Currently CST student Brendan Stermer is working with Appleton based Pioneer Public TV to create and organize an archive system for the station’s old newspapers. There are several hundred clippings and documents that tell the story of how the station came to be and Brendan has compiled a 20-page timeline and has written an ebook (which will be available in late August) to detail the history. In addition Brendan has scanned and archived hundreds of photos relating to the station’s history.
Brendan’s work doesn’t end there though, as he conducts interviews with prominent figures in the organization’s history to help confirm his timeline and to prepare for a future documentary about the station. The documentary, honoring the station’s upcoming 50th birthday, will help to tell the story and show the never-before seen history of Pioneer Public TV.
Brendan commented about the work he’s been doing saying, “The formation and growth of Pioneer Public TV throughout the 1950s and 60s is a testament to the power of small rural communities working together for a common dream. The money for the station was raised through small donations from hundreds of small organizations in Appleton and the surrounding communities. Nearly 50 years later, Pioneer now covers over 45 rural counties in four states… Also, hopefully, the documentary will increase Pioneer’s membership and reputation so they can continue to represent the rural experience in an otherwise urban-focused media culture.”
Pioneer is a regional public TV station based in Appleton, MN and is a member of PBS. Pioneer is dedicated to programming that helps to educate and sustain rural communities throughout the area. The Center for Small Towns is really thrilled to work in partnership with them and we really enjoyed their presentation at our 2014 Symposium on Small Towns.