Television

WBGU-TV gets grant, seeks local funds for Neil Armstrong documentary

From WBGU-TV PUBLIC TELEVISION WBGU-TV has been selected as one of 15 PBS stations nationwide to receive a $10,000 grant from WGBH’s “American Experience” for special programming in commemoration of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the first successful manned moon landing. WBGU-TV is creating a documentary celebrating the early life of the first man on the moon and Wapakoneta, Ohio, native Neil Armstrong. The documentary will include interviews with those who knew Armstrong and how his accomplishment had such a lasting effect on Northwest Ohio. It will feature Wapakoneta and various locales that figured prominently in Armstrong’s formative years. Plans are to premiere the documentary during Wapakoneta’s “First on the Moon” celebration in July. It then will air on WBGU-TV and be available for viewing online. “American Experience” is planning a six-hour, three-part documentary about the politics and culture of the space age and the journey that led to the moon landing. It will air on PBS throughout the summer. “We are proud and excited to showcase Armstrong,” said WBGU-TV co-General Manager Anthony Short. “When you stop and think about it, it’s amazing that the first man on the moon grew up in our viewing area. It was such a monumental time in our history and he was such an interesting (and humble) person.” “We were thrilled to receive the grant and are hopeful that others will support this project,” said WBGU-TV co-General Manager Tina Simon. “It’s been 50 years now since the moon landing and it’s important that we’re able to talk with people who were in Wapakoneta when it happened and let them share their experiences, before time makes that impossible.” Along with the grant, WBGU-TV will be seeking additional sponsors and funding sources in support of the documentary. The station will be hosting a 5K fun run/walk April 6 with proceeds benefiting the project. The WBGU-TV “Great American Run: Ruby’s Race for Space” will begin at 9 a.m. at the Jerome Library on the Bowling Green State University campus and follow an easy course around the university. To register or for more details, visit davesrunning.com or wbgu.org….

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WBGU-TV to stay put, more or less, as BGSU comes away from spectrum auction empty-handed

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Dave Kielmeyer first discussed the possibility of Bowling Green State University taking part in the Federal Communications Commission’s incentive auction, he said that WBGU-TV’s spectrum could fetch millions, or nothing, “nada.” Now some 20 months later, after a vigorous public discussion period, and more than a year-long auction process, “nada” it is. The university announced Friday that it had withdrawn from the auction about a month ago, and the station will continue to broadcast in the UHF spectrum. The only change for WBGU-TV will be a move a few spots down on the dial from 27 to 22. That’s part of the repacking process whereby TV stations are packed into one part of the spectrum, and wireless providers into the newly acquired space. But that won’t happen for at least another 18 months or so. Kielmeyer said the station’s engineering staff is looking at the details of making the change. “I don’t think it’ll be terribly difficult.” All the costs of moving will be picked up by the FCC. The parties could not comment while the auction was going on, and only now has the FCC allowed stations to announce the outcome. The FCC had staged the auction to free up spectrum for use by the growing wireless sector. Kielmeyer, who as chief marketing and communications officer oversees the station, said that the university decided that the money being offered was not enough to continue in the process. The university, he said, had hoped to generate some revenue that could have been used for student scholarships. The university trustees had said that the station would continue to operate, but allowed the administration to participate to see if it could surrender its UHF spectrum, which is more desirable, and move to VHF, or possibly partner with another station, and share spectrum. In a statement released by the university, President Mary Ellen Mazey said: “As we indicated before the start of the auction, WBGU-TV remains an integral part of the University’s core mission, a valued asset in the community, and an important provider of experiential…


As FCC auction nears end, future of WBGU-TV hangs in balance

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The fate of WBGU-TV may be known by early spring. After more than a year, the Federal Communications Commission’s incentive auction of spectrum is drawing to a close. The auction, which began last March, is nearing the end of its four-stage of bidding. This is expected to be the final stage. After that in about a month there will be another auction to determine what stations land where. Only after that is completed will we know where stations, including WBGU-TV, will land. In summer, 2015, officials at Bowling Green State University, which holds the WBGU’s license, announced they were considering participating in the process that is designed to reallocate broadcast spectrum for use by wireless companies. After a couple months of public forums, where the comments were overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining the station, the administration said it favored participating in the auction while still keeping the station on the air. That commitment to maintain WBGU was backed by the university’s trustees. That could mean the public TV station moving to the less desirable VHF part of the spectrum, or partnering with another station to share its spectrum. Charles Meisch, Jr., a senior advisor to the Incentive Auction Task Force, said doing that has required the FCC to come up with a unique auction format. The process started with each station being given an initial bid price. That was $188.4 million for WBGU. That would be a price if the station gave up its license, which the university has said it would not do. The price would be lower depending on where in the VHF spectrum the station ended up. And those are opening bids go down as the auction progresses. Industry media have reported that there was less demand for the broadcast spectrum than anticipated. Once the auction was underway, station representatives were not allowed to comment at all on the procedure, a stance recently reaffirmed by Dave Kielmeyer, chief marketing and communications officer, who as part of his position oversees WBGU. Meisch said he could not comment activity for a specific station,…


WGTE launching new children’s service

Submitted WGTE PUBLIC MEDIA WGTE Public Media announced that it will launch a new, free localized 24/7 children’s service on Jan. 16.  The free services include a new TV channel and live stream on digital platforms. The effort is WGTE’s latest initiative to support early learning in the community. WGTE will broadcast PBS KIDS shows 24 hours a day on the television channel previously called WGTE Family. WGTE will also offer a live stream, making it easy for Toledo-area children to watch their favorite series during primetime and other after-school hours when viewing among families is high. Viewers will be able to watch the WGTE-branded live stream through pbskids.org and on the PBS KIDS Video App, which is available on a variety of mobile devices and tablets. The live stream complements on-demand clips and full episodes, which will continue to be available for free on the PBS KIDS Video App and streaming via pbskids.org. Following its initial launch, the localized live stream experience will expand to offer an integrated games feature, enabling children to toggle between a PBS KIDS show and an activity that extends learning – all in one seamless digital experience. The live stream and games feature is grounded in research demonstrating that measurable gains in learning are achieved when children engage with PBS KIDS content on multiple platforms. The games will align with the learning goals of each TV series, deepening children’s involvement and supporting learning. “WGTE Public Media has been an integral part of the community for 63 years, delivering content and services that parents trust and that move the needle in early learning,” said Marlon Kiser, President and CEO of WGTE Public Media “We are excited to build on the work we do every day for northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan’s families by adding these new 24/7 services to our offerings, ensuring that our proven educational content is accessible anytime and anywhere to all kids – especially those who need it the most.” PBS stations reach more kids aged 2-5, more moms with children under 6 years old and more children from low-income families than…


BGSU trustees approved software engineering major

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University hopes a new software engineering major will compute with new students. The University Board of Trustees approved the new major Friday. The new major will equip students to enter an expanding job field. When the measure was considered by Faculty Senate, Professor Robert Dyer said that the openings were growing by 17 percent a year. In introducing the new major, Provost Rodney Rogers said it aligned with areas of strength that already exist within the university. President Mary Ellen Mazey said it also fills a niche. When talking with prospective students about what they’d like to see at BGSU, engineering is the top request. Now, BGSU will have a software engineering program as part of its offerings. The Department of Computer Science, which is within the College of Arts and Sciences, already has a specialization in software engineering that was established two years ago. This will be only the second such program in the state, Rogers said. He knows of at least one student now studying out of state who plans to transfer to BGSU. David Levey, chair of the trustees, asked how faculty would be hired for the new program. Rogers said that the department has a strength in software and has hired one professor in each of the last four years. The specialization now enrolls 17 students, according to the proposal. The university expects to enroll 50 students in the new major in the first year and have 200 within the first five years. “It’s a very rigorous program,” Rogers said. The major must now be approved at the state level. The possibility of another new major related to engineering was mentioned when the trustees approved the naming of the Stephen and Deborah Harris RIXAN Robotics Laboratory. The lab, which now under construction, will allow the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering to go ahead with the creation of a degree in mechatronics, an interdisciplinary field that combines electronics with a number of other engineering disciplines. Also, the trustees approved changing the name of the aviation program from Bachelor of…


WBGU part of emergency alert system

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS WBGU-TV is collaborating with Ohio’s 12 public television stations in developing and introducing a secure, alternative delivery system to provide the public with emergency information. OEAS Public AlertNet is a new statewide, multilingual, technology backbone that uses television signals to deliver critical emergency alerts and messaging to other broadcasters and public safety officials, who in turn deliver them to the public. OEAS will automatically provide the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) alerts and messaging in both English and Spanish. Ohio’s public stations are partnering with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and the state’s Broadcast Educational Media Commission to make this new technology the strongest and safest way to get the emergency information to the people who deliver it to the public. “Existing emergency systems have sometimes failed during crisis periods such as Hurricane Sandy, but OEAS relies on broadcast signals immune to the hacking and information congestion that commercial Internet services can experience when the need is greatest,” according to Dave Ford, Communications Branch Chief, Ohio EMA. A single digital data stream with all digital emergency messaging for the state of Ohio will be sent from the EMA headquarters in Columbus and distributed to the 12 public television stations for broadcast in support of the legacy Emergency Alerting System (EAS). OEAS has been built with the flexibility to accept new messaging formats as they are developed. Funding for OEAS was made possible through a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting through the collaboration of Ohio public television stations in partnership with the Ohio EMA and the Broadcast Educational Media Commission. Participants in the project also include the Ohio Association of Broadcasters and the State Emergency Communications Committee, representing both the local commercial and educational radio and TV stations that are the heart of EAS in Ohio. With support from FEMA and the FCC, this innovative emergency alert service has received national attention from a variety of other states. This service is at the core of public broadcasting and speaks to WBGU-TV’s mission to serve our communities and help keep the public safe…


Piper Kerman found friends, a book & a cause in prison

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Piper Kerman was a just a couple years out of college when she stepped over the line. She’d been traveling all over the world with her drug dealing girlfriend. She tried to keep out of her lover’s business until she was asked to carry a suitcase full of money from Chicago to Brussels. Kerman knew what she’d done, and soon after broke off the relationship, returned to the United States and put that life behind her. That’s what she thought. About five years later federal authorities rang her doorbell in New York City, and the time came to pay for her crime. Kerman ended up serving 15 months in federal prison, and came out to write the best seller “Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison.” On Tuesday night she spoke at Bowling Green State University as the guest of University Libraries’ Ordinary People: Extraordinary Lives series. Being in prison meant more than serving time. Kerman said when she had carried that money from Chicago to Brussels she didn’t think about the consequences her actions. In prison she came face to face with those whose lives had been devastated by drugs. “My closeness and connection to those women led me to realize the harm of my own actions, and I’m very, very grateful for that,” she said. Kerman said she was grateful to Jenji Kohan who produced the Netflix series based on the book, for keeping the issues she wanted to highlight in the book in the forefront. Among those were friendship. Kerman said she didn’t go into prison expecting to find friends, but wouldn’t have survived without them. Kerman talked about Pom-Pom. They worked at jobs near each other in prison. Pom-Pom was released a few months before Kerman, just before Thanksgiving. She ended up sleeping on the floor of a relative who didn’t want her there. The area she lived in was cold and dangerous and poor. Before Christmas she wrote a letter to Kerman, telling her to keep her spirits up because she’d be released soon. Then…