VF 901 KVIE at 50 Transcript

50’s Announcer:
And here it is the greatest advance in television since color television since color television itself.

Lori Glasgow, Director of On-Air Fundraising:
You hear so many stories that people learned how to speak English watching Sesame Street.

Logan:
I watch it every morning because I like Elmo

Elmo:
A very happy anniversary to Channel 6 from all of your friends at Sesame Street.

Dr. Michelle Foss-Snowden, Sacramento State, Communication Studies:
Sesame Street was always one of my favorites. So I remember waking up, watching it, the Electric Company was also a big favorite. But making that connection between being entertained, but also learning at the same time.

Bob Ross:
There’s a little tree that lives right here, all these happy little trees.

Michael Wall, Former KVIE Chief Engineer:
I can remember staring at Channel 6 on a black and white TV and wondering how did they do that. I’d stare up at that 1500 foot transmitter tower and say how does all that work?

Ken Burns:
My congratulations to KVIE for providing 50 great years of community service.

Frank Boutin:
Almost everyday there’s something that’s really beneficial for making us think.

David Lowe, KVIE General Manager:
There’s more of everything, whether its quality, science, nature, music there’s more of anything on KVIE that you can think of than anywhere else.

Announcer:
You grew up with these shows. And now KVIE is turning 50.

Announcer:
Next we’ll reintroduce you to some old favorites and tell you how KVIE got its start.

50’s TV Host:
I would like to talk to you about opera. Now please don’t do what you just wanted to do, turn the knob and switch to another station.

Announcer:
Asking you not to turn change the channel on something educational…
Getting your attention, informing you about the world, which in turn, makes the community a better place to live…that’s public television!

Announcer:
The roots of KVIE date back to 1952 when the FCC set aside space for educational television. 

Announcer:
But the government only set aside the airwaves, if a community actually wanted a TV station they had to fight and pay for it themselves. 

Announcer:
And the fight for channel 6 was led by John Crabbe.

John Crabbe, KVIE General Manager 1959-1969:
We had a dream and we were ready to gamble.

Announcer:
He formed community support groups in Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto. And they actually got a grant to build the station. But, there was a catch. To get that grant they had to raise 150-thousand dollars in matching funds…and it all had to be done in 3-months.

John Crabbe, KVIE General Manager 1959-1969:
I made 92 speeches in 90 days.

Announcer:
The group worked until the very last second of the 90-day deadline. And, their efforts paid off. Crabbe became the first general manager, the first staff was hired, and the commercial networks even pitched in. Channels 10 and 40 loaned cameras and Channel 13 offered a temporary building, rent-free. But there was still another detail, the station needed a name.

John Crabbe, KVIE General Manager 1959-1969:
VIEWS was going to be the name of our monthly guide and the VI is 6.

Announcer:
With a building, a staff and a name there was just one thing left. On February 23rd, 1959 the switch was thrown. When KVIE hit the airwaves in February 1959, it was an instant success. But during its first month the station wasn’t creating any of original programming yet, instead it relied entirely on acquired films.

 

50’s TV Host:
Hello there and welcome to Eins, Zwei, Drei, a program where you can learn German.

John Crabbe, KVIE General Manager 1959-1969:
Everything that we did came from NET, National Educational Television. We first started out with a period of time from 6 to 10, in the evening and that’s all, we just did it in the evenings. It was a little bit of everything, it was really what we could find. We had jewelry making for example, a how to do it show. We had some folk songs for kids.

Announcer:
The NET shows reflected the Cold War era; a show on how America could harness nuclear power…and another on how to survive if we were attacked.

50 TV Host:
Our chances for survival will be far better than those of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Announcer:
But soon KVIE became known as the place for education. Programming geared towards housewives offered high school and college credits. And during the early morning, KVIE was aired in classrooms.

Merry Geil, Fmr. Board Member/Host:
KVIE at that time was educational television.

John Crabbe, KVIE General Manager 1959-1969:
Ninety percent of our production effort was directed toward in school television at the beginning.

Announcer:
Elementary teachers around the Valley would tune in KVIE for lessons on everything from Spanish to science. KVIE went on to produce its own teaching programs. Teachers were selected from local districts and were excused from teaching one day a week to create televised lessons. Joan Rice was one of those teachers.

Joan Rice, Fmr. KVIE Host:
I participated in one of the first shows that KVIE presented and the show that I was in was called Music Classes for Lad and Lasses. It was a program to help classroom teachers teach music in their classroom and it also was a participation show for the kids to participate in at the same time. Well we based it on rhythm, melody and harmony. We felt that those were three of the sort of basic things for children to know about.

Announcer:
Joan was paired up to co-host the show with another local school teacher, Joyce Stuermer; but at first the two were unsure about working together.

Joan Rice, Fmr. KVIE Host:
We both had in the back of our mind well if we really didn't think we were going to hit it off maybe we would just say to the station I don't think this is really going to work. But we became instant friends and we've maintained that friendship for over 50 years.

Announcer:
And nearly 50 years after Joan and Joyce saw their own show on the same TV Guide pages as Superman and the Honeymooners, they created another legacy when they purchased bricks in front of the station as part of a fundraising campaign.

Joan Rice, Fmr. KVIE Host:
One has Joyce's name on it with KVIE 1959, 1960 and one has my name on it with KVIE Music.

70’s KVIE Host:
And now let’s go down to the field with your announcers today, Ken Gimlin and Dutch Van Ducin

Announcer:
Along with Education, sports and fitness played a significant role on KVIE as well. In fact, KVIE’s first locally produced program aired April 4th, 1959 and was called TV Ski School. Live from KVIE’s studio host Jim Winthers demonstrated ski tips to viewers, and the popularity of that program led to an entire sports series. But what’s amazing about KVIE’s first on-air host is that during the same era he was on TV, he was also pioneering the nations’ disabled sports movement.

Doug Pringle, Executive Dir. Disabled Sports Far West:
Well Jim was a 10th Mountain Division trooper, meaning he was in the ski troops in WWII. And he had friends who had lost limbs in the war, and they wanted to keep skiing. And so they were experimenting with how to continue skiing despite the loss of limbs and had formed an amputee ski club literally at the Donner Summit all through the 50s.

Announcer:
Doug Pringle, the executive director of Disabled Sports Far West, recalls the first time he met Jim Winthers.

Doug Pringle, Executive Dir. Disabled Sports Far West:
I was lying in a hospital bed in San Francisco having come back from Vietnam where I lost a leg. Everybody treated my like my life was over. I mean you're a cripple. And he came in a showed a little home movie of a guy skiing on one leg at Soda Springs ski area and he said we want to teach all of you guys how to ski on one leg.  That first ski lesson changed my life. Because it was the first thing I did that showed me I was going to be ok and I could still be an achiever in spite of me losing my leg, and so this became my life's work.

Announcer:
From hosting a ski program on Channel 6 to helping vets get on the slopes, what Jim Winthers started eventually became the nations’ largest disabled sports organization.

Doug Pringle, Executive Dir. Disabled Sports Far West:
Today it's 90 chapters nationwide doing year around sports, serving anybody with any disability. And that was Jim's inspiration that created this organization. Well think Jim was one of the guys that truly, uh inspired many people in this town to do great things. He touched a lot of peoples lives and he made a big difference.
UD
Announcer:
In KVIE’s 50 years there have been a lot of big moments. In 1969 educational TV evolved into the Public Broadcasting Service. PBS is unlike the commercial networks, because it doesn’t own stations, it doesn’t even create content. All the great shows distributed by PBS are created by independently-owned member stations. Independence, that’s important. Because unlike commercial networks that dictate a lot of what you see, public TV stations are different. 

Dr. Michelle Foss-Snowden, Sacramento State, Communication Studies:
The only reason commercial television really exists is to deliver an audience to the advertisers, but that’s commercial television, public television doesn’t have to play that game. 

Announcer:
Public TV stations have the freedom to create their own schedules by airing shows from PBS or from other distributors, like American Public Television, the BBC or directly from independent producers. That’s why KVIE airs Boston’s NOVA and New York’s Charlie Rose, and stations around the country air KVIE’s America’s Heartland. Government and corporate support helps keep the lights on, but the single largest reason KVIE can acquire programs, as well as create them, is because of member contributions. And it’s those contributions that allow independent PBS stations to remain an island in world where just a few companies own nearly every newspaper, radio and TV station in the country.

Announcer:
And while creation of PBS was a huge moment there were some lesser known big moments for KVIE; one of those was the passing of Prop 13 in 1978. A side effect of the landmark property tax bill was that schools could no longer afford to create televised lessons. So after 20 years of shows like Music Classes for Lads and Lasses and Summer School in the classroom, the teaching programs came to and end. But what also came to an end was a wave of bad publicity for KVIE.

Announcer:
Before prop 13 KVIE was getting money from schools - public funds - which meant station politics often became very public, front page news. And there was no worse time for KVIE in the newspapers than the Art Paul era.

Merry Geil, Fmr. Board Member/Host:
It was a very tense time when it was time to let Art go

Announcer:
Serving from 1970 through 1978, Art Paul was KVIE’s second general manager, and he came with his business background just in time.

Merry Geil, Fmr. Board Member/Host:
He wassomebody who could bring order out of some chaos. And the station at the time was a bit of chaos, particularly financially. And Art was able to come in and put it on a sound financial basis.

Announcer:
But the good times were fleeting, and a battle between Paul and the station’s board of directors ensued in the papers. Congresswoman Doris Matsui was KVIE’s board chair at the time, and although Paul balanced the books, she felt under his leadership the station lost its way. 

Hon. Doris Matsui, Fmr. KVIE Board Member:
Truly there was a fork in the road, most of us felt like this is our station, it’s our local station and we ought to be presenting some aspects of our own local area, perhaps local programming. 

Announcer:
After a year of infighting Paul resigned. But for KVIE two important moments came from Paul’s tenure. His hiring saved the station financially, and his resignation brought an emphasis on creating programs that reflect the communities KVIE serves.

Host, Jim Finnerty:
Our public television station is operating on borrowed time.

Announcer:
Following the Paul era, KVIE’s next big moment was escaping its dilapidated home.

Host, Jim Finnerty:
The station itself built in 1952 as a temporary building on the Garden Highway is bursting at the seams.

Michael Wall, Fmr. KVIE Engineer:
This building is very very poor. It has many cracks and crevices where dust, dirt, insects, rodents routinely come in.

John Crabbe, KVIE General Manager 1959-1969:
It was a terribly inadequate place; the river rose the place flooded, you know what have you.

 

John Hershberger, KVIE General Manager 1979-1994:
We had a septic system and when it backed up we had port-a-potties, and that was not an unusual occurrence. So when you had pledge drives or when you had the auction and you had, you know women with their nice hair dos and everything, you know during when they weren’t on the air and they had to go to the restroom they had to go out back to the port-a-potties.

Announcer:
Serving from 1979 through 1994 KVIE’s third general manager, John Hershberger, was to thank for leading the effort to upgrade the facilities. He got KVIE into its new home where it remains to this day.

John Hershberger, KVIE General Manager 1979-1994:
Good afternoon I’m John Hershberger president and general manager of Channel 6 and I want to welcome you all here for a great day for your public television station.

Lori Glasgow, Dir. of On-Air Fund Raising:
When I first started working here 20 years ago I remember the day, I wanted this job so bad to work for public television I was so excited. But over the years we are still providing quality programming, but more so.

Announcer: And in the years since moving into its new home, some of KVIE’s most iconic shows debuted.

George Reading:
This and more on the premiere edition of California’s Heartland.

Announcer:
California Heartland premiered April 12th, 1996 and was the brainchild of KVIE’s 4th general manager Van Gordon Sauter.

Van Gorden Sauter, KVIE General Manager 1994-1998:
No asphalt, no air pollution. Come on up enjoy the countryside, let’s go.

Announcer:
As a former president of Fox and CBS news, Sauter brought his unique style of reaching viewers. From 1998 to 2007 KVIE’s 5th general manager, David Hosley, led the enormous task preparing KVIE for the digital transition. In essence an entirely new television station, KVIE-DT, was built from the ground up. And for years Hosley fundraised for a new transmitter, switchers, cameras and editing equipment.

David Hosley, KVIE General Manager 1998-2007:
When KVIE’s first general manager signed Channel 6 on the air in 1959 some viewers were watching on vintage receivers like that one. Now KVIE’s new digital station officially on the air.

Announcer:
And in 2003 Discover California became KVIE’s first digital broadcast. In 2004 the station produced its first show high definition.

Show Announcer:
The Golden Game, Baseball in Sacramento.

Announcer:
And kicking off the next 50 years is David Lowe, KVIE’s 6th general manager.

David Lowe, KVIE General Manager:
From the very first leader of KVIE and John Crabbe to now me, I’m hoping that KVIE is now in a better place than it was when all of the other leaders of the organization left it.

Announcer:
And to leave the organization in good health, KVIE’s leaders have had to raise funds, and That meant pledge.

Mr. Rodgers:
Could I encourage you to get a family membership to Channel 6 KVIE in Sacramento.

70’s Pledge Host:
You know within the last couple of days you could’ve received an envelope that looks like this, it’s a very handy little item it allows you to become a member of the Channel 6 family.

Leonard Nemoy:
I have a very strong place in my heart for public television.

Buck Owens:
Hey did you know that Channel 6 is viewer supported public TV.

Announcer:
It literally provides the funds to create quality programming… But long-time KVIE viewers might remember this fundraiser from yesteryears.

Show Sound:
There’s something for everyone at the KVIE auction.

John Hershberger, KVIE General Manager 1979-1994:
The KVIE auction was a phenomenon in and of itself.

Merry Geil, Fmr. Board Member/Host:
The community really embraced KVIE and embraced the auction. It was a wonderful way for KVIE to get out in front of people and people that may not watch it very much would watch. It was a big deal that was what you talked about in front of the water coolers.

Announcer:
A look back at the auction not only shows some of the fantastic hair styles, but the bizarre items up for bid:

Pledge Announcer:
A musical fish you can play it or you can hang it on your wall.
Item 4812 is a sculptured Roman lamp kit.
And kids listen to this. This is a Pong game, big kids too.
It’s a Dolly Parton doll.
A very unique gift for the bargain board, two tickets for the 1978 men’s national slow pitch softball games.
And some lucky person at home is going to be able to have this for their very own. And this is one of the items coming up on board "A" right now.

Announcer:
There were German shorthairs, human hair wigs and hair transplants. You could bid on live cows and donkeysor canned hams and even 1000 hot dogs.

Lenore Justman, KVIE Volunteer:
Every year there was a gift certificate for a vasectomy. The donor was anonymous and usually the purchaser was too.

Merry Geil, Fmr. Board Member/Host:
It was pretty free wheeling there weren’t scripts. Whoever was the auctioneer they talked about; they had a little sparse information about the item.

Pledge Announcer:
Look at this, unusual looking, futuristic looking isn’t it. It’s upside down, but other than that.

Merry Geil, Fmr. Board Member/Host:
And many would embellish those items.

Pledge Announcer:
Two beautiful beach towels, rich designs. The wheels pivot, and I think even I wouldn’t fall off of that thing.

Leonard Nemoy:
A generous amount of DG fire logs, 15 boxes, give some to your mother-in-law. The value is 90 dollars, okay. 15 boxes, 6 logs to a box…okay.

Announcer:
Fashionable dresses were a big hit every year. And for that matter callers would even try to buy the clothes off the auctioneer’s backs.

Merry Geil, Fmr. Board Member/Host:
My mother in law had made me a very nice embroidery shirt, and I made the mistake of wearing that one night and I don’t know how many calls came in asking to buy, to put a bid in on that shirt, but I still have the shirt. A lot of the auctioneers would on purpose wear interesting ties, and people would call in on the phone and they would put bids in on somebody’s tie. And the auctioneers would sell their ties.

Announcer:
There were some nice things too, like televisions, tractors, cars and even an Italian-made Harley Davidson. Then of course you had slide rule lessons, and then the infamous “Bosom Buddy”.

Merry Geil, Fmr. Board Member/Host:
And a bosom buddy is not a friend, a bosom buddy, his wife was um, had a large chest, and liked to sleep on her stomach but it was uncomfortable so he developed…

Kerry Shearer, Pledge Host & Volunteer:
…this pillow and it had these, these divots in it.

Merry Geil, Fmr. Board Member/Host:
So that she could lie down on her stomach.

Kerry Shearer, Pledge Host & Volunteer:
It was quite a feat of engineering. Am I being delicate enough?

Kerry Shearer, Pledge Host & Volunteer:
Over here at table "A" now with Congressman Matsui who is trying to legislate some high bids for this table.

Hon. Doris Matsui, Fmr. KVIE Board Member:
I would drag my husband too to be an auctioneer every once in a while, and we had some great times coming down to the station.

Announcer:
But unfortunately the station barely broke even on the auction. And the man who pulled the plug to this day has his regrets.

John Hershberger, KVIE General Manager 1979-1994:
The ogre Hershberger here killed the auction for economic reasons.

Pledge Announcer:
Let’s hear those phones ring, its Quickie Cart time!

John Hershberger, KVIE General Manager 1979-1994:
Had I had that to do over again I probably would not have killed it, because the good will in the community was worth uh, I was looking at it only from an accountant’s point of view and that was not the right thing to do. But little by little the auction came back in a number of different ways.

Art Auction Host:
Wipe the sweat from our brows, Diana and I can’t possibly work any harder.

Announcer:
And one of those ways is with KVIE’s annual Art Auction, where each year hundreds of local artists donate their works to support the station. And volunteerism is another legacy that still lives from the auction.

John Hershberger, KVIE General Manager 1979-1994:
There were people who would take their vacations, Bob Justman, Lenore Justman for instance would take their vacations from work to run the auction store.

Lenore Justman, KVIE Volunteer:
People in the community care enough about it to give more than just money, they give themselves.

Kerry Shearer, Pledge Host & Volunteer:
There was a woman, Margaret Towne, she and her crew would supply food to everyone who needed it, from the auctions to the pledge drives

Announcer:
For 20 plus years Margaret Towne was the matriarch of KVIE’s auction.

Merry Geil, Fmr. Board Member/Host:
I don’t know how she made it work, but she made it work and she is just an icon for the station. She was wonderful.

Announcer:
Bea Durley volunteered almost every day of the week for 20 years. If you ever received a pledge gift in the mail in the past 20 years the late John Otani probably packaged it. 

Lori Glasgow, Dir. of On-Air Fund Raising:
Volunteers give so much to keep this station going; we really could not survive without our members or our volunteers.

Lenore Justman, KVIE Volunteer:
That’s how public TV happens you cannot do it without volunteers.

Announcer:
In 50 years of broadcasting you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t had KVIE as part of their life.

Frank Boutin:
Almost everyday there's something that's really beneficial for making us think and to help enjoy our life. We have been members of KVIE since 1959.

Tink Boutin:
I enjoy public television it has a lot of variety.

Joan Rice, Fmr. KVIE Host:
I’ve enjoyed a lot of the information about California.

David Hosley, KVIE General Manager 1998-2007:
We’ve done the history of about every ethnic community in this part of the Valley. In everything from the diversity of our staff all the way to who is on our board of directors and to the kinds of programs we make, we’ve tried to reflect this community, very, very closely.

Announcer:
From agriculture, social issues and health concerns, to education and the arts, KVIE has created thousands of programming hours that reflect the community it serves.

Hon. Doris Matsui, Fmr. KVIE Board Member:
At the national level it’s important for me to have programs on television like Jim Lehrer and Gwen Eiffel that really do talk about the issues of the day in an intelligent manner and not just in headline style. I trust a lot of people who are on public television. They are able to get people on the air with opposite viewpoints, in a very sort of a normal, type of calm way.

Merry Geil, Fmr. Board Member/Host:
I think it’s critical to have that safeguarded so that as a country we have that option of going somewhere where it’s safe.

Dr. Michelle Foss-Snowden, Sacramento State, Communication Studies:
What is communication…

Announcer:
And it should be no surprise that many who grew up with KVIE yesterday are today’s leaders, and biggest supporters of public television.

Dr. Michelle Foss-Snowden, Sacramento State, Communication Studies:
I teach a class in television criticism andmake the point for my students that television is losing the war between art and commerce. But that’s commercial television I think one of the great things about public television is that its community supported. So we’ve got a place where television is able to take the side of the artistic or take of the creative or the educational or the informational, it doesn’t have to be a slave to advertiser.

Announcer:
So what’s next for KVIE? In a day in age where there’s a cable network for everything, will public television still be relevant in the future?

Merry Geil, Fmr. Board Member/Host:
I think public television these days is critical. I know many times the question comes up it is relevant, particularly when they’re in funding times

Hon. Doris Matsui, Fmr. KVIE Board Member:
Public TV is more relevant today than ever before.

David Hosley, KVIE General Manager 1998-2007:
Now the question is, in an anytime, anywhere world what’s the role of a local public broadcaster?

David Lowe, KVIE General Manager:
The biggest challenge for this station in the future is going to be being able to stay relevant to this new generation of viewers and for us the way we think we can do that is by focusing on that local service and being the only local community storyteller who's focused on that.

Hon. Doris Matsui, Fmr. KVIE Board Member:
I think communities should be proud to have a public television station that reflects the values of the surrounding area and tries to bring forth its very best.

Dr. Michelle Foss-Snowden, Sacramento State, Communication Studies:
Even though my students turn into these giant pessimists thinking TV is rotting our brains, I can give them this example and look maybe television is not just rotting our brains maybe there’s some small glimmer of hope that TV can be the educational and informational and entertaining thing that it was meant to be.

John Crabbe, KVIE General Manager 1959-1969:
The viewing audience was the greatest strength we had, and I’m sure that’s still true. You came to the station and worked as volunteers, without you there wouldn’t have been any auction. You watched and helped us shape the kind of programming you wanted. And you became, and you still are, members providing support of this enterprise. KVIE will go as far again in the next years as it has up to now, largely, because of you. I wish you well and a very, very exciting future.