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.
Now, 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:
(September 3, 10 p.m.): This drama-documentary relays the story of the English invasion of Dutch Manhattan.
(Vote for your favorite 30-second spot for this BBC/PBS film!)
- 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.
- 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.
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.