Representatives of the Friends of THIRTEEN and WNET headed to Capitol Hill on behalf of public broadcasting last week. The annual Public Media Summit held by The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) took place February 26-28, 2012 – a three-day conference culminating in meetings with members of Congress and their staff to share public television’s vital impact on the nation’s civic health. Public television stations from Maine to Hawaii sent managers, staff members, and volunteers to participate in the Summit.
Dorothy Pacella, Executive Director of Friends of THIRTEEN, was joined by Friends board members Steven Kinney, Betsy Ashton, Agnes Irene Rymer, and John Manbeck, as well as Dan Blondell, Community Engagement Coordinator for Friends, on the trip to Washington. WNET representatives made the trip as well, including John Servidio, General Manager of WLIW; Kathy Rae, Director of Government and External Affairs; and Kellie Specter, Senior Director of Communications.
In a final assembly of conference attendees before heading to the Hill, Kathy Rae was awarded APTS’ prestigious National Advocacy Award for her exceptional efforts in furthering public television’s legislative goals. Presenting the honor, APTS President and CEO Pat Butler said, “Kathy has set a very high standard for grassroots advocacy, and she richly deserves this award.”
Friends and WNET representatives met with thirty-three Congressional offices on behalf of federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which distributes funds to public television and radio stations nationwide. Conference highlights included a dinner honoring Jim Lehrer and the PBS NewsHour, a live satellite feed from NHK in Tokya, and speeches by Ken Burns, PBS President Paula A. Kerger, NPR President Gary Knell, and former Governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania.