The Open Mind, hosted weekly by Alexander Heffner, is a thoughtful excursion into the world of ideas across politics, media, technology, the arts and all realms of civic life. In the 2016-17 season, the program celebrated its 60th anniversary. The Washington Post calls the weekly half-hour broadcast “[a] radical approach to TV talk in a troubled time.”
Premiered in May 1956, The Open Mind was designed to elicit insights into the challenges Americans face in contemporary areas of national concern. Founded by Richard D. Heffner, historian, broadcaster, and university professor, The Open Mind is the longest-running public broadcast in the history of American television. Beginning in 2014, the program continued with a new host, Mr. Heffner’s grandson, Alexander Heffner.
Recent guests include educators John Jenkins, Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Martha Minow; political leaders Mitch Daniels, Bernie Sanders, Ernesto Zedillo; Internet innovators Bill Adair, Sue Gardner, Ben Rattray; scientists Laurie Glimcher, Tom Frieden, Nora Volkow, media executives Chris Anderson, Paula Kerger, Gary Pruitt; journalists Peter Bale, Emily Bell, Ahmed Shihab-Eldin; scholars Katherine Cramer, Vincent Hendricks, Naomi Oreskes; authors Virginia Heffernan, Jonathan Sacks, Salman Rushdie; musicians Aloe Blacc, Ottmar Liebert, Moby.
The Open Mind conversations appear here at the time of their on-air broadcast.
The Open Mind at 60
“Public television has always provided a space for civil discussion and exploration of new ideas. Perhaps no program has exemplified this for as long as The Open Mind. For six decades, The Open Mind has provided a place for timely conversations about some of the most important topics facing our country and our world. This legacy continues under the leadership of Alexander Heffner, at a time when our country will greatly benefit from thoughtful, respectful conversations about our future.” – Paula Kerger, CEO, PBS
“In this age of uncivil media, The Open Mind is the ultimate counter programming. Where others feature rage, Alexander Heffner searches for reason. Where others stoke heat, he seeks to shed light. He is part of why public media is so crucial to the country’s future.” – Michael Oreskes, Editorial Director, NPR
“As the dean of a journalism and communications school, I very much appreciate having The Open Mind available to my students to demonstrate the high quality, relevance and integrity of what great media can still be.” – Ernest Wilson, Dean, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
“One hidden pleasure with The Open Mind is that it has introduced me to people that I’ve never read nor have heard speak. Newton Minow and Astra Taylor, both recent guests, are two great examples of The Open Mind‘s brilliance. Here are two people, decades and decades apart in age, but both with wonderful insights and observations…never knowing of either before I had watched and listened to each episode.” – Viewer
“I have viewed The Open Mind since Alexander Heffner’s grandfather began it during the 1950’s, and [it] continues to be appointment TV. He is doing a remarkable job.” – Viewer