Life begins at 50.
We've heard it said again and again. Now, as an organization, we are a genuine example of just how true those words are. WHYY has come of age, and with that has come the grace, wisdom and passion - not to mention the discerning eye of maturity - that fuels reflection on accomplishments past, and the pursuit of excellence for what's next.
What we know for sure is that over these past 50 years, WHYY has been the source to connect you with quality programming - programming that not only informs, but that is also relevant to your life. We bring you the most trusted news and information in the region. We give you a front row-seat to the best in arts and culture, entertainment and exploration. We provide a safe haven for your children. And, perhaps most remarkably, we create the events and opportunities for you to leave your television, radio and online sources to join with your community and delve further into the issues that we've presented on air.
In our earliest days, we were a single radio station (1954) and a black-and-white television channel (1957). Today, WHYY is four distinct television program services, two radio services (including HD Radio), a rich website, and 24/7 content available through Comcast ON DEMAND, Verizon FiOS, podcasting and more. Through it all, WHYY has brought new perspectives, lively debate and engaging stories that matter to the people of the greater Delaware Valley.
And the numbers say you approve. Membership stands at 103,000 strong and remains the highest membership base in the region. Television viewership reached 1.2 million households per month. Radio listenership remains strong, with 91FM ranking in the top 10 Average Quarter Hour ratings in this market.
In fiscal year 2007, the quality of our programming and the breadth of our reach allowed us to deliver on our public broadcasting mission of elevating the knowledge and quality of life for our audiences. It also positioned us well to meet the challenges that lie ahead. Whether it's the impending analog to digital television transition; meeting the needs of the burgeoning economic, cultural and political climate in the region; supporting a growing audience of babyboomers that's demanding news they can use as they, too, turn 50; reaching an increasing number of families in the region who are requiring safe haven for their children; or creating a forum for one of the nation's most substantial health and sciences communities right here in Philadelphia, WHYY is at the forefront of these issues with the technology, content, programming and expert staff to make a difference.
What's nice about doing our job with conviction and passion is that, along the way, people take notice. Certainly, our viewers and listeners do, as evidenced by our growing numbers. Our donors and contributors do, too - fiscal year 2007 marked the third year that WHYY achieved an increase in net assets. And this year, as in many, many years past, the industry and the community at large said, "Well done."
Nearly 100 awards were bestowed on WHYY last year, including: Terry Gross received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community from the National Book Foundation; longtime WHYY producer Ed Cunningham was inducted into Philadelphia's Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame; and nominations for six regional Emmy Awards, including the award for Station Excellence.
WHYY also received awards from the National Federation of Press Women; the Knight Batten Awards; the PBS Development Awards; the Online News Association; the Magnum Opus Awards; and the MarCom Creative Awards. Local magazines Delaware Today and Philadelphia recognized WHYY for Critics Choice, Best Anchor (Rob Stewart, Delaware Tonight), and best local Web site (TheNextMayor.com), respectively.
A 50th anniversary celebration is, indeed, golden. We salute achievements past and have raised the bar for our own expectations, and yours, in the years ahead. We've renewed our resolve to be innovative, collaborative conveners for the region. We recognize the value and the trust that thousands of you place in us when as donors, large and small - as individuals, corporations and foundations, you invest in our product and in our people. And volunteers continued to donate their time in significant ways: over the course of the year: more than 1,400 individuals gave more than 7,900 hours of their time during pledge, at events, and at the office. We are incredibly grateful for your support, and as stewards of your resources, we are ever vigilant of meeting stringent and meaningful performance benchmarks.
There is much to anticipate in 2008. With new programming and more outreach, with new faces and voices among the company of your favorites, what we know for sure is this:
Life does begin at 50. And we're just getting started.
Gerard H. Sweeney
Chairman, WHYY Board of Directors
William J. Marrazzo
President and Chief Executive Officer