Thursday, June 21, 2007

Smart TV and Looking for Writers

We were joined last Friday morning, by Tom Taggart, Director of Planned giving for Florida West Coast Public Broadcasting, Inc., more commonly known as our own community PBS station, WEDU Channel 3. Tom engaged with us in a very stimulating conversation about the possibilities for community produced programming for WEDU, particularly focusing on art education.

Tom reminded us of the Gulf Coast Journal program that is produced at WEDU featuring Sarasota County. This is an extremely well done and well received program. It was funded by a grant from Sarasota county interests and features retired NBC News reporter Jack Perkins as the on air face of the program.

Tom told us that WEDU is always interested in producing more community based content, but the funding challenge is one that must be met at WEDU as it is anywhere else. Twelve programs typically cost $250,000. The funder usually gets about $50,000 worth of on air in kind promotion making the net cost to the funder $200,000. However, the value of a well produced program is inestimable.

We discussed the possibility of looking at the Pinellas Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) as a potential funder for a community produced art education program featuring our community based artists. We are still looking to bring the new CVB director to a Friday Morning Group Meeting soon.

Herb Snitzer brought 3 books with him to our meeting last week. All three of these books were written by authors living in our community, including the newly published book on Mickey Mantle by Peter Golenback. Herb brought these books to illustrate that we have successful authors living in our community, but we do not seem to be attracting them to our Friday Morning Group.

This points up something I have been remarking about lately. That is that we all could be better ambassadors for the Friday Morning group. I would encourage all of you to reach out to any creative thinker that you encounter and extend them an invitation to join us at the Friday Morning Group.

Speaking of creative thinkers, we also discussed a new group that has formed in St. Pete. The St. Pete Creative Network had its first meeting recently. It seems to be heavily weighted towards graphic artists, which we also do not seem to be attracting to our Friday Morning Group meetings.

This Saturday at 4 PM a portrait of St. Pete native, Governor Charlie Crist will be unveiled at the St. Pete History Museum on the Pier approach. No mention has been made of the artist in the newspaper coverage of this upcoming event. Imagine that. However, it should be an interesting crowd. I am looking forward to seeing the portrait and meeting the artist.

And with that, I am going to just repeat that I am going to increase my efforts to be a better ambassador for the Friday Morning Group. How about you?

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