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Terrel Cass, Gen Mgr WLIW Ch 21

February 3, 2006 @ 12:00 am EST


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Members and friends

Well, today was real treat. Our speaker was WLIW General Manager Terrell Cass. It is refreshing when a man who has such a serious message can deliver it in such a humorous manner.

Public television has played and is playing such a big part in our lives. To know that conscientious people are at the helm of this most valuable resource is encouraging.


One of the WLIW presentations that Mr. Cass spoke about was the travel films. In particular is the film of New York. This production is magnificent and breathtaking. Similar films have been produced by the station in Italy, Scotland, and various other parts of the world. Cass gave us some insights on how these films are produced.


The films are shot from cameras that are located in a bubble under a helicopter that was designed for this purpose. The vibration suspension systems that float the cameras gives steady flowing pictures of the landscape below. The effect is that of what an eagle may see while in a glide. These films are so popular, and they serve a great material for the stations fund raisers.


Mr. Cass spoke about WLIW’s affiliation with WNET in New York. This joining of forces has been a big plus for our Long Island station. I asked Terrel if he was afraid the WNET partnership would lead to the loss of its Long Island identity. He said that that concern was dealt with in the original agreement. The marriage is three years old now and the net gain to Long Island is the resources of a much wealthier partner while maintaining a Long Island centric station.


We asked him about the technical advances in the broadcast quality. Here again WLIW was a winner. The analog signal is being replaced with a digital signal, which results in a much higher quality signal, a feat that is expensive and probably would not have been available without the resources of WNET.


The bad news is that the government funding has decreased to only 9% of the total budget and at WNET is only 6%. However that is also the good news, since the these units are viable based on what we, the public, can provide to support them. Unfortunately many places in the country are more dependent on government subsidy, which limits the quality and quantity of programming available to them.


This was a very lively meeting and we thanked him for an excellent presentation. Mr. Cass stayed on to answer many questions on a one to one basis after we officially adjourned.