WSIU and Network Knowledge Announce New Public Media Partnership

Oct 26, 2018

For Immediate Release
Friday, October 26, 2018

WSIU and Network Knowledge Announce New Public Media Partnership as Dr. Jerold Gruebel Set to Retire

Stations To Unite to Expand Public Media Across Western, Central, and Southern Illinois

Contacts: Greg Petrowich, Executive Director, WSIU Public Broadcasting, (618) 453-4344, greg.petrowich@wsiu.org; Dr. Jerold Gruebel, President and CEO, Network Knowledge, (217) 483-7887, jgruebel@wsec.tv

Carbondale/Springfield, Ill. – With the retirement of its long-time President and CEO, Dr. Jerold Gruebel, Network Knowledge in Springfield, Ill. has announced plans to join forces with WSIU Public Broadcasting in Carbondale, Ill. to expand public media options across western, central, and southern Illinois.

Based at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, WSIU operates the PBS and NPR stations WSIU-TV/FM Carbondale, WUSI-TV/FM Olney, and WVSI-FM Mt. Vernon. Network Knowledge is a network of three PBS member stations in western and central Illinois that includes WSEC Springfield/Jacksonville, WMEC Macomb, and WQEC Quincy.

“We’re excited about the opportunities for growth this unique partnership will provide,” said Dr. Gruebel, who is retiring in November. “Uniting our stations will open the door to greater long-term sustainability, boost local programming and educational services, and enhance the positive impact of public media for years to come.”

“This new partnership creates a unique public media enterprise for Illinois, reaching five-million residents across 67 counties,” said Greg Petrowich, Executive Director of WSIU Public Broadcasting who will direct the unified organization.

“Combining resources will bring the full range of top-tier PBS programming, delivered across a wide range of digital platforms, to almost two-thirds of the state. With support from Southern Illinois University, we’ll be able to provide an even greater variety of original content to our audiences, including expanded coverage of state government and politics.”

"We're pleased to see such a robust partnership opportunity develop for the citizens of Illinois who will benefit greatly from the collaboration,” said Paula Kerger, President and CEO of PBS. “PBS is a stronger network because of its member stations and the incredibly rich service they provide to all 50 states."

“The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is dedicated to providing universal access to public media to all Americans,” said CPB President and CEO Pat Harrison.

“Our support of this station partnership will help preserve service to all the communities of Illinois, including its state capital and the many rural communities across western, central, and southern Illinois."

Both entities also look forward to growing partnership opportunities with public and private businesses and organizations to address the educational needs of the region and to facilitate greater community engagement around key issues.

Network Knowledge and WSIU have each maintained a tradition of excellence in providing public media-based educational services to families, schools, and communities,” said Dr. Gruebel. “Now we can be even more responsive to community needs, but on a much larger scale. We will add a full-time dedicated PBS KIDS Channel, via TV and live streaming on digital platforms, offering kids and families the best in educational children’s programming around the clock. We will continue access to Illinois PBS LearningMedia, a free online service for preK-12 educators with thousands of curriculum-aligned digital resources for the classroom; PBS Ready to Learn, research-based programs, mobile apps, and online games; local community engagement featuring film screenings and discussions of PBS films; and PBS Passport, a member benefit offering extended access to an on-demand library of PBS and PBS KIDS programming. The potential for improved, measurable outcomes and greater community impact is huge.”

“Our goal is to offer more programming and service options, while also creating new opportunities for public media fans to access and engage with content they love,” said Petrowich. “Working together as one organization, we will be better positioned not only to accomplish this goal, but to ensure future generations will enjoy the same benefits.”

Additional details about the partnership, organizational upgrades, and governance will be announced as they are finalized. Tune in to the WSIU and WSEC/WMEC/WQEC stations for updates on the air or online at wsiu.org and networkknowledge.tv. Additional information, photos, and FAQs can be accessed online via WSIU’s pressroom.

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About Network Knowledge
Network Knowledge
began broadcasting in 1984 as the community licensee for a small network of viewer-supported public television stations – three of 346 viewer-supported public television stations in the United States. Dr. Jerold Gruebel founded Netwrok Knowledge with a small regional board of directors comprised of educators, industrialists, and other community leaders.

The mission of Netwrok Knowledge is to collaborate with people and organizations in the communities they serve to bring quality programming, learning opportunities, and economic development to the region. Netwrok Knowledge seeks to deliver excellence in programming, to provide educational resources integral to the needs of the region, to increase community involvement, to broaden and enhance visibility and recognition of public media, and to ensure public media’s continued financial viability.

About WSIU Public Broadcasting
WSIU Public Broadcasting
is licensed to the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University and is an integral part of the College of Mass Communication & Media Arts on the Carbondale campus. The WSIU stations reach more than three million people across five states and beyond through three digital public television channels, three public radio stations, a radio information service, a website, and an education and community outreach department.

WSIU's mission is to improve the quality of life of the people they serve. The WSIU stations partner with other community organizations to promote positive change and to support the academic and public service missions of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Learn more and get the latest station news online at wsiu.org and on WSIU's Facebook and Twitter pages.

WSIU's programs and services are partially funded by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

About PBS
PBS
, with nearly 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 90 million people through television and 30 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirm that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on TwitterFacebook, or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.