Message from the General Manager
I’m writing this column just after Labor Day and one day after the announcement that the owners of the commercial TV stations in western Massachusetts are planning a major corporate merger. This would put all the full-power commercial TV broadcasters under single ownership. FCC media ownership rules and regulations have been relaxing for decades, but there are still a few regulatory hurdles before it all becomes reality.
While this announcement was a bit surprising, it was bound to happen sometime. Please do not misunderstand; our commercial colleagues are friends and collaborators. We have worked shoulder to shoulder on major public events such as debates, and we respect the roles we each play in the media landscape. Theirs is largely to cover news and offer market-driven programming, our mission is to educate, entertain, enrich lives, and improve our communities. A rich media environment should have all of these things from many different voices.
A lot has changed since I first wrote about media consolidation here more than ten years ago, and while the pace isn’t letting up, diverse voices and perspectives, on air and online, are as important as ever. But if you factor in experience, credibility, and trust, that diversity is still rare. As the western arm of the WGBH Educational Foundation, WGBY is committed to connecting people of our region. We tell local stories, create local content, and do it all with a local board, a local staff, local volunteers, and local support.
I hope this month we prove that point. Under new Executive Producer Tony Dunne, Connecting Point returns with new ideas and some savory local themes. The winners of last season’s Together In Song will have their opportunity to hold the spotlight in their own special. We’ll be hosting screenings and conversations around the region from our rebroadcast of The Latino Americans. We’ll be at The Academy of Music with Larry Hott and Diane Garey to premiere their new film on Native American language. And yes, there will be some new local spooky stuff too!
These things may not be priorities for a national media company, but they are for WGBY. Your support makes this all possible. And this year, you are doing it in a fresh, local way: with more personal engagement and less on-air pledging. This is one trend we hope will continue.
Russell J. Peotter