evolution

The Mission of Reaching Far and Deep

 

CEO Message

 

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawai‘i President and CEOThe theme of human connection ran alongside the subject of digital media strategies at the PBS Annual Meeting last month in Nashville, Tennessee. Which felt just right. What we strive to do in public media is combine the power of touch and the reach of tech to serve our home states.

 

Why meet in Nashville? Because PBS representatives from around the country need to meet somewhere – and Music City was a great setting for renowned filmmaker Ken Burns to share his newest epic, Country Music.

 

He spoke in a hotel ballroom two blocks from a boulevard of windows-thrown-open, live-music honky tonks. The eight-part, 16-hour film premieres on PBS stations nationally on Sunday, September 15.

 

At the conference, Burns said the film isn’t only for country music fans. At the heart of this American art form are honesty, vulnerability and real life. It’s about the joy of love and family, the hurt of betrayal, loneliness, regret, resilience, toil, faith, independence and the lure of the open road.

 

The Mission of Reaching Far and Deep

Leslie at Nashville conference with national PBS figures (right to left)
news anchor Judy Woodruff, commentator David Brooks and
(far left) arts adviser Jane Chu

 

I had the privilege of taking part in a discussion on stage with heavy hitters: (right to left) PBS NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff; NY Times Op-Ed columnist/PBS NewsHour commentator/author David Brooks and (far left) PBS Arts Adviser Jane Chu. We looked at how the arts reach deep within people and we considered Brooks’ proposition that the neighborhood, not the individual, is the essential unit of social change. And we talked about using local knowledge to determine the best ways to convene and authentically engage communities of diverse voices.

 

Just as there’s no quick fix for the broken heart in a country song, there’s no manual for success in the rapidly changing media industry. The spinning evolution of tech choices, viewer options and fragmented audiences requires media makers to be agile and relentlessly purposeful – and that still doesn’t assure success.

 

Here’s an industry expectation that’s a safe bet: In three years or less there will be as many digital screens as live TV screens being used to view programming.

 

PBS KIDS viewing is already there. Digital screens dominate in front of young children, who also use them to play PBS educational video games.

 

Back from Nashville, our local team knows that we need more than quality programming going for PBS Hawaiʻi; we need to offer easy availability. You as a viewer want to be able to watch what you want – when and where you want it. Our Passport streaming service and our website on-demand programs are a start.

 

If PBS Hawaiʻi’s digital strategy goals were a country music song, the title would be “I’ll Go Anywhere With You.”

 

Aloha Nui,

Leslie signature


 

When Whales Walked:
Journeys In Deep Time

 

Meet the ancient ancestors of four iconic creatures: crocodiles, birds, whales and elephants. Join top scientists on a global adventure as they follow clues from the fossil record and use 21st century technology to make exciting new discoveries.

 

When Whales Walked: Journeys In Deep Time

 

 

 

NATURE
Big Birds Can’t Fly

NATURE: Big Birds Can't Fly

 

This is the unique story of flightless birds. They say a bird is three things – feathers, flight and song. But what happens when you’re a bird who can’t fly, who can’t sing, and whose feathers are closer to fluff? Flightless birds include ostriches, emus, rheas, cassowaries and kiwis, and, interestingly, all have evolved independent of each other on different continents. Research has shown that some of these big birds at one time could fly, but once the dinosaurs were wiped out, these same birds no longer needed to take flight from their enemies. As they began to explore a world rich with food and free from predators, they grew fat, and their legs grew long and strong – until the day they discovered that although they had become good at walking, they’d also become too heavy to fly.

 

Preview

 

 

 

NOVA
Mystery of Easter Island

NOVA Mystery of Easter Island

 

A remote, bleak speck of rock in the Pacific, Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, has mystified the world ever since the first Europeans arrived in 1722. How and why did the ancient islanders build and move nearly 900 giant statues, or moai, weighing as much as 86 tons each? And how did they transform a presumed paradise into a treeless wasteland, bringing ruin upon their island and themselves? NOVA explores controversial recent claims that challenge decades of previous thinking about the islanders, who have been accused of everything from ecocide to cannibalism. Among the radical new theories is that the islanders used ropes to “walk” the statues upright, like moving a fridge. With the help of an accurate 15-ton replica statue, a NOVA team sets out to test this high-risk, seemingly unlikely theory – serving up plenty of action and surprises in this fresh investigation of one of the ancient world’s most intriguing enigmas.

 

Preview

 

 

 

NOVA
First Face of America

NOVA: First Face of America

 

Take a risky dive into an underwater cave in Mexico to uncover the 13,000-year old skeleton of a prehistoric teenager. Forensic clues reveal intimate details of her life and death, and how her people first ventured into North America.

 

Preview

 

 

 

NATURE
Super Cats: Science and Secrets

 

Scientists are studying cats in greater detail than ever before. New approaches and technologies help uncover some of the cats’ most intimate secrets, including the cheetah’s remarkable gymnastic abilities and why lions are able to hunt so cooperatively.

 

 

NATURE
Super Cats: Cats In Every Corner

 

Discover how cats have conquered the world, thriving in almost every landscape on Earth: From fishing cats in the wetlands of Asia, to jaguars in Costa Rica, to margays in Central American treetops, to swamp tigers on the Indian shore.

 

 

NATURE
Animal Misfits

 

Alongside the fastest, strongest, smartest animals are nature’s misfits, odd, bizarre and unlikely creatures that at first glance seem ill-equipped for survival. Left at the starting line in the race for life, these are the apparent losers in the story of evolution, yet somehow they manage to cling to life and in some cases even thrive. Animals featured include: giant panda, mole rat, three-toed sloth and aye-aye.

 

 

NOVA
Making North America: Human

 

Mighty, elemental forces molded North America – fiery eruptions, titanic floods, the grinding of great ice sheets and massive impacts from space all shaped our homeland. The epic three-part series unfolds in a forgotten world that existed long before our own, crossed by long-lost mountain ranges, deserts the size of Africa and vast inland seas spanning the length of the continent. Hosted by renowned paleontologist Kirk Johnson, this spectacular road trip through a tumultuous deep past explores three fundamental questions: How was the continent built? How did life evolve here? And how has the continent shaped us?

 

Making North America: Human
From Ice Age to oil boom, discover the challenges faced and the wealth uncovered as humans take over the continent. How did we turn rocks into riches? And what catastrophic natural disasters could threaten the civilization we’ve built?

 

 

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