Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Best of Both “WORLDS”

By Suzanne Kashuba

What else is on? Plopped on the sofa on any given evening, that’s what I want to ask my trusty, old TV. There’s not much on the air that appeals to me these days. I like “The Office” and admit to being an “Idol” fan, but, more often than not, I surf the channels wanting something different, something relevant -- programming that’s worth my “eyeballs” and my time.

So often, I land on public TV. And I’m grateful to have the option of not one, but two public broadcasting stations in Western New York, including ThinkBright and Well*. That station’s programming has evolved since it was launched by WNED in July 2002. The latest iteration (in October 2009) vastly expanded health and wellness programming.

WebNow, less than two years later, it’s changing (significantly) again. As of September 1, 2011, ThinkBright and Well TV will merge with the WORLD, a content service funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Children’s programming and do-it-yourself series will give way to news, public affairs and global-issues documentaries.

Here’s a sneak peek at some highlights from the soon-to-be-released September schedule:

Broadside: Emerging Empires Collide

(September 3, 10 p.m.): This drama-documentary relays the story of the English invasion of Dutch Manhattan.

“Broadside: Emerging Empires Collide” tells a fascinating war story from the 17th century.

(Vote for your favorite 30-second spot for this BBC/PBS film!)


  • Long_Dist_warrior Long Distance Warrior
  • (September 13, 8 p.m.): Bill McGowan transformed long distance service from a luxury to a cheap commodity as he built a tiny company called MCI into a telecommunications powerhouse, taking on the most powerful monopoly of his time.



  • Surv_tsunami.jpg Surviving The Tsunami: A NOVA Special Presentation

    (September 29, 8 p.m.): When the Japanese coast was hit with a devastating earthquake and tsunami last March, courageous photographers captured the action on video. This film offers eyewitness accounts of the tragedy and harrowing stories of survivors.

In addition, reliable health and wellness programming continues in two time blocks: weekdays noon to 1:30 p.m. and 10 to 11:30 p.m. However, in large part, the station is devoted to telling human stories from around the globe.

Although some may miss the former programs, I love the whole idea of the WORLD. It’s daring, in a way, to bring diverse world views, visions and voices to a broad television audience. It’s a reminder that television –- at its best -- can be a transforming medium. People respond to people. As Oprah demonstrates routinely, human stories are powerful. They build awareness -- and change minds.

And here’s a tip: if you miss a program, chances are it will repeat frequently during the month. Just check the ThinkBright and Well listings online.

Learn more about the WORLD and follow the WORLD blog.

Do you watch ThinkBright and Well? If so, what do you think of the new programming schedule? If not, do you plan to tune in?

(*ThinkBright and Well/the World airs in Western New York on Digital 17.3 (over-the-air); Time Warner 21 (Erie County), Digital 200 (Erie/Niagara counties) and Digital 431 (Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties); and Verizon FiOS TV 472.


  1. I have to admit I was once an avid follower of Public TV - In each of the places I have lived I would sit down and watch NOVA, Masterpiece Theater, Front Line, etc. My recollection is that the shows were excellent and most always informative. But, alas TV no longer commands my attention. As the channels have expanded and expanded (to the tune of Monty Python's Galaxy Song) my interest has waned. Why? The answer to that is complex- too many other diversions but especially the soundbite style of TV today with the cram as many images as possible into each second of air time approach. The experience leaves me unsatisfied and heading for a good book.

    But winter is coming so maybe I will find that #@!% remote and try again!

  2. I'm familiar with WNED-TV, and occationaly they have some great shows. Not familiar with the other one, "ThinkBright and Well". Maybe they should promote/advertise that one, (especially since it's new) a little more so people are aware if it.

  3. Public television presents some of the smartest programming there is. For the most part, I find mosr of the shows interesting, as well as, they don't insult my intelligence. Viva la public broadcasting!

  4. Very disapointed that there is no longer children programing avalible on this channel. By children are upset that they are missing their favorite shows such as calliu, cyberchase, clifford and between the lions..my kids do not watch much TV and these shows are missed. Please bring children's programing back to thinkbright!!!!! We only have basic cable so we do not have any other childrens programing channels except for WNED..but my son liked to watch the afternoon programing on thinkbright.

  5. Sounds like an interesting mix of programming -- something for everyone!