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From the General Manager entry


Arizona Public Media just wrapped up the first radio campaign of the fiscal year, “It’s Up to Us”, on Classical 90.5FM and NPR 89.1FM. This campaign, featuring over 80 community voices, generated over 2,300 calls with support in dollars totaling more than $261,000. Many thanks to all of our new and renewing members of AZPM and to those that pledged an additional gift to help us achieve this ambition goal.

Late in the afternoon on October 27th PBS-HD 6 resumed broadcasting at full power from its transmission site at Mt. Bigelow after 9-months of operation at half-power. Last January, Channel 6’s HD antenna suffered catastrophic damage as the result of overheating, perhaps related to winter icing. This required that the antenna be dismounted and shipped back to the manufacturer in Maine for a complete overhaul -- with broadcast operations taking place at reduced power from our smaller auxiliary antenna on the same tower.

While the tower crew was on-site, we decided to upgrade the aging Classical 90.5 FM antenna also mounted on the Mt. Bigelow tower, proactively addressing the aging FM antenna, moving the new antenna to the top of the tower and maintaining the current antenna as a backup for Classical 90.5.

To give you a better sense of the scope of this project, the antenna sits atop a 219 foot tower at an elevation of 3582 feet above Tucson (which is at 2,500 feet) on Mt. Bigelow. The TV antenna is 27 ft. tall and weighs just under four tons! The radio antenna is actually five antennas in an array -- each antenna approximately 3 feet tall. Weather on the mountain can add a delay of hours or weeks to a project of this magnitude. While we had to wait until late spring to dismount the antenna, we were fortunate to have warmer than normal temps in October for the reinstallation. I am grateful for the dedication our technical staff -- who persevered through a lightning strike in 2007 which destroyed the original HD antenna, and now successfully addressed the replacement of two defective antennas in the span of five short years. I am also grateful for the patience of our many viewers and listeners, largely outside the Tucson basin, who watch Channel 6 over-the-air and have had TV and radio service interrupted as we worked to address these unfortunate losses. We are back and the signals look and sound great!

Beginning on Monday November 7th, local news will begin one hour earlier on weekdays (5 a.m.) on NPR 89.1. Early in 2012, we expect to add weekend newscasts on NPR 89.1. These changes are the result of a strategic initiative to produce more local news content for and about our community.

As the anniversary of the events of January 8, 2011 draws near, AZPM is preparing special programming focused on the healing that has taken place over the past year - the healing of individuals, and the community’s healing as a whole. How have you healed? How has your community come together to heal itself and its wounded? AZPM invites you to reflect on coping in the aftermath of violence. You are encouraged to post your story at – January 8th.

AZPM presents a great line-up of programming during the first two weeks of November. The American in Primetime series, a four-part television series showcases the groundbreaking television shows of our past and current day, weaving between past and present. Each episode focuses on one television character archetype that has remained a staple of primetime through generations. I hope you caught the first episode which aired this past Sunday, Independent Woman. The Man of the House, on Nov. 6th, is followed by The Misfit, Nov. 13th with the fourth episode, The Crusader on Nov 20th. The finest television today has as its foundation the best television of yesterday. Click here to view a clip.

The PBS Arts Fall Festival on Friday nights at 9:30 p.m. invites you to a front row seat and a backstage pass to the world of music, theater, dance, art and cultural history. This month’s programs include PBS Arts from the Blue Ridge Mountains: Give Me The Banjo on Nov. 4th, narrated by Steve Martin, a banjoist himself, and hosted by Grammy-winner Rosanne Cash. The following Friday, Nov. 11th, take a dance journey with American Masters – Bill T. Jones: A Good Man, an original dance-theater piece in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s bicentennial. For more information go to

Wednesdays, ‘the smartest night on TV’ – just got smarter! PBS-HD Channel 6 premieres the new NOVA series, The Fabric of the Cosmos, starting Wednesday, November 2nd at 9 p.m. Join physicist and accomplished author, Briane Greene on a mind-bending journey through space, time and the universe in this new four-hour NOVA special series. The Fabric of the Cosmos premieres on three consecutive Wednesday nights starting on Nov.2nd at 9pm: “What is Space?” (11/2); “The Illusion of Time” (11/9); “Quantum Leap” and “Universe or Multiverse?” (11/16 at 8 p.m.). Click here for a video link.

With the city and county elections on Tuesday, November 8th looming, Arizona Public Media offers in-depth, independent news election coverage. There is no better place to tune in than Political Roundtable with host Jim Nintzel, which airs on the Friday evening edition of Arizona Illustrated at 6:30 p.m. Michael Chihak’s Arizona Week continues its focus on the week’s top news in the state on Fridays at 8:30 p.m. (repeating on Sundays at 10:30pm).

In honor of Veteran’s Day, AZPM will air the locally produced and Emmy®-Award winning program Unforgettable: The Korean War on Thursday, Nov. 10th at 9 p.m. followed by a special POV: Where Soldiers Come From at 10 p.m.. This POV documentary follows the four-year journey of childhood friends who join the National Guard after high school and offers an intimate look at the young Americans who fight our wars and the families and towns they come from.

As always, thank you for your viewership, listenership and continued support of Arizona Public Media.

Jack Gibson

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About From the General Manager

Thoughts and Letters from Jack Gibson.