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This is Orson Wells, this is the story of a dream called public television. It all begins in 1953 when KUHT Houston becomes the first non-commercial station to go on the air. Not surprisingly, the stations are soon known as educational, and the programming reflects it. How do you do, ladies and gentlemen? I would like to talk to you about opera. Now, please, don't do what you just wanted to do. Turn the knob and switch to another station. In 1958, the dream came to Albuquerque, as K&M TV signed on on May 5th, the first program, a UNM English class. The station's first home was a converted sorority house, not exactly up to today's standards.
As was true nationally, the first programs were almost always live, and were documentary and educational. Joyce Maren's award-winning TV kindergarten. Public school music classes taught by, among others, Kathleen McVicar, Nancy Johnson, and Gene Hook. And the unflammable and unforgettable Dr. George Fishbeck, whose science shows, delighted and educated a generation. We never do a program without having a fire extinguisher on the set. On the other hand, like a child taking its first unsure and awkward steps, educational television has a few lessons of its own to learn. Now, here's another one that's 200 grams. Oh, now look at what's happened. The carpenter chloride has soaked through the cup, and we can't do that one. What are you doing down there, little kitten? Hey, hey, hey, come back here.
Hey, there's a kitten who's hungry over here. Oh, and there goes that kitten after her mama. And you know what she's going over there for. Of course, Channel 5 had its moments too. Oh, boy, oh, boy. By, golly, you know what that was? That was a mama cat, with her kitten. Now yourself. Well, what did we learn there? I'd like everybody to meet. This is educational television's first production for children. Before you is the entire production step. The program's weekly budget is $150, including salaries and prompts. Daniel, the tiger here, is the show's producer, Fred Rogers. How do you do? This is educational television. It is nine years old, quite young in the annals of education. Well, then television itself is but new come to being.
This afternoon, there were 67 stations in the country. Tonight, this becomes the 68th. In time, there will be over 200 such stations. It will, in short, be the development of a new fourth television network, serving all the people of the 50 states that are this land. As the stations grow, more and more types of programs are tried and educational television is soon to have its first star. No, I'm editing the tapes for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. That is, you're putting the tapes together. Yes, I'm putting that together. Well, now we have an example here. Here's a lovely passage, and it has some flutes in it. And then it has some cellos, and we've got to attach the flute section to the cellos section. And then there's supposed to be an all-bow section here, but I don't find it, so I'll just attach these. See how it told you how slippery you called it? Well, you, Mr. Glitch, there. Now, is there anything unusual about that tape, or could you use it?
Well, it's just a nice sticky tape, and then you want to cut the ends off a little bit, and try and make this even as possible. Flamboyant and unorthodox Julia quickly becomes a household word and a TV staple for years to come. And little wonder, not even the artistry of French cuisine can stifle her kitchen antics. Hello, I'm Bob Thompson of The Victory Garden. K-N-M-E-T-V, Channel 5 has long been the leader in New Mexico of how-to series like The Victory Garden. So join me, won't you, and wishing them continued success as they celebrate their silver anniversary, that's 25 years of outstanding service. In 1963, the National Distributor of Programs adopts the name National Educational Television and begins producing five hours of programming a week. Its first major dramatic presentation
comes a year later when a young John Void stars in Christopher Fry's Sleep of Prisoners. It's also in 1966 that coverage of current events becomes an earnest priority. In three and a half years, an E.T. journal will present over a hundred documentaries including Mills of the Gods. This early documentary on Vietnam spells out many of the dilemmas and frustrations the war would pose for years to come. The peasant doesn't go for ideology, the peasant goes for social justice. He wants to be basically left alone. In 1967, non-commercial television will change forever. It is the year the Carnegie Commission publishes its study on the potential of educational broadcasting. A new name is encouraged, and so as a new mission, the new public television will hint of a new and broader scope, television that entertains as well as informs. President Johnson signs into law the Public Broadcasting Act,
committing government support. It's a time of technological advances also color is introduced, and with Lyndon Johnson's state of the Union address, for the first time stations across the country joined together to carry the same broadcast into their communities. Like the National Network, K&A may has played a strong role in sharing events important to its viewers. Since 1968, K&A has broadcast gubernatorial addresses and legislative sessions, and his public television became a permanent part of the national scene. K&A moved into its permanent facility and present home on UNM's North Campus. The Beatles sing of love, but for America it is a restless and agonizing time. Much of the unrest is chronicled on the Pioneer Television magazine program, the Public Broadcasting Laboratory. Experimental in nature,
PBL is an eclectic assortment of current issues and performing arts. PBL is the first regular series to be simultaneously carried by public stations across the country. At times uneven, and often controversial, PBL will run two years. The new children's program, Mr. Rogers' neighborhood, will find itself trying to comfort a nation, reeling from Robert Kennedy's assassination. I've been terribly concerned about the graphic display of violence, which the mass media has been showing recently. And I plead for your protection, and support of your young children. For children, a different kind of revolution is about to take place at a place called Sesame Street. It seemed like an idea whose time had come.
Everyone knew the television commercials kept children glued to their set. The idea of Sesame Street was to teach numbers, letters, and concepts with that same pizzazz. Five test programs are produced in 1969. The reaction is good, except for the street itself. Some might lack the wonder of fantasy and delight, so apparent elsewhere. The answer is an awkward, but willing eight-foot canary known as Big Bird. Quickly, he becomes a part of every child's vocabulary and most adults. The electric company, Sesame Street, and Mr. Raj's neighborhood, are only the beginning. In the years to come, they're followed by a series after series, each media special need, each demonstrating public television's commitment to the children of America. Throughout the 1970s,
K&ME continued to produce educational programs for children. Most recently, the music program Sound Express. A symphony orchestra has many different instruments. Another tradition dating from the early 60s, live broadcasts from the state fair, went on, along with side trips to other events like the balloon fiesta. K&ME's other program offerings in this period were equally broad. Public affairs programs, sports programs, including a season of Global Basketball, Rosemary DuLittles, making your garden grow, and Solar Energy, a six-part series televised nationally by PBS. Prosperous interval of time during this silver year. K&ME, do you have anything to add, Mr. Raj's? Happy 25th anniversary K&ME from all of us in the neighborhood.
Meanwhile, the adults are busy being delighted by the British. The Forsyth saga begins America's love affair with England. Masterpiece Theatre will make good use of Forsyth's popularity when it premieres in 1971, introducing America to kings and queens, maids and butlers, beauties, and well-bred detectives. Masterpiece Theatre serves as the port of entry for the finest of British drama and introduces the mini-series for the first time. Here the king comes to visit on upstairs downstairs. The king? Defender of the faith, Emperor of India, and the Dominions beyond the seas. The king of England comes into dinner here. Ooh! Quail. The British become so popular that soon questions are raised as to the whereabouts of American drama. The answer is not long in coming.
This was no longer a question of north and south, a question of war, a question of human beings, chanders, all that. The women are trying to bring that food to the starving men. They saw that. What was your conscience then? Dropstanding thing with program drama or comedy, the winner. The Andersonville Trial, Hollywood Television Theatre, Louis Friedman, produces. Hollywood Television Theatre, is public television's first major dramatic series of the 70s. Before the night is through, the Andersonville Trial will win three Emmys. The documentary, North Vietnam, brings a storm of protest, produced by a British filmmaker who the report presents the war as seen from the enemy's point of view. Members of Congress who have not seen the program will denounce it as Communist propaganda. Other programs will cause a flurry of protests and pressures. You cannot get V.D. from a toilet seat unless, of course,
that's where you've been playing around. By the way, we're going to be speaking pretty openly here. So, if there are any children watching, ask any of your parents who might be easily offended to leave the room. Bye. In 1971, the Great American Dream Machine roar as out of its hangar and blasts the airwaves with an outrageous delightful look at America. One night I was watching Dr. Frankenstein. And I get this wild idea for a car called the Druid Princess. See that thousand pound car there? It's wild, ain't it? Well, here it is. This is it. The world pulled trash masher. The machine that turns 20 pounds of trash into 20 pounds of trash. In August of 1971, the National Public Affairs Center for Public Television is established in Washington. Its purpose is to provide comprehensive coverage of major Washington events. Santa Van Oker and Robert Pigniel are named co-anchors.
The president of the United States is not pleased. It is for him the last straw. And he directs his aides to cut off all funds for public broadcasting. His chief television advisor, Clay Whitehead, informs him that such direct action is not possible, but other options do exist. In December, the administration leaks to the press the salaries of McNeil and Van Oker. The uproar begins. It's followed by an attack on all public affairs programming. The Nixon administration had tried to dismantle public television. With no small irony, public television would now toss aside its regular programming and plan important role in revealing the incredible story of Watergate. While on earth didn't you walk in the president's office and tell him the truth?
There wasn't a question of telling the truth. There's a question of not involving them at all. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices and the overall office of the president? I was aware of listening devices. Yes, sir. Though America is wrestling with its recent past, public television is keeping many in awe of the achievements of other ages. Civilization with Lord Kenneth Clark charts a course through centuries of artistic achievement. While Jacob Brunowski traces our cultural evolution on the ascent of man. In the performing arts, theatre in America raises its curtain and for the first time, the nation enjoys the vitality and brilliance of its regional theatres. Theatre in America is a part of great performances. So is Dance America,
which premieres in 1975. It is quickly acknowledged for its artistic achievements. Not surprisingly, dance activity and interest soon increases across the country. Great performances also is music. And a part of public television's array of symphonic performances by the 70s, public television has become America's concert hall. The one place where it's gathered all the worlds, great performers, conductors, music and orchestras. It is a privilege afforded no previous generation. Music K&M E has long taken its obligation to present cultural programming to include local
as well as national events. Everything from the Albuquerque Youth Symphony to the Watermelon Mountain Jug Band. Best known perhaps are the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra concerts, and last year's national broadcast featuring the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. When Nova premieres in 1974, dis-America's only weekly series devoted to science. Mount St. Helen shocked the world by turning the Pacific Northwest in side-out. Nova was granted exclusive permission to fill inside the disaster area. I just can't describe it as pitch black. Just pitch black. This is hell on earth, I'm walking through. This is the actual reporting of a cameraman facing death.
But it is the incredible machine, which creates a science landmark for all of television. This National Geographic Special draws the largest audience ever for public television. Millions of viewers are captivated by this odyssey through the human body, a fantastic and truly incredible illustration of the miracle that we are. Built of thick and tough muscle, the heart is a marvel of mechanical performance. Beating 70 times a minute, it pumps 2000 gallons a day. America is 200 years old, and all of public television ready for the celebration. For its most prized gift to the nation, public television presents the Adam's Chronicles. America's history through the public and private lives of one of our most remarkable first families.
The Adam's Chronicles is acclaimed as a my centennial jewel, the most important of all television contributions to America's birthday party. The series is also public television's most ambitious dramatic presentation. 1976 is also an election year. And public television pioneers a new way to report the news. The McNeill Lair report starts as an experiment, an opportunity to give the news the time it needs, instead of hopping from headline to headline. Each night Robert McNeill and Jim Lair cover one story and one story only. It works as dials begin turning to know the meaning behind the headlines they've heard. The McNeill Lair report soon becomes the anchor for a whole array of public affairs programs. The economy, capital hill, special events, congressional hearings, and documentaries all receive regular attention on public television.
It is a commitment unmatched in American broadcasting. Hello, I'm Louis Rookheiser, and all of us here at Wall Street, we join happily in wishing KNME TV a glorious 25th anniversary. We'll continue to be with you every Friday night at 830, and we are very bullish on the next 25 years for Channel 5. Public affairs programs like Impact, Hello New Mexico, APS at work, reports from Santa Fe, and executive news brief have always been a part of KNME. Then in 1981, the station began its most ambitious public affairs effort. Like McNeill Lair, the Illustrated Daily focuses on a single issue in-depth each program, and is won high praise and not a few awards. The Illustrated Daily today remains a strong force, using the network that connects KNME with Santa Fe and other public stations in Portalis and Las Cruces to promote a statewide perspective on issues and events.
By the end of the birthday celebration, 265 stations are on the air, and no longer playing catch-up with technological change. Public television is now making those changes. Work begins on America's first satellite system for over-the-air broadcast. For the hearing impaired, a closed captioning process is developed as a result a whole world of communications is suddenly available to people previously excluded, but addressing special needs. As by now become expected of public television, many lack mass audience appeal. Yet the need is no less real. Minorities, women, handicapped, and the aging find a source for information and expression. As the 1970s waned, the cost of providing quality television service to the people of New Mexico began to outstrip the ability of the state and federal governments to pay the bill. So, on-air fundraising, the pledge drive became a necessary part of Channel 5.
The station asked the community to become involved in helping to meet mounting operating costs, and the public responded. Now, some 41 percent of the station's budget is dependent on direct contributions from the public. Through pledge drives, through business underwriting of program and broadcast costs, through direct mail, and through an increasing variety of special events like last year's wine tasting, other special events have brought people like Paul Duke. Let's make the most of this beautiful day. Fred Rogers, and Mark Russell, to Albuquerque and local audiences. In New York, the curtain opens on the first full-length broadcast performance from the famed Metropolitan Opera House, Renato Scotto and Luciano Pavarotti in La Boaena.
Public television continues making musical history when Vladimir Horowitz makes a rare appearance in recital from the White House, playing not only for the president, but the entire nation. In 1979, a television project of unprecedented scope and ambition begins with the new production of Julius Caesar. Over six years, audiences will see the complete dramatic works of William Shakespeare. The Shakespeare plays with Houston England, marks the first time that performed versions of all the plays are to be preserved. The Scarlet Letter is public television's first dramatic production of an American literary classic. It soon followed by more American dramatizations, three John Chiever stories from great performances. James Earl Jones fares as Paul Robson, Mark Twain's life on the Mississippi. But while many applaud, others are raising eyebrows.
As he hears past, public television is shedding light into dark places. California right. A terrifying look at the American Atsy Party. Hittler's court photographer gave Ray a substantial portion of his here-to-four unpublished pictorial history of the Third Reich, Portraits of Madness. To an amuse productions of also shown viewers a darker side, this one, Portraits of Madness, is just one of a number of illustrated daily specials about New Mexicans who have played interesting roles in historical events. The source of all the plenty, but just sitting down there, lying under Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas, and all you had to do to get it was to turn on the pump. And so they drilled and pumped and sprayed the water to the sky,
and now they see the overlies gonna super dry. Other illustrated daily efforts, like End of the Nockwerp, have won national awards, continuing a tradition which began in 1960, when K-NME won its first national recognition in news and public affairs. But of all documentaries, none will evoke more attention than the world's special death of a princess. And it has stirred up an international hornet's nest. The government of Saudi Arabia is furious and some of that country's friends in the Carter administration, in Congress, in the oil industry, and in other influential places, are putting a lot of pressure on PBS to drop the program. To survive as an Arab, one has to become a schizophrenic. One has to learn to live in two worlds at once. The cosmic calendar compresses the local history of the universe into a single year.
The Big Bang is at upper left in the first second of January 1st. 15 billion years later is our present time, the last second of December 31st. We've emerged so recently that the familiar events of our recorded history occupy only the last seconds of the last minute of December 31st. In the vast ocean of time, which this calendar represents, everything in the history books happens here in the last ten seconds of the cosmic calendar. We on Earth have just awakened to the great oceans of space and time from which we have emerged. We are the legacy of 15 billion years of cosmic evolution. We have a choice.
We can enhance life and come to know the universe that made us or we can squander our 15 billion year heritage in meaningless self-destruction. What happens in the first second of the next cosmic year depends on what we do here and now with our intelligence and our knowledge of the cosmos. For the past 25 years, KNME has been proud to serve New Mexicans with the best of public television, locally and nationally. All of us at Channel 5 are looking forward to the years ahead. Years which more than ever before should continue the reality of quality through public broadcasting. I'm Kim Vesley. Hello, I'm Mark Russell and you know it seems like only 25 years ago that KNME TV 5 of Albuquerque began. In here, 25 years later they're celebrating their silver anniversary, which is quite a coincidence when you think about it.
Happy anniversary, Channel 5, and many, many more. And remember, as Albuquerque goes, so goes Roswell. Roswell? Thank you.
KNME-TV 25th Anniversary Presentation for Mark Russell Dinner, Dub
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KNME-TV (Television station: Albuquerque, N.M.)
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New Mexico PBS (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
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KNME-TV 25th anniversary presentation for Mark Russell dinner. This program includes an overview of KNME-TV history and PBS in general. There are many historical images included and a summary of important programs and series in early KNME history. The local history is intertwined with a national history of PBS narrated by Orson Wells.
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Producing Organization: KNME-TV (Television station: Albuquerque, N.M.)
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Chicago: “KNME-TV 25th Anniversary Presentation for Mark Russell Dinner, Dub,” 1983, New Mexico PBS, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 3, 2024,
MLA: “KNME-TV 25th Anniversary Presentation for Mark Russell Dinner, Dub.” 1983. New Mexico PBS, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 3, 2024. <>.
APA: KNME-TV 25th Anniversary Presentation for Mark Russell Dinner, Dub. Boston, MA: New Mexico PBS, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from