Securing the union, pumping up the volume, bowling in a league

From the opening moments of its 2001 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PBS drew on the city’s role in U.S. history and a series of in-person presentations to foster pride and other warm fuzzies among 1,300 conference attendees. In a spoof of Antiques Roadshow with actors as the founding fathers, APTS President John Lawson presented a letter by Alexander Hamilton to appraisers Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. “We must secure our union on solid foundations — it is a job for Hercules,” Hamilton wrote. Lawson feigned amazement when the letter was deemed to be of “immense worth.” For plenary sessions in a convention center ballroom, PBS put on highly produced shows, with musical performances, staged interviews, scripts rolling on multiple teleprompters and program-related stunts replacing many of the clip screenings of past years.