Thank you to those who contacted the Governor's Office and our local delegation in support of public broadcasting!

I never thought I’d breathe a sigh of relief about “only” a 20% reduction in State operating aid, but given the alternative – a proposed 50% cut – it was the best for which we could have hoped.
If you were among the thousands locally who contacted the Governor’s Office and our legislative delegation, thank you!  Your voice was heard in Albany.  You made it clear that our educational programs, news and public affairs, and coverage of arts and culture are important to our community. All of us at WXXI appreciate your support.

Still, our budget next fiscal year (beginning July 1) has been reduced by more than $330,000 in State aid. This is on top of reductions in underwriting, foundation, and production funding, a result of the weak economy here and across the nation. Fortunately, individual giving has remained strong. Our listeners and viewers appreciate our service and are stepping up (we’re very proud of the fact that we have more members today than we did a year ago).

As a member, you have a right to expect that your contribution will be used wisely.  We’re working hard to control expenditures, and while we are trying to avoid cuts in programs, services, and people, you will see some changes in the months ahead. This program guide, for example, will be changing, too.

This is also the time of year when we have key fund raising initiatives.  I hope you’ll take the opportunity to support the annual WXXI Auction, going on through May 9. It’s an opportunity to pick up some great bargains while helping support public broadcasting. Our traditional May radio membership campaign and June television drive will also be opportunities for you to make an additional gift, or to renew your support. And what can you expect in return?

Even during difficult times, we will never sacrifice the integrity of our programming. We promise that WXXI will continue to broadcast its children’s block of non-violent, non-commercial educational programs. We promise that our news reporters will continue to bring you fair, balanced coverage of issues that concern you here at home and across the world.

We promise to continue to produce documentaries that showcase the best of Rochester – like this month’s premiere of the Rochester International Jazz Festival 2008 series.  For the third year in a row, WXXI has had the opportunity to partner with the Jazz Festival, and last year we recorded three acts from Kilbourn Hall. The series premieres Sunday, May 3 at 7 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD and on PBS stations across the country.

We’re also working to make a difference in young lives throughout the nation, and are being recognized for our achievements. In celebration of financial literacy month in April, our national television series Biz Kid$, a WXXI co-production, was invited to ring the closing bell at the NASDAQ stock exchange. It was an honor to represent Rochester and the public television series that inspires our next generation of business leaders. Seen on more than 330 public television stations across the country, Biz Kid$ teaches kids the basics of saving, budgeting, investing and, most importantly, giving back to the community. Given our current economic condition, we all know how important those lessons are.   

Again, a special “thank you” to everyone who wrote, called, emailed, and spoke out on behalf of public broadcasting. You really made a difference!  

Best regards,
Norm Silverstein
WXXI President & CEO