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A Publication of WTVP

We’re surrounded by examples where Peoria ranks on a national scale: the continued position of Caterpillar Inc. as an international manufacturing power, the growth of the local health care sector that supports some of the best medical professionals and technology in the nation, or the important agriculture research taking place every day at our national Ag Lab. These are among the many characteristics of truly national scale that differentiates our community.

Now, add one more to the list. At the southern foot of Peoria’s riverfront development, we find one local non-profit. Its many generous contributors have managed to pull off a remarkable accomplishment. The Illinois Valley Public Telecommunications Corporation, the non-profit that owns and operates public television station WTVP, will formally dedicate its new studio and production center at 101 State Street September 5 to 10 with a series of private and public open houses. Like the familiar saying, "television worth watching," this is a "studio worth seeing."

As station president and CEO Chet Tomczyk recently stated, "Peoria is now home to perhaps the finest small-market community public station in America." A walk through this 30,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility reveals an enormous studio with a capacity that conjures up a world of new local programming possibilities-like featuring the entire symphony orchestra for live performances, creating a new local series of televised town meetings on key civic issues, or doing just about any kind of new original TV programming this community might envision. The facility has two digital editing suites, a digital satellite uplink vehicle, a high definition field camera, a green room, screening rooms, volunteer space, dressing rooms, and new offices that unite the station’s 22 full-time staff. The architecture of the place allows terrific access to the technology from any touring group.

There are other benefits as well. Featuring the latest technology, WTVP’s studio might very well draw production clients from across the country and provide new revenue in support of the educational mission of the organization. Its existence is a tremendous boost to the southern gateway of the riverfront and will undoubtedly help form a bridge to more redevelopment in the warehouse district. Access to a production facility of this nature will give a platform for more members of the so-called creative class of professionals to start or grow new video production businesses not previously possible locally.

In early 2002, WTVP made news by becoming the first public TV organization in Illinois-and among the earliest in the nation-to begin broadcasting a separate digital, high definition programming service on digital channel 46. Now WTVP has an extraordinary home for that digital channel. How will our community find new ways to use these tools to help us achieve a more informed, enlightened, and inspired local citizenry? If we have a powerful communications device like television (analog and digital) completely at our disposal, what now can we think to accomplish with its help? Many communities aren’t as fortunate to have such an asset, especially not one on this level.

The $10.5 million being invested in the digital transition and the new studio is a result of the leadership of many hundreds of donors and visionaries in this community who continue to rise to the challenge of making our community distinguished on a national scale.

More information about the open houses in September is available in the WTVP membership program guide. IBI

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