MCPS Instructional TV Celebrates 20 Years

February 1, 2006
On February 3, 1986, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) began an educational television programming service called Instructional Television (ITV). That year, ITV offered only four hours of daily programming. Now celebrating its 20th year of cablecasting, ITV offers 16 hours of daily TV programming on each of its two Montgomery County Comcast Cable channels.

MCPS Channel 33 focuses on educational and instructional programs. MCPS Channel 34 features news and information about the events, programs, and issues that affect the school system and the community. The service, an important part of the MCPS Department of Communications, now reaches more than 220,000 homes and 194 schools in Montgomery County, providing instructional programming, news of interest to parents and the community, homework assistance, and emergency announcements. Many programs are now produced in languages other than English.

“ITV is an excellent resource for our students, staff, and parents,” said Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools. “I am pleased that we have been able to expand local programming to address the needs of our growing and increasingly diverse community.”

Much of the programming on the ITV schedule is produced by MCPS. ITV's first regular series, Homework Hotline Live!, continues to this day. Other outstanding programs produced by ITV include Cover to Cover with Jerry Weast, MCPS News Update, Our Schools Today, Diez Minutos, Take Ten, Education Matters, and Making Music at Strathmore.

“When ITV started 20 years ago, we came together with the goal to produce television programming that would support our school system and teachers, and to inform the community about what is going on,” said former ITV Program Director Roberta Haines. “I think that overall and over the years, that's what ITV has done.”

“ITV keeps evolving to serve our clients better,” said ITV Supervisor Dick Lipsky. “We've embraced technological advances, such as digital production and nonlinear editing. We've enhanced distribution with Internet streaming, webcasts, video on demand, and DVD authoring. And we've hired bright and innovative people to continue producing the high-quality and creative programming our viewers expect.”

ITV's high-quality programs have garnered the respect and recognition of the public television industry, as evidenced by the winning of several Emmy, Telly, and CINE awards.

“It is a professional organization with state-of-the-art equipment and highly qualified people,” reflects former ITV Executive Producer Barbara Brooks. “I was just proud to be a part of a group of people who worked with each other as a team. Congratulations, ITV, on 20 years of excellence.”

To learn more about ITV, visit the MCPS Web site at the link below.

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