Their multimedia center will be located next to the Heroes and Legends Café on the perimeter of Chevrolet Court and will itself be compartmentalized into three areas. Throughout the Fair’s Aug. 21 to Sept. 1 run, some of WCNY’s most celebrated programs will air live from the front of the center on the main stage. Stepping out for a rare public appearance will be the namesake of WSYR-AM 570’s Jim Reith Show (Thursdays, Aug. 22 and 29, 3 to 7 p.m.), while the culinary TV program Food for Thought (every weekday at 12:30 p.m.), will make the stomach growl. (A full schedule of the main-stage lineup can be seen at wcny.org.)
A two-sided information kiosk will line the center. One side will feature three LCD screens that will highlight daily WCNY events and station initiatives as well as a sampling of shows that can be seen on their channels. “There are three additional WCNY channels available in digital format that have a diverse programming schedule that we believe will appeal to a broader viewing demographic.” noted Gawronski-Salerno. “A lot of people aren’t aware that if you have access to digital TV, there’s more than just the main channel.”
In light of the Feb. 17, 2009, federally mandated digital television transition, there will be daily information sessions at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. at the media center kiosk. Demonstrations will show the proper way to install the converter box needed to translate an analog signal into digital, as well as information on various converter box programs available. And if you’ve ever wondered how your sexy self would look in high-definition, a hi-def TV will display a “live” feed from a hi-def camera.
The rear of the multimedia center is reserved space for a reading area where special and surprise guests will regale children—and easily amused adults—with fanciful tales. Every day at 11 a.m., Clifford the Big Red Dog will embark on a respite from crotch sniffing to recite interactive stories followed by photo-ops and autograph sessions.
WCNY’s presence will also be felt away from the media center. On Tuesday, Aug. 26, at Chevy Court from noon to 1 p.m., two of the crew members from the Emmy Award-winning PBS series This Old House will give some hammer-hitting home improvement tips in a live symposium. At 2 p.m., the crew will then head to the Empire Room for a VIP party, giving you the chance to uncomfortably corner them with bad pipe-laying jokes. Proceeds from the party will support WCNY and tickets costs $35 for WCNY members and $52 for non-members—the latter includes a one-year membership to WCNY.
As they’ve done away with televised pledge auctions, membership is WCNY’s biggest source of financial support—just as it has been since the TV station’s first broadcast in 1965. With the digital expansion and a broader format, new members are the key to their future success, and Gawronski-Salerno sees the State Fair’s almost 1 million attendance estimate as a great way to make people aware of WCNY’s changing directive.
“We feel like we represent the community because we are the public station,” she continued. “We have so many different initiatives going on and believe this is a great opportunity to let people know we have all of these in-house productions. Plus, this gives us a chance to get out of our box on Old Liverpool Road and meet the people, so they can put a face to WCNY and have people from the community meet people from the station.”
Most of their 70-plus full-time staff members, plus 70 member and non-member volunteers will take turns rotating shifts at the Fair. And every day at 1:30 p.m. on the main stage at WCNY’s media center, they will play host to “Meet Your Friends.” During these sessions, some of the station’s on-air personalities and behind-the-scenes luminaries will discuss various aspects of the companies operations.
Slated to appear are Bill Baker, longtime host of Classic FM on WCNY-FM 91.3; Liz Ayers, former WTVH-Channel 5 broadcast journalist and current WCNY vice president of Television and Media Services; and Robert Daino, station president and CEO.
But like this article, it doesn’t end there. Outside help has also been enlisted as morning radio mainstays Ted and Amy from WNTQ-FM 93.1 will host the Fair Show every weekday excluding Labor Day on Channel 24 at 6:30 p.m. For this series, they will wander the grounds and explore the ins and outs so that those who are staying home to boycott second-year State Fair director Dan O’Hara’s policies can still play armchair quarterback and watch it on TV.