WTVP - President & CEO
August 2014 - Farewell and God Bless
Photo of WTVP Retired CEO MChet Tomczyk
Chet Tomczyk
Chet Tomczyk - President & CEO, (retired 2014)

It's hard to believe that twenty years at WTVP conclude at the end of this month. It's been a terrific ride, and I want to express my deep appreciation to you for your support, your encouragement, your calls and notes when we got something right, and when we didn't.

To say that I have stood on the shoulders of giants over the last score of years is gross understatement. What was conceived by Dr. Phil Weinberg and the insightful founders of the Illinois Valley Public Telecommunications Corporation in 1969, and what went operational as WTVP in 1971 under the aegis of Elwin Basquin who managed the station for 25 years before me, was the foundation of the public media operation that now serves Central Illinois.

Since that time, WTVP began broadcasting twenty-four hours per day, converted to a digital format of broadcast, moved to a new production and operations center on the Peoria Riverfront, and began broadcasting three separate program streams. This all happened because of oversight by dedicated individuals who served on the Board of Trustees and contributed generously of their time, talent and treasure. The leadership of Board Chairs Greg Stinson, J. Reed Roesler, Ross Canterbury, Marianne Moll, Henry Allovio Jr., Joe O'Neill, Andrew Rand, and Joe Strupek was inspired. It seems that the IVPTC Board always had the right leader at the right time to see WTVP through obstacles and take advantage of opportunities.

If that is the foundation of the organization, then the moving parts are dedicated professional staff members who are totally committed to public broadcasting. It is they who do the work and allow me to take credit for all the accomplishments of my time at WTVP. I am not going to mention them by name because I will invariably miss somebody, so as a group, I want them to know how close they all are to my heart and how much I have valued their work, their friendship and their loyalty as we have traversed the highest highs and the lowest lows of the past two decades.

A grateful tip of the hat to our many corporate supporters and friends, especially the Caterpillar Foundation who has so generously supported WTVP by matching the gifts of Caterpillar employees and retirees, and to Glen and Polly Barton who co-chaired the campaign for the digital conversion and whose generosity continues.

Special thanks and appreciation go to you and all the members who have so generously supported the station over the years with financial contributions, matching gifts, and volunteer support in so many activities and special events like auctions, bowl-a-thons, yard sales, pledge phones, and so much more.

Finally, as I retire from 50 years in public broadcasting, I would be totally remiss if I did not reserve the greatest thanks to my family and especially my wife and life partner, Connie, who has been my rock, my support, my muse.

To paraphrase that old quote: Public broadcasting has been very good to me. I have been blessed to be in Central Illinois. Thank you.

Farewell and God bless,

Chet Tomczyk
President & CEO, WTVP (Retired 2014)


Twenty Years at WTVP with Chet Tomczyk

A look back at Chet's career at WTVP and some of what's been going on at the station over the past 20 years:

1994 - Hired as WTVP Development Director
1995 - Works to form the Galesburg Area Friends of 47
1996 - Begins service as President & CEO
1997 - WTVP Begins 24-Hour Broadcasting
1998 - FCC Mandates Digital Conversion by 2003; Planning begins
2000 - O'Neill Building Acquired
2002 - WTVP is first Public Television station in IL to broadcast in digital
2002 - Elected to first of two terms as Chairman of the PTV Small Station Association
2002 - WTVP's First Book Program Hands Out 25,000th book
2003 - WTVP Moves to new State Street Production and Master Control Facility
2003 - Andre Rieu Visits WTVP, Raises Big $$$
2004 - Elected to the first of two three-year terms on APTS, PTV's national association
2005 - Institute WTVP Travels as new fundraiser
2006 - WTVP Simulcasts on 46.3
2007 - Bottom Drops Out
2008 - SOS Saves WTVP
2009 - Analog Broadcasting Ends, Ch. 47 Ceases
2009 - WORLD Channel Simulcast Begins on 46.2
2011 - WTVP 40th Anniversary
2012 - Peoria Symphony begins tenancy at WTVP building
2013 - 40th WTVP Televised Auction
2013 - Begins service as Shared Executive with WILL
2013 - Joint Telethon Raises $970,000 for American Red Cross Tornado Relief
2014 - Long-term Shared Executive Agreement concludes with the University of Illinois
2014 - WQPT, Quad Cities PTV, master control operations assumed by WTVP

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