thanks

Restoring Best Picture Quality

PBS Hawai'i: Restoring Best Picture QualityWe’ll get there. Resilience is in our DNA

 

Leslie Wilcox, President and CEO of PBS HawaiiThe people of Hawai‘i bought us a $30 million new home. You provided us a forward-looking physical plant and the stability of property ownership.

 

And, of course, you now expect us to “bring it” with more and more quality content and higher and higher production values. That’s our expectation, too!

 

The last thing you want to see is reduced picture quality on shows that you love.

 

Understood. And yet, you may have experienced intermittent pixelation (that’s when individual pixels in a digitized image stand out) and sporadic, brief audio disruptions, all since PBS Hawai‘i moved into our new home with major, new technology systems.

 

First, I want to apologize to you for the blemishes in your viewing experience. Second, I’d like to explain. Third, I want you to know we have been working constantly, and repeatedly seeking help from network specialists, to eliminate the problems. And fourth, we have reason to believe that a solution is imminent.

 

As I write this, Level 3 Communications is arranging for a larger dedicated fiber circuit to transport our content. Level 3’s service to this local public television station repeatedly fell through the cracks following the telecom giant’s $5.7 billion acquisition of our previous provider, TW Telecom. We experienced critical delays as Level 3 worked to integrate TW Telecom into its fold and laid off staff. Level 3’s challenges in absorbing TW persisted as PBS Hawai‘i relocated to our new building and launched a long-planned transformation of our engineering model.

 

Our new model is something we’re excited about, because it allows us to spend less money to distribute our programming on today’s multiple media platforms – and frees up more resources for quality content. Our new systems rely upon dedicated access to an undersea, overland fiber optic network that runs through a Joint Master Control Center, called Centralcast, in Syracuse, New York. We’re creating programming expressly for Hawai‘i while sharing “back-office” tech costs with our PBS nonprofit peers.

 

Using this data highway shouldn’t have presented roadblocks in the Age of Fiber, but timing is everything: Our contracted fiber provider, TW Telecom, found itself going through a wrenching ownership transition. We sense that the layoffs may have resulted in a loss of institutional knowledge about projects already underway. For three months since our move to our new building, we experienced new owner Level 3’s lack of communication and responsiveness while our picture and audio quality suffered.

 

“This wasn’t managed properly. I don’t know why – we know how to do this. We’ll take care of it,” Level 3’s new Hawai‘i sales director Anthony Compiseno assured us when we met for the first time on August 8. He told us that we’d been assigned an unsuitable network setting – and arranged to test higher bandwidth capability (300mb or megabits per second, versus 200mb on our existing pipe), with a “pseudowire” enhancement to protect our broadcasting content. By the time you read this, our picture quality may already have returned.

 

You and other viewers have gone through this trying time of intermittent broadcast disruptions with us.

 

PBS Hawai‘i sends you our gratitude and aloha, for your patience and your continued faith in our programming.

 

We’ll get there. Resilience is in our DNA.

 

Mahalo piha,
Leslie signature

PBS Hawai'i: Restoring Best Picture Quality

 

Raising the Bar – The Best Way to Express Our Gratitude

Viewer thank you note

Leslie Wilcox, President and CEO of PBS HawaiiMy job is essentially to be a problem-solver. There’s certainly enough to reach for, as the fragmented worlds of media and education require more focus, more engagement, more depth, more context. And in this rapidly changing world, answers are a moving target.

 

But that’s not the toughest part of my job. As in other things in life, the simplest things can be the most difficult. And quite simply, it is very difficult to adequately express thanks.

 

Our unpaid Board of Directors and lean staff could spend most of the day writing thank-you letters or making calls – and it simply wouldn’t be enough to express the gratitude we feel here for what citizens are supporting.

 

After we lost our lease at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the people of Hawai‘i and several mainland-based charitable foundations with ties to Hawaii gave us more than $30 million to establish a modern stand-alone multimedia center on Nimitz Highway at the entrance to Sand Island, PBS Hawai‘i’s Clarence T.C. Ching Campus. This nonprofit now owns an acre of land and a two-story building, which (thankfully) came in on time and on budget.

 

And still, after building us a new house, some viewers thank us. Here’s an example, from a woman who wrote by hand: “I hope you don’t get tired of my thank-you notes but I gotta say how much it means to me to watch [PBS Hawai‘i].” Here’s another hand-written note: “PBS Hawai‘i is contributing to society. I want PBS to continue this way. That’s why I make my donation.”

 

See what I mean? With a heart full of gratitude, I want you to know that we are dedicated to making the most out of your gift of a new building and your support of programming. We want to raise the bar on our stories and in quality in all areas, including our events for adults and keiki. We want to “be there” for our state – all of it, not just metropolitan Oahu. We want to be trusted for fairness and accuracy. And when we make mistakes, we want to own up and do better. Maybe that’s the best way to convey our thanks.

 

Also, we’re offering all the thousands of building donors a guided tour of the television station. Next month, after we complete technical troubleshooting, install a photovoltaic energy system and add donor signage, we’ll have an opening ceremony. But because of space concerns, we can’t invite all who made the building possible. So we invite NEW HOME donors to arrange a personal tour, now or later, by calling Christina Sumida at (808) 462-5045. Quite simply, we’d like to thank you in person.

 

Mahalo piha,
Leslie signature

 

Glorious New Home – and Soon, Bright New Ways to Enjoy Content

Leslie Wilcox, President and CEO of PBS HawaiiIt’s one thing to see a building on a blueprint or in construction infancy. It’s another thing to finally enter the real deal.

 

So how is it?

 

In a word, glorious.

 

It feels great to walk in the PBS Hawai‘i’s The Clarence T.C. Ching Campus and get to work. Open space, glass walls, cheerful colors, creative shapes, lots of natural light, a sense of whimsy. It’s an environment that promotes collaboration and teamwork by providing a range of contemporary meeting places. The building also is designed to keep everyone informed, with monitors throughout the building showing current programming and ongoing social media. PBS children’s characters have their own little neighborhood. With all of the vantage points, everyone can keep an eye on what’s going on in the beating heart of the new home – the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Multimedia Studio and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Learning Zone.

 

We were fortunate to have top professionals fleshing out the vision of an open, collaborative workplace. Kudos to our architect, Group 70 International’s Sheryl Seaman, and her team; Justin Izumi from general contractor Allied Builders System, an employee-owned company; and our owner’s reps, Andrew Tanton from Cumming, with Jennifer Camp.

 

The project has been built, on time and on budget, but there’s more to do. We’ll spend the summer troubleshooting major new technology systems; adding a photovoltaic system; and creating donor signage to acknowledge givers who made the building possible. We’re offering small group tours of the building to interested donors who made this new home possible.

 

As our Board Chair Robbie Alm pointed out, many individuals and families wanted to help and to have their names associated with this place for integrity and civility in public affairs, education and the arts. PBS Hawai‘i heard from a stunning number of grassroots givers – 1,500 donors. Thank you so much!

 

You can see our terrific donors’ names online, and many of the names also will be inscribed on the walls of the new home. We look forward to acknowledging them.

 

Next time, I’d like to tell you about two highly regarded content executives here, Linda Brock and Jason Suapaia. They will lead our charge in producing more content focusing on this place we call home – and they will bring you more ways to enjoy the content.

 

Home is here! Mahalo piha…
Leslie signature