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Message from the General Manager

Rus Peotter, WGBY General Manager In this column over the years, I’ve probably noted the old New England expression that “April is the cruelest month”. But this year, it will be hard to feel that way. First, after this past winter, any sign of green and warmth will be welcome, no matter how capricious the weather. And as you’ll read in this issue of PrimeTime, we have some truly amazing things to look forward to.

Storytelling is at the heart of all we do, and there could be no better examples than this month. Of course, great drama is a hallmark of public TV, and how do you follow a blockbuster like Downton Abbey? With another great story of course. Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton and the Masterpiece team bring us the powerful account of Thomas Cromwell from the best-selling book, Wolf Hall. I’m not deeply familiar with that phase of British history and I’ve only seen a bit of the series, but enough to know why it was such a great hit in England.

Contemporary American stories are powerful as well. And our independent series VOCES and Independent Lens bring two very different, and moving examples. Children of Giant details how film culture can have dramatic effect on living culture, while Homestretch gives us a deep look at strength and perseverance in urban society.

However, I’ll confess that it is a story of relatively recent history that I’m looking forward to the most. Rory Kennedy’s Last Days of Vietnam is the most gripping American Experience I’ve seen for a long time. As a college student, I’ll admit, I was happy the Vietnam War was ending. So happy, that I probably overlooked this remarkable phase of that long conflict. It is an amazing tale of heroism that will move you no matter what side or what role you had in that war, or if you were even born yet. When I saw the preview at the PBS Annual meeting last Spring, it brought tears to my eyes. Please don’t miss it.

All are stories well told. But I can’t end this column without one more shout out. One to the people in our region that tell many stories through the power of song. Once again, scores of singers and choruses joined us for the fifth season of Together In Song. Their commitment to their art and each other is compelling as any documentary.

This April isn’t “cruel” at all! Thanks.


Russell Peotter, signature

Russell J. Peotter
General Manager