Message from the General Manager
As we begin another season of extraordinary programming, it’s typical to focus on the subjects of these shows and projects. But in keeping with our theme this year of “what’s different," I’m reminded that not only are our programs extraordinary, but so are the people who make them possible. There is an old adage in public media that commercial TV makes programs in order to make money, while in public TV we raise money in order to make programs.
This simple distinction is remarkably powerful, because it reflects the fact that almost all public TV producers’ primary goals are excellence, integrity and service. From Bill Moyers and Ken Burns to Rebecca Eaton and Raney Aronsen, their commitment and impact is very special but that commitment and impact is not only at the national level. We have been able to see it repeatedly here at WGBY and were strongly reminded in late July when we lost one of our former colleagues who personified those qualities.
Bill Rhodes came to WGBY from the commercial film industry. His deep knowledge of the craft was second to none. He not only understood the theory of the work, he had the hands-on skills, right down to the set-building (he was a gifted carpenter and woodworker). Bill was an extraordinary gentleman who treated everyone he met with respect. His deferential demeanor opened many doors and calmed many potential divas. His dedication to every detail—script, music, lighting, color, set, even make-up—gave dozens of WGBY productions a look that far exceeded one’s customary expectations from a small local station.
Ultimately Bill’s biggest impact is the legacy of quality that he left at WGBY and with the many media professionals he taught and mentored during his career. Bill’s understanding of “quality” extended to people as well as programs. He had an uncanny knack for recognizing raw talent. And as important, a special patience to work with his folks to develop where they needed to grow. Bill’s legacy of quality and care is evident in every local program you see on WGBY today. It is a tradition that his staff and students are proud to maintain. And one of which I think Bill would be very proud.
Just one more way WGBY is different, and you make it possible.
Russell J. Peotter