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WSIU-TV 50th Anniversary Event on Sunday, November 6 Postponed

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Contact: Monica Tichenor, Public Information & Promotions Coordinator, WSIU Public Broadcasting, (618) 453-6160, monica.tichenor@wsiu.org

Interview Opportunities

Greg Petrowich, Executive Director, WSIU Public Broadcasting, (618) 453-4344, greg.petrowich@wsiu.org
Jak Tichenor, Senior TV Producer, WSIU Public Broadcasting (618) 453-6187, jak.tichenor@wsiu.org
Erv Coppi, former WSIU Public Information Officer and Program / Pledge Host, (618) 984-4425
Bill Meyers, former TV Learning Services Director (started at WSIU in 1963), (803) 238-1946, bmeyers3rt@yahoo.com
Myers Walker, former WSIU Art & Scene Shop Director (started at WSIU in the 1960s), (618) 549-5886
Lane Hudgins, President, WSIU Friends Advisory Board, (618) 457-1027, lane@siu.edu

Images and captions follow release

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Carbondale, IL – 1961 was a big year in American history. John F. Kennedy became the 35th President of the United States, Roger Maris of the New York Yankees broke Babe Ruth's 34-year-old home run record, Alan Shepherd became the first American in space, and Joseph Heller published his classic novel Catch 22.

Closer to home, another significant event took place at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), signaling the start of what has become a 50-year tradition of excellence in education and public service. On November 6, 1961 – just three years after WSIU Public Radio made its debut as WSRV, "Southern's Radio Voice" – the University launched its first public television channel, WSIU-TV 8.

Founded by then-President Delyte Morris, who would transform SIU from a small teacher college into a major research university in just 12 years, and professors Buren C. Robbins and Jacob O. Bach, WSIU-TV signed on the air with 55 hours of programming, nearly half of which were devoted to instructional programs for area K-12 classrooms.

Today, WSIU boasts three digital television channels and three radio stations broadcasting around-the-clock; a website that offers on-demand listening, podcasts, and videos; a nationally-recognized education and outreach department; an award-winning local production unit; and the Southern Illinois Radio Information Service (SIRIS), a radio reading service for individuals who are blind or physically unable to read for themselves.

"That 50 years ago, our founders had a vision for what WSIU could be and how it could improve the lives of people in this region is an inspiring thought," says Greg Petrowich, Executive Director of WSIU Public Broadcasting. "Who could have known that 50 years later we'd have a vital service that not only meets the needs of so many residents throughout the region, but also continues to teach hundreds of students each year the art of broadcasting?"

To celebrate its first 50 years of service to the region, WSIU will hold a special celebration on Sunday, November 6 at Morris Library, located at 605 Agriculture Drive on the SIU Carbondale campus.

Jeffrey Brown, a senior correspondent for the acclaimed public television news series PBS NewsHour, is WSIU's special guest for the evening and will give a free public lecture at 7pm in Guyon Auditorium in Morris Library. Although the lecture is free, seating is limited in the auditorium, so reservations are strongly recommended. Those interested in attending the lecture should call (618) 453-4344 or send an email to rsvp@wsiu.org.

Preceding the lecture is a ticketed reception from 5:30-6:45pm in Morris Library's Hall of Presidents and Chancellors featuring cocktails, ample tapas-style hors d'oeuvres, and desserts. Tickets are $50 per person and guarantee a reserved seat at the lecture. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (618) 453-4344.

The evening's festivities also will include a short video and a photo display documenting WSIU-TV's 50-year history.

WSIU plans to host more 50th Anniversary events, including at least one children's event, between November 2011 and November 2012. Details will be shared on the air and online at wsiu.org as they are finalized.

WSIU will launch a 50th Anniversary webpage at wsiu.org in the next few weeks, which will include historical information and photos. Additional photos will be posted to WSIU's Facebook page at facebook.com/wsiutv.

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Photo 1: Early Pioneers: Former SIUC Journalism Professor Harlan Mendenhall (left), SIUC Radio-TV Department Chairman Charles T. Lynch (center), and WSIU-TV News Director Ed Brown (right) pose next to a TV studio camera in the mid-to-late 1960s. Photo: WSIU Archives.

Photo 2: Old TV Master Control: A student monitors WSIU-TV's on-air signal in the station's former TV Studio and Master Control Room in Quigley Hall in the early-to-mid 1960s. In those days, Quigley Hall was commonly referred to as the Home Economics Building. Photo: WSIU Archives.

Photo 3: Old TV News Set: SIU students on the WSIU-TV news set in the early 1970s. Photo: WSIU Archives.

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