NHPTV Comes Back From Cuts

Just two years ago, New Hampshire Public Television was forced to restructure to deal with a 30 percent budget cut.

State lawmakers stripped $2.7 million in funding from the venerable public broadcasting agency. Twenty full-time jobs were cut, wages were reduced and a multitude of programs were canceled.

Since then, NHPTV has quietly forged ahead, partnering with WGBH in Boston to trim operating costs, improving its fundraising and starting a new version of the Granite State Challenge, a high school quiz bowl.

“I think it’s a great way to take education, a team sport, up to the level of football or basketball,” said Peter Frid, president and CEO of New Hampshire Public Broadcasting.

Another long-running feature on NHPTV is Windows on the Wild, a weekly show hosted by former longtime Etna resident Willem Lange, now in its ninth season.

Lange will be at the Wilder Center at 6 p.m. on Oct. 10 for a screening of Counting on Birds, a new documentary that’s a special presentation of Windows on the Wild. In Counting on Birds, Lange traces how a Christmas tradition of shooting birds gradually changed into the yearly Christmas bird count. The documentary follows Lange from southern New Hampshire to Ecuador and Cuba, places where people are keeping watch over migratory bird populations.

NHPTV is working to build more partnerships around the state, both to raise more money and to bring costs down, Frid said. That way, he added, “we can start to raise money for programming.”

The broadcast company’s partnership with the University System of New Hampshire, which dated back to its founding, isn’t likely to resume, Frid said in a recent interview at the Valley News.“We’re exploring other ways we can work with the state,” he said.

Alex Hanson can be reached at ahanson@vnews.com or 603-727-3219.