I recently sat down with our newest employee, Miles Saunders. He is our senior producer and is excited to be part of the WNED family. While he is no stranger to Buffalo (he’s a native of Portville, N.Y.), he was previously a resident of California before returning to this area.
Saunders went to college in Arkansas at John Brown University, studied broadcasting and leaned toward a future in journalism. He worked at a radio station in the college town as an overnight DJ and did newscasts during the morning drive time for a year. Soon after, he was a reporter for a television station in Fort Smith and even had the honor of interviewing former president Bill Clinton, then governor of Arkansas. As with any career, Saunders looked to move up markets in the business and took jobs in Tulsa, Okla. and Sacramento, Calif.
In 1997, he was in the San Francisco Bay area shooting documentaries and worked as an independent producer for 3 different PBS member stations, KVIE, KTEH and KQED. It was at KQED where he produced “Saving the Bay,” a 4-hour environmental history on the San Francisco Bay, which aired nationally on PBS. The film is stunning, the visuals absolutely beautiful and narration by Robert Redford make this a wonderful documentary. The production “focuses on the geological, cultural and developmental history of the San Francisco Bay and the larger northern California watershed, from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Farallon Islands in the Pacific Ocean,” as the official website illustrates. The film captures the movement that helped save the Bay and the efforts of people to restore it.
Of course I had to ask Saunders what would drive a former Californian to want to come back to the city of good neighbors. “About 6 years ago, I had an interest in moving back to Western New York with my family. I knew that Buffalo has television stations and that we could live here. It would be exciting to come back,” says Saunders. “We chose Buffalo because the recession was so tough on independent filmmakers. You rely on foundations and it was just a mess. To find a station that does national productions is rare and I was really impressed with the mission of bi-national appeal. WNED’s commitment as a smaller station is a strength for PBS because it creates many points of view.”
As our senior producer, Saunders works on developing projects and is always looking ahead. “There are many projects in the pipeline,” says Saunders. “I am looking forward to national-type programming but local programming as well.”
I know that we are all looking forward to the programming that Saunders will help to create for WNED-TV and PBS.