Posts Tagged ‘WITF’

Television Interview

September 14, 2018

Last month, WITF, the local PBS station, interviewed John Coyle, President of Craighead House, Sarah Fischer, Education Coordinator and Messiah College professor, Twig George, Jean Craighead George’s daughter, and me for a piece they were filming about Jean Craighead George. It was to be a 5-minute segment for the station’s portion of PBS’s Authors & Their Hometowns program, a half-hour piece to accompany PBS’s The Great American Read. They were also making a piece about John Updike, another writer with ties to Central Pennsylvania.

We were disappointed to learn that the Jean Craighead George piece didn’t make the cut when we viewed the broadcast of Authors & Their Hometowns Tuesday evening. Yesterday, I received the following message from the WITF producer:

“Although our story was not ultimately selected by PBS to be featured in the 30min Authors & Their Hometowns program…it will air on WITF TV as interstitial programming across our broadcast schedule beginning this evening! Be sure to watch the promo break prior to Doctor Blake at 10pm. If you tune in between 9:45-10pm you should catch it.

“The video is also available for viewing anytime online here–https://video.witf.org/video/great-american-read-the-wild-world-of-jean-craighead-george-nes82j/

Later, she informed me that it will be shown again this Sunday, September 16 at 2:25 pm and 11:45 pm EDT.

Those who don’t live in the WITF viewing area can see it anytime at the link above.

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Jean Craighead George sitting at the vanity she repurposed as a writing desk when she was 12 years old.  She loved to sit here and look out the window at the Yellow Breeches Creek in the back yard.

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The Great American Read

August 13, 2018

On Thursday, August 9, Heather Woolridge of WITF, the Central PA PBS affiliate, conducted interviews at Craighead House for a 5-minute segment they are producing in conjunction with the upcoming PBS series The Great American Read. She interviewed Johnson Coyle, President of Craighead House Committee, Sarah Fischer, Education Coordinator, Twig George, daughter of Jean Craighead George, and me.

The topic was Jean Craighead George’s My Side of the Mountain, a book that has changed many people’s lives. Why it didn’t make PBS’s top 100 list is a mystery to me. Perhaps its readers aren’t ardent PBS viewers. I have no idea. Even though it was overlooked by PBS, WITF is giving it a look.

I don’t know what John, Sarah and Twig said but I tried to emphasize the impact My Side of the Mountain has had on so many people. It has turned numerous nonreaders into readers, some of which have become voracious readers. Trish Carlucci’s story in the Summer 2016 edition of Craighead House Chronicles discusses one such example. Summer 2016 5.5 x. 8.5 cropped Trish

Men and women alike constantly tell me that My Side of the Mountain was their favorite book growing up and want their children to read it. It is even in several states’ curricula.

It is my understanding that each of the five one-hour theme episodes that follow the two-hour launch episode will be organized into 10-minute segments that PBS affiliates can choose to show or replace with pieces of their own. WITF’s segment will cover John Updike and Jean Craighead George. It’s not clear when this piece will run. We hope to find out before the series kicks off on September 11.

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Radio Interview

June 19, 2014

PHMC Historic Marker

Prior to the Historical Marker dedication, I was approached by WITF, the local PBS affiliate, for an interview concerning the book I am writing about the Craighead Naturalists. Cary Burkett, who has one of the best radio voices I’ve ever heard and whom I saw and heard sing The Impossible Dream in a local performance of The Man from LaMancha some years ago, met me at Craighead House the Monday before the Historical Marker dedication with recorder and microphone in hand.

He didn’t carry a heavy reel-to-reel tape recorder like the one Bob Wheeler lugged as he hitchhiked across the country interviewing people such as President Eisenhower for his biography of Jim Thorpe or the 40-pounder that left Howard Cossell stoop-shouldered. Burkett carried a tiny—relatively speaking—unit that was probably digital and could easily be slung from his shoulder. Recognizing me immediately from my photo, he introduced himself and began the interview.

Other than taking a couple of minutes to record the background sound of the Yellow Breeches flowing over the Craighead dam and into the mill race, he mostly listened to me recite facts, figures, and historical events related to the family for the better part of an hour. When I’d stop to breathe, he’d ask me another question and off I’d go babbling on and on about all manner of things Craighead related.

To make the interview more interesting, I gave Cary a tour of the home and grounds. Sadly, describing the artwork that adorns the kitchen walls is not easily done on radio and couldn’t be included in the seqment that resulted from interview. The 4-minute piece digested from this rambling interview airs tomorrow, Friday, June 20, 2014 at 6:35 a.m., 8:35 a.m., and 12:30 p.m. on WITF 89.5 fm. Mr. Burkett also wrote an accompanying article about the Craigheads that, along with a podcast of his radio piece, is posted on WITF’s site at:

http://www.witf.org/arts-culture/2014/06/historic-marker-for-craighead-house.php

 

A Bitter Night – NOT

May 15, 2009

“On Sacred Ground: commemorating survival and loss at the Carlisle Indian School,” an article written by the then Managing Editor of Central PA, the monthly magazine for PBS affiliate WITF, begins, “In the middle of a bitter night in October 1879….” Knowing that the train arrived in Carlisle at 12:30 a.m. on Monday, October 6, 1879 and living in the Carlisle area for more than three decades, I am well aware of the fact that the weather in the first week of October tends to be mild here. She cited no sources to support her assertion that the weather was bitter, so I did a little research.

I quickly found out that the National Weather Service wasn’t collecting meteorological data for Carlisle or even Harrisburg at that time. The NWS does consider data collected in Philadelphia from as far back as 1872 as reliable enough for its record keeping. Daily highs for October 5 and 6, 1879 were both a balmy 79 degrees. Lows for these dates were 56 and 62, respectively. But Philadelphia is not Carlisle. Neither is Wellsboro, a town about 150 miles north of Carlisle (less as the crow flies). Wellsboro resident H. D. Deming recorded temperatures three times each day at his home. The Agitator reported that Deming’s temperatures were 84 at 2 p.m. on the 5th, 64 at 9 p.m., 50 at 7 a.m. on the 6th, and 86 at 2 p.m. This was unseasonably warm weather in a place that is normally cooler than Carlisle.

Although local newspapers provided no weather data, they did provide some anecdotes that, when coupled with the above data, show that Carlisle’s weather was anything but bitter when the first group of students arrived. The Carlisle Herald wrote, “For a wonder the weather was not only all that could be desired, but a trifle too much so, if we are permitted to judge from the extremely warm weather, which would have done credit to midsummer.” A week later, Gettysburg’s The Star and Sentinel declared, “The weather continues phenomenally warm, dry and dusty.” One wonders who does the fact checking for WITF.