witf Events

Preparations already started for 50th

Written by Kathleen Pavelko | Nov 1, 2013 8:14 AM
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In little more than a year, witf will begin a yearlong celebration of its 50th anniversary. The official start will be Nov. 22, 2014. (This is 50 years from the first sign-on by witf-TV.) Festivities will conclude with a gala celebration in November or December of 2015.

It’s 2013, so why bring this up now?

Actually, a 50th anniversary isn't just 50 years in the making, it’s also several years in preparation. Since 2011, witf has been planning this organizational and community milestone. With the help of a historian and graduate assistants, witf has been interviewing past board members and former staff members for a history to be published in 2015. An organizational archive has been assembled as well from written, printed and photographic records. Organizers also began to compile a complete list of original TV and radio productions as well as a full list of all former employees. Short videos and a TV documentary are also being planned for broadcast in 2015.

During the anniversary year, witf will host numerous community events. StoryCorps might tape more than 50 joint interviews as a special project. Some of these interviews might find their way to the national NPR broadcast and all of them will be archived at the Library of Congress. witf will broadcast them throughout the year. Family events with added attention to learning for kids will be the focus of many events from the Central PA Spelling Bee to “Ready, Set, Go Kindergarten” and other events around the region.

Noncommercial educational broadcasting has a long history. The first experimental radio station was launched at the University of Wisconsin in 1917 and is still on the air today. But the majority of today’s public TV and radio stations were founded in a relatively narrow window between 1953 (KUHT/Houston) and the late 1960s. witf, founded by a group of educators and business leaders, was part of a national effort to make use of the new technology of TV for education as well as for entertainment.

Over the years, witf began to use other delivery platforms: witf 89.5 came along in 1971; the first version of the magazine appeared in the 1980s; digital television in 1998; witf.org in 1999 and explorepahistory.com in 2003. And witf has added Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Instagram to its bag of media tricks.

Stay tuned for more about the celebrations, events and your opportunity to participate.

Published in witf Events

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