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Local Programming

WQED Multimedia is commited to serving its community through local programming on both radio and television, and through PITTSBURGH magazine. WQED tv 13's locally produced programs reflect our region's diverse communities with the Pittsburgh History Series specials, LifeQuest, QED Cooks, On Q Magazine and Black Horizons, the longest-running minority affairs program in the history of public broadcasting.

WQED produces topical programming tied to public affairs and current events, like "The County Executive Debates," "The Search for a New Superintendent for Pittsburgh Schools," and other debates and current affairs shows that have an impact on the region.

The Pittsburgh History Series

WQED is the home of the local history programming phenomenon. Dozens of stations have copied this concept and produced their own "Things That Aren't There Anymore." The programs in this series are some of the most watched and supported television ever aired on public television anywhere.

One of these programs, "Downtown Pittsburgh," premiered to a 13.7 rating, a very close second only to "Seinfeld" that night. More remarkable is that "Downtown" was hardly a sitcom, it was an architecture history of our city, based on a tour given by the American Institute of Architects.

The Strip Show poster

The style of these programs makes the history accessible and real. Other programs in the WQED Multimedia Pittsburgh History Series are "The Mon, The Al and O" on Pittsburgh's three rivers, "Holy Pittsburgh" on our churches and synagogues, "Kennywood Memories" on an amusement park, "Wylie Avenue Days," the story of Pittsburgh's Hill District in the 30's, 40's and 50's.

And, WQED took the series statewide with the Pennsylvania Public Television Network statewide productions "The Pennsylvania Road Show" and "Pennsylvania Diners."

An interesting sidenote: For many days after "Downtown Pittsburgh" first aired, there was no available parking in downtown lots -- they were filled! People were seen walking all over the city looking up at the extravagant cornices and stopping to walk into a building lobby they had walked past thousands of times before.

The History and Landmarks Foundation subsequently honored WQED for helping preserve what is important in Pittsburgh buildings.

Today, there are dozens of stations who have tried this local production model to great success. It is local television, not studio talk shows, but documentaries that stations find they can't afford not to make.

They, like us, have discovered that there is a very special magic in helping a community to understand what it values through its history and the shared memories of its people.

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These programs hold up a mirror to our community and say, "This is what is good and important and valuable and sometimes funny and often sad about the place that I live."

"South Side" premiered in December 1998. It showcased this remarkable neighborhood from its glory days as an area dependent on steel mills through its funky makeover -- as a place filled with specialty shops, nightlife and an eclectic mix of residents.

"North Side Story" premiered in December 1997 during a rousing pledge evening in the WQED studios. The program showcased one one Pittsburgh's most diverse neighborhoods. Video sales for the holiday season broke all records.

"The Strip Show" premiered in fall 1996 and was a celebration of Pittsburgh's unique Strip District. Thanks to major underwriting from PNC Bank and many Strip merchants, the program was a huge success. Posters for the program were displayed in store windows throughout the Strip, and the program garnered impressive ratings when it was shown on WQED tv 13.

 


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