For Immediate Release                                                                                   
Contact: Kristin Tutino, (585) 258-0253

THOUSANDS CELEBRATED THE BIRTH OF PUBLIC BROADCASTING IN ROCHESTER ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 AT WXXI

Rochester, New York (September 29, 2008) – More than 3,000 people joined in celebrating the founding of public broadcasting in Rochester on Saturday, September 27, 2008 when WXXI hosted a special 50th Anniversary Open House. Young children and their parents, as well as avid PBS viewers, classical music listeners and NPR news fans lined the sidewalk on State Street in downtown Rochester at 9:30 a.m. – a half hour before the doors even opened. A steady stream of guests followed throughout the day, as they had the opportunity to tour the station, learn more about the upcoming digital TV transition and participate in a variety of activities.

The first ones through the door were a little boy and his father who specifically came to see Whyatt Beanstalk from the new PBS Kids’ show, Super WHY! His dad confessed that his son was up since 5 a.m. waiting to come down to the station to meet his favorite PBS character. Hundreds of other young children were also star-struck by Curious George, Martha from Martha Speaks, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Big Bird, and participated in face painting, fun crafts, story telling and more. Others had a chance to hear live music performed by 16-year-old singer/songwriter Kate Lee and her band No Strings Attached, and roots rock/singer songwriter Brian Lindsay – both of whom are featured in season two of WXXI’s TV and radio music series, OnStage.

For those fans of classical music, pianist and Eastman School of Music student Lisa Raposa performed in the radio studios, while WXXI radio hosts including Bob Smith, Alex Crichton, John Andres, Julia Figueras, Brenda Tremblay and Chris Van Hof greeted guests and showed them around the studios. Others talked with WXXI’s TV program directors about PBS’s new fall season, and walked the sets of WXXI’s productions – Homework Hotline, Assignment: The World, and Need to Know.

Seneca Park Zoo, the Monroe County Library System, ABVI-Goodwill, the Monroe County Board of Elections, YMCA and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s Petting Zoo also joined in the celebration by providing other special activities. Long-time supporter Rowe Photo, Video and Audio donated an HDTV set for a special drawing and drew the winning name at the event, while WXXI experts were on hand to answer questions about the digital transition.

The Open House honored the group of educators, community leaders and concerned citizens who formed the Rochester Area Educational Television Association (RAETA) in 1958. They devoted countless hours to the regulatory hearings, court battles and fundraising necessary to create the institution that would become WXXI. Today, WXXI provides the community with not one television channel, but five. With its digital signal WXXI brings viewers WXXI-HD, WXXI-Create (with great travel, cooking and lifestyle programs), WXXI-ThinkBright (providing New York State history and culture, along with educational programming for the general public) and WXXI-World (news, information, dialogue and documentaries.) Those channels are in addition to WXXI-TV 21, which continues to provide a primetime schedule rich in public affairs, science programs, history and the arts (plus a daytime children’s schedule of programming that is considered the safest and most trusted on television today). WXXI also hosts a handful of radio services that include NPR news, music stations that range from classical to eclectic, as well as a radio reading service for people with visual impairments.

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WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to wxxi.org for more information about our services and programs.

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