Now more than ever, public media is essential. Donate Now.

Written by: Tom Rieland
Date: April 20, 2018

Forty-nine years ago, on May 1st, 1969, Fred Rogers testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications in support of federal funding for public television. It’s worth watching the full testimony of Mr. Rogers on that day (about 7 minutes). 

His words are simple, but powerful. His show had just been syndicated nationally and WOSU picked it up and started airing it in 1969.

Our program director at the time, Merv Durea, said this about watching the pilot show.

“I remember screening this program out of Pittsburgh featuring a genial middle-aged guy in a sweater and sneakers and saying ‘I don’t understand it at all,’ but then I thought ‘What do I know about kids programming?” Durea said.

We picked it up at WOSU and it was a legendary success.