Wednesday, January 17, 2007

WVIA seeks state money to expand studios

An alert reader points out that local PBS affiliate WVIA has applied for a $500,000 state grant to help pay for a planned $2.6 million expansion of its studios. The project involves building a theatre, a new warehouse, and a new radio/TV studio. The project is expected to be done in time to host bigwigs from NPR and PBS in September. Luzerne County's commissioners will have the final say tonight.

I'm mixed on whether WVIA should even be asking for a state grant in the first place. WNEP, WYOU, or WBRE likely wouldn't get a dime from the state. But then again, one can argue that WVIA is, in a way, a public entity, unlike its private commercial counterparts.

You can't fault WVIA for taking money that's there for the taking. If Ed Rendell offered you half-a-million dollars, would you pass it up? I know I wouldn't.

105 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A half-million? A drop in the bucket. Give WVIA brass anything they want. Where else can we see dozens and dozens of tenors and listen to doo-wop?

Remember, Public Broadcasting is our only programming alternative to the "Big Three" TV networks.

What? Cable? What's that? Hundreds of channels? Entertainment, movies, documentaries, history, foreign-language programming, sports, cooking? Jeez, where do I sign up?

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who works for WVIA, I can tell you the money is going to be well spent. I have seen the designs of the studio and can tell you it will be state of the art. Not only that, but this will allow WVIA to better serve the community.

This project is a win-win for all.

And before someone agrees with your claim that the commercial station could/would get away with this- they shouldn't...THEY ARE COMMERCIAL STATIONS- they are allowed to air :30 COMMERCIAL SPOTS, while PBS and NPR stations run :15's with many limitations that can hamper the underwriting department.

WVIA airs far more local programming- more programs that involve the community at large. This project allows WVIA to do that even better.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not a very faithful viewer of WVIA-TV for, basically, one reason: the "look what public television can do for you" appears with a phone number at the bottom of the screen and we never see the likes of it again until the next drive. I let my membership drop over that and chatted with the appropriate person at the station over it.

That having been said:

Who the eff else is going to do stuff without having it be a commercial tie-in except WVIA?

Telethons? Ha.
Million-pound meltdowns? Ha.
Predator catches? Ha.

16 or 50 have an auditorium for concerts? In fact, have they ever done regular or special music shows from their studios? 22 spends a bundle for a new set to interview people; all 44 can do is pull a curtain behind the host, position the cameras in a triangle and make it look good. It seems to work. Been there; got the reel.

Yeah, they run Welk, they run all sorts of this stuff in other markets. Know what it's called? Family Entertainment. You know where it can't be found? Commercial television.

I may be convincing myself to re-up. Call the number on your screen.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People could complain about WVIA and this thing they're building if the station was a lazy and wasteful non-profit. I'm a supporter and know some people who work there. They could work half as hard and be adequate for this area. They're probably raising the rest of the money locally and rich people don't give big money to bad ideas.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeez, where do I sign up?
7:50 AM

They're not looking for YOU. If you don't get what they're here for and most don't, live with mass media. WVIA has a place for enlightened audiences who support them. They seem to do fine without the rest of us. More power to them!

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, yeah, can we see that special on WARM DJ's from the 60's one more time? And jeez, gimme all the Wendy Butler Scholastic Bowl you got. (The camera adds ten pounds you know.) I feel so...served.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Half-a-million in taxpayer money is a small price to pay if it means we get to see Bill K shine in splendor.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless PBS is planning to use the new studio for purposes similar to the three power-house PBS stations, WGBH-Boston, WNET-NYC, WETA-Washington DC, which produce a majority of the national programming I don't understand the purpose of a $3,000,000 Studio being built at the little PBS station in NEPA. Unless that price also includes the studio equipment and not just the Studio alone, this is something I would expect might be done at Philadelphia's WHYY, but its odd to see them suddenly trying to pony up so much dough here. There must be something strange behind this.

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have seen the designs of the studio and can tell you it will be state of the art...

Why does WVIA need or deserve state-of-the-art studios? Pennsylvania Polka can do just fine with the existing studio.

____________________________________

This project is a win-win for all.

Where do I win with my tax dollars going to a station that is top heavy with highly paid management who spend more time perpetuating themselves in those jobs than actually doing the job? WVIA gives this community nothing. At best, it appeals to a very, very small segment of our population.

____________________________________

...they are allowed to air :30 COMMERCIAL SPOTS, while PBS and NPR stations run :15's with many limitations

Oh, boo-the-hell-hoo. Commericals are commercials, and WVIA is loaded with commercials. The only thing missing is that WVIA does not have to employ, pay, and manage a sales department like the others do.

____________________________________

WVIA airs far more local programming- more programs that involve the community at large.

Yeah, I'm really itching to see the 37th re-run of that stimulating "live" broadcast from last year's Bloomsburg Fair. Or the Steamtown Christmas show that was done in 2005, or more episodes of You're The Chef, a show that's been out of production for coming up on three years. Then there was that Yan Can Cook episode I stumbled across this past weekend, the one from 2003.

The time has come for WVIA and all other "public" television stations to go away - they've far outlived their usefulness.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ain't it amazing that Bobby Soper is already on WVIA's board? The guy has been here about a half hour compared to so many other community leaders, yet there he is on the board.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for WVIA. It's about time they stepped out of the 1980's.

The "Big Three" have had their shard of state grants for different reasons. Just because the broadcasting experts on Beales Bites haven't heard about it yet doesn't make it not so.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't some of the WVIA big wigs donate some of their $135,000 salaries to it? They get paod waaay too much for nothing.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:27 PM-

You have got to be kidding...
Have you been to the studio lately? One camera is being held up by a two by four- the lighting board and many of the studio lights were donated- back in the 70's by NEP and (gulp) WDAU!
Your tax dollars...you're concered about your tax dollars?

Guess how much of your federal taxes goess toward Public Broadcasting? Less than a dollar. If you cannot afford that, I'll pitch in a five spot to get you through the tough times.

The FCC regulations allow only :15 spots with several limitations. Have you seen the spots that air on public broadcasting? Compare them to commercial stations. There is a huge difference. Tonight watch 16's news- then put on Newshour- notice one difference. No spots air during the program on public broadcasting. Think that's not a big deal?

Finally, your comments about community programs is just silly. Find another PBS/NPR station in the nation that does more local programming than WVIA. Good luck with that search. You've got a better chance finding Bush's WMD.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:37 -- Ain't it amazing that Bobby Soper is already on WVIA's board? The guy has been here about a half hour compared to so many other community leaders, yet there he is on the board.

Use his proper title, please: Professor Harold Hill. Band uniforms and all.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone explain how those dreadful borefests are serving the community?

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:23 AM wrote:
"As someone who works for WVIA, I can tell you the money is going to be well spent."

Yeah, how much did YOU pledge?

"I have seen the designs of the studio and can tell you it will be state of the art. Not only that, but this will allow WVIA to better serve the community."

Polka music in high-def?

"This project is a win-win for all."

Unless you pay taxes.

"WVIA airs far more local programming- more programs that involve the community at large."

I'd rather adopt a stretch of the interstate: THAT would benefit more people more directly than all your retread programming.

7:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Ain't it amazing that Bobby Soper is already on WVIA's board? The guy has been here about a half hour compared to so many other community leaders, yet there he is on the board."


Well....
Define community leaders.....some do indeed have the titles but are not true leaders. Heck, they don't even have a real impact on the socio-economic growth of our area!

Who would you recommend instead of Soper? Who is out there that can make a real difference? Or better yet, who's not on someone else's payroll or does not owe a favor to the powers that be?

Seriously, anyone who is a true journalist or who has roots in this area knows the game here...

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So with this State money and a state of the art studios what sort of new programming can we expect?

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An excerpt from a make-believe WVIA "news" release (for immediate release!!):

Our "game plan" upon receipt of this money, while not yet a "done deal," would be a "win-win" for the station, its staff and our listeners and viewers, also known as our "stakeholders." We've convened "listening groups," with the station manager as the "facilitator," and we believe this “consensus-building” exercise, while designed to ensure the health of our "bottom line," is also sufficiently large to ensure our "sutainability" and self-sufficiency as we strive to meet and exceed our “bottom line” – also referred to here as the “game plan.” But, you see, we must first seek “collaboration” on the way to reaching a “win-win” scenario. Otherwise, we shall have to play “hardball” with the “stakeholders.”

In other words, even with 500K in hand, WVIA will continue to play with the Eastern PA briefs off the AP wire and run audio news releases from various politicos while kissing the collective asses of its corporate "underwriters," also known as "advertisers."
Public radio? Public TV? Are they kidding?

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You want money? SELL COMMERCIALS! I'm SICK of watching beg-a-thons in the middle of almost every show I wanted to see on WVIA. And the implication that those who don't donate are cheap pikers? Hello!!! There are many low-income viewers. Why should they do without food to fatten your wallets? I'd rather a bunch of commercials any day! Get out of the taxpayers - and viewers - pockets and operate like a REGULAR station. We'll all be the better for it!

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, you could adopt a stretch of interstate, if you don't mind cleaning up after slobs and perpetuating the thought in their troglodyte minds that they can trash the public commons with the realization that someone will clean up after them.
As for WVIA, REAL HONEST TO GAWD PUBLIC TV/RADIO would not have to air underwriting announcements (commercials in disguise).

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:45 -- Who would you recommend instead of Soper?

For starters, someone who pays his help what he promises and not $6 less/hour, claiming poormouth ("Can't afford to pay you what we said we would.")

Someone who will not bunch up your workweek into an impossible number of hours on few days, while also increasing your workload to an equally impossible rate.

Someone who is really out there to make a difference, not to separate people from their money in the most efficient way (i.e., slots), then spin the "return rate" so it appears far more money is going out the door in people's pockets than actually is. (I'll explain, if you don't already know.)

Someone who really isn't on someone's payroll --back in CT-- to gather up engravings of dead presidents and, does indeed, owe lots of favors to powers that be. I'm sure deals were cut; those folks in CT are no fools. I used to live there.

* * *

Maybe he will bring in much-needed $$ to WVIA. Maybe Louis DeNaples didn't work out for Bill K and Soper was next in line.

Now that the Msgr McGowan tape has been played down to the vinyl backing, watch for specials on casinos.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:05pm:

Apparantly you don't have kids.

Ignorance. Pure ignorance.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Find another PBS/NPR station in the nation that does more local programming than WVIA.

BULLSHIT. I won't waste what little creative spirit I have to defend my position. What you say is BULLSHIT. And you know it.

Soper? He's there because Kelly and Co. smell big money.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The time has come for WVIA and all other "public" television stations to go away - they've far outlived their usefulness.

1:27 PM


Spoken like a true Republican. I'll bet if I asked for the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word NOVA, you'd probably say "'85 champs. Go 'Cats!"

The beautiful thing about a Democracy is that the needs of the many still outweigh the purse-strings of the few.

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:50 -- Pittston doesn't need a new studio to run Big Bird and Tinky Winky. Or Bill Moyers.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A half million on top of how much state money that comes in every year and federal money on top of that? Maybe its time someone looked at the books?

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I would expect might be done at Philadelphia's WHYY..."
12:57 PM

Trust me... this studio idea would sink at WHYY... their 'TV studio' is in the middle of the building with very little sound protection. When it rains it you would think there is a tin ceiling over your head.
Thier next load of money is going to the WHYY 'Learning Lab"... an add on to the existing building that will be used for commubnity events...

As far as 'local programming'. WVIA kicks WHYY's butt... WHYY produces 'Fresh Air' for FM and a couple other smaller radio shows... TV production equals Delaware Tonight (a half hour newscast) that is produced in a studio that would have most college students shaking thier heads & Radio Times on TV, a radio show that is shot with robotic cams and edited together.

The WHYY focus is on short 2 - 3 minute 'interstials' that are done mostly by freelance producers who can't seem to figure out that if most breaks are 3:14 each night, then thier segemnts should be shorter than '3:14'...

Very little nation productions come from WHYY. The management focus there is on membership and revenue... and think about this... with so little national production, WHYY's CEO is the highest paid CEO in all of PBS... making close to $500,000 yearly not including perks.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Soper heads a gambling empire that handles milliions daily, some 40 million since it opened its location here. WVIA alleges to have our cultural interests at heart. Reconcile the two...you can't.

If WVIA is serious about being a cultural and educational leader, then why isn't someone from the philharmonic on the board? Someone from The Everhart? Why not someone from our numerous colleges/universities? Why aren't charitable organization who do wonderful work represented?

Money talks. No place is it more evident than WVIA.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 8:50PM

An excerpt from a make-believe WVIA "news" release (for immediate release!!):

Remarkable! Your attempt at sarcasm was in fact a compliment, as what you say is quite close to what really happened there. There were focus groups of EMPLOYEES, not the moneyed elite. The staff, not the honchos, came up with the idea of a theater and wrote plans that justify it, and lots of people, including the staff, have given bucks to do it. Now seriously, when was the last time YOUR employer asked YOU such an important question, and LISTENED? That kind of says it all.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

-1:27pm
The FCC regulations allow only :15 spots with several limitations. Have you seen the spots that air on public broadcasting? Compare them to commercial stations. There is a huge difference.

---

Watch WHYY out of Philly...
many 'underwriting' spots are exactly what you would see on commercial TV.

Some small differences include:
Underwriting spots can't show smiling kids with the product that is being 'advertised'... umm excuse me - supporting the station...

Underwriting spots must include a audio or graphic 'support statement'. such as putting on a graphic tag reading 'supports WHYY'.

'Calls to action' are not allowed - lines such as 'Call 1-800-xxx-xxxx right now' is changed to 'for more information 1-800-xxx-xxxx'.

30 second spots are allowed.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Apparantly you don't have kids.
Ignorance. Pure ignorance."
9:50 PM


Sure I've got kids. I just don't rely on the boob tube to baby-sit and educate them.

Arrogance. Pure arrogance.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:52-
I take it by your diverse vocablary that you were not able to find another PBS station that airs more local programming...

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Know what? I'd rather see about 1000 reruns of that annoying Taylor Hicks commercial than sit through demands for money for the privilege of watching a station that's broadcast over FREE AIRWAVES. They want pledges higher than some ANNUAL cable bills! One channel, which we can get FREE, or over 70 for less cost? Do the math!

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I work there and have actually done (oh God!) on-air fundraising. The trainers taught us something important; a tiny percentage of people are even slightly inclined to be givers, so speak to the 4% or so who will even think about it. The others who claim their tax dollars are at work have no clue it's about sixty cents a year. So, we were taught, ignore the complainers; they wouldn't give if it was a show about their Mothers. They showed us that almost 25,000 people give almost $100. a year, and that's more audience support than they've had in 40 years. So you do your work and we'll do ours; there's plenty to go around. I believe it when they say this theater will make programs no one else will do, and who knows, maybe the other stations will want to use it.

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spoken like a true Republican.

And I am likely the biggest Democrat on this blog, genius. Being an asshole is also a fine American tradition; we thank you for maintaining it.

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I take it by your diverse vocablary that you were not able to find another PBS station that airs more local programming...

Hey, shit for brains, it's me, same guy. How about you tell us what you consider that boatload of local programming you claim Kelly and Co. air.

C'mon, that is a direct challenge, let's have it, tell us all about it. And while you're at it, genius, learn how to spell.

I defy you to list all of that swell local programming that WVIA does.
Put your list right here on this blog; I'll take it apart with joy. Your serve, d-bag.

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howard, my boy, you exposed a raw nerve with this thread. To all the suits at WVIA, especially Kelly; read and read again, your station is not the beloved provider of sophisticated programming that you have for years lulled yourself into believing it is.

WVIA has created a bad taste in the collective mouth of NE and NC Pennsylvania. And that's being generous - much of the citizenry hereabouts has nothing but contempt for you and your product.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I want a job with WVIA-FM, do I have to have a faux-British accent?

9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howard, what the hell? This thread has gone to shit, and it still goes on.

At least you gave all the folk at 50 and 16 something to collectively bitch about as one.

Next you'll destroy Catholic Television (CTV).

10:08 PM  
Blogger Howard Beale said...

I don't think this thread has "gone to shit." Clearly there are people who question why WVIA needs to build a theatre, expanded studios, and the like. As long as the criticism doesn't get personal, it's fine.

It could be worse. This could be an Al Zobel thread.

11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before Mr. Kelly took control of the station. WVIA was on several cable outlets including New York and Yonkers, NY. They ran great shows like the Twilight Zone, I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, Star Trek, jus to name a few. Then Mr. Kelly came in and off went these shows because it was cutting into profits that could go into "someone"s pay check. AS soon as those shows went off, the cable compies form outside NEPA took VIA right off and lost tons of viewers. Do the VIA suits really need those $135,000, $70,000, $40,000 salaries to play computer games in their office? The normal staff is paid dirt wages.

12:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:16 said..."WVIA has created a bad taste in the collective mouth of NE and NC Pennsylvania. And that's being generous - much of the citizenry hereabouts has nothing but contempt for you and your product."

Now, I'm not the biggest fan of the so-called "beg a thons" but stating that "we" (meaning those of us who use this blog) have nothing but contempt is a bit much.

If it's so bad ... why do we watch? And, if this theatre project does happen will we boycott it "just because?"

7:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...demands for money for the privilege of watching a station that's broadcast over FREE AIRWAVES.
2:08pm

Since when did we start talking about Nexstar?

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody see Frampton on 'VIA last nite? Way cool!
Musta missed it the first time it aired, on commercial television.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Put your list right here on this blog; I'll take it apart with joy. Your serve, d-bag.


Interesting string, Mr. Beale. I'll stay with it. But, good God you people must be frustrated. At least you've found somebody to take on besides each other. I see the New York stations and you in Monroe County. I don't think the big media types make time for this childish nonsense. Grow up and smell the roses! Ever think of complimenting each other?

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:08 should realize the reason people get upset is because this is TAX DOLLARS. Private money? Go for it, if you can raise it, get it! But while I drive on inferior roads with too few policemen patroling and have inadequately-funded public services, I DON'T need my tax dollars used for studios, stadiums, or other entertainment/sports venues. Talk to me when everything important is fully funded and I still get some take-home pay after taxes.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Outside of a few kids shows, I don't see anything on 44 that the world can't live without.

A bunch of people sitting around a table, talking about things that don't matter to the average person, is not serving the community.

There should be public television, but I shouldn't have to pay for it, even if it is less than a dollar a month.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with WVIA is when the public television idea was invented, cable didn't exist.

With digital TV and DISH Network, there are more choices. Heck, I can get classical music or jazz on Sirius Radio anytime. Masterpiece Theater? Netflix has everything.

The government shouldn't be funding programming like this, regardless.

Today is different than 40 years ago.

PBS and WVIA-TV are no different.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What programming, outside of news, do the commerical stations provide to this area? And when it comes to news, please don't tell me you are providing hours of news coverage every day. Pull apart the content of local news? About 12 minutes of news in a half hour? And of the 12 how much is entertainment, consumer news? weather about 4 minutes, sports a couple of minutes. What is the public service provided by WNEP, WBRE, WYOU? Public service announcements? Thank God I didn't miss the pancake breakfast at the firehall....

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gone to shit? You must be kidding me, right? Look at some of the other threads here right now - this one is probably the best in months, if only because it has exposed what is a deep dislike for PBS over all, and WVIA in particular. And it's not just us "insiders." Most people I know firmly believe that things are completely out of control at WVIA, and that the entire operation needs to be put under a microscope.

And you think CTV should be immune from criticism? Why? I personally don't care what CTV does, I don't watch, but at least they're not using my tax dollars to do it.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The upgrades at WVIA are/were desperately needed. The majority of the equipment was easily over 25 years old, and not functioning properly, if at all. The reason the quality of the locally produced programming wasn't better was due to the lack of resources to make it happen. You can't build a space shuttle with popsicle sticks, which is what they've been trying to do for years.
Granted, I think the management should have taken a pay cut to make the upgrades happen a lot sooner. Hopefully, the upgraded studio and the theater project will make the programming stronger, and be more appealing beyond the "dozens and dozens of tenors" and make WVIA a strength in the community.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With a new studio theater, WVIA can afford the community an opportunity to hold town meetings and the like in a state-of-the-art auditorium that can be broadcast live. Before I got married and had kids, I worked at WBRE. Afterwards, I worked at WVIA before leaving the area. Let me tell you, working at WVIA was the most inspirational and fulfilling media job you could ever attain in the area. They pay a livable income (not like WBRE, WYOU, WNEP et al who pay a whopping $20,000 to start) and they offer good benefits as well as pleasant working conditions. And guess what? Because of how well they took care of me, I worked extra hours during the week and was at the top of my game every day. It was the most challenging job I ever had and the one I have loved the most. Apparently, jealousy runs rampart on this pathetic board.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you told me the new facilities would be used to produce a new "Hatchy Milatchy" I might see the value.

As it is, it sounds like we're going to get the same WVIA crap out of a fancy new studio. Maybe an upgraded concert series--"Pittston City Limits."

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently, jealousy runs rampart on this pathetic board.

And apparerntly, so does mental illness - you're delusional, your post is a clear indication of that. Town meetings? Yeah, that'll do it. You want town meetings? Hold them down at the fire hall.

And to the poster remarking upon that pancake breakfast at the fire hall; you really should go and drop a couple bucks, these are the men and women who just might save your life some day. Try helping them instead of looking down your nose at some really fine and dedicated people.

And I agree 100% with the poster who notes it was different world when WVIA made its first broadcast out of the basement of Marywood's library. Then, yeah, there was a need. Now, no, there is not. Put it to a vote(it'll never happen), PBS and all of its outlets would never survive a referendum.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:45 -- Before Mr. Kelly took control of the station. WVIA was on several cable outlets including New York and Yonkers, NY ... [Shows on, then off, WVIA.] ... The cable companies form outside NEPA took VIA right off and lost tons of viewers.

I'm not defending BK here, believe me, but I understood it as being a legal thing re: cable carriage and the syndex rule that went into effect at the time. AFAIK, the programming that was, or was not, on WVIA had no part in the cablers' decisions.

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for the WVIA "fundraising week" bonus production of "A Look at Graffiti: The Hazleton Story."
WVIA's board is like that of a lot of nonprofits. One need not have "expertise" in broadcasting or public service or even "the news" to serve. You only need deep pockets and a track record of "giving."

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:17 AM

Most people I know firmly believe that things are completely out of control at WVIA.

Out of WHOSE control; yours? Last time I checked my communications law book, FCC licensed public stations are controlled by an elected and unpaid board. They're the ultimate bosses. I just checked the station's website and there's few, if any, lightweights. College presidents, lawyers, doctors, foundation execs, industrialists, a publisher and executives female and male. From way out here in Lehigh County, I'd take this group to the whole lot of the critics on this thread. We have our own PBS station here, but if you media "experts" ran it, WLVT would be a national disgrace. The fact that some of you dislike your station, considering where you likely work and how well you're doing, is hardly an insult to PBS anywhere.

10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WBRE does some local programming too. They now run Windsor Park Stories, which used to run on WVIA.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there any local TV station that you people don't hate? Come on, for how much you dislike all of them, you sure do spend a lot of time watching all of these terrible stations. Instead of bitching about it, why don't you get off your ass and doing something to change it. Granted I realize not everyone on this board actually works at one of these fine establishments. But for those of you who do work at these places, if you aren't willing to help fix the problem, you aren't allowed to bitch about it anymore.

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:05 - in case you haven't noticed, WVIA IS broadcast over FREE AIRWAVES. Don't believe me? Unplug your cable, get out your rabbit ears, and tune to CHANNEL 44. Guess what you get? WVIA, for FREE. The point being, why should anyone be looked down upon for not donating to a channel they can get FREE? Giving should be their CHOICE, yet the beg-a-thons try to lay a guilt trip on anyone who dares to watch without pulling out their wallets. It should be renamed PAY-PER-VIEW if you ask me! BTW, my cable company INCLUDES WVIA in my cable tier WITHIN my CABLE bill. I don't mind them doing fund-raising. What I mind is the method, the implications viewers are cheap, are stealing their product unless they pay. It's like they want a ransom. "We need 75 pledges or this program will no longer be shown!" "If you love your children, pay us or they'll never see decent tv again!" and so on. On top of this, they do this in the MIDDLE of key programs. This is better than commercials? Also, I sat through 20 minutes of begging once to see the rest of a music program. Guess what? Not enough calls, so THEY DIDN'T SHOW THE REST OF IT!!!! (This was many years ago, but it DID happen!) Bottom line: be creative in asking for money and stop the strong-arm tactics. If I was Bill Gates, I wouldn't give a dime after the stunt I saw years ago!

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WVIA should do a documentary called:

"The firing of Vince Sweeney -
What was Nextar thinking?"

I think people would tune in to wath that.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:41 -- WBRE does some local programming too. They now run Windsor Park Stories, which used to run on WVIA.

If you call racking up a tape doing local programming.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are the shows WVIA lists as being their weighty local line-up. This is what makes them The Leader in Local Programming. Anyone want to start?

Call the Doctor
Homegrown Music Concerts
Pennsylvania Experience
Pennsylvania Polka
State of PA
War Stories
WVIA Ballroom


Notice not one single cooking show? The absolute hottest cable network in the country is The Food Network, and WVIA completely ignores the demand, as they do with so many other things. And just what is the story behind Windsor Park Stories leaving WVIA? There has to be a story, a really good one. That didn't happen with smiles and hugs, something went really wrong there.

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I knew that my donation would be used solely to purchase original, insightful programming, I'd give. But I'm not about to if it's just going to help someone on staff get their paycheck on time.
Sorry, VIA, but this is what I hear during each beg-at-thon: "Please give now so I can get my paycheck on time."
I gross a little over $30K a year. If a "charity" wants my support, they're going to have to do better than that.

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I took 10:14's advice and looked up the members of the WVIA board. Impressive. And RICH!

And that's the solution to our dilemma. Since nothing is certain but death and taxes, let's forget about using tax dollars to build a new studio. Death is the answer. Let's wait for these richer-than-God board members to croak. I'm sure that (just like the promo suggests) they've all left their estates to Public Broadcasting. One or two dead fat-cats and the new studio is a done deal.

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:52 : BTW, my cable company INCLUDES WVIA in my cable tier WITHIN my CABLE bill.

Yes, and it also includes WNEP, WBRE, WYOU, WOLF, WSWB, WQMY. In case you didn't know, cable systems are pretty much required to carry these channels.

Citation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Must-carry

Quote: WBRE does some local programming too. They now run Windsor Park Stories, which used to run on WVIA.

LOL, that's a good one! I'll stick to the "pointless" roundtable discussions. People obviously support PBS, if they didn't, it wouldn't be here.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 12:52pm,
8:05am here. Do you know what else is included in your cable bill? The cost of doing business with Nexstar (hence the reference). At least Service Electric was honest enough - or mad enough - to admit on its website that by having caved to Nexstars demands, there would be an effect in the cost to consumers.
Go ahead. Unplug your cable. I'll bet that you get both 'BRE and 'YOU as well. The point being, that everyone's in a lather about tax dollars when they won't acknowledge the hidden costs in their cable/satellite bill.
The cost of doing business with Nexstar.

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WVIA largely purchases old versions of shows while giving the impression that the viewer is getting the latest available. Obviously, buying old shows saves them money, money that goes where? It's nothing new, they've been doing it for years. There was a time when "public" broadcasting meant state-of-the-art equipment, mostly because they were non-profit, so any extra money had to go into the physical plant. Clearly, that is no longer how things work.

What I think the prevailing impression of WVIA is goes like this - it's a closed, private club for the chosen few. WVIA, management and board alike, do not like public scrutiny of their finances, practices, and policies, and would just as soon anyone with questions would simply go away. I can tell you with some certainty that this thread is being watched in hopes it will soon end.

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:59 -- Notice not one single cooking show? The absolute hottest cable network in the country is The Food Network, and WVIA completely ignores the demand.

I disagree in a gentlemanly fashion. If WVIA did have a cooking show, or tried to raise $$ for one, we could properly say, "TFN has them all day and night; why waste money trying to compete?"

I think what PBS and its local affils can do best is to be an alternative. PBS zigs when the nets zag. With all the niche cable channels on now, much of what PBS/locals used to do has gone out the window. So they examine each cabler and see what's missing, then offer it locally.

I think WVIA was on the way with its 8pm (or 7pm?) local programming block, but over-reached itself and did not get the financial support from the viewers. It was a great idea, but the box office wasn't there. Granted, some of the shows were, technically, awful and some seemed to have been produced by the local Chamber of Commerce. But it was an effort that could have flown.

I don't know what happened to Windsor Park Stories and I'd love to find out. Going from prime time to junk time probably wasn't in Tony and Kitch's playbook. Maybe someone at 28 can enlighten us.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WVIA did produce two local cooking shows, Chefs of the Great Northeast and You're the Chef.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chefs of The Great Northeast was, typcially WVIA-ish, a great concept but poorly executed, including lousy production values. Oftentimes the hum in the show's audio was louder than the host's voice.

You're The Chef was a cooperative effort with Penn College of Technology in Williamsport. They promoted it like it was the greatest thing since sliced white bread. For whatever reason, and although it wasn't half bad, it went away. I'd bet there's a story there, too. Just like there's a story with WPS.

8:37 PM  
Blogger NEPAmedia said...

In case anyone is still reading this thread, here are the top salaries of the president and five highest-paid subordinates at WVIA, per the station's 990 for 2005:

BIll Kelly, president, $183,950
Susan Jolley, VP for major gifts and membership, $87,736
Thomas Curra, senior VP, $87,137
Joe Glynn, VP for engineering, $83,971
Ronald Stravinsky, finance director, $78,070
Frank Burnside, VP for communications, $68,205

Given that WVIA's Web site lists another six chiefs, vice presidents, and managers, it stands to reason that they too are making north of $50,000 a year.

http://www.wvia.org/about/staff.html

The kicker: The 990 ominously lists more than $160,000 in deferred compensation.

5:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OUCH!!!!

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The salaries are nauseating enough, but then just run down the list of names - immediately I thought, "Who in hell are these people? Does one of them have an ounce of broadcasting experience?" If you don't already know the answer, here it is; outside of Kelly, who used to be disc jockey, none of them, NOT ONE OF THEM, has any broadcasting credentials whatsoever.

If you get a chance, check the URL provided and you'll see that WVIA has a VP of Engineering and a Chief Engineer. Anyone care to justify that? Actually, I'd like to see even their vocal defenders here offer some justification for those salaries. And don't tell me they are in-line with commercial television executive salaries, there is no comparison.

WVIA is in serious need of a housecleaning, and only the board can do it, and only pressure from the public can encourage the board to do so.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The kicker: The 990 ominously lists more than $160,000 in deferred compensation.

I wonder who is picking up that cash??? Maybe it could be kicked into the new equipement???

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howard:
I think this thread is setting a new record for posts???

Maybe you should start another using the 990 information.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:22 -- The kicker: The 990 ominously lists more than $160,000 in deferred compensation.

That, of course, is for the staff. Hahahaha. I wonder who gets that? Hmmmm.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the 990 info could cause them a shitload of trouble, if it's handled and distributed properly. I'd love to see it happen, but don't look to certain news players locally to run with it; they're in bed with WVIA, to the point where one of them sits on the board. Like so many other "worthy stories," this one will never see the light of day.

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please, pretty please, give money now. I haven't gotten paid yet this month.

9:37 PM  
Blogger NEPAmedia said...

For the record, form 990 information is available for free at www.guidestar.org, a clearinghouse of nonprofit financial information. A username and password is required, but registration is free. If you really don't want to register, use a free username/password from bugmenot.com:

http://www.bugmenot.com/view/guidestar.org

You could also go to WVIA and ask to see the 990, but they would probably call the Pittston Township Police Department on you.

11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe most of this thread is based on jealousy. Why doesn't everyone that is posting on here post their salary as well to make it more fair.

Most of you people don't have a clue what you are talking about. I just wonder if bashing WVIA and the people that work there makes you feel better about yourself.

Everyone at that station works very hard and are very dedicated to their work. The pledge drives aren't beg-a-thons as some of you kindly stated. Obviously you have no real clue how non-profits work.

Do you know that WVIA gives their members a lot more in return for their pledge? I have several friends that work there and I know for a fact that pretty much everyone that works there also are members.

Leave the jealousy and the belittling of employees/management out of this. What do they really have to do with the policys in place? Not much really. As usual it all comes down from the top.

Oh, and to the friendly basher that posted all the salaries, Mike Burnside no longer works here. Get your info at least correct before you start spewing it onto a blog.

I feel the salaries are justified. If you only had any idea how hard these people work. I figure your bashings must be out of jealousy or ignorance. Which one is it?

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't wait for the board to do that, who do you think has approved all of this.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked with Joe Glynn and Dan Mattern and can tell you they are two of the best engineers in the business. They have and continue to work very hard to keep the radio and tv station running and are pulled in many different directions all the time. I would bet they have forgotten more about this business that most bloggers will ever know.

12:18 PM  
Blogger NEPAmedia said...

In very brief reply to 9:35 p.m., I have no idea who Burnside is or when he quit WVIA. The 990, current for 2005, comes from the IRS.

2:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an outsider who has lived in northeastern Pennsylvania for years, I can confidently say that you couldn't pay me to watch WVIA. The local programming is boosterish and amateurish. It's like watching a community college student who has seen too many Ken Burns films and read too many Tom Brokaw books.

The station has all the gravitas of Borders open-mic poetry night up at the Viewmont Mall.

No one watches public TV anyway. The real tragedy is WVIA-FM; public radio listenership is going up and up, and VIA has no -- none, zip, zero -- local news presence. It's all news briefs from Selinsgrove (what is with the obsession with that part of PA? Is the program director from there? I go days without hearing a Scranton news item, yet every time someone takes a shit in Lycoming County WVIA notes it every hour and twice an hour during ATC) and audio news releases from Kanjorski.

It's a shame. The FM station could be a clarion for change, regionalization and reform in the region. Instead, its local bully pulpit is wasted from a news/public affairs point of view.

3:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you feel these salaries are justified, then either you, your husband or wife, or some other family member is collecting one of those salaries. A senior VP at 87K? Find me a counterpart to that position in commercial television. What might even be worse is that the list of salaries doesn't include those who are doing in the range of 60-65K at WVIA, and there are plenty of those. The place is, and always has been, top-heavy with management. And let's get re-focused on what really annoys people - WVIA is a publically funded non-profit. If this was a private corporation generating its own revenue, no one would care. But it's not private, it uses my tax dollars, both directly and indirectly.

Look at it this way; Lackawanna County's budget for 2007 is $106 million. The three people ultimately in charge of that money make roughly 70K per year. Luzerne County's budget is handled by men making roughly 40K per year. Whoever said things are out of control at WVIA is absolutely correct. Sadly, there seems to be nothing that can be done about it. Public outrage might help, but I sure don't see that happening.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a shame. The FM station could be a clarion for change, regionalization and reform in the region.

It would have to begin with sweeping clean its own house. Change? Reform? Terrific, let's start with rethinking the need for "public" broadcasting. My vote is, NO - NO NEED EXISTS.

As to their local news presence, a little story; within the past five years they were looking for an anchor/reporter. The pay? A whopping 18.5 to start, and a six-day week to make it even sweeter. Yeah, it's a great outfit.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on Times Leader, Citizen's Voice, Scranton Times, WILK, The I-Team lets get digging....
How do these figures compare to other stations or other PBS stations? What are the CEO's of not for profits making the area and how does it compare to WVIA's?

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 9:35...
make up your mind... either your friends work "there," or you actually work "here," like "Mike Burnside no longer works here."

Nice try.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The local programming is boosterish and amateurish. It's like watching a community college student who has seen too many Ken Burns films and read too many Tom Brokaw books."

3:33 AM


Hard to put it any better. Read back through all the previous posts: the WVIA staffers are easy to spot. They'll all self-important and self-rignteous.

And the one who said outsiders are jealous? You're right. Lots of us wish we could collect big bucks not just for for turning out crap, but for turning it out at a snail's pace and under virtually no supervision with no accountability.

Face it, most WVIA staffers would be laughed out of real-world broadcasting. Come to think of it--most already have.

12:07 PM  
Anonymous media blitz said...

No offense Nexstar cry babies, but the WVIA salaries are on par with those of us in the print media. Sure, we didn't start at the salaries we currently make, but after working our way through the career ladder rungs (and Union pay scale raises) those of us in the 10-plus year club have surpassed the 40K and 50K mark. Management, in the meantime, can make anywhere from 65K to 190K (managing editor scale).

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol, Most of this thread has no basis. Now, if each post had only facts listed and the personal slurs were kept out of it, maybe someone would take you serious.

Obviously you failed debate class in school. When you debate, you need something to back your ass up. You can bitch and moan all you want about how crappy the shows at WVIA are and how they only report news stories on Selinsgrove and how everyone who works at that station makes too much money. Boo-hoo to you. Show me one organization where the big bosses didn't make decent money.

Read up on the Nielson reports. Look at WVIA's demographic compared to WBRE or WYOU. More cultural people enjoy watching WVIA more than the local yahoo's drinking their beers watching the news. It's a matter of taste and preference. What's yours?

Before you complain about how much people make, you should really know what the job entails before complaining. I'm sure that for all the people on this thread that actually work, you work hard for your salary. Who doesn't wish they made more money? I would love to make more money. I don't really know if anything "wrong" or "shady is going on at WVIA. And as a good person, you shouldn't imply that there is unless you have something to back it up or at least even prove there is. I think you would find that a lot of non-profits have high paid management.

I'd like to see everyone do a little homework and actually have some facts to back your statements up. It's the only decent thing to do. I sure hope a judge wouldn't lock you up for something you were accused of without finding out facts or seeing evidence.

And I agree with the other poster, it does appear to be a little jealousy about how much they make.

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WVIA's Nielsens? It's long been my understanding that only PBS stations in metered markets get measured, and only in markets where PBS outlets have invested money in specialized encoders. This is not a metered market, therefore your entire post is bogus.

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to the print media poster...what you are paid is just fine with me since no taxpayer dollars are going to it. Last time I checked, the TL or CV wasn't telling me they would be out of business without my money. What if the United Way CEO was pulling down $190,000 a year????? or the SPCA or VISION or Sister whatever. Come on, someone wake up and dig into this....

7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The WVIA staffers doth protest too much, methinks.

But go ahead. Tell me another one about how great your programming is--about how you earn your pay--and that you really, really, really need my tax dollars to build a new studio.

Here's a way to save up for that new studio: stop mailing me your pledge drive solicitations. I don't make as much money as you, but I can afford to buy my own toilet paper.

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"More cultural people enjoy watching WVIA more than the local yahoo's drinking their beers watching the news. It's a matter of taste and preference."

1:35 PM


And here I thought you WVIA staffers were elitist prigs. Now I see it goes beyond that. Your contempt for the people you're licensed to serve--the people whose tax dollars you're so eager to spend--proves you're just assholes.

I don't want you to buy me a beer. Why do you want me to pay for the doilies under your tea service?

"Taste and preference?" You've left a bad taste in MY mouth, I'll tell you.

By the way, there's no apostrophe in "yahoos."

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:35PM helped clarify the issue for me. It's all in the nomenclature.

I was confused by the term "public" broadcasting. As 1:35PM makes very, very clear, WVIA is television OF the privileged BY the privileged and FOR the privileged.

Yet somehow those of us who count themselves among the great unwashed are expected to PAY for the privilege of watching.

Your (my) tax dollars at work. Taxation without representation. No vote allowed?

Hardley seems fair, but then the caste system was never designed to be fair, was it.

4:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone posted earlier about the British accents announcing on WVIA-FM.

Is that a sign of the patrician sensibilities at work in our "public" stations? God forbid a "dese," "dose" and "dem" type ever have an involvement with the stations--execpt as a taxpayer.

If you remember the recent documentary, you'll know why I refer to WVIA employees as "The Aristocrats." Trust me: yours stinks just as bad as commercial broadcasters'. You just sound so veddy, veddy sophisticated.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OF the pompous, BY the pompous, FOR the pompous.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For all the complainers out there...... I'm willing to bet that if you were offered a position at WVIA you would take it in a heartbeat. I'd love to get a job there.

Your feelings seem to stem from jealousy. It seems to me that the people on here posting that work at WVIA are only sticking up for their employer. Wouldn't you stick up for your employer if they were under attack? It seems logical that you would.

I think that everyone needs to take a step back and absorb the whole situation instead of the little pieces we hear or read. Most of it isn't accurate. Remember how much high school sucked? All the little rumors and fights over nothing?

Please, think before you jump to conclusions. You might not have all the information you need to comment.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are there rules that govern how much a CEO or upper management make in place by PBS? If not, maybe there should be.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm willing to bet that if you were offered a position at WVIA you would take it in a heartbeat. I'd love to get a job there."

11:58 AM


Of COURSE I would. I work in commercial broadcasting, where I'm greatly underpaid and overworked and forced to turn out crap.

At WVIA they're OVERpaid and UNDERworked, and they gladly turn out crap and then pretend it smells like roses.

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please, think before you jump to conclusions. You might not have all the information you need to comment.

Hey, all you need is the 990. The numbers are there, they don't lie, they tell a nauseating story. Personally, I've been aware of WVIA's top-heavy management situation for decades, and also personally know that a good many people are offended by the arrogance, to say the least. Let's make one thing clear here; WVIA IS NOT like other non-profits, most of which get zero tax-dollar funding, not a nickel, not a penny, except for a rare and occasional grant here or there. PBS, and WVIA, are publically funded, your money and mine pays those salaries through the federal budget. It really is time for it to end.

It is time to abolish PBS.

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hah!!
Rule about how much CEO's in the PBS system make...
that's a laugh...
Bill M from WHYY... almost $500,000 a year + an expense account...
True story - he expensed a hotdog from a cart vendor one day for his lunch...

He is the highest paid CEO in the PBS system... higher than NETs or WETAs...

8:15 AM  

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