UCF could easily adopt Orlando PBS
Published: Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 23:04
On April 1, WMFE, our local Public Broadcasting Company (PBS) announced it would be selling their television station to focus solely on radio.
This means that the station that has been in existence for 45 years, the station that has brought to the city of Orlando quality television such as Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and Sesame Street will be gone.
In its place will be two sister stations, WDSC in Daytona and WBCC in Cocoa. Both are available on Brighthouse Networks — not Comcast — and vary in their program selection.
But neither are suitable replacements for WMFE.
Needless to say, when I first heard of WMFE's decision to sell I was angry. And like most of us, my initial reaction was to find someone to blame. Should we blame WMFE for not trying hard enough? Should we blame the public for never donating to the station? Or should we blame Republicans for their aspirations to cut funding to public broadcasting?
Looking for that someone to blame often becomes both useless and pointless — the real key to anger is to find solutions. And that's where my friend Ali Kurnaz had an idea: Have UCF buy WMFE.
UCF already has a television station called UCFTV. The channel itself actually airs PBS programming on occasion, so it's obvious that UCFTV values good television. It should also be noted that the other two PBS stations in the area — WDSC in Daytona and WBCC in Cocoa, are both owned and operated by local college campuses. Why can't UCF do the same? Why can't we save PBS for the city of Orlando?
For the second largest campus by enrollment in the nation, I feel that being our community's source of Public Broadcasting is not only feasible — it just makes sense. Supporting a local PBS station would also serve as an excellent learning tool for students from all disciplines — imagine the opportunity. (And isn't that what UCF stands for?)
For me, an Orlando native, losing our local WMFE station feels like losing a friend — but at the macro level it means so much more. It means that our children are losing access to one of the most essential learning tools that exist. And with the majority of our children spending hours of the day watching TV, wouldn't we want them to at least watch something beneficial to their mental health? Shouldn't a public good be just and fair, shouldn't it be nondiscriminatory, available to everyone?
The easy option would be to just sit back, and waste more of my tuition money on pointless T-shirts, Frisbees, iPads and rubber ducks.
Or we could do big things. We could be innovative and be the change we want to see in the world.
This doesn't take effort, it just takes passion. Where's yours?