Claremore Daily Progress

January 27, 2013

OETA looks to expand opportunities for viewers

Salesha Wilken
Staff Writer

CLAREMORE —  

A new vision for the future of public television in Oklahoma is being developed as OETA looks to expand, improve and enhance programming.
“We are looking at where we need to go in the next two to three years,” said OETA Executive Director Dan Schiedel. “There are so many changes that are happening on the state, federal and local levels, with our funding, economy and changes in our culture.”
Before joining the team at OETA, Schiedel served as general manager of RSU Public TV.
As an active member of the Claremore community, Schiedel worked to bring broadcasting innovations to the area.
Now he’s developing a new strategic plan for OETA as the network looks to meet the demands of the future.
“Oklahoma is so diverse,” Schiedel said. “We have a lot of diverse pockets across the state and we want to be representative of all the people of Oklahoma.
“To do that we want to get a better sense of what people want us to become, after 60 years of being ‘The Oklahoma Network,’ we are looking at what type of network Oklahomans want in the future,” he added.
It could impact the local and national programming; if people want to see more of a particular genre or different cultural programming then OETA is looking to fill the gaps. 
OETA enhancements will include a more diverse interactive website and possibly new mobile services, according to Schiedel.
“Primarily, we want to do a better job of connecting with the audience through social media, at the same time making sure there is more content available at their fingertips on the website,” Schiedel said. “If they want to download education tools for the classroom or for homeschoolers it will be there for them.”
Especially local educational content that really ties back to what it is that is important to Oklahoma and Oklahoma families and our state, he added.
“We want to have that type of content available to parents, teachers and students, so they have digital tools they can pull from our website to utilize. To help teachers make students ready to learn, to make them better learners and to give them more of a quality education. That is what is all about when we look at other services and content online, and what we currently have on television,” Schiedel said.
Another aspect of the expansion could include expanding the relationship between OETA and universities throughout the state.
“We would like to connect with different regions in the state,” Schiedel said. “These are areas we are exploring right now. We don’t know where it will lead, but we are hopeful that we can connect better with communities that way.”
OETA will be building new partnerships with universities, businesses and media outlets throughout the state, according to Schiedel.
“I think we have a bright future ahead,” Schiedel said. 
It is also important to continue building existing relationships, including those with the Oklahoma State Legislature, to provide quality programming and educational services, according to Schiedel.
He will be working closely with the OETA Board of Directors, the OETA Foundation board, staff, stakeholders, elected officials and community leaders.
By gathering information from the regional areas of the state Schiedel plans to help craft a new vision for “The Oklahoma Network.” 
The plan will address program funding, examining revenue streams to determine where they might be in the future.
“It is a public-private partnership and it is really difficult to have one without the other,” Schiedel said. “My hope is to not rely so heavily on state and federal funding in the future.”
Part of the planning will include the role of the Legacy for Excellence trust fund that helps support OETA programming.
“We need to do scenario planning in case things change.” Schiedel said. “If the traditional revenue stream changes what type of services can we provide for the people of the state of Oklahoma.”
OETA receives approximately one dollar, per person, per year from the state of Oklahoma to help develop content for viewers.
The funding from the state of Oklahoma is approximately 36 percent of the budget or about $3.8 million a year, according to Schiedel.
Through the local funds OETA produces programs such as the “Oklahoma News Report,” “Gallery,” and “State Line,” as well as coverage of the Oklahoma State Legislature and the Governor’s State of the State Address.
OETA started in 1953 to be the state’s educational broadcasting service for the people of Oklahoma, Schiedel said.
“We are still a very valuable state asset, a jewel of the state,” Schiedel said. “OETA provides the best in children’s programming.”
The network offers eight hours of solid children’s program each day on the primary channel.
The programs assist teachers and parents in their educational efforts, according to Schiedel.
Additional education opportunities exist including the “Okla” channel and the “Create” channel.
The network offers documentaries about the state and much more.
“We have evolved into more than a television network,” Schiedel said.
OETA serves the public as an emergency communication backbone, issuing Amber Alerts and other state emergency communications, he added.
Through the new strategic plan, Schiedel has new ideas and new perspective, but is steady in his efforts to continue the legacy of OETA for generations to come.