2 women, seated.
Where do you go for the most timely and reliable information regarding educational issues? Straight to the educators, of course.
That has been the mantra for the City University of New York’s award-winning television program, EdCast, the only program of its kind created, written and produced by educators. Launched in 2007 as a partnership between Hostos Community College and Lehman College, EdCast tackles the most pressing educational issues of the day by bringing together important civic leaders, educators, and authors. Topics have included mayoral control of New York City schools, the impact of charter schools, the importance of arts education, the power of restorative justice, poverty’s effect on learning, and tools for literacy development.
Dr. Linda Hirsch, a literacy specialist and English Professor at Hostos Community College for more than 30 years, has served as host and producer of EdCast since its inception. Dr. Hirsch noted that the inspiration for the program came way back in the 1990s, when she and her friends were school searching for their children.
“We were struggling with what to look for,” Dr. Hirsch said. “We wondered about what really constitutes a good reading program, how a mathematics program should be taught, and what is the best class size. It occurred to me that if my well-informed friends were at a loss, and I as an educator was often overwhelmed myself, what might other parents be going through?”
After that experience, Hirsch thought about creating a television program where parents and caregivers could get advice from experts and call-in with questions. Aside from a stint as a content consultant on Children’s Television Workshop’s Ghostwriter program, Dr. Hirsch was a college professor with limited media experience. She had no idea on how to get started. After a friend recommended watching BronxNet Television’s BronxTalk, an interview-based show with live viewer call-ins, Dr. Hirsch impressed them with her ideas and was soon given a regular segment. After a more opportunities and assistance from CUNY, she became the sole host in January 2016.
“We wanted to clarify the often contentious and confusing issues surrounding conversations in education,” Hirsch said. “I’m an academic, not a TV person, so it was challenging and scary at the same time. But I felt our professional backgrounds provided us with an incredible opportunity to create a show that could speak to both educators and non-educators.”
2 women, seated. 1 man standing.
EdCast is produced at Lehman College’s Multi-Media Center, a state-of-the-art facility, which opened in April 2010, and includes Lehman Studios as a major facility. It is the only facility of its kind within the CUNY system and rivals the capabilities of major networks. Also co-located at Lehman is BronxNet, the public access corporation, with connections to FIOS and Cablevision, with which Lehman has a synergistic relationship.
Jerry Barnard, EdCast’s Executive Producer and Director of the Lehman College Multi-Media Center, said EdCast was already being produced in an older studio but now had the ability to be recorded in full HD with an experienced media production team.
“Lehman College is justly proud of the work EdCast has done over its nine seasons, tackling many important issues and giving a platform for many renowned figures in education. EdCast was there first,” stated Barnard,
Critics are also noticing the show. EdCast won two TELLY Awards in 2012 and 2013 for excellence in cable broadcasting.
EdCast can be seen bi-monthly on CUNY-TV Channel 75 Time Warner Cable and Optimum Cable, Channel 77 RCN, Channel 30 FiOS, and WNYE Channel 25.3 and online at http://www.cuny.tv/show/edcast. The website also offers program highlights, podcasts and other information.
About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique Student Success Coaching Unit provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services.
Named one of the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 24 colleges.