NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--James S. Tisch, Chairman of WNET.ORG’s Board of Trustees, and his wife, Merryl H. Tisch, have announced a historic gift of $15 million dollars to name the new WNET.ORG studios at Lincoln Center and to provide critical funding to support innovative public television programming. WNET.ORG, parent company of public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21, officially opened its state-of-the-art studios at 66th street and Broadway in Manhattan with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 13. The Tisch gift represents the single largest donation from an individual to WNET in its nearly 50-year history.
“I believe the launch of this exciting new studio space marks the beginning of a new era for public television in New York”, said Jim Tisch. “As this dynamic and beloved institution nears a half century of service to our community and to our nation, these studios will give WNET.ORG the prominence it deserves and empower it to create marvelous new media experiences for countless people from all walks of life—right from the cultural center of New York and America.”
Mr. Tisch became Chairman of the Board of Trustees of WNET.ORG (then called Educational Broadcasting Corporation) in 2007. A major philanthropist and supporter of the arts, culture and humanity in New York City, Tisch serves on the boards of some of New York’s leading not-for-profit institutions, including Mount Sinai Medical Center and The New York Public Library. His wife, Merryl H. Tisch, serves as Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents.
“This gift is an amazing act of generosity from a couple who have been unfailingly generous throughout Jim’s tenure as Chairman,” said Neal Shapiro, President and CEO of WNET.ORG. “But it is much more than that. It is a vote of confidence in our vision for the future of public media in this community. Our new glass-walled studios at Lincoln Center epitomize who we are and stand as a metaphor for our unique relationship with the people we serve. From the heart of the city, using the latest technology, we will be able to produce unique programs that celebrate culture, inform our democracy and help educate our children. All this and more, thanks to Jim and Merryl’s vision and the faith they have placed in our mission.”
Located on the southwest corner of 66th Street and Broadway on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, WNET.ORG’s new studios are part of the newly renovated Alice Tully Hall building. The newly named studios are the home of Need to Know, the new multi-platform news program hosted by Pulitzer Prize winning author and Newsweek editor Jon Meacham and Peabody-winning television and radio anchor, Alison Stewart. Need to Know premieres May 7 on PBS. The two-story studio space will also be the location for such acclaimed WNET.ORG programs as Sunday Arts and Reel 13 as well as other programming currently in development.
In addition to the production and broadcast of regular programs, the studios can accommodate lectures, screenings and intimate concerts or performances. With their floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a glass fin curtain wall system, the studios feature outstanding transparency from the street, allowing passers-by to watch the production process as it happens. In addition, the entire facility, including common areas, is designed to be “TV Ready” with pre-installed lighting positions. There are 14 video screens in the facility, the largest being the 103” plasma screen on the Broadway façade and the 65” screen in the donor waiting area, both visible from the street.
The entire facility has a fiber optic connection to WNET.ORG’s main offices and control rooms at 450 W. 33rd Street, allowing for remote control of robotic cameras and audio mixing as well as video feeds to and from the Lincoln Center studios. The studio scenery is build around LED and rear-projection technology so the “set” change for the various programs can be managed from the West 33rd Street control room or on location in the studio.
“Like the glass walls of this studio, the future of public media in our community is crystal clear,” said Shapiro. “We have Jim and Merryl Tisch to thank for turning our vision into reality.”
New York public media company WNET.ORG is a pioneering provider of television and web content. The parent of THIRTEEN and WLIW21, WNET.ORG brings such acclaimed broadcast series and websites as Need to Know, Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Charlie Rose, Wide Angle, Secrets of the Dead, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, Visions, Consuelo Mack WealthTrack, Miffy and Friends and Cyberchase to national and international audiences. Through its wide range of channels and platforms, WNET.ORG serves the entire New York City metro area with unique local productions, broadcasts and innovative educational and cultural projects. In all that it does, WNET.ORG pursues a single, overarching goal — to create media experiences of lasting significance for New York, America and the world. For more information, visit www.wnet.org.