July 2020: FROM THE GENERAL MANAGER’S DESK
Thank you, Northeast Oklahoma!
The viewers of Green Country have really been watching RSU Public TV since the stay at home rule went into place in April. Public Television’s Broadcast Media tracking companies says across the country the coronavirus may have rocked our world but there is a silver lining to the public’s lifestyle change or viewing habits. And Okies are not any different. Nationally, according to these media tracking companies, television usage soared in the early days of the pandemic, (March/April). They observed that COVID-19 has been good for media consumption. Locally, specifically RSU Public TV, eyeballs increased as well. Staying at home during the lockdown resulted in large viewing increases for television news programming, which media researchers quoted as high as 19% for broadcast and 73% for cable. Ratings for network and cable entertainment series increased, too, as did streaming of TV shows. In the first three weeks of March, streaming rose 85% over the previous year. Public TV saw gains too, especially during early fringe and weekend dayparts. RSU Public TV daypart quickly became planned viewing and surpassing primetime programming. Classic Gospel with Bill Gaither remains RSU TV’s #1 show, America’s Test Kitchen moved into second place followed by Ellis Good Food and Cooks Country Kitchen. This is the first time since I’ve been at the station that cooking shows have competed for eyeballs. It’s great to know that when our viewers are at home, they have found RSU Public TV and like the programming we offer. So, what’s next? Some say media usage will falter and fall back in line as Northeast Oklahoma begins to open back up and we all get back to somewhat normal lives. However, the stay at home order showed how much people depend on Public TV. The general thought is, the bigger the crisis, the more viewers will depend on public TV. My hope is you will continue to watch and make RSU Public TV a part of your television viewing and get engaged with us on some level. We can’t do this with you (our viewers) be we are viewer-supported television.
So, thank you Green Country for your support!
– Royal Aills
In March of this year the State Department of Education was looking for options to keep kids in school or at best, keep parents, teachers and students of Northeastern Oklahoma engaged with learning during the ongoing confusion of the COVID 19 Pandemic. RSU Public TV “stepped up” in a big way by providing an over-the-air broadcast solution called “@HomeLearning.”
Dr. Terry Saul Superintendent of Sequoyah Public Schools (Rogers County) reached out to RSU Public TV about offering over the air live classroom learning. He knew changes were coming due to the COVID-19 crisis, so he wanted to be ready. Saul said he was well aware that many of his students, as well as thousands of other students across northeastern Oklahoma and in metro Tulsa, would not be able to access distance learning/ online classes if schools should be closed.
Dr Joy Hoffmister and the March 25 which essentially closed all public-school buildings to regular classroom and educational activities due to state and national COVID-19 public health restrictions. As a result, school districts across the state have been tasked with implementing Distance Learning Plans to continue engaging all PreK-12th grade students throughout the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
The Oklahoma State Department of Education decided to work with public TV (PBS Affiliates) such as OETA to provide online distance learning through the PBS portal of PBS Kids. However, in rural Oklahoma, access to high-speed internet is not adequate enough to provide the streams needed to access the PBS content. Dr. Saul said, “RSU Public TV is free and can be accessed by any student who has a television in their home.”
Based on that conversation, RSU Public TV quickly began working with Sequoyah teachers and then reached out to Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist who gave the green light for TPS community organizational resources to be a part of RSU Public TV’s new @HomeLearning program, saying, “We are thrilled to partner with RSU TV to provide additional engagement opportunities for our students through the end of the school year. The live programming that will be provided by our staff and community partners will be another great way for students and families to engage in learning during this time.”
On April 9th RSU Public TV and its public education partners, Sequoyah and Tulsa Public Schools and the Tulsa City County Library, launched @HomeLearning. Every Monday through Friday from 9am to noon, students had ready access to over-the-air learning resources on RSU Public TV Channel 35.1 in order to complete the 2020 school year. Parents had access to some high-quality educational content to keep their children engaged.
TV Station General Manager Royal Aills said “One of the things we know is this, in times like these our mission to serve the public is paramount. Like public schools, public TV means working together for the greater good of our students, families and communities.” RSU Public TV has been providing educational programming, including telecourses, to residents of northeastern Oklahoma for 30 years.
Sequoyah students and parents accessed a blended continuous learning plan with a combination of learning resources for parents, direct instruction via an online platform and RSU-TV. The Sequoyah School system is one of nine Rogers County School districts and serves 1,280 PreK-12 Students. Dr. Saul said, “The first thing that came to mind was all the parents and students who do not have unlimited access to data plans and the Internet. So, we analyzed all possible resources in our area to connect and provide learning experiences to our students and families, which led us to RSU-TV. We know from data the vast majority of our homes have a TV and that RSU-TV is available for FREE. [We] will provide learning opportunities and experiences with an emphasis on enrichment teaching and presentations. Our goal is to keep our students engaged in learning and continue our vision of instilling the love of learning.”
Aills said, “our numbers showed we had a large number of students watching our over the air broadcast as well as on our digital platforms with an average viewership over 15,000.”
Sequoyah teachers included multi-grade level lessons in Reading, Math, Social Studies and Science with each lesson including enrichment opportunities. “We hope to give students the opportunity to feel as if they are in the classroom. We feel like this approach will assist parents who don’t have internet or need to use the internet at home for their own job,” Dr. Saul said.
Tulsa Public School used resource partners such as: Tulsa Zoo, Tulsa STEM Alliance, YMCA, ahha: Visual Arts, Kang’s Taekwondo; Discovery Lab. The Tulsa City County Library presented, “Build a Reader Story Time” with host Librarian, Tori Hamilton, Children’s Library Associate, Glenpool Library, every Friday.
At the end of May the station scaled back @HomeLearning live broadcasts for the summer. RSU Public TV hopes to continue offering @HomeLearning throughout the 2020-2021 school year as an after school and out-of-school resource.
Set in 1920s Toronto, Frankie Drake Mysteries follows the city’s only female private detectives as they take on the cases the police don’t want to touch. In a time of change and hopefulness, their gender is their biggest advantage as they defy expectations and rebel against convention.
A smart, savvy and fearless redhead, FRANKIE DRAKE is a new detective for a new world. Raised in Toronto by her small-time grifter father, Frankie longed for adventure. After his death, she found it living abroad in Europe and the Middle East. When WWI broke out, she became a dispatch messenger, riding a motorcycle across war-torn country sides in order to deliver crucial messages to the front lines. Frankie’s skill and daring attracted the attention of her commanders who recruited her to work as a spy. Her final mission saw her return to Toronto where her cover was blown. Unemployed and looking to put her unique skill set to work, Frankie established Drake Private Detectives, the city’s first all-female detective agency. With her associate Trudy Clarke, Frankie takes on the cases the police can’t crack and more traditional detective agencies aren’t interested in — solving them as only a modern woman who “colours-outside-the-lines” can.
The Drake Private Detectives take on cases that explore every cross-section of Toronto, from gospel church choirs, bathing beauties and the early cinema scene, to the homes and private parties of the city’s elite. Frankie and Trudy’s fearless sense of adventure gets them into all kinds of trouble, but they always manage to find a way out. They are new detectives for a new world – but is the world ready for them?
Frankie Drake Mysteries is a Canadian drama that premiered on the Canadian Broadcast Network on November 6, 2017. The series stars Lauren Lee Smith and Chantel Riley as Frankie Drake and her partner Trudy who run an all-female private detective service in Toronto, Canada in the 1920s.
Lauren is a Canadian actress who was first discovered in her native Vancouver when she was cast as a series regular on the hit Showtime series The L Word.
Lauren seamlessly transitioned to films by co-starring in Terry Zwigoff’s film Art School Confidential for Sony Classics, opposite Max Minghella. From there Lauren Lee co-starred as Casey Affleck’s partner in The Last Kiss, directed by Tony Goldwyn.
Most notably, Lauren went on to receive critical praise and attention from her lead performance as an outwardly sexually spirited woman in the independent film Lie with Me. Lauren next went on to star in three back to back studio films; the MGM feature Pathology, the Warner Brothers/Bryan Singer produced feature Trick R Treat opposite Anna Paquin, and Helen opposite Ashley Judd which premiered at Sundance in 2010.
Lauren worked alongside Laurence Fishburne on the hugely successful CBS series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and was the lead on the Canadian crime series The Listener for which she was nominated for Best Performance by a Lead Actress at the 2011 Gemini Awards for her brilliant work.
In 2009 Lauren signed on to the Terry Miles’s directed feature A Night For Dying Tigers alongside Jennifer Beals. In 2012 she teamed up with Terry Miles again, this time not only starring in but producing the feature Cinemanovels.
In 2017, Lauren was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Maggie Lawson in CBC’s This Life.
Chantel Riley is a Jamaican born actress and songwriter. In 2011, after attending an open call in Toronto, she landed her first gig playing “Nala” in Disney’s The Lion King in Hamburg, Germany. For this, her first major role, Chantel had to learn the entire play and all of the songs in German. After a successful one-year run, Chantel returned home to Toronto and was immediately offered an opportunity to play “Nala” on Broadway. Chantel made her Broadway debut in the summer of 2012 and spent four years bringing this well-loved character to life. While performing on Broadway, Chantel also landed her first film role, playing “Quinella Nickerson” in the critically acclaimed Jesse Owens biopic Race.
Chantel is co-founder of the clothing line Riley&Rose, inspired by a desire to encourage people to celebrate their freedom. Chantel has also made live TV appearances on Good Morning America, The Chew and Home Shopping Network singing songs from Disney’s The Lion King.. in 2001, she made her Broadway debut playing the character of Nala in the Lion King. Recently she has been seen on the legal drama “Suits” which airs on the USA Networks.
If you want to learn more about a particular city, look at its cultural output. The arts reflect who a community is and what that community wants to aspire to. An example of this is Tulsa. A city located on the banks of the Arkansas River loaded with southern hospitality and charm? It has a rich history of supporting its art communities with philanthropic cowboys such as Thomas Gilcrease and Waite Phillips and civic leaders such as John Williams and Leta Chapman. These leaders and many more like them have left an endurable “artifact footprint” on the social fabric of this city.
With every vision there has to be provision. The arts community in Tulsa must be sustained financially in order to keep its future, for generations to come, bright. Art Alliance Tulsa is a local organization whose mission is to raise funds for and profile 40 plus art organizations in Tulsa. Because the arts are a large part of our lives, RSU Public TV is happy to join Art Alliance Tulsa in their endeavor as a broadcast partner. The station will air a series of videos, produced by AAT that brings awareness of these organizations.
Chad Oliverson, Marketing Director for Art Alliance Tulsa says, “The idea behind the videos series is to let these organizations say what they want to say about who they are that we would pay for and gift to them for use. This is of more importance to the majority of our members that can’t use precious funds to produce video content. This certainly does not imply that all of our arts organizations are masterful at being seen, they are. It is part of the creative brain.”
Since the pandemic hit in March, the need to keep the arts in the public eye has become more important. The series is produced by Buddy FX in Tulsa and hosted by Ana Berry, who is also show host of RSU Public TV’s academic game show “I Want Answers”. This video series is called Art-in-Fact. RSU Public TV’s general manager Royal Aills, says Art-in-Fact is an opportunity for public television to stand up and be counted. Aills said, “the arts community has always been of value to the culture of our community. Arts benefits our economy and the quality of life we enjoy here in Tulsa.”
RSU Public TV’s goal is to help amplify their voices as they show off what the region has to offer. Oliverson said, “The support and friendship we have received from RSU Public TV has gone well beyond the airing of these video. They opened their doors to give Arts Alliance Tulsa a platform to speak on-air about the arts and extended offers to the arts to help promote their educational video content on their website. The relationship continues and we are grateful.”
Art-in-Fact is a play on the word “artifact.” Everything worth noting in history leaves behind some sort of artifact as a footprint to what was created. These are small artifacts that stand as testament to the amazing work being done for the betterment of our community. Viewers can help continue the work by visiting artstulsa.org.
Sam’s Perspective with Sam Jones
I need your help. First, let me say I am a believer in science, that with knowledge comes power to live better lives. So, let me set the stage for my dilemma. Remember when you were very young and before school started in the fall, you had to first be vaccinated against a number of diseases. We all went through it. But now there is a movement in Oklahoma to say “no” to those vaccinations that prevent such things as smallpox and measles. The movement has gained such strength that now, state health officials are proposing new vaccination rules. The Health Department wants to require parents interested in exempting their children from immunizations for religious or personal reasons, to attend a vaccine education briefing at a local health department before receiving an exemption form.
The proposed rule change has apparently angered advocates for parental rights and those choosing not to vaccinate one or more of their children. Right now, we are all facing the possible threat of a new type of flu, one for which there is no known vaccination and officials say its at least a year and a half away. The threat is worldwide. So, what’s going on here? The number of religious and personal exemptions requested, in some cases, have more than doubled over the past six years. Why? This is why I need your help. What’s behind the push to avoid immunization against a number of childhood diseases? We know they work so what’s at issue here? What’s it based on? What is the science behind it?
I’m not being critical when I say I just don’t understand. I truly don’t. So, I’m asking for you to help me with this. A letter or an Email will do just fine. The question being, what’s behind the growing number of requested exemptions? Please take a moment and send me some information on this. Help me understand why some parents are taking the stand against vaccinations. What are the arguments against them? Perhaps it would help if we could have representatives from both side on this show to explore the issues. If that’s the case, we can try to set that up. Again, drop me a note or an email. I’ll take it from there.
I’m Sam Jones and that’s my perspective.
To contact Sam:
Call 918.343.7657 you can leave a message.
Email: attn. Sam Jones eat0@eau0eav0eaw0
Viewers can watch Perspectives Mondays at 6 pm.
This onetime fashion model has modeled her career into the culinary arts. Ellie is a nutritionist/ chef turned author who is well known from her hit cooking series “Ellie’s Real Good Food” which airs on RSU Public TV. She is a registered dietitian nutritionist who earned her bachelor’s in clinical nutrition from Cornell University and her master’s in nutrition education from Teacher’s College Columbia University. An author of seven cookbooks, her latest book, “Whole in One: Complete, Healthy Meals in a Single Pot, Skillet or Sheet Pan, was just nominated for the IAPC, International Association of Culinary Professional Award.
She recently sat down with RSU Public TV’s General Manager of Royal Aills for a phone conversation and Q&A.
Ellie, where has your love for food come from?
My mother says that for me becoming a nutritionist is like a pyromaniac becoming a firefighter. I have always loved food. Originally when in college, I was a pre-med student. That changed when I realized the depth and breadth of the nutrition field is really were my heart was and where I really wanted to be. Today it is my joy, pleasure, and honor to help people find the sweet spot where delicious and healthy foods meet.
Not all nutritionists are cooks, correct?
As a nutritionist, I always cooked. Not all do. I always loved to cook, being in the kitchen experimenting and trying different things, and using different ingredients was always something I loved to do.
I paid for college by modeling and TV commercials. That allowed me to develop skills to be in front of the camera. I realized during my career that I can combine these skills of being comfortable in front of a camera and the science of nutrition, I can communicate and my love for food.
How did you end up on Public TV?
I have a passion to communicate. I got my first television show after I received my master’s degree. It was on NBC called “Living Better with Ellie Krieger” then I went onto the Food Network with my show called “Healthy Appetite”. Then the show that is near and dear to my heart is “Ellie’s Real Good Food”. What I love about my show on public television is that it has value to the message I’m trying to convey without any commercial strings attached. Its freely accessible to anyone. It does not require you to use a streaming service to access the show. That’s very meaning full to me!
What separates you from other cooking shows that are on Food Network or on Public TV?
Any successful show is about connecting with people. That’s my main goal to make it inspiring, accessible, and enjoyable to eat well so they can say “I can do this”. I am a nutritionist, and a healthcare professional. If people will change what they are eating that night from some highly processed package to a home-cooked meal, I feel that’s a huge compliment and benefit.
As a television chef and personality, which is more challenging, keeping the food healthy or indulge in your favorite receipts?
It depends on what that it is. My main food philosophy is to see food “unusually”, “sometimes” and “rarely”. That means there is no such thing as never. Never is a forbidden fruit. The backbone of your habits defines your diet. My show is designed to give solutions to easy receipts that are in the “usually” category like a piece of cake.
Do you consider yourself a chef or nutritionist?
Both. I call myself a Culinary Nutritionist.
Ellie’s Real Good Food is seen on RSU Public TV every Monday’s at 9 am and again on Saturdays at 2 pm.
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