In 1959, New Hampshire PBS began as the New Hampshire Network, evolving over the years to strengthen its relationship with the Public Broadcasting Service and its role as a multi-media service provider.
“To this day, the station remains committed to a handful of time-tested tenets: commercial-free programming that engages minds, connects communities and celebrates the Granite State in a way that entertains as well as educates and has impact beyond the broadcast,” says Carla Gordon Russell, director of communications.
Once considered a TV station, the content of NHPBS now finds its way to its viewers on diverse platforms, on air, online, on the screen of a phone or in the community of a classroom. NHPBS operates five digital channels: NHPBS, NHPBS Explore, NHPBS Create, NHPBS World and NHPBS Kids. Originating from the Durham Studio, five transmitters carry the station’s signal to 98% of the Granite State; more 200,000 students access NHPBS’s free curriculum-aligned content; and hundreds of thousands of online visitors engage online with interactive content. NHPBS relates directly to communities by hosting screenings and events that connect viewers.
NHPBS is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and receives no state funding. It is governed by a local board of directors and is supported by its 22,000 members. Because NHPBS doesn’t rely on commercial advertisers, it puts the organization in a unique position to offer commercial-free programming.
It is the strength of NHPBS programming that has allowed the organization to endure and prosper in the last six decades. PBS programming, part of NHPBS’s content as an affiliate station, has been voted #1 most trusted brand in America for the past 14 consecutive years. NHPBS also produces unique and focused content specific to the needs and concerns of the Granite State.
“It’s our local programs and outreach events that connect us back to what is happening in the Granite State,” says Gordon Russell.
NHPBS just kicked off its 60th anniversary and with a Country Music celebration in Keene collaborating with local organizations. A sold-out crowd of close to 900 people came to the Colonial Theatre to get a sneak peek at the new Country Music film and to hear from the producers Ken Burns, Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey.
NHPBS connects to New Hampshire’s rich natural landscape with Willem Lange’s Windows to the Wilds Series, going into its 15th award-winning season. Lange explores the diverse interactions between humans and the wild landscape.
Another example of NHPBS’s intimate and relevant storytelling is the Our Hometown series. Author and host, Rebecca Rule, helps collect more than 40 personal narratives from each town she visits, creating a unique portrait. So far, the Our Hometown crew has visited seven towns, but hopes to visit all 221 towns and 13 cities in New Hampshire. Its latest episode on Conway, will air on Oct. 24 at 8 p.m.
The programming does not shy away from difficult issues, and NHPBS is releasing its third episode of Roads to Recovery, a series that offers hope, inspiration and direction for people battling substance abuse.
NHPBS also responds to current events, helping viewers interpret and reflect. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing this summer, NHPBS produced a local documentary, which shines a spotlight on New Hampshire’s unique role in the history of the space program.
Beyond its direct curricular programming, NHPBS also engages with students with its NHPBS Kids Writers Contest and the high school quiz show, Granite State Challenge.
New Hampshire PBS is committed to finding and interpreting relevant programming, and in this quest is a founding member of the Granite State News Collaborative, a multimedia collaborative dedicated to inclusive and responsive coverage of issues affecting New Hampshire’s diverse communities.
“For sixty years, our legacy has been a balance of local service blended with national and international content. We strive to develop and sustain meaningful partnerships with community organizations and businesses. NHPBS is steadfast in its mission to serve the public interest and improve the quality of life for everyone in the Granite State,” says Gordon Russell.