At WNET.ORG, Only Front Row Seats

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WNET.ORG, the public media provider for New York City and the parent company for THIRTEEN and WLIW21, cut the ribbon on a brand new street level broadcast studio in Lincoln Center April 13.

Plans for the new state-of-the-art studio were launched just over a year ago, when WNET.ORG CEO Neal Shapiro discovered that the space was available.

The studio, which has filming space on both the first and second floors, looks out over the corner of West 66th Street and Broadway.

A view of the new WNET.ORG studio, on the corner of West 66th Street and Broadway. The first floor space is where a new PBS news magazine, Need To Know, will be filmed. Photo by Daniel S. Burnstein

The first floor space will be the filming location for a new PBS cross-media current events news magazine, Need To Know, scheduled to premiere May 7. Hosts of the national program will be able to look out onto the sidewalk at passersby, who in turn can watch live programming from the street.

Because there is limited space in the studio for equipment, cameras, lights, audio mixing and video feeds will be controlled from WNET.ORG’s main offices, at 450 W. 33rd St., through a fiber optic connection.

“There’s not enough space for a control room here, and really, the studio doesn’t need to be controlled here,” said Seth Easter of Seth Easter Design, the firm in charge of designing the studio. “We chose this great location and adapted to the technical challenges it produced.”

This off-site technology is also expected to lower operational costs for the publicly funded station, allowing WNET.ORG to focus more time and money on creating original programming.

Representatives from both the media outlet and Lincoln Center said they hoped that WNET.ORG’s Lincoln Center presence would foster a connection between the two organizations.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that my colleagues and I are excited by all of the opportunities that will arise by being neighbors,” said Ron Levy, president of Lincoln Center, at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

In addition to being used as a main local production studio for WNET.ORG, the second floor space will host fundraisers and other events, and lounges in the entryway of the studio will be open to the public.

“We want this to be a public experience,” said Roz Davis, director of production for WNET.ORG. 

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