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WGBH’s Frontline Tackles the NFL
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his October, WGBH’s groundbreaking investigative series Frontline marks its 30th anniversary on PBS with a searing look at America’s favorite professional sport. League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis examines how for years the league has worked to refute scientific evidence that the violent collisions at the heart of the game are linked to an alarming incidence of earlyonset dementia, catastrophic brain damage and even death. WGBH’s Matt Roy recently sat down with Frontline executive producer David Fanning and deputy executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath to talk about the film and reflect on the series’ extraordinary journalistic achievements. Q What’s compelling about this story? A Raney: This is probably one of the biggest sports stories of all time. We’re looking into what the NFL knew, when they knew it, and what kinds of conversations they were having about concussions and their effects. Could the NFL, the world’s most powerful sports league, have done something about this earlier? Q What prompted your investigation into head injuries and the NFL? A Raney: We were originally interested in the reporting of Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada, two prize-winning reporters [and brothers] who were embarking on a big investigation of the NFL and concussions and writing a book about it. We teamed up with them and over the past year leading up to our broadcast, we’ve shared the latest developments in the story on our website and created Concussion Watch (pbs.org/ wgbh/pages/frontline/concussion-watch)
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to track, week-to-week, the NFL’s diagnosed concussions. Q Stepping back, Frontline is partnering more and more with other news organizations, from Marketplace to ProPublica. Why is this important? A David: We’ve always collaborated, particularly with The New York Times. But increasingly, as journalism’s ranks are thinned by the economic disruption at newspapers, there’s been a need for institutions to work together and leverage each other’s strengths across multiple platforms—print, TV, radio, and online. With the rise of nonprofit investigative entities like ProPublica, it was a natural decision for us to work together. Q Looking back on its 30 years, how has Frontline evolved? A David: I think we initially had a broader definition of ourselves as a documentary series, which was at its heart a work of journalism. But as we’ve seen this explosion of documentaries in the independent film world and elsewhere, many of them exploring deep cultural issues, Frontline has become sharper-elbowed in its journalism. We’ve refocused on what we think is the tougher, but much-needed thing to do, which is the rigorous work of investigative reporting, requiring time, attention, and a deep sense of fairness, as well as a good measure of journalistic courage.
Q David, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is honoring you with its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Emmy. How does that feel? A David: It’s a huge honor, and it helps me recognize what a privilege it is to be able to do this work and collaborate with so many talented producers and reporters over the years. We couldn’t have done it anywhere else. It’s WGBH’s and public television’s support of and commitment to the work we do that has allowed Frontline to flourish. Q What else can viewers expect to see on the upcoming season of Frontline? A Raney: There are so many films we’re excited about. We’re doing a series on prisons—looking at solitary confinement, the influence of money, and the privatization of the system. Our film on a new drugresistant superbug will contemplate the growing threat of a pandemic. We have a film about the Vatican. And Doug Rushkoff has a report on kids and the new world of digital marketing. It’s a follow-up to both Merchants of Cool and Digital Nation that we’re calling Generation Like. There’s so much to look forward to! League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis premieres on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at 9pm on WGBH 2. Go to pbs.org/ frontline to track concussions on Concussion Watch.
on television and online
This Fall: A Season to Remember
Also look for riveting documentaries on today’s critical issues, new kids’ series, and more of the celebrated dramas you love—all part of a lineup made possible by your generous Leadership Circle support.
chef Pete Evans in the new WGBHproduced series Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking (9/21).
October WGBH’s Frontline presents the hardhitting film League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis (10/8), as the acclaimed investigative series marks its 30th season. One year after Hurricane Sandy’s deadly strike, Nova’s Megastorm Aftermath (10/9) investigates critical questions raised by the storm, and in a new season of Nova’s Making Stuff with David Pogue (10/16), the New York Times columnist explores how technology makes stuff faster, colder, safer, and wilder.
September Sunday night is full of drama, where childhood sweethearts Alan (Derek Jacobi) and Celia (Anne Reid), both widowed in their 70s, fall for each other again in the highly touted Last Tango in Halifax (9/8), winner of the 2013 BAFTA award for best drama. Rekindled romance gives way to mystery when Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) and the loyal Samantha “Sam” Steward (Honeysuckle Weeks) return in new episodes of the beloved detective series Foyle’s War (9/15) on WGBH’s Masterpiece Mystery! On the anniversary of 9/11, WGBH’s Nova chronicles the completion of the engineering marvel One World Trade Center in Ground Zero Supertower. Another anniversary—the 40th anniversary of the famous Battle of the Sexes tennis match—is the focus of American Masters’ season opener: a profile of Billie Jean King (9/10). Hungry for more? Go on a culinary journey with Australia’s top celebrity
Parents: mark your calendar for Peg + Cat (10/7), a new animated series that follows the spirited Peg and her sidekick Cat as they embark on adventures, teaching preschoolers math along the way. The adventures of Superman and his fellow crime-fighting crusaders are highlighted in the three-part documentary Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle (10/15). COURTESY OF ©2013, FELINE FEATURES LLC
Fifty years after President Kennedy’s assassination, American Experience’s two-part JFK (11/11) offers a fresh assessment of the man, his accomplishments, and his unfulfilled promise, while Nova’s Cold Case JFK (11/13) contemplates how the assassination would be investigated with today’s crime-solving techniques.
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Long before the technological wonders of the Internet Age, radio broadcasts captivated the country. War of the Worlds (10/29) from WGBH’s American Experience looks back at Orson Welles’s infamous dramatization of H.G. Wells’s sci-fi classic that set off mass hysteria.
GRAHAM F. PAGE / EMP MUSEUM / AUTHENTIC
his fall WGBH brings you compelling new stories about transformative moments from our nation’s past, using anniversaries as launching points for fresh explorations. Revisit Hurricane Sandy one year later, the assassination of President Kennedy 50 years after that day in Dallas, and Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds 75 years after his legendary broadcast.
American Masters, meanwhile, continues its stellar season with a profile of legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix (11/5).
Winter/Spring 2014 WGBH’s Antiques Roadshow hits the road for Season 18. Crisscross the country, from Jacksonville, FL, to Boise, ID, (eight cities in all) on America’s favorite educational treasure hunt. ©NICK BRIGGS/CARNIVAL FILM AND TELEVISION LIMITED 2013 FOR MASTERPIECEHENDRIX, LLC
Then get ready for the return of the highest-rated drama in PBS history: Downton Abbey, Season 4, on WGBH’s Masterpiece premieres Jan. 5. Not long after, the modern-day incarnation of the Great Detective will be back on the case, as Masterpiece Mystery’s Sherlock, Series 3, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, premieres in 2014! These highlights reflect WGBH 2’s day and primetime schedule. For repeats, overnights, and other channel plays, plus what’s on WGBX 44, World, and Create, see the Explore! Member Guide (print or digital edition, available at wgbh.org/explore) or check wgbh.org/schedule. Watch selected favorites online anytime at wgbh.org.
on radio and online
99.5 WCRB Brings You the BSO W how the orchestra is perceived.” Nelsons’s visits are just a few of the many BSO gems coming your way on WCRB (Saturdays at 7pm), which once
hen the future comes to town, it’s a big deal. Which is why Boston Symphony Orchestra fans will be watching closely when Andris Nelsons—the 34-year-old Latvian who officially takes over as BSO music director in September 2014— appears this October at Symphony Hall. “Looking at the upcoming season, everybody’s focus is on what Andris is doing,” says Brian McCreath, 99.5 WCRB Classical New England producer and host. Tune in WCRB to hear Nelsons in action twice during the 2013-2014 season: first on Oct. 19 for a program of Wagner, Mozart, and Brahms, and again on March 6 conducting Strauss’s Salome. “He’s well known in Europe as this young lion of a conductor,” says WCRB managing director Ben Roe. “With the vibrancy he conveys, he’s going to make a huge difference in
again will be hosted by the veteran duo of Cathy Fuller and Ron Della Chiesa. Join them for an all-Brahms season premiere
(Sept. 21), Britten’s thrilling War Requiem (Nov. 9), and Brookline resident Osvaldo Golijov’s La Pasión según San Marcos (Jan. 11). “It’s a huge production, involving choreography, ethnic instruments and a Venezuelan chorus,” McCreath says. “Expect a very out-of-character night at Symphony Hall.” And following up on this summer’s widely praised rendition at Tanglewood, the BSO will perform the score of West Side Story (Feb.15), while the film plays on a big screen. “It is spectacular,” McCreath says. Don’t miss a brand new season of these and other memorable performances on the radio and at classicalnewengland.org, where 99.5 WCRB presents a 24-hour, high-quality stream of the orchestra on our BSO Concert Channel.
On Campus with 89.7 WGBH B
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oston is a thriving hub of higher education, but the colleges and universities that have succeeded here for centuries are at a crossroads.
“They’re revaluating the way things have always been done,” says Phil Redo, general manager for WGBH Radio. To track the changes and developing trends in higher education, WGBH News has launched a new news beat: On Campus. Listen for stories and commentary across platforms from Kirk Carapezza, a journalist who recently joined WGBH from Vermont Public Radio. Pressing questions he’ll explore include: Why are tuitions so high? Is college worth the cost? What are the long-term impacts of new online programs that offer access to some of the country’s top colleges and universities? “There are debates as to whether or not massive online courses (MOOCs) could replace the first year or two of a liberal arts college and water down the brands of the MITs, and Harvards,” Redo says. “That’s potentially very
transformational and scary to the academic community.” Carapezza will report from the front lines, talking to the experts promoting new approaches and driving the debates. “We want to produce radio narratives that follow the issues and emotions of the day as they unfold on campus,” he says, “and bring listeners distinct voices of students, professors, and administrators.” On Campus will focus primarily on Boston and the surrounding region but, with help from correspondents, also offer a broader perspective. “You cannot do higher education coverage and not talk about California, Texas, and other states with big populations and big public universities,” Redo says. On Campus will look, for example, at the challenges faced in Texas, where the state legislature is cutting funding but holding on to its strict oversight. “Boston is the epicenter of higher education,” Redo says. “It’s a topic our listeners care about, and we’re thrilled to bring them ongoing, in-depth coverage. We have a million story ideas.” Listen for Kirk Carapezza’s On Campus reports on 89.7 WGBH Boston Public Radio, Greater Boston with Emily Rooney (7pm on WGBH 2), and online at wgbhnews.org.
Classical Cartoon Festival Join us in Symphony Hall Saturday, Nov. 9, for 99.5 WCRB’s beloved Classical Cartoon Festival. Kids of all ages will enjoy their favorite Warner Brothers cartoons set to classical music on a giant screen, live performances, visits from PBS children’s characters, an instrument petting zoo, and more. “It’s one of the most important events we stage,” 99.5 WCRB managing director Ben Roe says, “I can’t think of a better way to engage families and introduce kids to the world of classical music.” For more info and tickets, visit wgbh.org/cartoonfest.
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The Circle fall 2013
the wgbh leadership circle newsletter
WGBH’s Digital Explore! Member Guide Experience this interactive version of our popular monthly guide featuring video previews of your favorite WGBH programs, behind-thescenes bonus content, up-to-the-minute accurate listings, and more—available on your computer or iPad at wgbh.org/Explore.
wgbh leadership circle spotlight
Thank You As I look ahead to the fall schedule coming your way on WGBH TV, Radio, and the Web, I am reminded again of the impact of your generous Leadership Circle support. Because of your generosity, WGBH is able to fulfill our public service mission, bringing you, and every resident, the very best in history, public affairs, science, drama, and children’s programming. Thank you for making every moment possible on WGBH. We truly could not do it without you.
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Daren Winckel Senior Director P.S. Don’t miss out on special ticket offers or events. Send your email address to email@example.com or call 617-300-3505.
Can’t Beat British Drama WGBX 44 is where the best in British drama resides. Go there Mondays for Midsomer Murders (8pm), the rural crime drama with quirky characters and ubiquitous red herrings. Stay for Inspector George Gently (9pm), the 1960s story of an old-school detective trying to keep up with his rapidly changing surroundings. Wednesdays begin with the classic, Victorian-era Sherlock Holmes (8pm), starring Jeremy Brett. Death in Paradise (9pm) is a fish-out-of-water tale of a London detective solving crime in the Caribbean, and Scott & Bailey (10pm) is a gripping look at the professional and personal lives of two female detectives. In the middle of these mysteries, enjoy an encore of Masterpiece (9pm) on Tuesdays. Vivid storylines and engrossing whodunits—all on WBGX 44.
Create your legacy with WGBH The lasting impact of bequests— both large and small—has helped shape WGBH today. For many donors, a charitable bequest is the easiest and best way to make a gift to WGBH. A bequest can be made by simply naming WGBH as a beneﬁciary of your will or other estate plan. For more information on the beneﬁts of making a bequest, please call the Ofﬁce of Gift Planning and Endowment at 800-220-7122 or visit www.wgbh.org/giftplanning.
The Circle is a publication of WGBH One Guest Street, Boston, MA 02135 Writer: Matthew Roy Designer: Kat Hornstein, Danielle Pierce Leadership Circle staff: Daren Winckel, Stacy Kasdin Constituent Communications: Cynthia Broner, Susan Reed © 2013 WGBH Educational Foundation 140796