WTVP - President & CEO
June 2011 - Happy 40th Anniversary WTVP!
Photo of WTVP Retired CEO MChet Tomczyk
Chet Tomczyk
Chet Tomczyk - President & CEO, (retired 2014)

Happy 40th Anniversary WTVP!

On June 21, 1971, a stalwart group of community activists headed by Dr. Philip Weinberg saw a dream realized when the switch was thrown and WTVP Channel 47 was first beamed to homes across Central Illinois. The initial grainy, black and white signal reportedly did not get much further than Pekin, and for only a few hours each day, but it travelled at the speed of light carrying the hopes, dreams and aspirations of so many.

The incorporation documents listed the primary activities of the new station to "consist primarily of engaging in and encouraging noncommercial educational telecommunications by radio, television or other means, and incidentally of preparing and disseminating information and historical, literary, scientific, medical, artistic, musical, and other material having educational value." The station remains true and committed to that founding mission statement.

Since 1971, the station has grown, technologies have changed, and our reach has been extended to twenty-two counties in Central Illinois. The latest measurements indicate that WTVP is now available to over 749,131 viewers by broadcast on three discrete channels, cable and satellite, and virtually across the globe via the worldwide web - twenty-four hours each day, seven days a week, three hundred sixty-five days a year.

WTVP stands on the shoulders of giants. Many people were responsible for creating WTVP including a virtual Who's Who list of community activists, bankers, educators, and cultural leaders. The initial Board of trustees were:

Dr. Philip Weinberg
Mr. William Aspell
Mr. William Bryan
Dr. Kenneth Edwards
Mr. John Hackler
Mr. Edward Hoerr
Dr. Claude Norcross
Mrs. William Turney
Mrs. F.M Bourland
Mr. Mike Caringello
Mr. William Grant
Mr. Ralph Heim
Mr. Lee Morgan
Dr. John Otten
Dr. Talman VanArsdale, Jr

Charter institutions represented on the Board were: Bradley University, Illinois Central College, Lakeview Museum, Peoria Public Library, Pekin School District 108, and Peoria School District 150.

Elwin Basquin was hired as the first station manager shortly thereafter, a role he fulfilled with vision and dedication for a quarter of a century before retiring in 1996.

Throughout the years WTVP has been served with the unique and creative talents of literally thousands of staff members and volunteers who have acquired, produced and delivered programming and raised the funds to make them possible.

The most important factor in the station's survival over the past forty years is YOU, the faithful WTVP member and contributor. Thank you for believing in the station and supporting it with your hard earned cash, for freely sharing of your time and talent, and especially for allowing us into your homes to educate, entertain and enhance. Thank you for making WTVP's 40th anniversary possible.

Chet Tomczyk
President & CEO, WTVP (Retired)

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