Mark Stevens – in memory

3 thoughts on “Mark Stevens – in memory

    • Maggie, I worked for your father from 1973 until his untimely death. Because WGBH was engaged both in production and broadcast, the traditional program manager’s job was divided between several categories of production oversight and Broadcast Manager, Mark’s position. He loved TV, understood production from his time on the BU and WGBH crew, and was a brilliant tactician, both in putting together complementary TV schedules on the two local channels, WGBH and WGBX, and in helping to position WGBH programs in the national PBS roster. An avid TV Guide reader, he was a keen analyst of Nielsen and Arbitron ratings, and was one of the earliest public television managers to recognize the importance of going beyond instructional TV offerings, carefully studying the competitive strategies of the commercial networks, and introducing the concepts to his peers in the other public television major markets. For Mark, this was an almost messianic undertaking–he loved the whole concept of public television and often cited our mission, To Entertain, Stimulate, and Inform, and Help You Cope Better with the World and Your Own Life. In fact, he may have written that slogan, which ran on air at the end of our broadcast day.

      Personally, he was thoughtful of his employees, and a nervous smoker and scratcher. In my opinion, and that of Michael Rice, who could see beyond social superficialities, he was, either because or in spite of his not having an Ivy League degree, a brilliant, almost obsessive thinker about TV. He admired talented producers and well-made television. Some of the shows he had worked on as cameraman were the Symphony broadcasts and the early French Chef programs, and they gave him a powerful admiration for some of the directors and producers with whom he’d worked. One of the last things he did before his sudden, tragic death was to support Russ Morash in the first broadcasts of This Old House. He had a technical eye for detail, and in his role as program scheduler, he also collaborated in the beginnings of a number of other well-known WGBH programs.

      I hope you know that he loved his life in Littleton and adored you and your brother and mother. Although he was probably glued to the TV while he was at home, at least in prime time, he worried about you all. I hope things turned out all right for you all.

      • Thank you Torrey!

        I’m just now seeing your post, for some reason my son decided that tonight he’d like to learn more about his grandfather so I fired up the WGBH site and was delighted to read your post to him. Over the years, I’ve had several kind people reach out to me through this page and each and every word means so much.

        For those who don’t know, Mark had 2 kids, my older brother Mark and me… Maggie.

        Mark now lives in North Carolina with his wife Lisa, son Mason and daughter Melanie. I live outside of DC with my daughter Katie and son TJ. We’ve had beautiful lives. I think Mark definitely shares his attention to detail, and based on Stephen Roger’s description to me, I share his creativity and compassion as a manager.

        Thanks so much to take the time share stories here, and to those who have reached out to me via email.

        Maggie Stevens Brescia

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