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Rhode Island PBS Press Release Archive 2004

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Piccerelli Acting President and CEO
401-222-3636, ext. 213
dpiccer@RIpbs.org

Former Prisoners' Reentry Into Society Subject
of Rhode Island PBS Initiative

REENTRY Is A Complex Issue, But Its Success Benefits All of Society


PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND (October 4, 2004) - Across the country, more people are leaving prisons and returning to their families and communities than at any other time in our history. In Rhode Island, more than 3,700 men and women will leave the prison system in 2004. Where will they live? Where will they work? Are they reuniting with families? What readjustment issues face these individuals, their partners and their children? Where can a former inmate turn for transitional support to promote stable living conditions, encourage independence and self-reliance, and reduce recidivism?

Unless one is an inmate about to be released from prison, or a member of his or her immediate family, one may ask, "What does this have to do with me?"

Reentry of the formerly incarcerated into society is a complex issue, but the benefits of successful reentry have significant public safety, social and financial impact. What may initially seem an isolated set of problems affecting only the former inmate and his or her immediate family, in fact has wide-ranging impact on neighborhoods, cities and towns, the state - all of society.

These are just some of the issues to be addressed in a collaborative project in October and November, initiated by Rhode Island PBS. Under a grant from Outreach Extensions funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Rhode Island PBS is working with Making Connections Providence, Direct Action for Rights and Equality, the Rhode Island Family Life Center, and the Rhode Island Department of Corrections to raise public awareness and to motivate and mobilize community action, to foster public safety and support healthy communities. As part of the Reentry National Media Outreach Campaign, Rhode Island PBS will air three documentaries and host five Community Workshops (one of them televised) in the next two months.

The three documentaries will be shown on WSBE Rhode Island PBS on channel 36, Cox channel 8; Massachusetts cable subscribers should check cable listings for the local channel.

Road To Return - Thurs., October 7, 10 p.m. This film tells an emotional story of what happens when untreated and unskilled former prisoners are returned to society. Clearly attacking the vengeance approach long sustained by the criminal justice system, the film examines a more compassionate - and effective - approach to rehabilitation.

Manhood and Violence: Fatal Peril Thurs., October 14, 10 p.m. This documentary follows nine men of diverse ethnicities who return to their communities after participating in an intense 4-month violence prevention project in the San Francisco County Jail.

P.O.V. What I Want My Words To Do To You Thurs., November 4, 10 p.m. This film goes inside a writing workshop consisting of 15 women inmates - most of whom were convicted of murder - at New York's Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. The women delve into and expose the most terrifying places in themselves, as they grapple with the nature of their crimes and their own culpability.

Each of the four Community Workshops includes screening of relevant documentaries not seen on television, plus panel discussion among representatives from law enforcement, community and faith-based services, and former prisoners and their families, to encourage open dialogue and to answer audience questions.

Tuesday, October 12, 6-8 p.m.
Warwick Public Library, 600 Sandy Lane, Warwick
Introduction by Mayor Scott Avedisian

Tuesday, November 9, 7-9 p.m.
Martin Luther King Center, 20 Dr. Marcus Wheatland Blvd, Newport
Introduction by Mayor Richard Sardella

Tuesday, November 16, 6-8 p.m.
The Met School (Metropolitan Regional & Technical Center), 325 Public Street, Providence Introduction by Mayor David Cicilline

Tuesday, November 23, 6-8 p.m.
Pawtucket Public Library, 13 Summer Street, Pawtucket
Introduction by Mayor James Doyle

The televised workshop will be conducted at Rhode Island PBS studios, 50 Park Lane, Providence, on Thursday, November 18 at 8 p.m. The format for this one-hour live broadcast includes screening of selected segments from the documentaries, followed by conversation among guest panelists and the studio audience. Audience seating is limited, and attendance is by advanced reservations only. Call 401-222-3636, x361.

Making Connections Providence, an Annie E. Casey Foundation initiative, works to strengthen the neighborhoods of Elmwood, South Providence and the West End by encouraging growth of local social networks. To support resident families and to help their children thrive, Making Connections Providence has developed core values, focus areas, improvement strategies and a unified team approach to addressing major issues facing neighborhood residents.

Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE) organizes low-income families in communities of color to fight for social, economic and political justice. The group's project entitled "Behind the Walls" works with ex-prisoners, families of prisoners and people currently in prison to put an end to Human Rights Violations in the Rhode Island prison system.

The Rhode Island Family Life Center (FLC) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to support and advocate for the reintegration of ex-offenders into the community. The organization's goals are to stabilize offenders returning to the community so that they are less likely to recidivate; to strengthen families to help offenders reintegrate and reconnect with their loved ones; and to remove barriers to reintegration for ex-offenders. The FLC's reentry program uses a holistic, family-based approach to support offenders as they prepare to leave prison, return home, and stabilize in the community. The FLC begins to work with clients while they are still incarcerated and then offers a one-stop center for them (and their families) as they reintegrate into the community.

The Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC) contributes to public safety by maintaining a balanced correctional system of institutional and community programs which provide a range of control and rehabilitation options for criminal offenders.

WSBE-TV Rhode Island PBS is owned and operated by the Rhode Island Public Telecommunications Authority, a quasi-public agency of the State of Rhode Island. Rhode Island PBS is a viewer-supported member of the Public Broadcasting Service. As Rhode Island's most accessible learning resource, Rhode Island PBS is dedicated to the principle of lifelong learning and broadcasts family-oriented programs that educate, inform, enrich, inspire, and entertain viewers of all ages in Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts, and eastern Connecticut. For more information about the programs and services at Rhode Island PBS, visit www.RIpbs.org.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Piccerelli Acting President and CEO
401-222-3636, ext. 213
dpiccer@RIpbs.org

Meet Rhode Island's Amazing Women on Rhode Island PBS
New Television Program Premieres October 6th


PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND
(October 1, 2004) - Private accomplishments of Rhode Island's amazing women go public starting next Wednesday, announced David W. Piccerelli, acting president of Rhode Island PBS. The new local production, called Rhode Island's Amazing Women, celebrates what Ocean State women accomplish, legislate, educate, live and love. Rhode Island's Amazing Women profiles women who successfully lead, challenge, motivate, encourage, and inspire other women.

"We're proud to introduce Rhode Island's Amazing Women to our viewers," Piccerelli said. "This program is the latest in an increasing line-up of shows being produced by Rhode Island PBS with a prominent local focus," he added.Deb Ruggiero

Rhode Island's Amazing Women premieres Wednesday, October 6 at 7:30 p.m. on WSBE-TV Rhode Island PBS, broadcast channel 36, Cox channel 8. Massachusetts cable subscribers should check local listings for channel.

Each episode of Rhode Island's Amazing Women will also feature an 'unsung heroes' corner, spotlighting women whose quiet, day-to-day contributions might not otherwise be recognized.

"There are so many incredible stories out there waiting to be told," said Kathryn Larsen, programming director at Rhode Island PBS. Some of the guests will be well known, others will be introduced for the first time; all of them make a difference in the lives of other women and in the community.

Local radio personality and Jamestown resident Deb Ruggiero will host this new television series. Deb hosts a Sunday morning radio show, Amazing Women. Although the two shows share similar titles, the television series differentiates itself by emphasizing the aspects of the women's stories that help or affect other women.

"These amazing women are true role models," Larsen said. "They're vibrant examples and will inspire and empower women."

Deb Ruggiero agrees. "I'm so blessed to be able to share the stories of so many amazing women who make a difference every day," Ruggiero said. "It's inspirational to learn how many women contribute to this state in terms of economic, educational, professional and social achievements," she added.

The format for the show will include in-studio interviews with the guests on the set designed to resemble a comfortable living room. Relevant video footage shot on location will further illustrate the narrative. At the end of each show, the 'unsung heroes' will be introduced.

The first show, "90 Turning 60," delivers a message about positive aging, and features three nonagenarians who continue to live life with youthful exuberance. Anna Pryor, 95, is a former teacher and lobbyist who spent over 30 years fighting for teacher's rights. Eleanor Slater, 95, is a Rhode Island political icon and was the oldest delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Gladys Bassler, 92, still teaches and entertains seniors with her tap dancing. The show airs October 6 at 7:30 p.m.

In the second program, "Breast Cancer Awareness," survivors will share their special stories, and Jennifer Gass from Women's Oncology and Breast Care Center discusses the high incidence of breast cancer among Rhode Island women, on October 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Rhode Island's Amazing Women will air twice a month on Wednesdays.

WSBE-TV Rhode Island PBS is owned and operated by the Rhode Island Public Telecommunications Authority, a quasi-public agency of the State of Rhode Island. Rhode Island PBS is a viewer-supported member of the Public Broadcasting Service. As Rhode Island's most accessible learning resource, Rhode Island PBS is dedicated to the principle of lifelong learning and broadcasts family-oriented programs that educate, inform, enrich, inspire, and entertain viewers of all ages in Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts, and eastern Connecticut. For more information about the programs and services at Rhode Island PBS, visit www.RIpbs.org




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: David Piccerelli Acting President and CEO
401-222-3636, ext. 213
dpiccer@RIpbs.org


Rhode Island PBS 'Ready To Learn' Granted Education Award
from Pawtucket Credit Union

Young Children To Receive First Reading Books


PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND
(September 29, 2004) - The Rhode Island PBS Ready To Learn project of the Department of Educational Services received a $1,350 grant from the Pawtucket Credit Union to purchase up to 500 books and bookmarks for young children to age six.

"We're pleased to announce this partnership with the Pawtucket Credit Union, one that puts important first reading books into the hands of pre-schoolers," said David W. Piccerelli, acting president of Rhode Island PBS.

"Pawtucket Credit Union has a solid, long-standing history of community involvement and support for education. We are proud to contribute to the ongoing success of the Rhode Island PBS Ready To Learn project," said Karl A. Kozak, President and Chief Executive Officer at Pawtucket Credit Union.

The Ready To Learn (RTL) education project targets young children from pre-school to age 6, and is funded in part by a PBS grant through the U.S. Department of Education. The project develops fundamental learning and reading skills by using the Learning Triangle: Viewing, Reading, Doing. The triangle starts with responsible and guided television viewing of children's programs, like Sesame Street, Between The Lions, Clifford The Big Red Dog, and Reading Rainbow, programs that nurture a child's natural curiosity and promote values of cooperation, sharing, and creative problem solving. The triangle combines this viewing with reading a good story, and then completing a developmentally appropriate and relevant activity to illustrate and reinforce a specific concept.

Rhode Island PBS RTL conducts free training workshops for parents, teachers, and daycare providers. Workshops focus on basic school readiness skills such as physical and motor coordination, critical thinking, problem-solving skills, as well as social, language and media literacy. Workshops include an explanation of the child development philosophy woven into PBS children's educational programs, and instruction for parents and childcare providers on how to use television effectively. Content used in the workshops include goals and objectives that match the state and national curriculum standards, making the CEU-eligible workshops a valuable, highly-sought professional development tool for early childhood teachers.

Launched on August 26,2002, Rhode Island PBS RTL served more than 2,600 children in 2003-2004. The program runs year-round, from September to August.

WSBE-TV Rhode Island PBS is owned and operated by the Rhode Island Public Telecommunications Authority, a quasi-public agency of the State of Rhode Island. Rhode Island PBS is a viewer-supported member of the Public Broadcasting Service. As Rhode Island's most accessible learning resource, Rhode Island PBS is dedicated to the principle of lifelong learning and broadcasts family-oriented programs that educate, inform, enrich, inspire, and entertain viewers of all ages in Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts, and eastern Connecticut. For more information about the programs and services at Rhode Island PBS, visit www.RIpbs.org



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Piccerelli Acting President and CEO
401-222-3636, ext. 213
dpiccer@RIpbs.org

Rhode Island PBS Receives Education Award from MetLife Foundation
Annual Gift Funds Station's First-Ever ITV Program Guide on CD-ROM


PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND (September 24, 2004) - Rhode Island PBS Acting President David Piccerelli announced a $7,000 donation from MetLife Foundation for the publication and distribution of the 2004-2005 Rhode Island PBS Instructional Television Program Guide. The ITV guide lists broadcast dates and times for programs used by educators in Rhode Island K-12 classrooms, as well as the broadcast listings of professional development programs.

This year's $7,000 grant will also fund production of the catalog for the first time on CD-ROM. In addition to the broadcast schedule, the CD-ROM version includes complete program descriptions, as found online through the educational services link at RIpbs.org.

Educators can obtain copies of the 2004-2005 Rhode Island PBS Instructional Television Program Guide by calling the Educational Services Department at Rhode Island PBS, 401-222-3636.

The MetLife Foundation has been a strong supporter of Rhode Island PBS, and has funded the ITV Program Guide since 1997. In addition to the MetLife Foundation's charitable contributions, local MetLife management and employees volunteer their time to Rhode Island PBS events such a membership drives and auctions.

WSBE-TV Rhode Island PBS is owned and operated by the Rhode Island Public Telecommunications Authority, a quasi-public agency of the State of Rhode Island. Rhode Island PBS is a viewer-supported member of the Public Broadcasting Service. As Rhode Island's most accessible learning resource, Rhode Island PBS is dedicated to the principle of lifelong learning and broadcasts family-oriented programs that educate, inform, enrich, inspire, and entertain viewers of all ages in Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts, and eastern Connecticut. For more information about the programs and services at Rhode Island PBS, visit www.RIpbs.org.




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Piccerelli Acting President and CEO
401-222-3636, ext. 213
dpiccer@RIpbs.org


Local Food Show Premieres on Rhode Island PBS
New Weekly Series Explores Local Restaurant Scene


PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND
(July 9, 2004) - It’s not your typical cooking show!

COSTANTINO’S ROUND TABLE offers an inside look at Rhode Island’s booming restaurant scene, from the popularity of Italian food, to good service, to what it’s like to be a restaurant critic. Hosts Alan Costantino and Joe Zito welcome chefs, restaurant owners, vintners, and other Rhode Island experts from the food and tourism industry to discuss tips, tricks and trends in Rhode Island.

The show is produced in association with Rhode Island PBS. Enjoy the local flavor every Saturday at 4:30 p.m., beginning July 10, on broadcast channel 36/Cox 8 (check local listings for channel number on other cable systems). Weekly topics are listed below; guest appearances, taping dates and airdates are subject to change.

Hosts Alan Costantino and Joe Zito are available for interviews with members of the media to discuss the program’s concept and content in general or an episode in particular.

Please contact Lucie Houle at 401-222-3636 x 216 for weekly program content updates, to arrange interviews with the show’s hosts, or to obtain publicity photos.

Meals in the modern-day American family
Planned Guests: Silvia Bianco, widowed mother of two, cookbook author and former Restaurant Owner, TBA Stay At Home Mom, TBA Father Raising Children Alone, TBA
Airs October 9

Personal chefs
Planned Guests: Normand Leclair and Ed Gierhart
Airs October 16

WSBE-TV Rhode Island PBS is owned and operated by the Rhode Island Public Telecommunications Authority, a quasi-public agency of the State of Rhode Island. Rhode Island PBS is a viewer-supported member of the Public Broadcasting Service. As Rhode Island's most accessible learning resource, Rhode Island PBS is dedicated to the principle of lifelong learning and broadcasts family-oriented programs that educate, inform, enrich, inspire, and entertain viewers of all ages in Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts, and eastern Connecticut. For more information about the programs and services at Rhode Island PBS, visit www.RIpbs.org.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Piccerelli Acting President and CEO
401-222-3636, ext. 213
dpiccer@RIpbs.org

'Ciao Italia' Host Mary Ann Esposito
Invites You Nella Cucina - Into Her Kitchen

Rhode Island PBS Hosts Open House of Studios


PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND (June 7, 2004) - Every week, millions of television viewers nationwide invite Mary Ann Esposito into their homes to watch her prepare mouthwatering recipes from various regions of Italy. In the Providence area, thousands of loyal fans do the same when they tune in to Ciao Italia on Rhode Island PBS every Saturday at 5 p.m. Now, Mary Ann invites the public nella cucina - into her kitchen right here in Providence!

Ciao Italia is back in Rhode Island for a brand new season of shows, this year featuring the vibrant cuisine of Southern Italy. To celebrate the return home of the longest continuously running cooking show on PBS, co-production partner Rhode Island PBS is holding an open house and tour of the set of Ciao Italia on Wednesday, June 16, from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., at Rhode Island PBS studios, 50 Park Lane, Providence.

Mary Ann will be in her television kitchen to meet the public and sign cookbooks. Visitors can see up-close what it takes to produce a cooking show, explore the inner workings of a television studio, learn some fascinating facts and anecdotes about the series and be eligible for a giveaway raffle of Ciao Italia gifts, including an autographed cookbook, apron and T-Shirt. Costantino's Venda Ravioli will donate a special gift basket. Scialo Brothers Bakery will provide refreshments. Floral arrangements are courtesy of Federal Hill Florist.

A limited number of Ciao Italia in Tuscany cookbooks will be available for purchase and autographs. Orders can also be taken for Mary Ann's newest cookbook, Ciao Italia Pronto! to be published in the autumn of 2005.

Reservations are not required for the open house, but visitors should plan to arrive no later than 7:00 p.m. The studio will close to the public at 7:30 p.m. For more information or directions to the Rhode Island PBS studios, call 401-222-3636, extension 0, or visit www.RIpbs.org.

Please note: The show will not be filming during the open house.

WSBE-TV Rhode Island PBS is owned and operated by the Rhode Island Public Telecommunications Authority, a quasi-public agency of the State of Rhode Island. Rhode Island PBS is a viewer-supported member of the Public Broadcasting Service. As Rhode Island's most accessible learning resource, Rhode Island PBS is dedicated to the principle of lifelong learning and broadcasts family-oriented programs that educate, inform, enrich, inspire, and entertain viewers of all ages in Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts, and eastern Connecticut. For more information about the programs and services at Rhode Island PBS, visit www.RIpbs.org.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lucie M. Houle Public Information Manager
401-222-3636, ext. 216
lhoule@RIpbs.org

Vice-President & Chief Financial Officer Named Acting President
of Rhode Island PBS

Rhode Island Public Telecommunications Authority Appoints David W. Piccerelli


PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND
(April 27, 2004) - The Rhode Island Public Telecommunications Authority named David W. Piccerelli Acting President of Rhode Island PBS at its April 26th meeting, as announced today by Authority Chairman Sheldon Sollosy. The Authority is the governing board that holds the FCC license for the station and oversees its operations.

Mr. Piccerelli's appointment will be effective May 1st, the same date outgoing President and CEO Susan L. Farmer officially retires after a 17-year career at the public television station.

"We're fortunate to have someone as dedicated and capable as David at Rhode Island PBS," said Chairman Sollosy. "He has a proven track record in management and operations of the station. The Authority has every confidence that the station is in good hands under David's leadership."

Chairman Sollosy said a selection committee would be appointed shortly to conduct a nation-wide search for a new president. The process is expected to take several months.

Mr. Piccerelli, who joined Rhode Island PBS six years ago as the director of finance and administration, was promoted to vice-president and chief financial officer last June. During his tenure, Mr. Piccerelli has assumed a progressively responsible role in the management of the station. He has also performed functions as diverse as human resources direction and contract negotiations with the station's three unions, to appearing on the air as co-host during Rhode Island PBS auctions.

A lifelong Barrington resident, Mr. Piccerelli graduated from Bryant College with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting.

WSBE-TV Rhode Island PBS is owned and operated by the Rhode Island Public Telecommunications Authority, a quasi-public agency of the State of Rhode Island. Rhode Island PBS is a viewer-supported member of the Public Broadcasting Service. As Rhode Island's most accessible learning resource, Rhode Island PBS is dedicated to the principle of lifelong learning and broadcasts family-oriented programs that educate, inform, enrich, inspire, and entertain viewers of all ages in Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts, and eastern Connecticut. For more information about the programs and services at Rhode Island PBS, visit www.RIpbs.org.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Piccerelli Vice President and CFO
401-222-3636, ext. 213
dpiccer@RIpbs.org

'Big Bird' at Rhode Island PBS Leaves The Nest
Rhode Island PBS President & CEO Susan L. Farmer Announces Retirement
House of Representatives Congratulates Susan L. Farmer


PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND
(March 16, 2004) - After a 17-year broadcast career punctuated by landmark accomplishments and national recognition, Susan L. Farmer will retire as the president and chief executive officer of Rhode Island PBS WSBE-TV, effective May 1. The announcement was made today by Rhode Island Public Telecommunications Authority Chairman Sheldon Sollosy.

"Susan has been an outstanding leader, shepherding WSBE through many milestones," Mr. Sollosy said. "Susan has been a powerful advocate of public television in this state and nationally. It's been a pleasure to work with her during my years on the board."

"After seventeen years, it is difficult to let go, but it is time for the reins to be turned over to someone else," said Mrs. Farmer. "It's been an incredible experience to take a fledgling station from the brink of extinction - several times - to the brink of the digital age and beyond. The digital transmitter and antenna are being installed now, and digital broadcasting is set to begin in late summer. I leave with a good feeling about the future of public television in this state."

Chairman Sollosy said a selection committee would be appointed to conduct a nation-wide search. The process is expected to take several months, during which time Rhode Island PBS Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer David Piccerelli will manage day-to-day station operations.

During her tenure, Mrs. Farmer annually faced stiff negotiations with governors and legislators to preserve state funding for station operations. State funding for Rhode Island PBS decreased from 70% of the operating budget when Farmer was first appointed, to less than 30% currently. In 1987, Mrs. Farmer established the Channel 36 Foundation (now the Rhode Island PBS Foundation) to enable the station to raise and manage program funding from community sources. Fundraising has increased more than 600% under Farmer's leadership.

Rhode Island PBS has also experienced an 807% growth in viewership during Mrs. Farmer's tenure, from about 47,000 in 1991 to 339,000 households currently, according to Nielsen. Besides being the highest number of viewers in the station's history, the increase is even more remarkable because it contravenes the trend of decreased or flat viewership experienced by other television stations.

"In this age of cable and satellite where viewers can choose from hundreds of channels, it says a lot about Rhode Island PBS' quality, value and relevance to the community when viewers choose to watch us," Mrs. Farmer observed.

Educational services have burgeoned from over-the-air instructional programs for K-12 classrooms to a broad array of broadcast, on-line and community outreach services benefiting hundreds of thousands of Rhode Islanders of all ages. "Our commitment to lifelong learning has never changed," said Mrs. Farmer. "However, emerging technology has dramatically changed the way we meet our objectives."

Mrs. Farmer combined her experience and fondness for politics with the station's educational mission when she launched A Lively Experiment some 16 years ago. The weekly public affairs program assembles a changing panel of former and current TV, radio and newspaper reporters, political scientists, political figures, and Rhode Island personalities, to discuss and debate the latest events in Rhode Island politics and government. "There was no other show like this on public television at the time. I felt Rhode Islanders needed a forum for their newsmakers and news reporters from all media to get together. After sixteen years, we still need it," Farmer said, referring to the strong public outpouring of support to return A Lively Experiment to the station line-up after it was cancelled in early 2003.

Mrs. Farmer's commitment and service to public television extended beyond the range of the WSBE broadcast signal. She was elected to the board of the National Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) for six years; she has chaired the National Forum for Public Television Executives (NFPTE); Mrs. Farmer has served as a board member of the National Educational Telecommunication Association (NETA), Organization of State Broadcasting Executives (OSBE), and the executive committee of the Program Resources Group (PRG).

Throughout her broadcast career, Mrs. Farmer received several honors and awards, bringing national attention to public television in the smallest state in the union. In February, she received the 2004 National Advocacy Award from APTS, presented during the group's annual Capitol Hill Day in Washington, D.C. The National Advocacy Award highlights the extraordinary efforts and tangible achievements of individuals in advancing public television's legislative goals.

"No one has ever enjoyed a job more than I've enjoyed this one," Mrs. Farmer said. "I am grateful for my 17-year opportunity to lead Rhode Island PBS through its growth and changes, from television tubes to microchips, from analog to the digital age. This station and its mission are part of my blood and will remain so forever."

WSBE-TV Rhode Island PBS is owned and operated by the Rhode Island Public Telecommunications Authority, a quasi-public agency of the State of Rhode Island. Rhode Island PBS is a viewer-supported member of the Public Broadcasting Service. As Rhode Island's most accessible learning resource, Rhode Island PBS is dedicated to the principle of lifelong learning and broadcasts family-oriented programs that educate, inform, enrich, inspire, and entertain viewers of all ages in Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts, and eastern Connecticut. For more information about the programs and services at Rhode Island PBS, visit www.RIpbs.org.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Piccerelli, Vice President and CFO
401-222-3636, ext. 213
dpiccer@RIpbs.org

RHODE ISLAND PBS PRESIDENT SUSAN L. FARMER
RECEIVES NATIONAL ADVOCACY AWARD
Executive Is Honored For Her Efforts To Secure Public Television Funding


PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND
(March 4, 2004) – John Lawson, President and CEO of the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS), recently honored Rhode Island PBS President and CEO Susan L. Farmer and two other colleagues with National Advocacy Awards for their exemplary work in helping America’s public television stations fulfill their missions. The presentation was made during the annual Capitol Hill Day in Washington, D.C.

According to Lawson, “The 2004 National Advocacy Awards highlight the extraordinary efforts and tangible achievements of these three individuals in advancing public television’s legislative goals.”

The National Advocacy Award is presented annually to a station or stations that have demonstrated leadership skills in organizing, maintaining or enhancing a grassroots government advocacy program, resulting in an important contribution to that station or the public television system. The award recognizes the significant commitment of time and effort toward shaping the future of the public television system.

Lawson called Farmer an ardent public television leader and a natural at advocacy. “Susan has brought all of her considerable skills to bear in her role as the general manager, including her political acumen,” Lawson said. Throughout her career, including her term as Secretary of State, Farmer has found herself in the middle of some very passionate disputes between competing factions over the years, and has survived some bruising battles over state funding.

Lawson cited one legendary episode from 1991, when Farmer actually blocked the door to then-Rhode Island Governor Bruce Sundlun’s car after she was denied an opportunity to discuss with him proposed budget cuts to WSBE. While blocking his car door, Mrs. Farmer briefly made her funding case to Governor Sundlun, a former broadcaster himself. Assenting to meet with her, the governor ultimately agreed not to zero out support for the public station the following year. Later, in reply to a reporter’s query about her persistence, Mrs. Farmer said, “Drastic times call for drastic measures.”

Farmer has a long track record of working tirelessly to preserve funding for public broadcasting. Mr. Lawson said, “Susan’s tenacity has paid off ever since that famous incident. Recently, she enjoyed another success in July 2003, when the Rhode Island state legislature returned $3.5 million previously rescinded for the station’s digital conversion.”

The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) was established to support the continued growth and development of a strong and financially sound noncommercial television service for the American public. As broadcasters make the transition to digital, APTS is working to ensure the federal government continues its commitment to universal public television services. APTS Action, Inc. is an affiliated organization of APTS.

Rhode Island PBS is owned and operated by the State of Rhode Island, and is a viewer-supported member of the Public Broadcasting Service. As Rhode Island’s most accessible learning resource, Rhode Island PBS is dedicated to the principle of lifelong learning and broadcasts family-oriented programs that educate, inform, enrich, inspire, and entertain viewers of all ages in Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts, and eastern Connecticut. For more information about the programs and services at Rhode Island PBS, visit www.RIpbs.org.

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