woker at Stereo Jack’s, I checked my messages during a routine stop at Natick Plaza on the Pike. There were several, but only one that mattered, the one with word that Steve died around four o’clock Saturday morning, one month shy of his 75th birthday, and several years into combating cancer and other grave health matters.
I last spoke with Steve two weeks ago. He was fairly upbeat with the latest on his wife Constance Bigony’s art work, reports on his three kids, Eric, Peter, and Jamie, and his grandchildren, and curious to hear more about our grandsons Bisbee and Atlas. It ended, as most calls did with Steve in recent years, with the hope that we’d be off gallivanting sometime soon.
Alas, today I know that Steve’s been released from a great deal of pain, and those of us who knew him have lost a good, kind, warm-hearted man.
I knew Steve for about 25 years. Before we met at a Joe Lovano concert that he emceed at the DeCordova Museum around 1990, I would hear him on WGBH where he hosted Jazz from Studio Four. I spent many Sunday nights returning from the Cape with Steve guiding the way, always with his mellow, down-home theme song, Horace Parlan’s “Wadin’,” kicking things off at 7 p.m., and often with the word that he’d returned from the Cape a few hours earlier.
Perhaps more than any other experience I’ve had as a listener to radio, it’s the memory of Steve’s references to Fisher Beach in Truro and the details of a meal he’d had in P-Town that give me a sense of why I needn’t be surprised when listeners tell me about some seemingly trivial bit of personal material that I’ve shared while hosting Jazz a la Mode. “Oh yeah, but how about the night when I played those rare 1941 airchecks by Lester Young?” Alas, it’s usually a personal anecdote that resonates most.
Steve and I shared a love of jazz, movies, fresh seafood, and bike rides. He’d owned a bike shop in Mattapan before his radio career began. He was a great fan of Preston Sturges films, especially Sullivan’s Travels, which he relished sharing with friends.
He grew up in Dorchester and spent a few years in Los Angeles during his mid- to late-teens. That’s where his love of jazz took root, and he was fond of recalling the day when Gerry Mulligan walked by as he was listening to a new Mulligan LP in the listening booth of a Santa Monica record store.
During his Boston youth, he sang in a street corner doo-wop group, and maintained friendships with his harmonizing homies Jeffrey and Hal. Like a true Bostonian, he didn’t know my hometown of Worcester at all before we met, but he was eager for a tour, and we finally got that done a few years ago. I got to show him the Valley too, and in recent years, we would meet halfway in Sturbridge for lunch.
Steve was the best kind of friend, one who was eager to hang on the next unscheduled day on the calendar. His opening line was often, “Two Jews sitting on a bench;” his favorite tag was, “News at 11;” and in notes, he borrowed from Thelonious Monk for his closing salutation, “Always know.”
While courting Meg fifteen years ago, I had occasion to spend dozens of weekends with her near Boston, and during that time Steve and I got together frequently to hear jazz and to ride bikes. In addition to negotiating the city’s busy streets, we took trails to Lexington and Concord; rode the East Bay trail south of East Providence; the Emerald Necklace of Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury, and Brookline.
We ate all over too: Belle Isle in East Boston, Mac’s Shack in Wellfleet, Red Wing in Walpole, Summer Shack in Cambridge, Twin Seafood in West Concord, always in pursuit of great seafood at establishments hospitable to bike shorts. Steve had a bead on every pop-up lunch spot in Boston, and while attending jazz conferences and festivals, we maxed-out per diems in New York, New Orleans, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Toronto, and Montreal.
Steve was a gourmand of informal dining spots here, there, and everywhere. When word came down that Uglisich’s, a no-frills purveyor of alligator stew and oysters by the dozen was closing, Steve and his beloved Connie flew down to New Orleans for one last hurrah.
Steve’s was one of the great voices of Boston jazz radio. In that capacity, he also engineered and produced scores of concert broadcasts for WGBH and for Jazz Set, Jazz Alive, and other series on NPR. He engineered the Jazz Decades with Ray Smith, which for years preceded Jazz From Studio Four. He produced state-of-the-art profiles on such New England-based jazz greats as George Russell, Jackie McLean, Gunther Schuller, Archie Shepp, Steve Lacy, and Yusef Lateef. And he conducted several highly memorable panels at IAJE, including interviews with Dan Morgenstern and Nat Hentoff. Steve knew and was known by everyone in the business.
I’ll miss Steve more than I can say at this sad hour for I’m grateful to have enjoyed such an agreeable friendship with this truest of true friends. Rest in Peace, my man.
From Josie Patterson
For the 5 years or so that I was the business and marketing head of ‘GBH radio, Steve was a major presence at the station beyond his show, Now’s the Time. He, Eric Jackson, Ron Gill, Mai Cramer, Holly Harris, and Ron Della Chiesa pushed for jazz and the blues to be recognized as the amazing and genuinely American art forms that they are.
Steve and Margot Stage recorded Jazz Portraits, which Margot said were amongst some of the best of her work. Steve produced an Ellington concert at Berklee featuring Danilo Perez on piano; today Danilo heads the jazz department at the school. He guided the recording of the New Orleans annual Jazz Festival and other important jazz concerts. All of this was under the guidance of Marita Rivero, now the director of Boston’s African American Meeting House, and, I believe, the only female person of color to reach the Vice President level at WGBH.
I liked working at WGBH, on both the documentary and the radio side, and always felt it was a 12 year graduate program. The local public radio station was the part of the foundation where for awhile people could and did experiment with different art forms based on their own cultural traditions. Radio productions are less expensive to produce than film, and radio is an intimate medium that distinguishes it to this day from other kinds of media. I can only hope that ‘GBH Radio will once again embrace music from many cultures. People love music!
From The Boston Globe — July 23, 2015
Only a few people can claim a role in news and entertainment programs as varied as “The Daily Show,” “Orange is the New Black,” “The Price is Right,” and the “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley.”
But Tim Alves and his team do all that and more at WGBH in Brighton. Alves is a captions operations supervisor with the public broadcaster’s Media Access Group, leading a small team that spells out the dialogue and sounds of about 14,000 hours of television, movies, and online video each year.
“This is essentially live, high-pressure copy editing,” said Alves, who worked for a New Hampshire newspaper and a Los Angeles television station before joining the captions team in 2006. “You’re working on extremely tight deadlines, and that deadline is right now.”
Alves’s Boston staff and a national network of stenographers type thousands of words daily for networks, movie studios, and such online operations as Netflix. Their captions serve the roughly 38 million adults who have some trouble hearing and millions more who read them on televisions in airports and other noisy public places.
For live broadcasts, only a stenographer using a special keyboard can keep up with speakers. If necessary, WGBH can farm out the task to a network of on-call freelancers whose feeds are transmitted to Boston and synchronized with the broadcast.
“In the morning, I come in and I’ll do offline work,” Alves said. “We have scripts and video, and we’ll marry the script to video.” Later, he may switch to a program like “The Price Is Right,” which is beamed to WGBH at 11 a.m. — the same time it’s aired to many viewers.
Alves’s team has a broad portfolio. It captions Public Broadcasting System programs such as “Downton Abbey” and “Nova.” Other networks pay for the services of the WGBH stenographers, who write captions for such shows as “NCIS.”
The group also captions live events, including the Grammys. Every night, a stenographer plugs into a feed of CBS News to write live captions. A WGBH staffer will quickly “butler” the stenographer’s output, cleaning up any mistakes before the program is made available online.
“The technical term we use to describe those employees are steno-captioners. They’re extremely skilled, and they’re very focused,” said Alves. Often, he said, captioners will get into such a groove that they won’t remember what was said just seconds earlier.
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.
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!
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!?
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.
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.”
From the Boston Globe
Here’s an episode of “Antiques Roadshow” that fans of the WGBH series won’t want to miss.
At a taping in New York City on Aug. 9, a “Roadshow’’ guest entered the Javits Convention Center with a stunning trove of old-time baseball stuff inherited from her great-great-grandmother, who’d run a boarding house in Boston in the early 1870s.
The memorabilia includes extremely rare baseball cards of members of the Boston Red Stockings and a letter written by several team members to the owner of the boarding house. Three of the most famous names in early baseball — Harry Wright, his younger brother George Wright, and Al Spalding — were just a few of those who added their words to the letter.
Imagine the owner’s surprise when the collection was appraised by sports memorabilia specialist Leila Dunbar at a cool $1 million. “This is the largest sports memorabilia find in the 19-year history of the series,” Marsha Bemko, executive producer of “Antiques Roadshow,” said Tuesday in a statement.
No word yet on when the Red Stockings episode will air, but we hear it will be one of three New York-based segments slated for 2015. Can’t wait.
- From the Boston Globe