Peter TateishiI was never a night owl growing up.  I tried desperately from the age of 12 on to stay up late to watch Saturday Night Live, but inevitably, I’d fall asleep well before the opening sketch.  But Sunday nights were different. I’d wait with the greatest anticipation – sit through Masterpiece Theatre – all to see the newest (for me at least) episode of Waiting for God. British television, well, really their humor, captivated me.  And for some reason, one crotchety old woman and one forgetful man had me hooked.  Of all the television I watched growing up in Carmichael, my memories of good TV really revolve around KVIE Public Television (I still prefer calling it Channel 6).  As a very young child, my television was only public television. I grew up in a household that didn’t have cable, so we had a grand total of 7 channels (that did increase as soon as Univision came to Channel 19 and on the rare occasion we could pick up the signal of some Christian television station in Chico).  KVIE was a heavily used station in my house growing up.

It’s not just that it was safe and educational, but it provided experiences and exposure to a world greater than Carmichael – and with it, a dynamic that strengthened our family bond.  Though I still get frustrated when (now) David Lowe interrupts the best part of a show to ask me to pledge; it was during those special programs that my family would gather around the television and learn together, sing together, and hear family stories that the shows would trigger.  In our household, if there was a Peter, Paul and Mary special on KVIE, no matter how many times they did a special, we watched it, taped it (so we could cut out the interruptions), and watched it over and over again.  Even today, if I hear a Peter, Paul and Mary song, I flashback to those great moments of my family watching TV together and hearing about my parents’ life and experiences and why they cared so much about this music.  I still get weirdly excited and anxious with anticipation to hear “Puff the Magic Dragon.”

But it’s those memories and experiences that KVIE and PBS provided that make it beyond special for me.  In a word, KVIE is “constant.” Though I may not watch as much TV as I used to, what is so comforting about KVIE is that it’s still there and I know what it provides.  A lot of the programming that I grew up with, continues today.  Now that I’m a father, KVIE is becoming a constant for my kids and family.  Sometimes it’s surreal to watch the same shows with your kids, but I’ve found so much joy in watching my kids have an experience that was impactful on my own life.

I learned to count and imagine through great kids programming, and I learned to explore and appreciate all types of arts through programming like Nature and American Experience.  I learned to cook from Yan Can Cook and Julia Child and how to appreciate everything around me through Huell Howser and California’s Gold.  KVIE remains an important part of my life and I believe that it will be impactful for my children and their futures.

The problem with “constants” is that people take them for granted.  I know I’m guilty of that as much as anyone else, but if “Channel 6” is going to remain an asset for our region, all of us – including me – need to rise to the occasion and show, not just our admiration, but full support for a channel that is always there for us. I owe a lot to KVIE Public Television, and “Thank You” doesn’t begin to cut it.

Peter Tateishi
President & CEO
Sacramento Metro Chamber

Guest post: Peter Tateishi on the constancy of KVIE