WXXI Moving Forward

With all the swirling information – and misinformation – surrounding government funding and public broadcasting, I am often asked, “How is WXXI doing?” As the question is mostly delivered compassionately, I am quick to respond that there are positive things happening. On Tuesday, April 12 Congress agreed to a compromise bill that preserves the vast majority of the funding critical to public broadcasting for 2011. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding went from being completely eliminated to now receiving a 0.2 % cut in the Continuing Resolution (CR). Thanks to your help in this ongoing debate, members of Congress realized how essential public broadcasting is to our communities and to their constituents. You spoke up and Congress listened – and for that we say thank you! While the FY 2011 funding fight is coming to a close, the FY 2012 battle has already begun and we must remain vigilant in demonstrating the essential nature of public broadcasting in communities around the country.

WXXI’s other fundraising efforts have been encouraging! After completing one of our most successful television membership drives in March, our online Auction, which kicked off April 16, has been going strong.  With over 5,000 unique items up for bid, the action has been fast and furious. It all ends Saturday night, April 30, so if you haven't checked it out -- I encourage you to do so, by clicking here.

While we also recently held a very successful Education Takes the Stage Luncheon with the RPO, we have quickly shifted our attention to another local cultural treasure as we prepare for the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. WXXI will be filming six concerts again this June and, as we have done in the past, we will be editing and distributing the series to other public television stations across the country. You’ll be hearing a lot more about the program this summer, but it’s just another opportunity for WXXI to share our rich cultural community with the entire nation.

Finally, I’d like to touch upon WXXI’s viewership and listenership. Based upon our recent ratings WXXI’s total radio listening continues to grow, particularly with the addition of WEOS and WITH to our services. Audiences for news and public affairs expanded on both AM 1370 and WRUR, while Classical 91.5 remains one of the most listened-to classical public radio stations in the country. Meanwhile, adjustments to our television schedule have resulted in consistent increases in viewers throughout the day – especially to our core children’s programming, which is at the heart of our mission. So at a time when opponents to federal funding are trying to downplay the importance and relevance of public broadcasting, the numbers show that more people than ever are turning to thoughtful, independent programming that you can only get from public broadcasting. So whether you look to WXXI for balanced news, trusted children’s programming, compelling documentaries or inspiring arts – you can be certain that we will continue to support the needs of our community.