Program Listings - August 2009

Program Listings - August 2009
Download our August program listings featuring the month's highlights for WXXI TV and Radio. 
To DOWNLOAD as a PDF, click on the attachment link below.
Please note that to keep the PDF permanently on your computer, you may need to secondary-click (often a right click on a PC or a control-click on a Mac) and select the option to save/download the link.
Also, feel free to add your comments below about this month's guide!
Program Listings for August 20091.79 MB


Program Guide

I see that the August so-called Program Guide is no better than the unacceptable July Program Guide.
I subscribed to the Public Television Previews as suggested, but that does not provide usable program listings either.

I tried using the WXXI-TV schedules which used to display printable program listings for a week at a time only to find that they have been "improved" to display only a couple of hours at a time. Even then, to find the title or content of a listed program (such as Nova), one has to click on a link that describes the series, but not the title or content of the specific program. That information is available, but one has to click on still another link at the program web site.

Although I am computer literate, it is too much trouble to ferret out the information that once was easily accessible.

Therefore, unless or until WXXI manages to come up with usable program listings or schedules, I will greatly curtail my WXXI TV viewing.

Tip for finding program details.

Andrew Wheeland's picture
Hi Charles, I know that this isn't a perfect solution to your complaints, but one tip that might help you to find program information is after you click in the schedule to see information about the series, there is a tab at the top of the box that says "When to Watch" Clicking this will give you specific program descriptions, and it will also let you request a reminder email for any episode in the future that catches your fancy.
Hope that helps a bit. PBS is still working on revisions to the TV Schedules tool that should address the issue of only being able to see a couple of hours at a time. I don't know how soon to expect them however.

Andrew Wheeland - Director of Interactive Services

Program guide

Yes, I know about clicking on "When to Watch." That's what I was referring to when I said, "That information is available, but one has to click on still another link at the program web site."

Why can't WXXI publish (perhaps only on line) something like your old program guides?

Will pass your ideas on.

Andrew Wheeland's picture

Sorry about that.

I read your sentence: "That information is available, but one has to click on still another link at the program web site." to mean that you had to leave the online schedule interface to go to a completely different "program" web page and look for the program descriptions there. (not true).

For those who may not be aware of it, while it does take one more click, you can get the details on any episode that you see in the schedule, by clicking on the program name and then by clicking once more at the top of the window on the tab that I referred to above.  This gives you not only the information on the timeslot you just clicked but also all of the other airings of the same program that are currently available in the schedule.

Back to your comment, Charles...  They could probably remove the need for a 2nd click with some clever design, so I'll suggest that to PBS's developers. But more importantly, there might be a way for the schedule tool to display all of the upcoming programs with descriptions on a single page that could easily be printed like the old program guide... I don't know about that for sure, but I'll pass on the idea.

I'll also check on what it might take to provide the full listings digitally as a simple text file with descriptions.  I do not know exactly how time consuming it had been to edit this all together on a monthly basis when it was being published in "Station Signals".  I know, however, that it involved multiple people and considerable time to gather all of the necessary parts for publication in that format.

Thanks for continuing the discussion.

Andrew Wheeland - Director of Interactive Services


Honest - I'm trying!


Having written to Carolyn earlier, I wanted to thank you for writing: "more importantly, there might be a way for the schedule tool to display all of the upcoming programs with descriptions on a single page that could easily be printed like the old program guide". To have ANYTHING printable "like the old program guide"...well, Hallelujah!!

I referred to my "trying" in the Subject line. Continuing using your website in my attempts to get some facsimile of the simple (yet now appearing to be profound) information that Signals provided, I've been clicking away on the "When to Watch" tabs - for program, after program, after program,...

It's of some help, obviously time-consuming, but perversely lacks the chronological context of the other programs running concurrently. While planning my viewing isn't impossible, viewing satisfaction has become improbable. The "When to Watch" tab is also enigmatic. While being so is consistent with the spirit behind the format change, perhaps you can explain why (for example) one week's episode could be listed as being a "Part 1 of 2" but the next week's episode has an entirely different title? I'm referring to a Poirot broadcast on August 30th entitled "Peril at End House" (Part 1 of 2) and September 6th's episode entitled "The Veiled Lady".

I suspect that if a programming error has occurred it is probably due to the lack of what I have referred to above as "chronological context" in which the error would have been readily apparent. This time it would not be in relation to other programs but in relation to other episodes of the same program. Context does appear to have become jumbled in so many ways.

You all must be having such a difficult time. Good success with what you're attempting to accomplish! Even if I'm having difficulty appreciating your efforts, please be assured that I realize it's due to my being blithely unaware of what you're all encountering.

Honest, I AM trying.


Not "Charles" but "Andrew"!

Oops. My apologies. GFH

Program Guide

Dear Charles,
Thank you very much for your comments. We really do appreciate all feedback. We are sorry we had to change our program guide format for many people loved Station Signals. The savings were too significant not to do something different.

We hope you can understand why we had to change but I am so sorry you are not happy with the new format.

Our Interactive Programming TV Schedules on our website gives you all the detailed information you are used to. You can "jump to" any date you wish within a 2 1/2 week timeframe, click on the show you are interested in and a pop-up box appears. All you need to do is hit the When to Watch button and this will tell you what the program topic and description is. You don't have to leave the Television Listings part of our website to go to any program web site.

I know this is a big adjustment but please keep trying different things to see what works for you and hopefully we'll have some news for you regarding more detailed program listings on our website that you will find easier to use. I know Andrew wrote about sending your suggestions to PBS and within WXXI we are evaluating whether we have the resources to expand the listings we publish online.

Thank you for your comments and for your support. We really appreciate it.

Carolyn Reynolds
Membership Manager

Response to Comments

Again, your new format for Station Signals is simply disappointing and counter-productive. This time I'm agreeing with a different viewer than last month: Charles. After reading the responses you have chosen to post, I'm wondering about the proportion of all your viewers who have taken the time to Comment who are in favor of your new format in relation to those who aren't.

What is our feedback telling you? Am I mistaken in believing that our commentary is overwhelmingly negative? If correct, why should we take the time to comment if we're ignored? Could it be that we are really concerned that you get it right because we respect you so much and don't want you to fail in your mission?

The suggestion that Charles click on yet another web site tab doesn't really answer his (or our) dissatisfaction with Signals.

Thanks for your comment

Andrew Wheeland's picture
Thanks for your comment also, GF...
We have been approving all comments that are submitted to the website... either positive or negative. As long as they are not abusive or disguised spam.
My particular response was just from my individual angle as the Director of Interactive Services. My department takes care of the ongoing maintenance and development of the website, not the new printed "Program Listings" document. I was responding only to Charles comments regarding how he was unable to easily find out what was on a specific episode from the schedule.
That said, your comments are appreciated.  You are exactly right that people who take the time to comment (either positively or negatively) are the ones who care the most and are the most concerned.  
While I can't speak for our Membership or Creative Services departments, I do know that at least some of the feedback that we've received so far was incorporated into the August issue of the listings. (Opera fans, for example, can now tell which opera will be airing on the different weekends).
Viewers and listeners comments to our site are read by many within WXXI, and while you may not get a direct response to every comment, they can have a cumulative effect. Perhaps someone from one of the other departments I mentioned will get a chance to respond to your overall concerns.
Andrew Wheeland - Director of Interactive Services

Comments regarding new Program Listings

Thank you for taking the time to comment about our new Program Listings. We really do appreciate all feedback and take every suggestion into consideration. As of right now there are not any plans to change the listings format. We went to this new format because of the significant savings to WXXI. The new format has helped us avoid cuts in programs, services, and people so we really had no choice if we were to continue to provide you with the programming you have come to expect. And back in July it looks like you wrote with a concern about how this new format could be saving us money. Because it's one color, less pages, we are sending out less because of the PDF option, and we don't have to pay for the design of it, it really does save us a ton of money.

As far as other feedback, we have received many positive comments from our members. Many people have commented that they appreciate our new format because it provides them more programming information for PBS World and Create/Think Bright that we couldn't provide before. And that the layout is much cleaner and easier to read.

I think our hope right now is to try to get more details on the listings on our website. We are evaluating if we have the resources to do this. Our programming hasn't changed so if you love Nova or Frontline or Nature then go to our website to find out the upcoming episodes for the month. It's a little more work but we hope you can understand our predicament. The website is a great companion tool to the printed listings and everything can be obtained on our website ... you don't have to leave to visit any other site. Please give it a try and we hope to have some news for you in the future regarding some changes.

Carolyn Reynolds
Membership Manager

Program Guide

The comments about the new Program Guide indicate that the new guide is a MISERABLE FAILURE!

Although you claim to have received, "... many positive comments from our members. Many people have commented that they appreciate our new format because it provides them more programming information for PBS World and Create/Think Bright that we couldn't provide before. And that the layout is much cleaner and easier to read." I find it hard to believe that only negative comments are shown at your web site.

The new program guide, coupled with the new schedule format (a couple of hours vs. a whole week displayed at once) has made it very cumbersome to plan my PBS viewing. I have wasted much time navigating the new formats (and I am quite computer literate) and I have missed shows I would have wanted to see.

I find it quite amazing that, in light of the response to the new formats, you have no plans to change the clearly unacceptable formats. In my view, the people who made these changes have screwed up badly and need to take corrective action now, not later!

Further Experience

Carolyn -

You write that "Many people have commented that they appreciate our new format because it provides them more programming information for PBS World and Create/Think Bright that we couldn't provide before." I was one of them, but I clearly expressed how my appreciation was tempered by the obvious lack of detail that your former format provided. To know of upcoming programs on 21.2 & 21.3 (or now even 21.1) that are temptingly titled but nonetheless devoid of any explanation is frustrating!

For example, this month "In Search of Shakespeare" was featured on 21.2 in two consecutive one hour blocks of time. Considering the repetitive nature of your programming, what did that mean? The same program repeated? No, the first (having faithfully taken more time to go online after setting Signals aside) was Part One, the second Part Two. Not being able to watch at that time, I recorded them both. When I finally did view the programs, Lo and Behold!, I had only half of a four part series and the other half had already been transmitted. Station Signals had accurately indicated the broadcast times for Parts Three & Four, but had entitled them identically with Parts One & Two: simply "In Search of Shakespeare".

When I scheduled my recording, I had seen all the broadcast times in Signals. I had also seen the Web page referring to only Parts 1&2. And I also knew of the repetitive nature of your broadcasts. Conclusion: the following week's broadcast was a repeat of Parts 1&2.

But I was wrong because I should have diligently searched ALL of your website and EACH of your program references regardless of WHERE they might be found. The fault is mine, I acknowledge it. You had the information there, somewhere online, I'm sure. I have only myself to blame. And THAT"S what your commitment to inextricably linking your website to Signals is telling me.

I, your viewer, am at fault for not getting it right. I have to get CLUES from Signals (why is 21.2 listed after 21.3?), set that aside and go online to then diligently research your site. I'm assured that the increased time I'm investing is saving you money. Nothing learned is to be assumed to be the final answer until I review each program I'm interested in for the entire month. Even then, I must humbly acknowledge that I might well have missed something in my ignorance.

I know, you're sorry that I missed the second half of "In Search of Shakespeare". If only I'd done what you know I should have done, and gone to where you know I should have gone, and found what you know your people put there for me to find...and had the time to do it all. Thankfully, I do have internet access...not like other viewers who don't.

Nonetheless, I can't avoid longing for a Guide that simply printed: "In Search of Shakespeare - Pt1/4"; then 2/4; then 3/4...


Station Signals

I greatly regret my decision to help you by not receiving Station Signals in the mail. Just a listing of programs without any descriptive content is printed in the morning newspaper. I do not have time to sit in front of the TV and sample programs to see if they are what I want to watch, but prefer to map out my viewing for the week on Sunday for which the printed version of Station Signals was most helpful. It looks like the WXXI oasis in TV land is beginning to dry up for me.

Option for Program Listings

Today I called and left a second request for the printed Program Listings per your July instructions. I am computer literate, but I am of the print generation. I do not see WXXI returning to a printed guide like Station Signals and I understand the practicality of that decision. However, the navigation of the current Program Listings is not very convenient for anyone who wishes to see the entire day's listing in one glance. I dislike having to do a printout for the month and tape or staple the sheets together and I refuse to go online everyday for program details. My solution is a compromise: receive your printed, striped-down listing and then go online to Interactive TV Schedule, scroll down to Useful Links, and click on WXXI Titan TV Schedule. Titan TV allows me to select a date and by setting the time at 8 p.m., I get familiar-looking descriptions for shows from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. I won't mind working with Titan TV a week at a time or for the month when I receive the printed Program Listings. I print the specific day WXXI has a program that interests me and interleave the sheet in with the Program Listings as a reminder. At the end of the month Program Listings and Titan TV pages will be recycled.