Station manager Paul Bruckner and executive director of media services Ron Schofield came to Channel 20 WYCC with a mission.
“We realized we needed a facelift and to rebrand the station,” says Bruckner. “We needed a program that would become our signature program.”
A year and a half later, they are launching “In the Loop,” a half-hour weekly public affairs show that promises to look at the voices other news organizations are missing.
The show started Feb. 14 and will run every Thursday night at 7 p.m. Louanne Fries is the supervising producer. Mario Tharpe is the show’s senior producer.
The show will be hosted by veteran journalists Chris Bury and Barbara Pinto, both late of ABC News, as well as many other news organizations. Panels will consist of journalists and newsmakers, like most public affairs shows. But the show will also feature real Chicagoans, talking about the impact of policy on their lives.
“What we’re trying to do more than anything is to frame of discussion about things that happen here in Chicago and bring voices to the table that would normally not be at the table together,” says Bruckner. “We’ve been very fortunate to use all of our connections and resources to reach out to the community,” including face to face meetings and social media.
Channel 20 is also embracing PBS in a more robust fashion and partnering with organizations with loyal constituencies. “In the Loop” will have a weekly segment produced WBEZ, whose Curious City initiative is engaging Chicago listeners about the topics that matter to them.
“Musicology” show to bow the end of April
Bruckner said that WYCC is also partnering with the Old Town School of Folk Music to create a program called “Musicology,” a video version of OTC’s World Music productions.
The show will feature a 5-camera live recording of various world music groups in concert, along with some interviews, “to put the work into some sort of context,” according to OTC executive director Bau Graves.
“It’s sort of a world music version of ‘Austin City Limits,’” he added.
The first episode of “Musicology” will air the end of April.
“We thought it was necessary not only to embrace PBS but to broaden our audience to a younger more diverse audience,” Bruckner said.
The station is also celebrating its 30th anniversary on Feb. 17 with a brand new website, along with a new logo.
The first “In the Loop” episode dealt with gun violence in Chicago and gun legislation on a local and national level. Working with Fries and Tharpe will be producer Greg King, associate producer Megan Etlinger, and director Marc Shaykin.
Carrie L. Kaufman is the former publisher/editor of PerformInk and can be reached at email@example.com.