New York's THIRTEEN, the flagship station of PBS, celebrates 50 years of setting the gold standard for television and providing exceptional community and educational services to the New York metropolitan area.
Half a century ago, on September 16, 1962, legendary newscaster Edward R. Murrowintroduced Channel13, WNDT - "New Dimensions in Television," which would later evolve into WNET. In the inaugural broadcast, Murrow said "Tonight, you join me on a great adventure...This instrument can teach, it can illuminate, yes, and it can even inspire, but it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends."
With its glorious past and promising future, THIRTEEN lives up to that mission, offering a relevant alternative to the commercial networks. Its programming was first distributed through the NET program distribution service, but in 1969, shifted to the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), now in Washington, D.C.
Neal Shapiro, THIRTEEN's sixth President and CEO, following Samuel Gould, John Kiermaier, James Day, John Jay Iselin, Dr. WilLiam Baker, says, "THIRTEEN has made a remarkable impact on television and New York during its five decades on the air. We're even more excited to see the possibilities that the next 50 years present. There will surely be new technology and new delivery systems, but there will always be a need for quality content that inspires, educates and engages audiences. That's a role THIRTEEN is perfectly placed to fulfill."
As an original architect of PBS, THIRTEEN has pioneered a vision often emulated by the mainstream media. The station produces acclaimed content for the country's nearly 360 member public television stations, reaching millions of people with its programs and initiatives. They include PBS's most-viewed documentary series Nature; the seminal cultural biography series American Masters; television's only regular performance arts series Great Performances,which includes Great Performances at the Met; one-of-a-kind reporting about the religious world in Religion and Ethics Newsweekly; the weekly news magazine Need to Know and the children's on-air and online educational programs Cyberchase, Oh Noah!, and Mission US.
Among the commemorative events and programs will be:
- Special programming chronicling the station's extraordinary contributions to drama, music, historic voices; and key events, interspersed with personal stories told by the people who built THIRTEEN from the very beginning.
- Special on-air interstitial material.
- A commemorative Web site (www.thirteen.org/50 just launched and with more content to come) featuring interviews with "Pioneers of THIRTEEN" such as Dick Cavett, TV personality and author; Joan Ganz Cooney, co-founder of Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop), and Judith Jamison, dancer, choreographer and artistic director emerita, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater,among many others, as well as archival footage from the station's rich legacy includingSoul!, An American Family, and USA Arts (with Andy Warhol) which can be previewed by clicking on the hyperlinks.