Turmoil and Triumph: The George Shultz Years

July 9th, 2010

Don’t Miss Turmoil and Triumph: The George Shultz Years (a 3-part series beginning on Monday, July 12 at 10p.m. on THIRTEEN), which takes a look at the life and career of Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of State, George Shultz. Shultz helped guide the State Department through the Iran-Contra scandal, Reagan’s summit with Gorbachev, and more.

Before tuning in, you can watch some of George Shultz’s appearances on Charlie Rose:

James Tisch Featured on 'Consuelo Mack WealthTrack'

July 6th, 2010
James Tisch

James Tisch

On Friday, July 9, the newly-launched seventh season of Consuelo Mack WealthTrack will feature James Tisch, CEO of Loews Corporation and Chairman of WNET.ORG’s Board of Trustees.  Tisch will explain where he is finding value in Loews’s investment portfolio, which includes a wide range of companies, including hotels and oil drillers.

Season seven of WealthTrack (which debuted on Friday, July 2) focuses on helping viewers minimize risk while maximizing investment returns in a low-return, high-risk world. Each half-hour episode provides a unique holistic approach to investing as Mack, a veteran business journalist, brings viewers experts in a wide variety of fields, including exclusive interviews with “Great Investors” and “Financial Thought Leaders.” Following an in-depth discussion of the most significant trends affecting investors, financial experts offer their pick for the “one investment” that every individual should own in a long-term diversified portfolio.

Watch this episode of Consuelo Mack WealthTrack on Friday, July 9 at 7:30p.m. on WLIW21 and Saturday, July 10 at 8a.m. on THIRTEEN.

BP Exec Bob Dudley Answers Viewer Questions on Oil Spill

July 1st, 2010

This afternoon, PBS NewsHour Senior Correspondent Ray Suarez will be speaking with Bob Dudley, President and CEO of BP’s Gulf Coast Restoration Organization, at BP’s Houston headquarters for an hour-long interview.

Viewers across the country can begin submitting questions now via  Google Moderator. The interview marks the first time BP has taken questions directly from the nation since BP’s Deep Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, 2010 spewing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and onto the Gulf Coast.

The interview will be streamed live at 3:30p.m. ET on the PBS NewsHour site and YouTube, and can be viewed below. Clips of the interview will also be featured in tonight’s PBS NewsHour broadcast.

Viewers are encouraged to pose questions on a variety of topics, including: BP Accountability, Relief Well Status, Clean-up Plan, Gulf Region Recovery, Government Role, Environmental Impact, Future of BP, Future of Offshore Drilling. Viewers will vote on questions and the top vote getters will have their question posed directly to Bob Dudley.

This interview has passed.  View submitted questions here.

P/review: Istanbulive II

June 28th, 2010

This Saturday the Central Park main stage will host Istanbulive II, a Celebration of Turkish Music.   Starting at 2PM, it will feature five hours of contemporary music, presenting New Yorkers with familiar genres influenced by the Turkish context in which they’ve developed.  We had an opportunity to ask event producers Mehmet Dete and Serdar Ilhan a few questions about the show.

THIRTEEN: How did Istanbulive start? How did it go last year?

Serdar Ilhan: Istanbulive is a one-day music festival that aims to introduce to the American audiences the modern sounds of Turkey. I’ve been doing events in New York since the mid-’90s and have had the opportunity to work with many wonderful presenters, venues and other international music promoters. When SummerStage asked me whether I would be interested in doing a concert in the Park as part of their summer season programming, I immediately thought of bringing in the Turkish Tourism Office, whom I have a great rapport with, to do a large scale Turkish music event. They strongly supported the cause and saw it as an outreach event to promote not just the music of Turkey, but the country as a travel destination.

Mehmet Dede: Attendance for last year’s event exceeded our wildest dreams, registering close to 7,000 fans. People took it upon themselves to inform their friends and co-workers about the event and brought with them their families. SummerStage had to close the gates midway through the concert. We were told that several hundred people were left outside. At the end of the season SummerStage confirmed that Istanbulive was one of the top three most attended shows of the 2009 season.

July 2010 Guide: Music Central

June 28th, 2010

July 2010 Guide: Music Central

A reporter once asked Ringo Starr the secret of his masterful drumming. “My heartbeat keeps the tempo,” he replied. “I have a great time when I’m performing. It’s the rhythm of my heart and soul.”

Starr demonstrates plenty of heart and soul in the season premiere of the contemporary music series Live From the Artists Den (Fri 9th, 9:30 p.m. on WNET; Sat 10th, 10 p.m. on WLIW21). Folk-funk star Ben Harper and Relentless7 join the former Beatle for this intimate concert at The Metropolitan Museum of Art with special guest Joan Osborne.

The series will also feature Tori Amos (Fri 16th, 9:30 p.m. on WNET; Sat 17th, 10 p.m. on WLIW21) and Corinne Bailey Rae (Fri 30th, 9:30 p.m. on WNET; Sat 31st, 10 p.m. on WLIW21).

American Masters gets up close and personal with country legend Merle Haggard in Learning to Live With Myself (Wed 21st, 9 p.m.), while President Obama welcomes Paul McCartney to In Performance at The White House (Wed 28th, 8 p.m.). Norah Jones performs her greatest hits on Soundstage (Fri 2nd, 9:30 p.m.), and Jimmy Smits hosts A Capitol Fourth (Sun 4th, 8 p.m.).

And opera fans won’t want to miss Great Performances at The Met’s presentation of Hamlet (Thu 15th, 9 p.m.), starring Simon Keenlyside and Marlis Petersen.

So sit back and enjoy these lively music programs – all made possible by your support!

WNET.ORG Hosts 17th Annual Gala

June 21st, 2010

The Plaza was abuzz on June 16th with the sights, sounds and personalities of public media as WNET.ORG held its 17th annual gala salute. The festive affair was hosted by Jon Meacham and Alison Stewart, who transferred their roles as co-anchors of Need to Know to the Grand Ballroom of the storied hotel. From their anchor desk on the stage, Jon and Alison spoke with Neal Shapiro, WNET.ORG chairman James S. Tisch, and Gerald L. Hassell, president of BNY Mellon, which was honored for the company’s outstanding support of WNET.ORG.

Educational Broadcasting Corporation and Federal Government Reach Settlement Agreement on Grant Accounting

June 15th, 2010


June 15, 2010, New York, NY –Educational Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) has reached an agreement with the US government to settle issues arising from an investigation into grant accounting encompassing grants applied for beginning in 2001. EBC — and its parent WNET.ORG — cooperated fully with the investigation, which was settled today. During the time period subject to the investigation, EBC was the licensee of THIRTEEN, the principal public television station in the New York tri-state area; the ownership of THIRTEEN was restructured for reasons unrelated to the investigation, and the station is now licensed to WNET.ORG.

EBC has agreed to repay the US government $950,000, to forgo approximately $1 million in reimbursement of certain expenditures incurred with respect to project grants that the organization has been awarded but has not yet received, and to adopt a compliance plan. Although EBC and the Government did not agree entirely on the nature and extent of errors alleged in accounting for expenditures incurred in connection with grants supplied to EBC by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, EBC worked diligently with the three agencies to reach today’s conclusion of the investigation, which resulted in no findings of wrongdoing or liability.

In the last year, EBC and its parent WNET.ORG have upgraded their grant accounting practices, including hiring a compliance officer and establishing a committee to regularly review actions on audits and compliance issues.

“We cooperated fully with this civil investigation and have put procedures and policies in place to ensure that we won’t have the same or similar issues in the future,” said Neal Shapiro, President and CEO of WNET.ORG, current parent company of THIRTEEN. “We are fortunate to create and provide the kind of programming that merits funding support through a variety of grants from such sources as the NSF, the NEA and the NEH. We are also proud that these agencies have continued to award grants to us during the investigation. It’s our responsibility to ensure that our accounting for these generous grants is impeccable.”

Today’s conclusion of the investigation was effectuated by the filing of both a Complaint, a procedurally necessary step, and a Stipulation and Order of Settlement and Dismissal in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York. As noted in the Stipulation and Order, the settlement was entered into by all of the parties based on their desire to reach a full and final settlement and compromise of the claims alleged in the Complaint. WNET.ORG was not implicated in the civil investigation whatsoever, but is a party to the settlement as the sole member of EBC and has agreed to abide by the institution of the compliance plan prospectively.

View the official press release

Interview with THE NEW RECRUITS Filmmaker Seth Kramer

June 14th, 2010

This morning, Inside Thirteen spoke with Seth Kramer, one of the producers and directors of the upcoming documentary, THE NEW RECRUITS.  The film takes a look at a group of business students with a radical plan: to put an end to global poverty by charging for goods and services.

THE NEW RECRUITS explores the social enterprise movement and raises a unique (and somewhat ironic) question: can capitalism, rather than charity, save the world?

Directed by Ironbound Films’ Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger, THE NEW RECRUITS premieres on THIRTEEN this Tuesday, June 15 at 10p.m.

Seth Kramer answered our questions via email.

Inside Thirteen: What inspired you to make The New Recruits?

Seth Kramer: When filming our 2008 Sundance and PBS documentary The Linguists, we—Ironbound Films’ Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger—visited some of the poorest people in the world, from remote tribal communities in Orissa State, India, to mountainside villages in Bolivia. The notion that someone could offer these folk critical goods and services, but make them pay for it, seemed radical to us. Exploring this approach we thought would make for a fascinating documentary.

IT: Was there anything that you were surprised to learn during the making of this film, either about the poor people featured or the way business is currently conducted in poorer countries?

SK: The most surprising thing we discovered is that when businesses sell to the poor, the biggest problem is not necessarily that the poor cannot afford the good or service. The problem is that the poor, like customers everywhere, become more demanding of the product. Their desires must constantly be addressed. When the good or service represents an aberration from their traditional lifestyle, than an even larger problem arises: that desire must be cultivated from scratch.

IT: How did the subjects in the film react to this project? Were they at all skeptical?

SK: We follow three apprentices at startup businesses that sell to the poor in Kenya, India, and Pakistan: Suraj Sudhakar, Heidi Krauel, and Joel Montgomery, respectively. All three were skeptical inasmuch as they are within the reality television demographic, so know that foibles, confrontation, and failure are pillars of the medium. We convinced them that documenting their struggle honestly and unflinchingly would not only make for a more informative film, but also a more effective recruiter for those interested in joining the fight.

IT: Is social entrepreneurship a viable alternative to charity? On what scale do you think it could affect global poverty?

SK: To quote Robert Katz, a social enterprise recruiter who appears in the film, “Aid and charity on its own will never solve the problems of poverty.” The millennia have proven this true. Aid and charity can never cease to exist, especially in the direst circumstances, but their limitations demand sustainable alternatives. Social entrepreneurship—employing business principles to solve social problems—is just beginning to see tangible results, but will take many years before its effects on global poverty are assessed as a whole. Its most significant accomplishment so far might be changing the way the world views the poor, and the poor view themselves.

Watch the official trailer here:

Independent Lens: Interview with GOODBYE SOLO Filmmaker Ramin Bahrani

May 28th, 2010

goodbyesolo2By Independent Lens

In GOODBYE SOLO, an old man gets into a cab with an unusual request: a one-way ride to his death.  The driver agrees, unless he can talk the man out of it. Director  Ramin Bahrani infused the story with African, Mexican, and Southern influences to create a unique drama that explores the human spirit and the role of free will. Independent Lens sat down with Ramin Bahrani, the writer/director/producer of GOODBYE SOLO, to discuss his inspiration for the film and the critical acclaim it has received.

GOODBYE SOLO premieres on June 1 at 10pm on THIRTEEN.

What keeps him motivated as an independent filmmaker:

Curiosity. A desire to create a new set of values, culture and images as the current ones seem old, wasted, and often disturb me.

His three favorite films:
These are three films that I watched in the last few months and I loved:

The Enigma of Kasper Hauser
The Searchers
The Last Picture Show

His advice for aspiring filmmakers:

Read a lot, and work as many odd jobs outside of the film industry as possible.

His most inspirational food for making independent film:

I don’t know if inspiration exists but it always finds me working.

Independent Lens: What impact do you hope GOODBYE SOLO will have?

Ramin Bahrani: I hope first and foremost that the audience will be engaged and that they will enjoy and be emotionally moved by the story and characters. Perhaps it may also cause one to think about the nature of friendship, of selfless love, and of the ceaseless battle between life and death, hope and despair.

IL: What led you to make this film?

RB: A real mountain called Blowing Rock, and two encounters with strangers in my hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina:

A real Senegalese cab driver who is as charming, friendly, and curious as Solo in the film, and with whom I spent six months riding alongside doing the night shift in the cab.

An elderly man standing by the side of the road, totally alone, outside of an “assisted living” home that I would pass every day for months.

Blowing Rock provided me with an ending. It is a real life location along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the North Carolina Mountains that I have been visiting since childhood with my family. In October (when we filmed) it is known for its other-worldly beauty as the leaves change into an explosion of colors that burst and flash out of an enveloping and mysterious fog. Blowing Rock is also known to have a wind so powerful that it can blow a person back up into the heavens.

IL: What were some of the challenges you faced in making GOODBYE SOLO?

RB: Every film is a set of neverending challenges.

IL: How did you gain the trust of the subjects in your film?

RB: The two leading actors in the film are both professional, and it was my good fortune they accepted the invitation to be in this film as they are both exceptionally talented.

The rest of the actors are non-professionally trained and locals to Winston-Salem and each of them is a unique gem, especially Diane Franco, the young girl playing Alex, Solo’s step-daughter. None of them knew anything more about the film than the scenes they played in. They trusted me as I trusted them.

IL: Tell us about a scene in the film that especially moved or resonated with you.

RB: William and Solo’s final scene is something very special. Red West, the actor who plays the role of William, has done something phenomenal and magical. West has managed to transfer his inner soul and all our own inner anxieties about the fragility of life, the hopelessness of death, and the power and transient nature of friendship into his face and eyes with only the most subtle of moves, and not even the hint of a verbal utterance. This is what a great actor can do when given respect in cinema.

IL: What has the audience response been so far? Have the people featured in the film seen it, and if so, what did they think?

RB: Thankfully, the response has been very good. The film premiered in the Venice Film Festival where it was awarded the International Critic’s Prize for best film, and then it screened at Toronto Film Festival. It was released theatrically in the U.S. starting in March 2009 in more than 100 markets.

The cast has also seen the film and enjoyed it very much. It was a distinct pleasure for the non-professionally trained actors to finally know the full story of the film.

IL: Why did you choose to present your film on public television?

RB: They were nice enough to ask, and it’s a great opportunity to reach a wide, intelligent, and mature audience via such a respected, important, and long-standing American institution as public television.

IL: What didn’t you get done when you were making your film?

RB: My laundry.

Filmmaker Bio

Internationally acclaimed for his first two features, MAN PUSH CART and CHOP SHOP, Bahrani’s films have won countless awards after premiering in festivals such as Cannes, Venice, Sundance, Toronto and Berlin, and appeared on numerous top ten lists. Bahrani was the recipient of the 2008 Independent Spirit Award’s Someone To Watch prize, a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship, and has been the subject of several international retrospectives including the MoMA and Harvard University.

He also wrote and directed the short subject PLASTIC BAG (narrated by Werner Herzog) which premiered as the opening night film in Venice 2009 where Bahrani also served on the Jury. GOODBYE SOLO is his first film set and shot in his hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The film premiered in 2008 and immediately won the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival.

NJ Governor Chris Christie Responds Live to Questions at Lincoln Center Studios

May 27th, 2010

christie2Tonight at 8pm, THIRTEEN’s Lincoln Center Studios will host New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in a live Q&A, where he will respond on-air to viewer calls and emails regarding the state’s current fiscal crisis. Christie: On the Line will be presented by THIRTEEN in partnership with the Caucus Educational Corporation.  It will be simulcast on THIRTEEN, NJN, Public Television, NJ.com, and WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM.

Have your voice be heard by submitting your questions here: Christie: On the Line

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