ImageNorman Sooner Rotary was introduced to the life and times of
Dick Pryor as the managing director of OETA at Tuesday morning's meeting.

Public television was begun during the Lyndon B. Johnson presidency. Dick explained the mission of OETA is to provide communication throughout the state of OK, often reaching many viewers who have no access to other TV, Radio, or Internet programming. OETA is the only station with OK programming and connects the people of OK with one another.

OETA is a state agency, funded by taxpayers, OETA members, the U.S. Government and over 20% from contributions of its viewers. Surprisingly, OK taxpayers contribute $1.01 for a full year of viewing diverse entertainment, news, and educational programs. Because of the recent budget cuts and an increase in production costs, the station has had to scale back some of those programs, including Dick's nightly news program. The program had been broadcast nightly for 30 years until July of this past year. In addition, the legislature is currently considering a bill to defund the agency alleging OETA is in the TV business. Such cuts would make it impossible to maintain the station. Dick provided a different perspective stating that OETA is a source of education and information and not a business.

Dick encouraged Sooner Rotarians to watch interviews with prominent individuals Bill Moyers of On The Record and Brian Lamb, founder of C-Span. These interviews are part of a new program, Odyssey, and could be viewed over the next several months. Other programs such as Sesame St., Masterpiece Theatre, OK Forum and OK Hall of Fame, plus this year's Presidential Election Coverage will provide entertainment and educational viewing for every member of the family.

The challenge for Dick and his team at OETA is to maintain a balance of providing a service to the public, handle political influences on the agency and secure funding that will allow the station to complete its mission. It's a balancing act to be sure and Dick seems to be the one who can and will succeed.

Thanks Dick for your insights and your committment to making OETA our OK station.