Building the House of Ideas

March 18th, 2008

Thirteen blogger: Barbara Bantivoglio, Vice President, Institutional Advancement

Today is nine months to the day since I reported to work at Thirteen. I came here from WNYC, so I guess my love for public broadcasting shows!

I’ve long cherished New York’s cultural institutions and the sense of community they foster within our huge city, so it’s great to be here during what is an exciting and, yes, challenging time for Thirteen.

We titled our most recent annual report to you, our community, “Building the House of Ideas,” and I think that’s an apt metaphor for what we try to do day in, day out here at Thirteen. We want Thirteen to be a constant source, on the air and online, of education, inspiration, and cultural enrichment, a place where the most important issues of the day get a proper public airing. (Our annual report will be available on thirteen.org soon).

With fewer and fewer locally owned and accountable media outlets, such a service seems more important than ever. As Vice President for Institutional Advancement, it’s my job to make sure that Thirteen has the funding we need to keep “building the house” and making it a vital place for future generations to gather.

Another part of my job is making sure the public has accurate information about us. One area in which I think there’s a common misconception is the level of funding that public television receives from government grants. I used to think it was much higher myself, until I began this job.

The truth is that Thirteen receives about 10 percent of our annual revenue from government grants. For the rest, the vast majority of our revenue, we rely on philanthropic support from foundations and individuals, corporate sponsorships, and, of course, “viewers like you.”

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you know that there’s a lot of change happening here “Inside Thirteen.” The excitement around our hallways is matched by the challenges we face in a time of dizzying technological innovation and a rapidly changing media environment (who’d have thought blogging would be part of my job description?). But with your support, I believe we will continue to be a vital cultural institution and public service as this new century unfolds.