WTVP - President & CEO
September 2010 - The Need for Public Broadcasting
Photo of WTVP Retired CEO MChet Tomczyk
Chet Tomczyk
Chet Tomczyk - President & CEO, (retired 2014)

Every once in awhile someone will comment to me or to one of our Trustees that there is no longer a need for public broadcasting - that there is enough good programming on look-alike channels that WTVP doesn't need to exist any longer.

Well, I can assure you that we don't buy into that way of thinking, and that we are not about to pull up our tent pegs and ride off into the sunset. Our response is more positive: to continue providing programs of the highest quality, the best researched, the best performed, and the most relevant.

To that last point, nowhere on cable or satellite are you likely to see the plethora of programs that reflect the people, places and events that make up Central Illinois. These national services provide for a national audience and may occasionally cover a diner or a landmark in the area, but none present the local perspective with the frequency or insider knowledge as WTVP.

Here is but a partial list of local programs that your hometown public television station has produced or has in the production hopper:

  • Interesting People with Ed Sutkowski - including guests Bishop Jenky & Msgr. Deptula; David Heinzmann, Chicago Tribune crime reporter/author; the Honorable Nancy Brinker, Founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure; Debra Conner, scholar, poet and actress; Michael Bryant, CEO Methodist Medical Center, and Dr. Paul Kinsinger.
  • Illinois Adventure - including visits to Fayette County Museum, American Movie Palace Museum, Muskie Fishing, Ice Fishing, Canal Boat, Sousa Collection, Northmoor Telescope, Gen. Logan Museum, Woodlawn Palace, National Road Interpretation Center, Ellwood Mansion, historic town of Elsha, Principia College, Illinois' Largest Water Park, and the Owen Lovejoy Home.
  • At Issue - covering topics including District 150 Superintendent; Crime; Medical Advancements; Orpheum Theater; Illinois State Medical Society; Combating Racism; Helping Rural Communities; Keeping the Arts Alive; Peoria City Budget; Redistricting; Local Economies; Rural School Budgets; Suicide Prevention; Downtown Peoria Hotels; Storm Water Control.
  • At Issue in Brief - including episodes on Weather Radar, and Storm Water Control.

New documentaries:

  • University of Illinois Medical School 40th Anniversary
  • Architectural Treasures of Central Illinois
  • The Boxcar People -the origins of the Mexican community in Galesburg
  • History & Reminiscing about Peoria High School
  • Sustainability.

New Series:

  • Healthy Communities - including topics such as healthy babies, teen pregnancy, STDs, obesity, and smoking; a four-part philosophy series featuring Tim Irwin; advanced medical procedures available in Downstate Illinois.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. WTVP will also be broadcasting Bradley men's and women's basketball this season, and adding call-in interviews with area politicians and opinion leaders.

Don't need public television because of cable and satellite? That's like saying we don't need public and school libraries because there are several bookstores in town. There is a lot to see on WTVP. Thank you for making possible.

Chet Tomczyk
President & CEO, WTVP (Retired)

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