State funds are necessary to build the numerous towers that are in turn necessary to get a video signal to all corners of the state's rugged terrain. Idaho's system gets television to 97 percent of the state's citizens. Every budget is a river with funds rarely at flood stage but just as rarely at drought stage. IdahoPTV has experienced both. As a general rule, any organization sitting on the shore is ultimately measured by its reaction to funding levels.
It is tougher when the organization has little or no control over the flow. IdahoPTV has often had to make do with too little about every 10 years , rarely with freshets. The network can depend on them, giving administrators some planning flexibility. Fifty-two percent of the viewers are 35 to 64 years old, a group usually employed. Twenty-seven percent are 65 years old or older, experienced with little time and support for frivolous television.
Twenty-one percent range in age from 2 to 34 years old increasingly making up a new internet generation and interested in educational programs. The figures are reassuring, yet television of the quality level most viewers demand is expensive. Video equipment used is used by few others, so it costs big bucks. It starts to crash after five years, and by seven years, repairs even if parts are still available cost more than the equipment is worth.
But even these funds are tied to viewer support, meaning the funding begins to dry up as soon as foundation boards and elected officials get a hint that viewers are unhappy or changing channels. The most crucial source is state funds, for that money buys the hardware that gets the programs from the editing bay to home television sets.
Today, that system includes five transmitters, 18 microwave links, and 47 translators. Historically, the state funding has often saved the day, but roughly every 10 years, funding cuts or the possibility of cuts by the state have brought the threat of shutting the station doors close enough to cause stress levels to peak. Often the cuts have come as a result of confusing coverage with advocacy, two very different concepts in practice. State funding for IdahoPTV can be graphed to resemble a rollercoaster track with a historic fear level of 6. IdahoPTV was 15 years old when it first happened.
Up to that time , public television would have had to work pretty hard to find detractors. In fact, the Idaho Legislature passed a concurrent resolution in praising public television and the host of legislative coverage Gene Shumate for thorough and unbiased coverage of the work at the Statehouse. But the early s session brought a bill to cut all state funding to public television. A perfect storm was brewing, and IdahoPTV was a trailer in the path of the tornado. The 1 percent property tax initiative had just passed, and that meant less money coming in to state coffers.
Legislators were at a loss as to how to implement the initiative or what that would cost. They blamed new rules for timber sales and large mills like Potlatch for their predicament. The Forest Service said their sales were larger and that might squeeze the smaller mills, but that it had been approved at the federal level because of a national lumber shortage or, in some areas, a glut of overpriced lumber from inflation.
Although asked to respond by program producers, Potlatch said no.
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Had they appeared on-screen and told their story, people there at the time said the controversy would never have happened. Potlatch would later become a corporate supporter of public television. If anyone spoke up for the small sawmill owners, it was not found in the fat files of clippings from the media of the day.
Support, too, at the University of Idaho for documentary work got a lot harder to justify. There had been rumblings of opposition to earlier documentaries coming out of Moscow. Two programs — Kellogg: The Best To You Each Morning , a report on lead buildup in Silver Valley yards in , and Sweet Land of Liberty , interviews with gay people in the Moscow-Pullman area in — were seen by some as an affront to the mining industry and to mainstream religious groups.
Wax Salon in Downtown Boise
The fallout was nearly deadly for public television, but public reaction to the cuts tempered the effects somewhat. Cutbacks at the stations were in place. KAID-Boise cut back on part-time people, cut on-air hours, went off the air at noon on Saturday, and sign-on was at 3 p. Savings went into fall-winter program buys and keeping The Reporters a daily show. Still, by the middle of , both Pocatello and Moscow stations were planning to shut down.
Sixteen people lost their jobs at the statewide network. Probably the toughest cuts to take were to the students at U of I. There was no longer enough money to provide what they needed to do hands-on production. Numbers are hard to sift, but a large percentage of communication majors left the university less competitive for jobs than the students from the s. The state with the most dedicated viewers had the stingiest legislature. A Catch 22 is developing: The more money IdahoPTV raises from sources other than the state funds, the more the state wants to cut funding.
And if cutting budgets is popular, how could you get more credit for doing it than by cutting public television? The amount of state funds in the various budget cutting years has never been great in relation to the total state budget. There, the Legislature created Idaho Educational Public Broadcasting Service and put the statewide operation under a single general manager answering to the State Board of Education, a go-to person for questions that might come up from both the Statehouse and from the general public. Stations left the three university umbrellas and became part of the State Board of Education budget.
No other public television network in the country had a similar structure, so no one was sure of the ways to make it work. In later years, other PBS stations would view this change as a good idea. For example, one tube socket shorted out at KUID-Moscow and the station was off the air for two days. Budgets were getting critical. The network set up a fundraising program to buy new equipment. But no sooner was the new equipment turned on than the second year budget cut roared over the horizon.
CPB argued that their budget was a small part of the total federal budget and worked out to less than a dollar per US citizen per year. The cuts did not materialize in that budget cycle, but the Republicans won a majority in Congress in New members were candidates who had promised to make meaningful cuts to the federal budget. The combination was a strong signal, and IdahoPTV announced major cuts in January of to give people losing jobs more time to find new ones before the July 1 deadline. There were significant cuts in the operational budget, too.
At the time, the federal budget included more dollars for military bands than for both public television and radio. The friends of public television also pointed to national surveys that showed nearly 80 percent of the public thought the private-public partnership, including federal funds, worked just fine. Outdoor Idaho and Dialogue escaped the s cuts, but Idaho Reports was scaled back from a daily half-hour show; Portraits of Idaho was dropped; Child Care Almanac would not have a planned third season; and coverage of U of I Vandal Sports games was discontinued.
This round of funding cuts brought a decade-long discussion on whether or not the government should be involved in television at all. There were a lot of suggestions:. The network should sell advertising. Selling ads would put public television in competition with commercial stations, and given the current ad market, there would not be enough dollars to cover the current number of stations. Also it would take nearly a third of the money raised by ads to hire people to design, produce and sell the ads, even if the station could get around a violation of the Federal Communications Commission license that ad sales would create.
Ads would turn the public in public television into consumers, something that is the opposite of what public television was conceived to do — serve the underserved viewers. Plus ads coming from small towns and ranching country would be nil, leaving these viewers at the mercy of the cities. Cable or satellite television could do the work. Cable and satellite delivery of television is working well, but its major failing is the absence of local programming, something public television does quite well. And cable rates to viewers are well above what Idahoans pay for public television.
Set up a non-profit organization to run public television. The state supports 27 percent, spent on program delivery to homes and schools. It is doubtful this cost could go much higher and keep contributions at a level that would cover increasing costs. And in surveys of other funders, results show that a majority feels that government needs to be involved, needs to carry its weight. If government funds it, government should have a say in programming. This is a never-ending argument. Carried too far, it begins to resemble the Soviet or Middle Eastern system of information dissimilation.
Yet, legislators are faced with constituents who often mistake coverage for advocacy and demand action, even punishment, by the legislator, putting him or her between a rock and a hard place politically. While it can sometimes be too much to ask of a legislator to fund programming that may express ideas and opinions contrary to ideology, public television depends upon his or her thick skin.
The dichotomy is often quite apparent as a given legislator will claim to love watching public television, yet vote to cut its funding. The cost of public television outweighs its benefits. Costs are easy to pin down, but benefits of public television are nearly impossible to quantify. The costs sound high, but in comparison to other budgets, they remain reasonable. The benefits to children and other underserved audiences are substantial, based on responses from individual Idahoans on the depth and balance of the programming.
Also, Idahoans consistently watch public television more than viewers in any other state. They are finding something they like or need. Whatever was designed also would have to give station managers some leeway in planning for the future needs of those same viewers. Of course, some up and down is expected in public funding and has to be heralded or absorbed. Both happened in the s. The Federal Communications Commission sent down a decree unfunded mandate that analog television was a thing of the past and every television station in the country had to switch to digital broadcasting by Making the switch would be an engineering nightmare at every transmitter tower in the state.
IdahoPTV did what it could do. Again, the network went to those private donors who had already given a lot and ask them to give more. Amazingly, they came through and the money was real and solved an immediate problem — replacement of worn out and outdated production and editing equipment. It was equipment that would merge smoothly with the coming digital revolution. The state came to bat in the switch to digital. In the following three years and again in the last years of the decade, the state rustled up 60 percent of the cost of the transition to digital.
With these one-time appropriations, IdahoPTV was able to put some money into matching grants that covered some of the remaining costs. Wind and blizzard conditions at some of the state's highest towers can bend the support for a microwave antenna, as it has done here. Snow and ice has to be chopped away before the antenna direction can be reset. However, the appropriations that covered the ongoing expenses at the stations saw a drop in FY , and IdahoPTV laid off four full-time employees.
In that show, producers talked to homosexuals in the Moscow-Pullman community who were willing to appear on television about losing jobs, about losing apartments, about being generally excluded from most of what the rest of the community took for granted. Phones started ringing off the hooks even before the credits rolled. But the resourceful producers took that as grounds for doing a follow-up program.
They sat pro- and anti-gay people face to face and asked each side to confront the other. The television reaction in was a carbon copy of IdahoPTV did a follow-up call-in show on the issue, letting people ask qualified panelists about the topic. There was a small group of legislators threatening both publically and privately to eliminate state funding.
After the two shows aired, there was little evidence to support a statement about a lot of people changing their minds on the subject. It was different in One vehemently anti-gay guest did a degree on-camera opinion change about gays. There is little question about the cause of the dip in the rollercoaster track that occurred with the beginning of the Great Recession. He proposed eliminating all state funds to public television over four years starting in The old year cycle of boom and bust was beginning.
State appropriations did fall over the next two years, but as with all government cuts, support erodes as the cuts are felt at home. The zero funding never materialized, and the governor was proposing in FY the same amount as he had proposed in FY There was even some dollars appropriated for one-time capital outlay spending. Tools and people needed to attach a ton digital antenna are hoisted to the top of the Deer Point tower near Boise. It had been a multi-year struggle to get the quality that traced whether or not Big Bill Haywood conspired with Harry Orchard to assassinate Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg.
That is a lot easier to say than to do. Every tower in the state that took the video signal from stations to homes was built and decorated with hardware for analog. None of them would handle digital signals. The same was true for every video camera in the network, all the editing bays. For Idaho Public Television, the change amounted to a struggle for survival. It meant four full-time employees would leave the network, people who had given the state 42 years of total service. They could have worked on finding money or freed up other employees to work on the funding chore.
By the time it was done, the cost was nearly double that estimate. In the race, IdahoPTV found itself struggling to reach the starting gate. The change had a similar impact on viewers at home. Televisions that could handle digital had a wider screen than old sets, meaning that if the signal did reach the house, there would be black bars at the top and bottom of the picture on old sets. As with color television in the s, the prices would take years to come down to the point of reflecting demand for affordable television at home. By , however, all new televisions sold had built-in tuners for digital television DTV.
This chicken or egg situation would slowly even out. By , two years before the final deadline for digital conversion, IdahoPTV's control room was already processing digital programming. The federal government, through the Federal Communications Commission FCC , gave three reasons for the switch to digital: the change was to free up more space on the airwaves for better public safety communications, improve emergency response, and provide faster wireless internet services.
To add urgency to the switch, the FCC said any station missing the deadline would have its channels sold to the highest bidder. The boxes, available from manufacturers starting in , opened a digital line to analog sets. There was a minor crisis in that program when demand far outstripped the funding set aside to cover the coupon cost, but the feds caught up in response to complaints. There was only one way to look at the switch: Digital was survival for IdahoPTV, the only remaining home-owned television outlet in the state.
With the change to digital, television antennas took on a whole new look. Twenty-two percent came from various federal agencies in matching grants, and the remaining 18 percent came from CPB, private donations and university help. DTV was first tested in in McCall, and by April , the first digital television translator began operations at Rexburg.
Also, statewide control rooms, studios and camera equipment for studio and field were operating in digital and high definition. Looking back, people at IdahoPTV had some concerns about the digital conversion taking viewers away from the network — the risk with any change. In fact, viewers have increased with the four channels allowing them to view programs they like among the choices available.
It also let busy viewers watch their favorite shows whenever they had time to watch, not when the TV guide told them to watch. The show brings anyone working on it back to earth, often in a jarring way. It was in when Peter Morrill, a tall drink of water nicknamed Bones, and this writer, Royce Williams, who resembled a thermometer whenever he drank tomato juice, first shook hands and sat down to plan the first Outdoor Idaho show. Morrill was a son of a Connecticut Episcopal minister, and Williams was a grandson of a Kentucky Baptist preacher.
We looked at our work with some trepidation. After all, how could such a pair even know where to look for Idaho stories? We relaxed after we got into the work, for we found we were the most likely to be successful at it. We would see and hear things that would have went right past those who only saw the familiar.
At that first meeting we were trying to figure out what we could do with the people and equipment we had at hand. It seemed to be too little, but we decided on a magazine format, something fairly new in television at the time, with one story from each of the three regions of the state. The equipment was delicate and had been assembled by people who never meant for it to be out in the weather.
All of it was well past its best-by date. It was not until the early s that newer equipment began to stand up well to the Idaho elements. That got solved just hours before we went on the air for the first time. It was a design of burlap and large black and white photos.
We did luck out with the host. He could make a guest feel comfortable enough to tell a good story. Copsey made the minute monthly shows flow smoothly despite the jerky behind-the-scenes mayhem. Outdoor Idaho was born in poverty. The show premiered just as IdahoPTV was starting to climb out of zero funding from the state in Early in , Copsey left the show to answer the call of other artistic ventures. His last show was the first show in which Outdoor Idaho got outdoors!
He said goodbye from a jet boat in Hells Canyon. The new host came from a background in Jesuit schools, so he fit pretty well with Morrill and Williams. None of us by any stretch could be called churchy, but our backgrounds made recognition of the spiritual or inspirational second nature. There can be plenty of both outdoors — a church in the mountain as well as on the mountain idea. Outdoor Idaho was the perfect canvas to explore that idea. That or any other reason to be there has never been easy. Getting ready for an Outdoor Idaho shoot once resembled more a move to Alaska than the task of getting video of a feeder full of sugar water and a few zippy broad-tailed hummingbirds.
Loading the vehicle, usually before sunup, once involved two or three bleary-eyed producers checking off the gear that had to come along. There was the aluminum carrying case for the camera, a box that let the camera rest in a bed of foam. There were holes for the tape deck batteries, the ones that lost a charge as fast as gaining altitude pushed the temperature downward. The heavy tripod went in next, along with the circular white fabric light reflector with the tricky fold.
In case there was power at the remote cabins or motels we usually had to use for economy, we brought along the plug-in battery recharger. Usually, several unused minute tapes went in, along with the tape deck that sucked on the batteries in order to put video from the camera to the tape from six feet away. Then, duffle bags for the producers went in, holding whatever we could guess would protect us from too hot and too cold. We always wanted to go where the weather fit our clothes, but there was no wildlife there.
Viewers sometimes must have wondered why there was so much video of wildlife running or flying away. Easy to explain. By the time we stopped the van, got out and unpacked all the gear, set up the camera, checked the lighting, white-balanced the camera, pushed the buttons on the camera and the deck in sync, the elk were long gone over the nearest ridge. But all of that was over 30 years ago. The cameras are smaller and lighter, and there are no tapes or tape decks to worry about.
Tripods are still heavier than needed. There still is the problem of getting there and finding something to shoot once you are there. And producers still have to fight off inferiority complexes. If the story needs a herd of mule deer on the side of a mountain and lit by the morning sun, the producer produces that.
If the story requires a flock of hummingbirds, the producer gets the calls from the feds about whisky stills when he orders 50 pounds of sugar and a lot of gallon jugs. Producers learn to live with failure. Plans noted as A, B, C, even D are a necessity. By the time Outdoor Idaho actually got outdoors, an energetic videographer intern from U of I was made welcome to the show by older and exhausted staff members.
Jeff Tucker was a find. Born and raised with television, he had an eye for what made memorable shots outside. His specialty was close-ups. Williams was glad to see him, for he wanted to somehow get the poetic aspects of the outdoors on television. They used video and stills from around the country on a short break in each show and called them video postcards. The essays matched the location where the host stand-ups were shot. In the late s nearly everything changed, and Reichert was left in the lurch. Tucker became director-videographer for the history series.
Morgese and Rye had moved on to other jobs. However, Reichert was accustomed to challenges on entry. On the very first show in which he was host — at Jump Creek Canyon in Owyhee County — he contracted poison ivy resulting in both his eyes swelling shut. It was not good television. But he landed on his feet, and Outdoor Idaho left the magazine format to concentrate on theme or documentary shows.
The change was necessary. Outdoors and the people who were participating were changing. There were more people using resources that were shrinking from the needs of users themselves, and the plethora of users were often in conflict. It made outdoor coverage more complicated. Also other coverage was becoming more and more simply short bites with only a chance to click like or dislike, amounting to misinformation. Outdoor Idaho did half-hour shows on a single subject, but when necessary went to an hour.
There is no shortage of issues to cover in outdoor reporting. By , Outdoor Idaho was reporting on the new challenges facing people who fight wildfires — more homes to protect, larger and much more destructive fires. It was a surprise to many viewers, but a program on invasive weeds in went into their effect on recreation, wildlife, water quality and biodiversity in general. Some of the plants are escapees from home flower gardens, and control of all of them is running into the millions of dollars annually. Bruce Reichert, left, and Pat Metzler covering dog sledding in 25 below zero weather at Jerome.
It was in that the show on wolves was first aired. Mere mention of this animal can start an internet brawl, but the show managed to let every side vent up to the point just short of cursing. Coverage of lead poisoning in the Silver Valley, on the pros and cons of wilderness, on the modern battles over which public should own public land have all had the Outdoor Idaho treatment.
Yet, the show never left completely the early-day videoessays; it simply turned them into hour-long specials. It was just as difficult to capture on video, since all of it happened over eons, so no movement for the cameras. For Reichert and the crew, every show in the to date have special memories associated with it, but a few stand out:. Reichert: Shooting Yellowstone in Winter in January with the temperature at 20 below zero and sitting around a radio listening to the invasion of Kuwait just as the World War II generation once did in another war.
Williams: The Birds of Prey Area story and watching an endangered peregrine falcon chick work its way out of an egg. It took the little guy 45 minutes. Cartan-Hansen: When the rest of the crew left a rattlesnake in my lunchbox. Symonds: Seeing what most Idahoans will never see except through our cameras — nearly pristine caverns feet underground. Krajic: That magic light. Like that evening at Grays Lake with the puffy cumulus clouds turning crimson as a full moon rose over them.
The concert of frogs, crickets and birds was amazing. Metzler: Rescuing a peacock from an aggressive dog on a weak chain. Ochoa: Hanging out of a helicopter with no safety cord to shoot a running herd of desert bighorn sheep in Owyhee County. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime jobs, one for which we would later be thankful that it only came once. Kirk explains: Some of the video segments were maybe 20 seconds long, yet the music composed for it had to have a beginning, middle and end, but fit the space it was covering.
The work was the opposite of what he had done as a composer since he was a kid. But that went into reverse when I worked on the history series. I had the pictures and the words, I just had to take both back to music. It sounds easier than it was. Music was needed for the Basques, Chinese, Greeks, Japanese and Italians who had made their way to Idaho to find work in the mines, the farms, the railroads and digging canals. The Nez Perce were waiting for their first Appaloosa mare to foal in a Clearwater canyon.
The Borah earthquake had made everybody in ten states very nervous. The first people to North America were making their way south out of Siberia through a corridor between two ice sheets. With Clovis point spears, they hunt mammoths for food. A prisoner of war was telling his story. A governor was murdered…. It was composing music for the two programs devoted to Native Americans in Idaho that proved to be a major challenge. What I composed for those shows were based in the original music, but the pieces were my interpretation. I think I kept the feeling, but I had to take the Indian shows very seriously.
The series required a wider view of the musical world than Kirk had experienced. Other pieces would come easier for Kirk. When the first white people came west, they brought tunes with them, melodies they had heard in the old eastern theaters. Those seem to be the melodies that endured, a tune you could whistle or play on instruments you could carry, like a fiddle, a guitar or a harmonica.
Such melodies would soften the harshness of the frontier for the first settlers, and Kirk says he composed music for the series that does roughly the same thing. It can set a mood for a particular event. Photo courtesy U of I Library. Haggart is described by former students as a hands-on kind of teacher, someone who did the work beside his students as well as instructing them in how to do the work. My wife Margaret and I moved to Moscow, Idaho in , specifically to work on getting a public television station up and running at the University of Idaho.
The beginning was a very modest five hours a day, five days a week, nine months a year schedule of programming. Over the next five years the station became a full-time operation offering the full gamut of programming for its audience. Like many early public television stations, we invented as we challenged ourselves to bring divergent programming not found on commercial television.
He had hired me as a filmmaker and broadcasting instructor. I was active in filmmaking and started an academic program for film in the radio-television department. Peter Haggart was born in in Lawrence, Kansas. His research had given him insight into the mission of public broadcasting, and he saw the opportunity in Idaho to see that mission come to life. He arrived on the U of I campus when he was 26 years old. As soon as the public radio station was up and running, Gordon and I focused on starting the public television station. Law and other staff members were already active in the closed circuit television operation on the campus, which shared its programming with the local cable television system in Moscow.
Law worked on the political and funding side of the proposed station, and I worked on the programming and production aspects. I became head of the television and radio stations and the radio-television academic department when Gordon Law left the station in He began work on setting up a satellite-based instruction television delivery system for the Rocky Mountain states. With my staff many of whom also taught courses in the department , we focused our efforts on local and regional programming.
Locally produced programs covered the arts, public affairs and sports. The production staff earned numerous awards for their work as they tackled a number of controversial programs. We were able to get a number of funding grants for converting the station from black and white to color broadcasting, plus several production grants.
This helped with program production grants and access to a wider audience for station productions. A KUID crew was on the road for a couple months filming the series. I served on the board of the network and was instrumental in proving the north Idaho audience with a separate feed of PBS national programming at an earlier time than competing stations in Washington State. In the fall of , I left the station and returned to full-time teaching.
At that time the station had over 20 full-time employees. Throughout my tenure with the station, I believed that students should be thoroughly involved in all aspect of the station. This philosophy resulted in a large cadre of students who became employed in the broadcasting field. I answered the call to become interim general manager at KUID while the state worked out its priorities for public broadcasting and hired a new manager at the station.
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This was shortly after the Idaho legislature reorganized public television from three separate independent stations to a state-run system of stations with a single general manager. Vaun J McArthur understood electronics, the brains of television, but he knew the network was fed by a heart, the impact of the medium on people.
His work was keeping both connected. People who worked with him said he never lost interest in the bug, never wanted to get rid of it or leave it behind. The start of his tenure was a bit rocky. His title was chief engineer, meaning he was in charge of all the television towers, microwave and in-studio equipment. And there was a deadline for getting all of it up and running, a deadline based on funding that would disappear at the end of The work went down to the wire.
Working feverishly in the southwest corner of the Boise State University Library Building, McArthur and the early skeleton crew were hard at work late into the night of December Shortly before midnight, he thought everything was ready, but when he flipped the big switch, nothing happened; screens stayed black. McArthur never cussed, but he must have felt like it for a few seconds. The Boise station reached a mile radius around Boise and provided 46 hours of television a week in its first year. The two men managed to get television programs to 87 percent of Idahoans by the time McArthur retired in He said the work was a major undertaking in a mountainous state like Idaho, and the 87 percent coverage was the best in the nation at the time.
It was more likely that we would be working on the mountain for two or three days. The people who worked with McArthur at IdahoPTV describe him as a consummate professional, a man dedicated to his work and doing his best all the time. Others outside the engineering field credit him as a man who could change a bad day to a great one with a word. If Cecil chuckled, you knew Vaun had told a joke. The work McArthur did was never easy and sometimes dangerous.
Taking care of a network of transmitter towers on mountaintops in the severe weather that Idaho is famous for took both courage and ingenuity. Long after his retirement, McArthur recalled one job at the Sandpoint tower when his snowmobile flipped over on his chest. Part of the job, he said, but any trips to towers after that involved two people, if at all possible. After his retirement, Vaun was called back several times to work on special projects for IdahoPTV, and he always took a set amount as payment. The J is his name is only an initial.
He married his high school sweetheart Esther Tuckett on August 20, , at St. Anthony, Idaho. He has 18 grandchildren and 34 great-grandchildren. Those three questions are usually among the many that get asked at a roundtable just next to the KAID-Boise television Studio when a new Dialogue program is going together. The discussions have been repeated over times so far. The show grew out of the need to continue exploring issues that had arisen at the Idaho Legislature during the session, as well as other political and societal topics reflecting this growing state, recalls lead producer and host Marcia Franklin.
It was immediately after the election, when the Republicans had swept most national and state elected offices. So the two men had been thinking about the numerous ramifications of the sea change. Marcia had questions for her guests, but so did viewers. That was a unique aspect of the newly created show — a viewer from anywhere in the state could call into the program and ask a question. The Call in Feature was designed not only to allow the viewers to participate, but also to link the residents of this large and diverse state.
It was shortly after this first show that Joan Cartan-Hansen joined the show to take on hosting and producing work. There had been a friendly competition in the office to name the new program, with then-technology guru Bob Pyle coming up with the winning name, Franklin recalled. During the years when call-ins were a feature of the program, some shows garnered thousands of phone calls. The most popular shows with callers were ones with governors taking questions, discussions on social issues such as gay rights, and outdoor topics, including debates over wolf hunting and bear-baiting.
Idaho's teacher astronaut suits up for her first trip into space. She was interviewed in space by satellite hookup. Image courtesy of NASA. So the phone call feature was discontinued. Since July, , Franklin has been the sole host of Dialogue. During that time, Franklin has refocused the series on humanities-based issues.
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Conversations are also typically with only one or two people, lending themselves to more in-depth discussions. Shows that have brought in the most calls have involved Fish and Game issues and reporting on gay rights. The list of conversations is long and growing. Over its 22 seasons, the program has won numerous awards, including a regional Emmy award for a discussion on the complex water agreement between Idaho and the Nez Perce Tribe.
Gordon Law set up the first television station in Moscow and is recognized as the father of Idaho Public Television. It was a byword that fit Dr. Gordon A. He used nearly every ounce of that determination to get Idaho Public Television up and running, giving him the title in television circles as the Father of Idaho Public Broadcasting.
For example, he flaunted his political stance — Democrat — by parking his car daily in the main U of I parking lot with a billboard-sized Church for US Senator on the roof. The university administration had no authority over his politics or the signs on his car, he said. Law was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and at the age of 3 returned with his parents to Belfast, Northern Ireland, for his formative years. He was hired by the University of Idaho in the early s to be the chairman of the Department of Communication and oversee the instructional television program.
As soon as he arrived on the Moscow campus, Gordon began planning for the establishment of non-commercial broadcasting stations. The university already had in place the ability to teach courses via closed circuit and cable television on the campus and in the community of Moscow. He expanded those efforts and set about creating an FM radio station, which went on the air in With that project operational, he turned his attention to the much more difficult task of seeking university, state and federal approval and funding for an educational television station at the University of Idaho.
No easy task. Law, second from the left, was there in the makeshift control room for the first broadcast of a University of Idaho graduation ceremony.
With him on his left is Peter Haggart, along with other staff members, all hired by Law to teach as well as work in production. His educational philosophy included the strong belief that television could become a vital aid in the primary and secondary school system in Idaho. He sold his ideas to his colleagues, university administrators and members of the state legislature. He also sought and received support from the commercial broadcasters in Idaho who became active partners in early broadcasts.
He hired people for the academic department who also had a keen interest in the development of an educational television station, and thus already had on his staff people who would play vital roles in the operation of a television station from engineering to production to programming. These were the early formative days of public television known then as educational or instructional television.
He and his staff were learning by doing, exploring the possibilities of what public television could bring to the community and state. To say that Dr. Law was politically connected is probably an understatement. He had the genuine ability to sway people holding important positions in local, state and federal agencies. He was an unabashed Democrat in a state that was Republican but tolerant enough in those days to elect Democrats to high office, people like former Governor Cecil Andrus and former US Senator Frank Church.
He was loyal and supportive to those people and, in turn, to him. He also had the ability to work well with members of the loyal opposition. His loyalty knew no bounds, whether to a neighbor or US senator. Law was a strong believer in the inclusion of communication students in the operations of the television and radio stations.
He and all of his broadcast staff taught in the departmental academic program. In , Law saw a new opportunity for the expansion of the mission of television programming in the classroom. The federal government was going to fund an experimental program using satellites to bring instructional programming directly to schools in the Rocky Mountains.
He left the University of Idaho and moved to Denver to become the director of that experimental program.
The experiment had moderate success and led eventually to the formation of the Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting Network, which abandoned the satellite system in favor of a microwave relay system of delivering programs. He retired from his government career and returned only twice to Idaho: first for the 40 th anniversary celebration of KUID, and again in to accept an honorary doctorate in recognition of his work in developing public broadcasting in Idaho.
Law died the following year at the age of 82 in Savannah, Georgia. He had lost his Irish brogue when he arrived in Idaho, but it distinctly returned during the final months of his life. He was the father of two sons, Gordon Jr. Gordon was survived by his second wife, Claudia, of Savannah and many relatives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. John Crancer, right, with executive producer Bruce Reichert in the Bighorn Crags in the summer of It was my love of the outdoors that helped me decide to accept a job as a producer for Idaho Public Television over two decades ago.
How could I pass that up? I also worked on public affairs programs, local documentaries, and U of I football games. But somehow in just a few hours I had reeled in a nice fish, and we had it on tape for the program. What a thrill! A couple of years later, I moved to Boise and began working on full Outdoor Idaho programs, including an hour-long special called Idaho: An Anglers Paradise. That led to another memorable fishing tale. Guide Sam Whitten whisked us into Hells Canyon by jet boat where we hooked a giant white sturgeon.
Over an exhausting hour later we had an 8-foot fish on video. It features the remarkable people who live, work and play in the outdoors. Some of our river shoots have been the most memorable and challenging. On the Jarbidge, a once-in-a-lifetime rock slide blocked the entire river. We tried to line the new unrunnable rapid but got one of the rafts stuck in the boulders. Many hours later the badly damaged boat was finally patched and we were back on the river. That was very fortunate. On another desert river, the Owyhee, we made it down the river pretty well but were hit by a rainstorm that created incredibly muddy roads.
After getting stuck and nearly lost several times in the dark we finally made it back to the station at 3 a. Another lucky escape. Then there was the Middle Fork trip. We flew cameras in and documented both the jam and the eventual Forest Service decision to dynamite the blockage to free hundreds of trapped rafters. On a more recent Middle Fork trip for our new program Excellent Adventures , we just about lost our opportunity to shoot on the very first day. The raft I was in with videographer Jay Krajic lodged precariously on a large rock in the middle of the river.
Strong currents threatened to flip the raft and seriously test our waterproof cases, not to mention us. After several frantic minutes we escaped yet again and were floating down river taking pictures. We made it to the take-out with all our new footage. We get to document a place that has a myriad of stunning qualities. Every shoot reveals a new and different landscape and introduces us to wonderful people.
Over the years I've traveled to every corner of Idaho, from the vast desert in the southwest to the big lakes up north, from the Sawtooth Mountains in the heart of Idaho to the Selkirk Range near the Canadian border; this is one fantastic state. Through the years, I've had the privilege of flying over most of Idaho in a helicopter mounted with a camera. These aerial adventures have been awesome. Wherever the story is we have to find a way to get there.
And the unsung heroes on most of these shoots are the videographers. Not only do they have to get themselves to the locations, they have to get there with all the video equipment in working order. Even Bruce Reichert and I will occasionally capture a few images with video cameras. Especially on the big programs everyone pitches in and adds something unique to the mix. When a program is finally completed it feels like quite an accomplishment.
Pathways of Pioneers looks at the Oregon Trail in Idaho. It would be impossible to run out of unforgettable stories of this state. Each new program reveals another intriguing aspect of this place we call home. And with each production my appreciation for the state grows. So does my appreciation for all the people at the station and in the community.
Gene Shumate at the Capitol to host the first edition of Idaho Reports called Legislature '72 that year. After all, legislative sessions are only three months and the number of bills seems to increase every year. When Gene Shumate opened that first show - called Legislature '72 back then - he didn't dream that the show would undergo multiple name changes, that it would support a variety of hosts, and maintain a dedicated viewership.
Shumate, who had been hired by Idaho's first public television station at the University of Idaho, gained respect from those he covered. One thing Shumate did figure out early was that the job was too big for one guy. In a single session, he was producing 30 hours of reports, coverage of hearings and special programs. He asked for some help and Jeff Seward joined the show in its second year. We switched the following year to expand our contacts and knowledge. Seward, who now teaches political science at Pacific University in Oregon, remembers a live show. Promo diskon kartu kredit cimb niaga.
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