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LuminUS: Stories About Us

Follow the unique journey of PBS Western Reserve from its inception to the present day.

PBS Western Reserve: A Study in Persistence

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Friday, May 24, at 5 PM

Advancements in technology and industry can change the world seemingly overnight — from the advent of television to the creation of the Public Broadcasting Service. PBS WESTERN RESERVE: A STUDY IN PERSISTENCE traces the groundbreaking history of public television through the lens of this local station.

Documenting the ups and downs of 50 years on air for WNEO (Alliance/Youngstown) and 48 years for WEAO (Akron/Canton), the production examines the dedicated efforts of PBS Western Reserve to bring outstanding programs and lifelong educational services to neighborhoods across Northeast Ohio. 

Through insightful interviews, archival photos and cinematic reenactments, it details how public television persisted with the help of Mr. Rogers, local heroes and loyal staff members.

“This is an intriguing production detailing the complexities that PBS Western Reserve consistently overcame during 50 years of humbly serving our vast and loyal community,” said Ryan Donchess, programming and production manager. “Viewers will discover how this organization came into existence and how it handled many of its challenges and successes.”

Technology has evolved from a time when television sets weighed more than 25 pounds to the current era, where you can stream your favorite programs in high quality on a device small enough to fit in your back pocket. PBS Western Reserve has evolved, too. “Stations have come and gone; others have changed greatly, but NETO has persisted,” said Mark Auburn, the organization’s former chair of the board of directors. 

The documentary is produced and directed by W. Drew Perkins of Rubicon Productions, with retired PBS Western Reserve President and CEO Trina Cutter serving as executive producer. Margie Lenhart is narrator. Production support is provided by members of PBS Western Reserve.  


Premieres on PBS Western Reserve in 2024.

Filer image
Educational Services employee Kathy Cybulski poses with Big Bird at a 1982 event.
WNEO / WEAO Channels 45 & 49 sign-off screen in the 1980s.