FY20 was a year like no other for The WNET Group. It was a year of innovation and resilience, especially in the face of the unparalleled COVID-19 pandemic, which brought the world to a halt and forced a new way of thinking, learning, and living.
But we didn’t let the pandemic define us, and our mission to inform and inspire has never been more critical. Within days of the Governor’s stay-at-home order, The WNET Group shifted to a remote working environment, with no access to a studio or control room, yet still produced the same high-quality, trust-worthy productions that our viewers depend on. And we never missed a show.
In this report, you’ll see how our news and public affairs programs continued to cover major national and international events – from the pandemic to the upcoming election, climate change and the Black Lives Matter protests. They conducted all interviews on Skype and Zoom, from their laptops and cell phones in the field.
You’ll also see how The WNET Group was ready to fulfill its mission of lifelong learning when schools shut down and children were forced to switch to remote learning. Let’s Learn NYC! and NJTV Learning Live broadcast in-depth lessons from public school teachers to thousands of children in the tri-state area, while daily education programming blocks on WLIW21 and WLIW World ensured learning was a top priority.
The WNET Group’s presence in the arts and culture mecca of the United States also allowed us to step in and help bring the arts to audiences when COVID-19 shuttered performance spaces and institutions. We broadcast and streamed our vast archive of arts and culture programs to millions of viewers, including Great Performances: Much Ado About Nothing and Andrea Bocelli’s Concert for Hope from Milan.
And the innovation continued. The new YouTube series Take on Fake helped viewers learn how to spot and investigate misinformation on their own. We launched National Public Radio station 88.3 WLIW-FM to reach new audiences and better serve our community. And as of April 1, we enabled viewer access to live streaming of broadcasts from The WNET Group’s station websites, an important new way for viewers to connect with our content from any platform.
In this new age of social justice, we are also recommitting to fighting intolerance and injustice by reporting on racism and reform and providing anti-racist education resources to the public. We named a new Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, Eugenia Harvey, to help us build a more inclusive organization and content that reflects the diverse community we serve.
I’m proud to work alongside such a passionate group of individuals who prioritize serving their communities in all aspects, even when they themselves are coping with the harsh realities of the pandemic and confluence of political, social and cultural change. I am inspired by their hard work and look ahead to the horizon of possibilities.
President and CEO
The WNET Group