FY2019 was a landmark year for WNET, as we became the largest national producer for PBS and expanded our footprint to include ALL ARTS – an unprecedented multi-platform arts channel, joined forces with NJ Spotlight to expand our news coverage in New Jersey, and launched new series and a new initiative to increase our connection to, and understanding of the needs of our community.
Throughout this report, you’ll see a reflection of the creativity, commitment and talent of the people behind WNET. And this is at the heart of our progress and achievements.
To bring ALL ARTS to audiences required an amazing confluence of technology know-how, commitment to the arts, doggedness in finding and inspiring audiences, and the generosity of funders who believed we could take this small seed of an idea and transform it into a destination for artists and arts lovers who have found a home on broadcast and digital. On Roku and Instagram, Facebook and broadcast, they are watching, engaging, and driving us to continuously improve their experience.
The launch of Amanpour and Company in September again activated a depth of talent that has brought our viewers a new perspective on the issues of the day. The unparalleled journalistic talents of Christiane Amanpour, Hari Sreenivasan, Michel Martin, Alicia Menendez, and Walter Isaacson have delivered viewers a thoughtful and thought-provoking look at global issues, gaining a loyal following and setting the stage for a balanced voice to draw on for the upcoming election cycle.
But FY2019 was not just the realm of the new. It saw our signature series break new ground and draw new audiences. Perhaps most stunning was the three-day Nature: American Spring LIVE experience. Nature audiences were treated to a front-row seat to the emergence of spring, brought to life by a range of scientists whose enthusiasm for their subjects inspired audiences of all ages to watch and share their thoughts – breaking series records for Facebook viewing and comments and launching a new citizen-science community that continues to explore our natural world.
The second-annual Broadway’s Best experience on Great Performances brought classic productions like The Sound of Music and An American Paris The Musical to audiences, inspiring a commitment to a third season that will be sure to thrill theater fans across the country. And American Masters’ exploration of such broad-ranging talent as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Ted Williams, drew fascinated audiences to the series.
I am privileged to lead an organization that is undaunted by the changing landscape, that brings new ideas and a legacy of quality to bear on the programs we bring to our audiences.
President and CEO