Television

WBGU-TV sponsoring 5K run-walk as part of moon landing anniversary events

From WBGU-TV PUBLIC TELEVISION “The Great American Run: Ruby’s Race for Space,” is a new 5K fun run/walk blasting off April 6. It is sponsored by WBGU-TV in celebration of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing. The flight crew for the event includes the station’s mascot Ruby, the red-eye tree frog. The race launches at 10 a.m. (registration begins at 9 a.m.) and follows a flat, easy course through the beautiful campus of Bowling Green State University starting at the Recreation Center on Ridge Road. The race is in conjunction with the BGSU Wellness Center’s SAAM 5K and Dog Walk with support from Dave’s Running Shop.Walkers/runners of all ages and abilities are welcome. We’re shooting for the moon – let’s see if we can total 238.9 cumulative miles (77 participants) in honor of the 238,900 mile-trek from the earth to the moon! Proceeds benefit a new documentary in the works by WBGU-TV and featuring Northwest Ohio’s own Neil Armstrong – the first man on the moon. Cost is $25 for pre-registration and $10 – 1-mile fun run/walk ($20 day of race). Register at https://davesrunning.com/races/running-signup.html. The 5K runners will receive a specially-designed race logo T-shirt while fun run walkers will receive a Moon Pie gift packet. Awards for first-third place in the various age divisions. For more information about the event, contact Cari Tuttle at WBGU-TV at 419-372-7024. WBGU-TV is a PBS affiliate and partner of Bowling Green State University serving a 19-county region with award-winning programming and educational resources. For more information, visit www.wbgu.org.

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Black Swamp Players announces its 50th season

From BLACK SWAMP PLAYERS The Black Swamp Players has announced its 50th season. BASKERVILLE by Ken Ludwig, Directed by Ben Forman Performance dates: September 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, October 1 Black Swamp Players is proud to announce that we will be kicking off our Golden Anniversary 50th Season with the northwest Ohio premier of Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery. A comedic retelling of the traditional Conan Doyle tale, a cast of five actors deftly portray more than 40 characters through a combination of accents, physicality, and quick costume changes. THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER by Barbara Robinson, Directed by Keith Guion along with A CHRISTMAS RADIO PLAY Performance dates: December 1st, 2nd and 3rd In this hilarious Christmas classic, a couple struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant is faced with casting the Herdman kids – probably the most inventively awful kids in history. You won’t believe the mayhem – and the fun – when the Herdmans collide with the Christmas story head on! Radio Play—expect the full radio show audience experience! THE SECRET GARDEN by Norman, Simon, Burnett directed by Cassie Greenlee Performance dates: February 16,17,18 and 23,24,25 This enchanting classic of children’s literature is reimagined in brilliant musical style by composer Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of “Night Mother.” Orphaned in India, 11 year-old Mary Lennox returns to Yorkshire to live with her embittered, reclusive uncle Archibald and his invalid son Colin. The estate’s many wonders include a magic garden which beckons the children with haunting melodies and the “Dreamers”, spirits from Mary’s past who guide her through her new life, dramatizing The Secret Garden’s compelling tale of forgiveness and renewal. ON GOLDEN POND By Ernest Thompson Directed by Wayne Weber Performance dates: April 20, 21, 22 and 27, 28, 29 This is the love story of Ethel and Norman Thayer, who are returning to their summer home on Golden Pond for the forty-eighth year. He is a retired professor, nearly 80, with heart palpitations and a failing memory—but still as tart-tongued, observant and eager for life as ever. Ethel, ten years younger, and the perfect foil for Norman, delights in all the small things that have enriched their long life together. They are visited by their divorced, middle-aged daughter and her dentist fiancé, who then go off to Europe, leaving his teenage son behind for the summer. The boy quickly becomes the “grandchild” the elderly couple have longed for, and as Norman revels in taking his ward fishing and thrusting good books at him, he also learns some lessons about modern teenage awareness—and slang—in return. In the end, as the summer wanes, so does their brief idyll, and in the final, deeply moving moments of the play, Norman and Ethel are brought even closer together by the incidence of a mild heart attack. Time, they know, is now against them, but the years have been good and, perhaps, another summer on Golden Pond still awaits.


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 learning for our academic programs. We look forward to continuing that mission.” The university conducted four public meetings in the summer of 2015. Those hearings drew hundreds, almost unanimous in supporting keeping the station on the air. They included students and BGSU alumni who had worked at the station. Graduates spoke of how the station helped launch their careers. They included families who praised the quality of programs. One was an elderly man who said he appreciated how the station took him around the world, and he didn’t have to watch Viagra commercials. Mazey said: “Our conversations about the future of WBGU helped generate a renewed appreciation of the station, both in the communities we serve and on our campuses. The process has strengthened the station and the University.” According to the press release, she has appointed a task force “to develop and implement a plan to increase collaborations and more closely align the station with BGSU’s academic programs.” Media sources report the auction generated $19.6 billion, far short of what was expected. Broadcastingcable.com reports the cost of the auction and the repacking process are paid for, the FCC will clear $7 billion to go toward deficit reduction.


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, but could talk about the process in general. Each stage of the auction has involved two rounds. In one, the reverse auction, the FCC tried to find the lowest price at which stations would relinquish spectrum. In the forward auction it determines what carriers are interested in buying the spectrum acquired in the reverse auction. Once the FCC determines that there is no more spectrum to be had in the top 40 markets, it moves onto the next stage. In the final stage the forward auction will continue until there is no spectrum demand in every single market, no matter how small. It’s matter of finding balance between what broadcasters are willing to sell and what wireless carriers are willing to buy. “It’s working exactly the way we expected,” Meisch said.  “It’s doing what it’s supposed to do, whittling down the cost until we have equilibrium.” The system was designed to go through multiple stages. In the end, he said, the auction process needs to raise enough money to pay for itself. That includes any cost incurred by broadcast stations related to moving to a new channel. Any money raised beyond that, he said, will go toward federal deficit reduction. As of Wednesday the auction proceeds were $18.5 billion.      


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 any other kids TV network. With its new 24/7 channel and digital offerings, WGTE will build on this reach and impact.  


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 Science in Technology to a Bachelor of Science in Aviation. This will be consistent with industry practices, Rogers said. When the matter was approved by faculty senate, Carl Braun, the liaison for the aviation program, said that often graduates have to explain their degrees to prospective employers.  Students and graduates have been requesting the change. Rogers also reported to that applications and students who have been accepted to the university for the fall, 2017 class, are both up by 2 percent from the same time last year. More students have also made housing deposits. Applications for transfer students are running a little behind. Rogers also expressed confidence that the university will meet its goal of retaining 80 percent of the students who entered the university this fall. That rate dipped to just under 76 percent last fall.  


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 today and into the future. For additional information on the emergency alert service, please contact Dave Carwile, administrator for Ohio Educational Television Stations at 614-292-9567 or carwile.1@osu.edu.