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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy New Year Alums!

In the spirit of "The Family of Man," a joyous, happy and healthy New Year to all!

Monday, December 23, 2013

WGBH Responds to my letter requesting David Koch be removed from the Board

Dear Nat,

Thank you for writing to share your views about David Koch. Susan Ulbrich shared your letter with Henry Becton and Jon Abbott, and I am responding on their behalf. We appreciate hearing from ‘GBH alums on all topics of interest.

As I’m sure you know from your years here, we uphold strict standards and safeguards for our editorial content. Trustees do not have a role overseeing any WGBH programming, and donors/funders have no involvement with the editorial content of programs.

In our programming we do not take positions on the activities and beliefs of others; we air a full spectrum of topics and perspectives, allowing our viewers and listeners to reach their own conclusions. In the same way, we do not require a uniformity of belief among our Trustees.

So in keeping with that approach, David Koch will continue as a member of the Board. Over more than a decade, in a dozen documentaries and investigative reports, WGBH has presented the science and facts about climate change in our award winning documentary series NOVA and Frontline, as well as on the Living Lab radio reports on WGBH News.

We will continue to cover the full dimensions of this topic.

We appreciate and respect your views, and value the exchange of ideas that comes from open expression with others.

Again, thank you for taking the time to be in touch.

Best, Jeanne -- Jeanne Hopkins VP, Communications & Government Relations WGBH Boston Office 617.300.4363 Cell 617.417.1383

My response to WGBH Board Letter Reply

In its heyday, WGBH functioned under a system reminiscent of enlightened absolutism, or benevolent despotism. This worked very well for some of us who believed we had talent and a voice to express that energy. In olden times, we got away with murder (you know who you are) and thus a whole lot of wonderful things happened at 125 Western Avenue.

Then came the Reformation (I recall arguing with Hartford Gunn about this before he left for DC) and having similar discussions with Fred Friendly and James Day in New York after the Huns had moved in to WGBH (around 1980)

Inevitably, benevolent academicians were replaced by uncaring big business as WGBH and PBS became irrevocably corporate. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that David Koch weaseled his way onto the boards at WNET and now at WGBH where, alas, he has found his happy home.

The End

Some Light reading:
PBS – Behind the Scenes by Laurence Jarvik
The Vanishing Vision – The Inside Story of Public Television by James Day
NPR by Michael P. McCauley

Thursday, November 7, 2013

46th Anniversary

46 years ago this week, I joined WGBH. At the time, there were 100 people on staff. I was given the triple-role of producer, announcer and audio engineer. My boss, Bill Busiek, had heard me on WBCN-FM  and suggested I apply for any announcing opportunities, which I did. A few shots quickly gathered for the occaision
Me at WBCN in 1966
Bill Canvess in the same studio I began in at WGBH
  1. Me and a friend in Master Control, WGBH Radio
Me, Ed Thoman and Dee Dee Doren in FM Sub-Master Control
Me and Paula Apsell at WGBH Radio
(Looking back, that moustache was really, really bad, wasn't it)!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Friday, October 4, 2013

Remove David Koch from the Board of Trustees at WGBH

David Koch, the oil and gas billionaire who has spent millions funding climate change denial, does not belong on the Board of Trustees at Boston's PBS affiliate, WGBH.

WGBH is the largest producer of national content for PBS, including the science program NOVA. David Koch has donated millions to climate change denial think tanks, proactively seeking to misinform Americans and undermine accurate scientific reporting. Someone with his anti-science track record should not have any role overseeing NOVA, or any other WGBH programming.

Until recently, David Koch also sat on the board of WNET, New York City’s PBS affiliate. While he was on the board, Koch was offered an opportunity to write a statement rebutting a film that criticized Koch's wealth, and WNET televised that statement immediately after the broadcast—an unheard of consideration. Not only that, the agency of public television ITVS pulled its funding from another film that featured David and Charles Koch, "Citizen Koch", apparently due to concerns that it would upset WNET and David Koch.

This clear example of how Koch’s oversight can lead to journalistic self-censorship, together with Koch’s long history of devoting millions to misinform Americans about climate change, can only lead to one conclusion: David Koch does not belong on the WGBH board.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Master Singers - Remastered and Reissued for Connie White (wherever he is)

There is a nice story behind these curious recordings and a good reason I am posting them to the WGBH Alumni Facebook page. In 1966, one year before I joined WGBH, I was music director and a program announcer for WBCN-FM in Boston – at that time the principal or ‘home’ station of the Concert Network – a consortium of east-coast classical music stations from New Hampshire down to Virginia. The call letters “BCN” stood for “Boston Concert Network.”

In 1966, I was still in school, studying at the Longy School and Emerson College. One of my Longy music instructors, having just returned from a concert tour of the UK and Europe, phoned me at WBCN to say he had brought home with him a comical 45 RPM recording of English ‘highway road rules,’ plus a typical UK weather forecast, the words of both having been set to Anglican Chant. The album made that same year – clever, unusual, and beautifully performed – had become a big hit in the UK and my teacher was sure it would go over well here.

He was correct. The next evening, during a program of standard symphonic music, without a word of warning and with little introduction, I played both “The Highway Code” and “Weather Forecast.” The phones rang all night long with requests from listeners asking me to play it again and again, and for information, please, where they could buy the record. I had to tell everyone that it was a 45-RPM produced in England and not available in the USA.

Later that evening, I had one final call – from a very nice man at WGBH (I knew no one there at the time) who asked if I could please make him a tape copy and that he would gladly pay any expenses. I told him I would make him a tape at no charge, not wanting to get into legal hassles. He then gave me the address to which the tape should be mailed.

His name was Connie White.

So here it is, Connie, wherever you are . . . an encore . . . 47 years later.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Remembering Hartford Gunn

From my scrapbook: Remembering Hartford Gunn (Boston Globe)
Author:  Edgar J. Driscoll Jr., Globe Staff  Jan 3, 1986


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Seems odd that so few people have commented on the passing of Doug Devitt, videotape and audio engineer at WGBH.

Here's the link for those who might want to leave a comment or a thought.