It wasn't only a first for the station, it was a first for television broadcasting.
In 1983, Eight and the Arizona Heart Institute co-produced the first live telecast of open heart surgery. Dr. Edward Diethrich, Medical Director of AHI, a diagnostic and treatment center for heart disease, performed the surgery from St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Facility. The patient was Bernard Schuler, 62, a retired insurance salesman who spent his winters in Arizona. The anchor team for "The Operation" was Rick D'Alli, science editor for HORIZON, and cardiologist Dr. Sam Kinard.
The program was carried live by 97 PBS stations in 33 states. The BBC showed a tape delayed version and ABC World News Tonight aired an abbreviated version of the broadcast. The program was beamed from a microwave dish atop the hospital aimed at towers on South Mountain, to the studio in Tempe, over telephone lines to Los Angeles and up to a satellite.
Before entering the operating room all cameras and equipment had to be scrubbed with alcohol. Three video camera operators (one on an elevated dolly over the table) and several still photographers joined Diethrich, his 12-member surgical crew and Schuler in the second-floor operating room.
Overhead in a small room with an eight-sided glass dome, another Eight video cameraman and more than a dozen reporters, photographers and observers looked on as Diethrich began the procedure by making a 14-inch incision from the upper end of Schuler's sternum with a specially designed electric saw.
The Phoenix Gazette, Los Angeles Times, People magazine, USA Today, The Associated Press and United Press International all had representatives at S. Joseph's to cover the event.
During the surgery, Diethrich answered questions from viewers calling in from Phoenix as well as New Jersey, Georgia, Massachusetts and Indiana.
From the station's Tempe studio, D'Alli and Kinard helped guide the audience through the procedure, occasionally interrupted by Diethrich providing narrative from the operating room.
The special was the culmination of Eight's month-long project to inform the public about all aspects of heart disease from prevention through diagnosis, intervention and rehabilitation.
Other surgery broadcasts followed:
The Implant: Hip Replacement Surgery
Implant II: Knee Replacement Surgery
The Implant III: Hip Revision Surgery
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Eight used the medium of television to showcase Arizona's vibrant visual arts community. Surreal metal sculptures, bent polished woods, and hot molded glass are just a few of the media presented in Arizona Artforms. Artforms, a series of four-minute video segments featuring artists from around the state, represented the diversity and imagination found in the visual arts in our state.
The artists highlighted include sculptor Michael McCleve, glass artist Leah Wingfield, photographers Jay Dusard, Judith Golden and Mark Klett, painters Dorothy Fratt and James Davis and woodworking artist Susan Pfeiffer. Series II aired in 1990.
In 1991, recognizing the fact that thousands of people were moving to Arizona each year with little or no sense of "place," Eight launched a series of programs to celebrate the people, places and history of our state. We called it The Arizona Collection. Our goal has been to continue to explore, discover and share these stories with our viewers.
Today there are more than 40 locally inspired and produced programs in this award-winning television anthology. The titles in this series include: Over Arizona, Legends & Dreamers Inspired by Arizona Highways, Under Arizona, Kolb Brothers: Grand Canyon Pioneers, Savor the Southwest, Arizona Lodges: The High Country, Thieves of Time, Barry Goldwater: Photographs & Memories, Monumental Arizona, Arizona Stories, Images of Arizona and the Arizona Memories trilogy.
These programs inform and inspire us and help preserve what we find so special about our state. With the Arizona Collection, Eight is writing Arizona's history on television.
Eight's commitment to public affairs programming began early in our history with reporting that offered insightful discussions and encouraged civic engagement. In 1981, that commitment grew even stronger with the first broadcast of HORIZON.
The show's beginnings were historic. The station sent Michael Grant and a production crew to televise the Senate confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sandra Day O'Connor. The hearings were held in September 1981. HORIZON debuted in October.
HORIZON brings together government officials, business leaders and policy makers to discuss the important issues of the day. From the impeachment trial of former Governor Evan Mecham, AZSCAM hearings and public debate over the baseball stadium to the latest controversies over SB1070, HORIZON offers viewers a chance to examine all sides of the issue.
HORIZON reports examine a wide range of subjects including politics, consumer affairs, the environment, business, health concerns and social and legal issues.
While viewers remain our most important critics, Eight is proud of the many awards HORIZON has received from such organizations as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the American Bar Association, Associated Press Broadcasters Association of Arizona and the Arizona Press Club. And the Arizona Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has honored HORIZON numerous times with The Governors' Award, its most prestigious Emmy.
Now for nearly 30 years, viewers continue to rely on Horizon for in-depth coverage of issues of concern to Arizonans. Attorney Michael Grant hosted HORIZON from October 1981 through January 2007. Ted Simons became host in January 2008.
In September 2003, we premiered HORIZONTE to provide a forum for Hispanic perspectives and to help educate all audiences about issues of particular interest to the Latino community. Senior vice president and general counsel of Arizona State University José Cardenas serves as host. "I hope that Horizonte educates both Hispanic and non-Hispanic viewers about the issues that are of major concern to all Arizonans. I am most proud of our ability to showcase the depth and variety of talent in the Hispanic community," said Cardenas.
Cardenas has interviewed a veritable who's who of Arizona newsmakers on HORIZONTE. Then -Governor Janet Napolitano, Congressmen Ed Pastor and Jeff Flake, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, Mesa Mayor Keno Hawker, political consultant Alfredo Gutierrez, Arizona Attorney General Andrew Thomas, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Arizona Supreme Court Justice Ruth McGregor have all joined Cardenas in the Horizonte studio to discuss issues ranging from public policy to education.
Other memorable guests include leading journalists: The NewsHour with PBS NewsHour's Ray Suarez and Univision's Jorge Ramos.
In April 2001, thanks to member support and a series of matching grants, we began broadcasting simultaneously in both analog (Eight, Arizona PBS) and digital (Eight Digital Broadcasting).
The conversion to digital required years of planning ˇX including more than a year installing the new transmitter and tower on South Mountain, the home to most of the Valley's radio and TV towers. We fortified our 300' broadcasting tower to hold a new 14,000 pound, 60' digital antenna. On April 29, 2009, the conversion to Eight Digital Broadcasting was complete when we permanently shut-off our analog signal.
The new equipment allows us to transmit multiple channels ˇV known as multicasting. Just as an art gallery cannot display all of its collections at once, Eight, Arizona PBS has many more hours of educational programming and services than we have airtime. Multicasting enables us to share more of our wealth of educational and cultural programming with Arizona viewers than ever before.
Currently, our multicast schedule includes:
Eight HD 8.1 presents high-definition and wide-screen programming
In an effort to meet the real-life needs of our audience and offer solutions to important issues, in March 2009, Eight launched the Ask An Arizona Expert series beginning with "Ask a Financial Counselor."
Each of the shows includes a discussion panel, as well as a phone bank of experts available to answer questions one-on-one from the viewing audience.
Eight's coverage reached unprecedented heights in 1985 with the live broadcast of the return of Halley's Comet and the Space Probe 8 specials.
A celestial event that only occurs every 76 to 79 years, it was no
wonder Arizona astronomers at Lowell Observatory, Arizona State
University, the University of Arizona and the Planetary Science
Institute positioned telescopes throughout the state to monitor the
activity of the famous comet. Because of the excellent observational
facilities in the state and a climate conducive to astronomical
observations, Arizona quickly became a world-wide hub for tracking the
Space Program 8 aired
weeknights on HORIZON over a six-month period from October 1985 to
April 1986. Among the specials segments were: a retrospective on
Halley's comet and Lowell Observatory; live reports from Kitt Peak
including a conversation with Dr. Fred L. Whipple of Harvard
University, who formulated our modern theories on comets; regular
updates on the position and best viewing times of Halley's comet;
interviews with amateur astronomers with live broadcasts from their
observing sites; and discussions about the nature of the universe
through interviews with a cross section of prominent astronomers
including Carl Sagan and Clyde W. Tombaugh, discoverer of Pluto.
Space Probe 8 included
profiles of the planets of our solar system; reports on the important
contributions of Arizona's amateur astronomers; segments featuring
Apollo astronaut Ron Evans, the last American to orbit the moon; and
visits to Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama and the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where the Voyager
spacecraft is controlled.
The Voyager spacecraft, whose spectacular pictures of Jupiter were used in the movie 2010,
passed by the planet Uranus, and Arizona scientists at the University
of Arizona and Arizona State University were among the top research
scientists in the country who analyzed Voyager's photos of the giant
In Flagstaff, the program visited the U.S. Naval Observatory, talked
with astrogeologists at the U.S. Geological Survey, Astrogeology
Branch, where photos that came back from Voyager were examined and
interpreted, and looked at the Meteor Crater, the best preserved
example on Earth of a collision with an object from outer space.
From the ancient past of Meteor Crater and Casa Grande, where
archaeologists have discovered evidence pointing to a Hohokam
astronomical observatory, to the spacecraft missions to the planets, Space Probe 8
presented a continuing, thought-provoking, imaginative and stimulating
series featuring Arizona's important part in the drama of galactic
The KAET production “American Indian Artists” premiered in 1976 and was broadcast nationally on PBS. The series profiled southwest American Indian artists such as: Charles Loloma, Hopi, jeweler; Helen Hardin, Santa Clara, painter; Allan Houser, Chiricahua-Apache, sculptor; R.C. Gorman, Navajo, painter; Grace Medicine Flower and Joseph Lonewolf, Santa Clara, potters; and Fritz Scholder, California Mission, painter. The programs were narrated by Rod McKuen.
Read Earth is a series of 20 video book reviews written by and starring Arizona kids. Kids from Tempe to Tucson and Flagstaff to Yuma who participated in their libraries’ summer reading program, give their one-minute reviews on books about our environment.
Original airdate: September 1992
Read Arizona is a series of book reviews by Arizona children. Eight, Arizona PBS and the Arizona Department of Library, Archives and Public Records joined forces with the Read Arizona program, which was designed to encourage young readers and develop a greater awareness of our state. Librarians in Tucson, Sells, Flagstaff, Yuma, Lake Havasu City, Bisbee, Chandler and Phoenix worked with children to prepare the book reviews. Many of the books chosen are written and illustrated by Arizona authors and artists.
Eight's crew traveled to libraries statewide to audition more than 70 children. Twenty were selected to record their reviews. They include Ryan Meeks, Melinda Quiroz, Benjamin White and Katie Irwin, Tucson; Hope Ager and Natasha Everson, Yuma; Paul Stadler and Jesse Huhnerkock, Lake Havasu City; Priscilla Castillo and Christopher Jose, Sells; Shanthy Rabindranath, Jeremy Quint and Jon Hoffenberg, Phoenix; Sahava Flowers, Tempe; Jennifer Charles, Sierra Vista; Aaron Mischler and Benjamin Vargas, Jr., Chandler; Darren Wise and Gavin Ferguson, Flagstaff; and Neyra Morales, Naco.
The children deliver lively, thoughtful, and entertaining critiques of their selected titles.