Monday, January 14, 2019

Story in the Public Square TV and Radio marks second-year anniversary

Two years ago today, on January 14, 2017, Story in the Public Square debuted. The first broadcast of our weekly show was with the audio version, on SiriusXM Satellite Radio – the popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124.

The TV debut, on Rhode Island PBS, was the next day, a Sunday, at 11 a.m., which remains our time slot today in the southeastern New England market (rebroadcasts Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.).

Since our debut, Story in the Public Square has won a Telly Award and, starting in September 2018, gone national -- now seen coast-to-coast in 22 of the top 25 U.S. markets, 43 of the top 50 markets and 79 percent of all U.S. markets. And co-host Jim Ludes and I have brought more than 100 storytellers to our audiences.

Story cast and Crew during recent taping of guests Alice Robb, center, and Mike Stanton, right of Robb.
They come from the worlds of journalism, film, photography, academia, poetry, art, books, politics, medicine and more. Many have won national awards. All have informed and educated and many have also entertained -- and all have met our only request, to learn about their creative processes and how their stories impact public understanding and policy in America and the world. Jim and I listen more than talk. Story is about our guests and important issues, not us.

The roots of Story in the Public Square date to February 2012, when Jim and I met for coffee, which began a conversation that led to the founding of the Story program at Salve Regina University’s Pell Center, which Jim heads. A partnership with The Providence Journal, where I am a staff writer, was formed and remains to this day.

The old saw holds that it takes a village -- but it’s true, and our guests belong to that village; without them, we’d be little more than a couple more talking heads yammering about whatever. And there are many others who have helped build our show. An anniversary is an appropriate time to acknowledge them.

Let me start with The Providence Journal, with publisher Janet Hasson and Executive Editor Alan Rosenberg. Thanks, Janet and Alan. Also, Jeff Beland, Marketing and Audience Development Director. And at GateHouse Media, our parent company, thanks to Lori Catron, Vice President Marketing Strategy & Communications.

At Salve, President Sister Jane Gerety has been supportive from the start. Teresa Haas, Office & Events Manager at the Pell Center, keeps the trains rolling on time – almost literally, as many of our guests come up from New York. Communications chief Erin Demers masterfully handles our social media, press and more. She succeeds Gianna Gerace and before Gianna, Mia Lupo, who also once held those responsibilities.

At our flagship station, Rhode Island PBS, so many! David W. Piccerelli, Kim Keough, Scott Saracen, Lori Sullivan, Cherie O’Rourke, Nick Moraites, Mark Smith, Joe Brathwaite, Andrew Vanasse, Lynn Nardone Young are among them. And our set designer, John Methia. And two people no longer at RIPBS who were instrumental in getting us off the ground: Dave Marseglia and Kathryn Larsen, Senior Director of Broadcasting for Radio and Television at WNED in Buffalo.

The broadcast beginnings of Story in the Public Square can be traced to the nine episodes Jim and I did as guest hosts in 2016 for White House Chronicle, hosted by Llewellyn King and Linda Gasparello. Thanks to them, and our guests on those episodes.

And finally, thanks to our great hair and makeup team, Allison Barbera and Jennifer Colleen Smith.

That first broadcast, BTW, was “The Death of Expertise” author, Naval War College professor and Harvard Extension School teacher Tom Nichols. We taped him on the same day as Native Americans Loren Spears, head of the Tomaquag Museum, and Christian Hopkins, a Standing Rock activist. They were the guests on the second week of our show, broadcasts the weekend of January 21, 2017.

Tom Nichols on set, right.
Lrein spears and Christian Hopkins, center.
These three set the tone for all that has followed. Gracias.

We invite you to tune in during 2019, as we begin our third year on the radio and the telly. More great guests…

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