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WETA Part of Two-Year Grant to Extend "Forum Network"

Service Provides Free Online Lecture Series By Some of the World's Leading Thinkers

A two-year grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will enable WGBH to expand the station’s online collection of free audio and video lectures to other public stations, WGBH President Jon Abbott announced today.

Through the grant, WGBH will work with Washington, D.C.’s WETA, and Public Broadcasting Atlanta, as well as PBS and NPR, to nationalize the Forum Network service (www.forum-network.org), which offers free, online access to more than 2,500 audio and video lectures by some of the world’s leading authors, artists, scientists, policymakers and historians.

“The Forum Network offers yet another platform through which WGBH can share meaningful content with citizens all over the world,” said Abbott, who noted that people in more than 200 lands have streamed or downloaded more than three million Forum Network lectures by such diverse speakers as Lisa Randall, Noam Chomsky, Desmond Tutu, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and I.M. Pei. “We’re excited by this opportunity to expand Forum Network beyond WGBH and to develop it into a service used by local PBS stations across the nation.”

“At WETA, we are excited by this additional opportunity to serve the public with content of intellectual integrity and cultural merit,” said Sharon Percy Rockefeller, President and CEO of WETA. “We are very pleased to be a part of the Forum Network — we look forward to contributing currents of contemporary thought from Greater Washington and to bringing Forum Network’s impressive resources to our public.”

“The new funding from CPB will enable our Forum Network partnership to expand the success of our existing service,” added Milton Clipper, President and CEO of Public Broadcasting Atlanta, “and create a new model for national service to all Americans.”
Working with these local stations, WGBH will use the CPB grant to upgrade the Forum Network’s technical infrastructure and capabilities. In addition to creating a common archive of thousands of audio and video lectures, the upgrades will enable public stations to customize the site’s interface to complement their local station Web site, and to offer community tools with which to engage audiences.

“PBS and NPR are unique in that they are national in scope yet have strong ties to local communities,” Abbott said. “The Forum Network offers local public stations a chance to deepen their relationships with their communities by recording local lectures and making them available around-the-clock to both local residents and people around the world.”

About WGBH
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster, producing such celebrated national PBS series as Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience and more than a dozen other award-winning primetime, lifestyle and children’s series. Boston’s last remaining independent TV station, WGBH produces local TV productions (among them, Greater Boston, Basic Black and Maria Hinojosa One-on-One) that focus on the region’s diverse community, while WGBH 89.7 FM is Boston’s NPR Arts & Culture station, offering a rich menu of classical, jazz, blues, news programming and more. WGBH is the leading producer of online content for pbs.org—one of the most-visited dot-org sites on the Internet—a major producer for public radio and a pioneer in developing educational multimedia and new technologies that make media accessible for people with disabilities. For its efforts, WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors, including Oscars, Emmys, Peabodys and duPont-Columbia Journalism Awards. Visit WGBH on the Web at www.wgbh.org.

About Public Broadcasting Atlanta
Public Broadcasting Atlanta is the parent company of WABE 90.1 FM, Atlanta's NPR station and PBA 30, Atlanta's PBS station. WABE delivers NPR news, classical music, and arts and culture programming to more than 400,000 listeners weekly. Sister station PBA 30 provides local and PBS programming to over a half million Atlanta households. PBA's educational and institutional channel, APS 22, broadcasts programs specifically targeted for pre-K to 12th grade students and educators. After school, programs target parents and the general public. PBA is a broadcast service for Atlanta Public Schools. For more information on PBA, visit www.pba.org.

About WETA
WETA Washington D.C., is the third-largest producing station in the public television system and the flagship public broadcaster in the nation’s capital. WETA productions and co-productions include The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal, the In Performance at the White House and The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize performance series and documentaries, including Ken Burns's upcoming The National Parks: America's Best Idea and the David Grubin series The Jewish Americans. WETA also produces local content that spotlights local people, places and events. For more information on WETA and its services, visit www.weta.org.

About PBS
PBS, with its 356 member stations, offers all Americans — from every walk of life — the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches more than 115 million people on-air and online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and Web site, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.

About NPR
NPR (National Public Radio) is an internationally acclaimed producer and distributor of noncommercial news, talk, and entertainment programming. A privately supported, not-for-profit membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of 26 million Americans each week in partnership with more than 860 independently operated, noncommercial public radio stations. Each NPR Member Station serves local listeners with a distinctive combination of national and local programming. With original online content and audio streaming, NPR.org offers hourly newscasts, special features and ten years of archived audio and information.

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Press Contacts

Kate Kelly
kkelly@weta.org

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