‘Made Possible By…’ #1: Rick Breitenfeld shares secrets to success

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Breitenfeld and Pfleger

Welcome to a new podcast from Current that revisits the roots of public media while introducing you to the younger talents who are shaping the field today.

Made Possible By… is a limited-run podcast that commemorates the Nov. 7, 1967, signing of the Public Broadcasting Act. Each week, host Daisy Rosario (The Big Listen, Latino USA) will guide you through provocative conversations between millennials working in public media and pioneers who helped craft the system’s programs, strategies and institutions.

On our debut episode, Paige Pfleger, a producer for WHYY in Philadelphia, speaks with public media veteran Rick Breitenfeld. Breitenfeld’s long and successful career includes the creation of Maryland Public Television and the rehabilitation of WHYY. He was also instrumental in helping to pass the Public Broadcasting Act and fund public television.

“It was something new,” Breitenfeld told Pfleger about his role in the founding of public media. “We were all excited about the wonderful things we were going to do that we never quite got to.”

Breitenfeld also shares some advice about running a station: “It’s how you treat people,” he said. “… Managing a noncommercial operation is a specialty. In the noncommercial world … people tend to be bright and independent. The usual hierarchy of ‘Here are your orders, go do it and see me tomorrow’ doesn’t apply.”

And the pioneer also learns a little from his interviewer when Pfleger shows him how to download a podcast to his smartphone.

Please subscribe to Made Possible By… in iTunes or your favorite podcast app and leave us a rating and a comment! That will help boost our search results and allow people to find the show more easily. Made Possible By…  is also available on NPR One.

We welcome your feedback on the show: You can reach us at news@current.org or @currentpubmedia on Twitter.