Public broadcasting’s history
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A message from Norm Silverstein
Passion. That’s the first word that I think about, when I consider there are nearly 400 people in the area who have been members of WXXI since Channel 21 turned on its transmitter on September 6, 1966 and began local broadcasting.
Commitment. That’s another word that rings true when I think about our original members. A commitment to advancing education, to supporting quality arts and cultural programming, a real commitment to helping our community grow.
Vision. The men and women who had the vision and the fortitude more than four decades ago to fight the battles to bring public television to Greater Rochester.
Community. To be part of a community of givers for over 40 years, that’s something special.
Today WXXI boasts a membership of more than 26,000, the largest of any organization in the Greater Rochester area. We provide the community with not one television channel of exceptional programming, but four (five if you count City 12, our partnership with the City of Rochester.) With our full-power digital television signal we are able to bring viewers WXXI-HD, a high definition channel; WXXI-Create, a 24-hour channel dedicated to the best cooking, travel, fine living and “how-to” programming public television has to offer, and WXXI-Q, airing adult education and enrichment programs and children's programming weeknights. That’s in addition to TV 21, with a daytime schedule of children’s programming that is considered the safest and most trusted on television today, plus a primetime schedule rich in public affairs, science programs, documentaries and biographies.
A new service, and one that would have been nearly impossible to imagine 40 years ago, was using the power of digital television to assist with Homeland Security and emergency response training. Using a small portion of our digital signal, we provide the backbone for a local Emergency Training and Information Network (ETIN) that allows time sensitive information to be sent to firehouses, police stations, ambulances and hospitals.
Although our radio services are a bit “younger” than Channel 21, they’re growing fast. AM 1370, your NPR station, keeps you current on local and national news. Classical 91.5, Rochester’s only all-classical music station, brings listeners beautiful music performed around the world and here at home. WJSL-FM 90.3 in Houghton provides a mix of classical music and NPR news while WRUR-FM 88.5, our partnership with the University of Rochester, is creating a buzz throughout the region, offering an eclectic mix of music, along with news from NPR.
Reachout Radio, our 24-hour radio reading service for people who are visually impaired, continues to keep its listeners – over 300 of them – connected to the world. And, we’re proud to have added Rochester Business Journal and City Newspaper to our reading list.
Speaking of being connected – our national television productions Second Opinion and Assignment: The World, and our national radio productions Fascinatin’ Rhythm and With Heart & Voice keep us connected with viewers and listeners across the country.
Beyond the screen, WXXI’s Educational Outreach Center offers workshops for parents and caregivers to improve readiness for school. Meanwhile, teachers and students can access Ed Video Online, a school video on demand service that provides instructional television programs and video clips for instant streaming and downloading off the Internet. In fact, our newly revamped web site will allow you more access to WXXI programs than ever before. If you haven’t seen the changes, be sure to visit WXXI.ORG.
Our 40th anniversary festivities include a special event on Saturday, September 30, when we open our doors to our members, friends and neighbors for an Open House. I’d like to personally invite you to join in our celebration. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. you can take a tour of the station, engage in a hands-on activity with your child, meet your favorite radio host, check out the set of Homework Hotline, enjoy refreshments and – of course have a piece of cake. I invite you to continue the journey with us over the next 40 years!