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Celebrating 20 Years in Public TelevisionA celebration of 20 years of McCuistion Television Programming…

Thursday, November 19th at 7PM- Arlington Hall at Lee Park was the site of a gala event – the very first, celebrating the McCuistion Program’s success and 20 year run on KERA, Channel 13, Dallas PBS. A success from start to finish- from harp music at the welcome reception, to desert, conversations and a standing ovation for the co-founders, Dennis McCuistion: Host of the program and Niki Nicastro McCuistion: Executive Producer/Producer. Guests included program panelists, loyal viewers, funders and board members.

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Celebrating 20 Years in Public TelevisionThe event was emceed with grace, humor and style by former board member and close friend, Terry Brock, CPAE, an internationally renowned marketing coach and consultant. He illustrated the last 20 years with inside stories that captured audience attention and highlighted the social media work made possible by a Searle Foundation grant. Terry walked us through the new website and blogging Niki has spearheaded with Orangecast, our new social media consulting firm. He showed us how to easily access past and present programs, comment on blogs and stay tuned even when an airing is missed. This work takes the program to another level, yet is still in progress so we hope you join us, comment and Twitter your friends and associates to follow us.

Conversation at each table was hosted by a lead person and included:

Celebrating 20 Years in Public TelevisionHasan Pirkul on education, Jerry Fullinwider on oil and energy in Russia, Iran and Iraq, Ed Wallace on world history, Terry Brock on technology, Cary Clayborne on capital markets, Steve Pejovich on the  Berlin Wall, Larry Steinberg on the Middle East, Dennis on the credit crisis and Niki on terrorism and the Roots of War documentary.

A video of the best of the last 20 years programming Niki had produced for the evening’s event included comments from program guests and supporters from, Christopher Kennedy Lawford, Gail Cooksey and her team and Jim and Carol Young congratulating the host and producer on their 20 year TV anniversary. Highlights included candid clips of what goes on behind the scenes to make the program production work. A fun and surprise ending featured Dennis in makeup, commenting that he didn’t look one day older than when the program started, and attributing it to good makeup and shots. The video is posted at the top of the page.

Celebrating 20 Years in Public TelevisionTerry Brock interviewed Niki as the filmmaker- co-interviewer on the controversial Roots of War documentary.  Scheduled to air on KERA in January of 2006, the documentary was funded in part by the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation, one of our major TV funders. It aired first at the Angelika to community leaders. Protested by the Freedom and Justice Foundation, the KERA airing date was postponed. Niki spoke to what had occurred and what was done by her and Phil Smith, lead camera and co-editor of the documentary, in the ensuing years to get the program back on KERA. She felt compelled to honor the funder’s expenditure and trust and took her own time and money to do so. More of this story can be seen at The documentary is going to be posted online as well.

Celebrating 20 Years in Public TelevisionDennis capped off the evening by talking about the future of the program, its collaboration with the University of Texas at Dallas ( School of Management and the Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance and how the program will benefit and grow as a result.  We recently taped several programs with their assistance in providing us the very best panelists from around the world. Take a look at programs 1807 (Corporate Governance) to 1810 (Wall Street: Capitol of Greed or Builder of Capital – airing on December 27th) for programs that profoundly affect our daily lives.

And of course what would the festivities have been without the host introducing key guests who have been part of our success, from Willis Duff to John Goodman, PhD, CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis, among others you’ll see on the Celebrating 20 Years in Public Televisionupcoming excerpts of that night. A sterling moment highlighted energy guru Jerry Fullinwider, who in 1942, played with his then band in the very room the evening’s gala was held in. Paid the royal sum of $25 for the evening, Jerry had to spend $5 of that fee to buy the music they played. We learned Jimmy Dorsey had tried to hire him but Jerry decided to stay in college and eventually go into business. As one of our benefactors, we’re sure glad he chose that route.  But to show he did indeed have talent then and now, a trumpet magically appeared and Jerry played a few bars to resounding applause.

The evening ended with a standing ovation for the co-founders, Dennis and Niki and a promise of more good programming. Stay tuned where as always we talk about things that matter with people who care…


Niki Nicastro McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer

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Monday News Round Up: Post Black Friday, Health Bill and Obama on Troops in Afghanistan
Friday News Update: Better News on the Current Employment Rate