By Brigitte Keen
From as far away as Monterey, 16 NCTA members drove to the KTEH studios in San Jose in order to volunteer their services on pledge night, Friday, August 15. We were eagerly awaited and five of us were immediately whisked off to take pledges during the BBC news, while the rest of us, who had not been trained before, received our instructions on how to operate the phones and fill out the pledge forms.
In between the BBC news and the next program, “Victor Borge”, we managed to install the new NCTA banner in front of the tables with the telephones. We hope very much that some of you watched the various shows KTEH was broadcasting that evening and can confirm that our efforts were not in vain. We had no idea if the banner was visible when the cameras panned over to the phone volunteers. We also did not know if we were on camera, as we were constantly on the phone taking pledges with relatively short interruptions, from 6 pm until shortly after 10 pm. Some of us caught short glimpses of the programs – the BBC news, Victor Borge: The Great Dane of Comedy, the Mrs. Bradley mysteries and Rumpole of the Bailey.
An excellent dinner was donated by the Los Gatos restaurant “Crimson”. However, we were extremely busy and had hardly started eating, when we were called back into the studio to take pledges. Isn’t it good to be wanted!
KTEH is a relatively small operation, much smaller than KQED. And we were told by Tom Fanella, KTEH’s president, that while KQED is a PBS station and much wealthier, KTEH is a PBS affiliate and does not have the same amount of corporate support as its sister station to the north.
A very nice surprise for those of us who are interested in the inner workings of a television studio was the studio tour we were offered during one of our longer breaks. A volunteer demonstrated all the special video effects which the engineers have at their fingertips, as well as the specialized digital video playback equipment, transmission equipment, etc. Most of the people operating the studio, such as some of the engineers on duty on our night as well as camera people and talent, among them Alan Dale and Victoria Hunter, are volunteers and some are station employees. There are plenty of interesting opportunities to volunteer in a technical or nontechnical capacity for those who have the time and the inclination.
Our goal for the evening was $24,000. However, the enthusiasm of the audience for the evening’s programs was such that we finished the evening having received a total of 323 pledges in the amount of $31,933 for the station! Three cheers for all the volunteers who made it possible!