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50 FACTS ABOUT WQED MULTIMEDIA

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  1. Before there was PBS, there was WQED.
  2. WQED was the first community-licensed and supported public television station.
  3. On February 13, 1953 Metropolitan Pittsburgh Educational Television was incorporated.
  4. On March 17, 1953 Leland Hazard was elected President at the first Board of Directors meeting. In 1958, Hazard became WQED’s first Board Chairman.
  5. The first Board of Directors consisted of 24 members. Today, Herb Connor chairs a WQED Board of 31 members.
  6. WQED Multimedia’s Community Advisory Board was established in 1996. Today, the CAB is chaired by Russ Kemerer, and consists of 36 members.
  7. In April 1953 WQED was incorporated.
  8. WQED – “W,” the mandatory designation for this region and “QED” for the Latin “Quod erat demonstrandum,” meaning “that which was to be demonstrated.”
  9. On Thursday, April 1, 1954 at 8 p.m. WQED went on the air in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on VHF Channel 13.
  10. On Monday, April 5, 1954 Children’s Corner with Fred Rogers and Josie Carey premiered.
  11. Elsie Hillman and Audrey Hilliard were advertising assistants at WQED in 1954.
  12. In September 1955 the first instructional television program in the world was broadcast by WQED.
  13. WQED’s first remote broadcast truck was acquired in 1955 and dubbed “Big Bertha” by the crew. It was designed to carry six people and three cameras plus all the film and audio equipment necessary for a remote broadcast. “Big Bertha” was often used for WQED’s coverage of the Allegheny County Fair.
  14. The Holland House, on the corner of Fifth and Bellefield Ave., served as the first headquarters and broadcasting center for WQED, until 1970.
  15. On September 14, 1959 WQEX began broadcasting on Channel 16.
  16. On December 9, 1965 WQED broadcast its first program in color.
  17. On November 21, 1966 Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood premiered on WQED and went national on PBS in 1968.
  18. Mr. McFeely’s (David Newell) real job is Director of Public Relations for Family Communications, Inc.
  19. On April 3, 1970 WQED dedicated its new building at 4802 Fifth Avenue in Oakland. The new building was constructed on land leased at $1 per year from Carnegie Mellon University.
  20. The new building was designed by Paul Schweikher, a distinguished modern architect. Schweiker also designed the Duquesne Union at Duquesne University and the Knoxville branch of the Carnegie Library.
  21. The design style is called “Brutalism.” The overall design of the building was meant to present educational television as the equivalent of the libraries, colleges and churches that upheld civilization in the past.
  22. Black Horizons is the longest running series for the African-American audience in the country, premiering in April 1968.
  23. Delphi Sasai was the original host of Black Horizons, followed by Dr. Ralph Proctor and Don Marbury. Depending on the subject matter, others hosted, including Rose Jewel and Jimmy Tripp.
  24. Chris Moore became the host of Black Horizons in 1980.
  25. On July 1, 1970, WQED added a print division, establishing the Design Center and the magazine QED Renaissance. The magazine would change its name to Pittsburgh Renaissance before settling on Pittsburgh Magazine.
  26. In April 1971, the “Tower Iron Sculpture #5" by Joseph Goto was moved to the front of WQED. It was given to The Carnegie Art Museum by Mr. & Mrs. James Winokur in honor of Mr. & Mrs. Richard M. Scaife, and is "on loan" to WQED.
  27. In June 1972, WQED held the first “Great TV Auction.”
  28. On January 25, 1973 WQED-FM began broadcasting as a fine arts and classical music radio station.
  29. WQED was the first television station in Pittsburgh to broadcast an entire Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra concert from the Syria Mosque. Today, WQED fm89.3 is the voice of the Pittsburgh Symphony, broadcasting 26 concerts each season to public radio stations across the country.
  30. On October 28, 1975 WQED brought National Geographic Television Specials to public television, doubling national audience records.
  31. In 1988 the National Media Outreach center was launched.
  32. WQED produced National Outreach programs, including “Drink, Drank, Drunk” with Carol Burnett, “The Puzzle Children” with Julie Andrews and Bill Bixby, “Raised in Anger” with Ed Asner, “Including Me” with Patricia Neal and “The Chemical People,” hosted by then first lady Mrs. Nancy Reagan.
  33. The very first cooking marathon premiered in August 1993 and was titled “Zucchini Cheesecake.” There have been 51 cooking marathons to date.
  34. The cooking demonstrations by Chris Fennimore at the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show were so popular that WQED began taping them and created the series Conventional Cooking.
  35. George L. Miles, Jr. became president/CEO on September 19, 1994.
  36. OnQ magazine debuted in January 2000.
  37. WQED was the first local television station to break the story of the rising abuse of the drug oxycontin through its nightly newsmagazine program, OnQ.
  38. Over the years we’ve been known by a number of different names - Metropolitan Pittsburgh Educational Television Station in 1954, followed by Metropolitan Pittsburgh Public Broadcasting in the 1960s, QED Communications in the 1980s, WQED Pittsburgh in the 1990s, and now, WQED Multimedia.
  39. AgeWise became LifeQuest in October 2003.
  40. WQED Multimedia’s publishing division includes PITTSBURGH magazine, PITTSBURGH WEDDINGS magazine, BEAVER COUNTY magazine and WQED cookbooks.
  41. WQED Multimedia Pittsburgh provides educational, cultural and informational programming, products and services for local and national audiences.
  42. “Telling America’s Stories,” WQED Multimedia Pittsburgh’s franchise of national series includes American Soundtrack, All American Documentaries, America’s Home Cooking and American Classics.
  43. The American Soundtrack series began in 1999 with the huge success of the program “Doo Wop 50.” There are 10 programs in the American Soundtrack series to date.
  44. The American Soundtrack series is the most successful series of fundraising specials in public television history, generating more that $80 million for PBS to date.
  45. Rick Sebak has produced 24 documentaries for WQED and PBS: 16 are part of the Pittsburgh History Series, 2 are statewide programs and 6 are national productions for PBS.
  46. There are 17 programs in the Pittsburgh History Series.
  47. WQED has won more than 400 local, national and international awards for excellence.
  48. WQED Multimedia is one of the largest educational community institutions in Western Pennsylvania, second only to the public school system.
  49. WQED went from a company with a net worth of $11,000 in 1993 to a company with a net worth of $4 million in 2002.
  50. Over 1,540,000 households of viewers and listeners rely on WQED each week, more than any other Pittsburgh educational or cultural institution.


WQED Multimedia Mission Statement
"To provide educational, cultural and informational products and services
that enhance and engage the community"


For additional information, please e-mail: promotion@wqed.org


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