By: Tom Fink | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: October 2018
Award-winning chef Pati Jinich will be the featured guest at November’s Dia De Festival en Baja fundraiser. Jinich, creator of Pati’s Mexican Table, will be on-hand to meet event attendees, with funds raised to benefit RSU TV Public Television.
RSU Public TV will be hosting one of its more internationally-inspired events this fall with Dia De Festival en Baja.
The event, which includes an evening of dinner, relationship-building, and public television celebrities, marks a comeback of sorts for the fundraiser.
“A few years ago, we started out doing a dinner fundraiser, primarily as a means to build relationships with corporates whom I could talk to about becoming underwriters on the station,” said Royal Aills, general manager, RSU Public TV. “Because of budgetary reasons, we laid off holding it one year, but I decided to pursue it again this year, and my community advisory board is leading the charge, so we’re hosting it again this year.”
Dia De Festival en Baja will be held at the Tulsa Country Club and, as implied by the name, will have a distinctly Mexican flavor.
“In previous years, our special guest at these fundraisers was Nick Stellino, whose cooking program has appeared on our station, and as such, the dinner served was primarily Italian food,” Aills said, “but this year’s special guest will be award-winning chef Pati Jinich, creator of ‘Pati’s Mexican Table’, a series which brings authentic Mexican flavors, colors, textures and warmth into American kitchens.
“’Pati is very well-liked across the U.S., and we wanted to bring her in to showcase her and what she does with her program,” he continued. “I think people who enjoy her show will obviously enjoy her company, and those who don’t know about her yet, will get to meet her and learn about another personality on public television.”
Rounding out the VIP names at the event will be Rogers State University President Dr. Larry Rice and his wife Peggy, making the evening one of fun, food, and fundraising for public television.
“Our goal is of course to get as many people to come to the dinner/fundraiser as possible so that we can build relationships with them – with individuals and the corporates with whom we don’t already have relationships, and to say thank you to those relationships we have, and to those individuals who love RSU Public TV,” he said.
Aills said corporate tables and individual tables are still available, and he’s hopeful that this year’s event will be the biggest yet.
“We’ve done two of these before now, those were the ones with Nick (Stellino),” he said. “Each year exceeded our expectations in terms of attendance – it was fantastic. We’d like to see that same kind of exceeded expectations again this year.”
As the only full-powered public television station licensed to a university in Oklahoma, RSU Public TV provides educational, cultural and general interest programming to an audience of 1.2 million viewers in northeast Oklahoma and the Tulsa Metro area. RSU Public TV also produces original programs, such as “Living Grand on Grand Lake” and game show “I Want Answers,” which features area high school students.
“We operate on a budget of $1.2 million, which is a relatively small budge in the public television worlds – I think we’re one of the smallest (budgets) out there, but we’re able to do a lot with it, and we get a tremendous amount of positive feedback from our local content,” he said.
Fundraisers such as the upcoming Dia De Festival en Baja area also part of what helps keep public television stations such as RSU Public TV on the air and able to pay for equipment and important upgrades, such as the station’s recently-purchased new transmitter and antenna.
“Not to brag, but we out-produce stations in larger markets in terms of content because we work harder at building local content,” he said. “We’re all about northeast Oklahoma – that’s our mantra, and these fundraisers, particularly this one, are important because it’s all about community engagement. Our goal is to get corporates and national foundations engaged with us, as well as engaged with the university.
“And of course, Dia De Festival en Baja is our way of thanking our supporters – thanking our supporters individually, thanking our supporters corporately – this is who we are, and this is what we’re about,” he said. “I’ve been the general manager at RSU Public TV for five years now, and I love this place. There’s a lot going on at this little station. It’s constantly growing, doing new things, reaching out to more people and connecting with more and more of northeast Oklahoma.”
Dia De Festival en Baja featuring Pati Jinich will be 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018 at Tulsa Country Club. Proceeds from this event go to benefit RSU Public TV.
for additional information and to RSVP, visit www.diadefestivalenbaja.eventbrite.com or the station’s website at rsu.tv.
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