For perhaps the eighth year out of the last ten years, I have volunteered my time for Festival. Festival is the annual fund drive held by North Carolina's public television station. Since 30% of its annual budget comes from individuals and no more than 50% comes from the State, the good folks at UNC-TV remind viewers and public TV members about the great deal they receive from its local programming, public affairs and news shows, children's broadcasts, and fascinating items that highlight the arts, sciences, and history. To keep that great deal from disappearing or its quality from diminishing, folks like me - the public TV staff courteously and gratuitously call us "talent" - volunteer to appear during breaks to make our case to the hundreds of thousands of viewers every night.
Though this blog mostly addresses matters of political interest, I share this with you because rural districts like North Carolina's 8th Congressional District benefit tremendously from public TV. Why? How? Well, just take a look at UNC-TV's mission:
"Television has the power to change lives. Public television has the responsibility to change lives for the better: A child far from urban resources is inspired to become a scientist ... a high school dropout earns a GED ... a homebound senior citizen remains connected to the world of arts and culture ... the family of an Alzheimer's patient finds strength and support.I don't know about you, but that's a powerful message.
UNC-TV's unique programs and services provide people of all ages with enriching, life-changing television."
And like we "talent" often say on-camera, public TV is truly "learning for a life-time."
Other thing to make this relevant and personal: I grew up in a very rural community in the 8th Congressional District, living my first years in a mobile home on a farm outside of Hamlet. Back between 1967 and 1974, I only recall getting maybe 3 or 4 channels using the rabbit-ears antenna on our modest black-and-white TV. One of those channels was public TV. I remember watching Sesame Street, ZOOM!, The Electric Company, and the venerable Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. And I recall the other learning programs and musical concerts, too - all of which shaped my formative years and left me in awe of this wonderful, complicated yet fascinating big blue marble we call Earth.
Whether you had a similar experience or not, if you have benefited from public TV in North Carolina I encourage you to make the toll-free call to 1-800-984-9090 or go to www.unctv.org and make a pledge today. Let's ensure that our children and grandchildren enjoy public TV as we have oh these many years.
UNC-TV is a tremendous State resource: To keep it, we must support it.