Saturday, April 28, 2007

Saying good-bye

April 26, 2007

Dear Missy,

It is with mixed emotions that I must say goodbye to you, our loyal members. As you may have heard, I will be moving to Norfolk to become the CEO of WHRO, the public television and radio stations covering the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.

I hope you’ll agree that WVPT has done some wonderful things over these past five years. From the creation of eleven locally produced shows, to the initiation of important outreach events like the WVPT Kids’ Book Festival, to the doubling of the number of households that can see the station, WVPT has been committed to being an important community asset.

Of course, that commitment won’t change when I leave. WVPT will still have the same wonderfully dedicated staff to provide you everything you’ve come to expect from Virginia’s Public Television.

Next month, you can bring your children or your grandchildren to the WVPT Harrisonburg Kids’ Book Festival Saturday, May 19, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Godwin Field on the James Madison University campus. There will be more than 60 activities to enjoy, along with free books, free food and free entertainment. It’ll be a learning experience for your children and a fun-filled day for everyone.

Also in May, we’re celebrating high achievement among the students of our viewing area. On May 3 we recognize our 2007 Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Award recipients. And on May 31, we will reward outstanding student research into environmental issues with the Environmental Scholarship Award.

As always, enjoy our programs in May. The expanded listings document is available at

Thank you for supporting Virginia’s Public Television!

Bert Schmidt
President & General Manager
WVPT—Virginia’s Public Television

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

BERT SCHMIDT NAMED PRESIDENT AND CEO OF WHRO, "Hampton Roads Own" Public Broadcasting

CONTACT: Bobbie Fisher, Director of Corporate Communications, 757.889.9107

Veteran Public Broadcaster to Assume WHRO Leadership

Norfolk: The Board of Directors of WHRO, public broadcasting for Hampton Roads, has announced that Bert Schmidt has accepted the position of President and Chief Executive Officer, according to Board Chair Dr. Elizabeth L. Young. Schmidt will join WHRO after five years as President and General Manager of WVPT in Harrisonburg, Virginia, which broadcasts in 29 counties, and on satellite services in Northern Virginia and in parts of Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Schmidt is the current chairman of the Virginia Association of Public Television Stations, serves on the board of the National Educational Telecommunications Association, and was the past chair of the Public Broadcasting Management Association. While in Harrisonburg, he served as President of the Massanutten Regional Library Board, and was on the Community Leadership Program and the Issues committee of the Harrisonburg/Rockingham Chamber of Commerce.

Schmidt holds a BS in accounting and finance (with honors) from Alfred University, a law degree (with honors) from Syracuse University College of Law and an MBA (with honors) from Syracuse University School of Management. Prior to coming to Virginia, he was Executive Vice President of WCNY-TV/FM in Syracuse, New York, the Vice President of Mark R. Switz, Inc., and a tax attorney with Price Waterhouse.

While at the Harrisonburg station, Schmidt developed and served as executive producer of eleven local television productions, including Consider This, recognized as the best public television news program by the Virginia Association of Broadcasters; Virginia Viewpoints, a local panel discussion of regional and national topics; and Miller Center Forums, weekly lectures from the University of Virginia’s Miller Center for Public Affairs, which is directed by former Governor Gerald L. Baliles. He is the recipient of numerous other awards from the Virginia Association of Broadcasters, a Telly award, the Public Broadcasting Management Association’s Award of Excellence and the Virginia Farm Bureau’s Journalism Award.

“I was interested in WHRO for many reasons,” says Schmidt. “The station has a great reputation throughout our industry, and I’m particularly impressed by its emphasis on educational technology. I’m looking forward to leading the staff toward the goal of going from great to world class.”

"I am personally delighted that Mr. Schmidt will be taking the reins of WHRO at this critical time for our many educational and informational services offered on radio, television, and on line,” says Dr. Young. “His experience with converting a station to digital broadcasting will serve WHRO well. His great interest in community outreach and local programming were among the factors that convinced us to offer him the position. I look forward to introducing him to our many listeners, viewers and supporters in the community."

Born in Syracuse, NY, Schmidt has two children, a daughter Jillian and son Bertel.

WHRO is a regional media company that promotes education, culture and citizenship to the citizens of Hampton Roads, Virginia through a variety of services. Every day, thousands of viewers and listeners tune in to broadcast programming on WHRO's public television and two public radio stations. Since its founding more than 45 years ago to support education, WHRO has employed creativity and technology to serve its mission to enrich audiences through content that educates, entertains and promotes understanding. Owned by 17 local school divisions, WHRO delivers educational and new media services to 286,000 students and 25,000 educators per month as well.

NOTE: Bert is my "significant other", my "partner in life" and, thus, with much sadness, I am leaving Friendship Industries in May as well as our friends and my life-long Shenandoah Valley home.