Photo by Joe McGarity
Serving ten Northstate California counties, that’s an area approximately the size of Ohio, since 1964, that’s nearly a half-century, is your Public Television station, KIXE-TV, Channel 9. Older than the PBS network itself, KIXE receives no money from the State of California, rather it relies upon funding from a variety of other sources which include the federal Corporation for Public Broadcasting, grants from private philanthropic organizations, a popular live Auction program and of course, support from viewers like you. Rob Keenan, Director of Content for KIXE spoke to the Fantom Penguin and explained the difference between public and commercial television.
Keenan told us, “Well, the real difference is, basically commercial stations interrupt your program every ten minutes or so with a commercial message. We basically only, and are only allowed to interrupt our programming between programming. So, I guess, you’re not really interrupting the programming. People would argue that pledge drives interrupt the programming, but that’s actually a really important way for us to make money here is the pledge drives, but the difference is that, in theory, the commercial stations are a commercial message and we don’t have a commercial message even though we have spots on our air that . . . I guess are supposed to be an acknowledgement that someone has supported us where a commercial station is a spot that is trying to sell something. And you can argue back and forth of how those things look and that sort of thing but, the mission here is: Most public television stations have Program Managers which is essentially what I am; I am Director of Content, but we sort of focus on programming. Most commercial stations don’t necessarily have a Program Manager; they have an Operations Manager. We have an Operations Manager as well, but they have an Operations Manager and they have a Sales Department and basically what they usually program for is what’s going to get the most money commercially. Where we’re trying to satisfy small niche markets or individuals that enjoy programs. A lot of our programs don’t have a lot of eyes on them, but that’s sort of historically what public television’s done in the past is not cater to a mass market, but we try to get smaller little pockets of people who enjoy crafts or enjoy different science programs or that sort of thing.”
Another important source of support for the station is non-monetary and comes directly from the community it serves.
According to Keenan, “The station really survives on volunteers. A lot of the work we do can only be done because people sort of step up and come down here and help us or do other volunteer work and I would encourage anyone who has an interest in various aspects of Public Television whether you’re into clerical work or probably the most popular is Production. And to give us a call down here and let us know what your interest is because we always need new volunteers. We always need new Production volunteers and if you’re interested in helping out at any level we have all kinds of different jobs here that people can do and we appreciate everybody who comes down and does offer assistance to us to let us know, give us a call and help support us.”
The number to call is 243-KIXE. That’s (530) 243-5493 or visit the website at http://www.kixe.org/ or stop by the studio itself on Market Street in Redding directly across the street from Lim’s Café.