Photos by Reynaldo Payano
It’s been 20 years since BronxNet began broadcasting to Bronx cable TV audiences, featuring innovative programs for by and about Bronxites. To celebrate 20 years of Growth and achievement, BronxNet will hold a luncheon event on Thursday, May 1, 2014, from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Marina del Rey in the Bronx.
NY1 Anchor Dean Meminger will host the event as approximately 300 guests join BronxNet Chairman Paul T. Gentile in honoring three outstanding individuals: Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will be honored for his vision and support of the station’s growth to serve greater numbers of people with enhanced services; former Latino Trendsetter & Lehman College President Dr. Ricardo Fernández for providing the home and services that allows BronxNet to thrive and actively serve students and independent producers; and NBC Co-Anchor Darlene Rodriguez, who started her on-air television career at BronxNet, for her media success and journalistic excellence.
Since 1993, BronxNet has provided television production training and equipment and channel access for Bronx residents, workforce development via internships for high school and college students and signature programs that contribute to community development.
The BronxNet 20th Anniversary Celebration is made possible thanks to support from Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center, Diversified Systems, Hutchinson Metro Center, Keller Williams Realty, Lehman College, Manhattan Neighborhood Network, Montefiore Hospital Hematology Unit, NBC Universal, Ross Video, and Share.
WBLS Radio Personality Bob Lee who also started his on-air television career at BronxNet will present the keynote address and BronxNet Executive Director Michael Max Knobbe will share some BronxNet history and vision.
BronxNet is the independent not-for-profit organization serving the people of the Bronx. BronxNet produces award winning programming by, for, and about the Bronx, while training the public and students to produce programs to share with their neighbors.
BronxNet programs four channels – 67, 68, 69 and 70 – on the Cablevision system and six channels – 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 and 38 on the Verizon FiOS system in the Bronx. Studios are located on the Lehman College campus. BronxNet’s ultra-local programming help connect the Bronx with the world. BronxNet is cablecast to over 350,000 Bronx homes.
“BronxNet in a global way is a unifier in our borough while touching so many individual lives. Over the last 20 years BronxNet has documented our stories and told of the renaissance and renewal of what I call the New Bronx. BronxNet is also the place where people have been able to acquire skill sets to build careers and BronxNet has done this for thousands of young men and women.”
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and BronxNet Honoree
In describing the difficulties of entering the broadcast industry before finding BronxNet, Darlene Rodriguez said “20 years ago not a lot of people in my demographic had the opportunity to become a face and voice in broadcast news. Many times I was told I was too hispanic, too New York, too Bronx and I say ‘Yes, yes and proud’.”
“BronxNet has so much to be proud of. For me 20 years is extra special because it is a measure of my career. BronxNet was my first job in TV news as a recent graduate with no TV experience. The experience at BronxNet gave me the opportunity to get a job in radio news then move onto NBC. Every step in your journey is so valuable. I take my culture, my borough, my family to work with me everyday and I wear it all proudly.”
Darlene Rodriguez, co-anchor of TODAY in New York on NBC 4 and BronxNet Honoree
“For too long the Bronx was misrepresented with a very real need for local voices to be heard. Community residents came together with elected leaders to create a groundbreaking center in BronxNet where media resources would be accessible to thousands of people. As we upgrade and renovate BronxNet’s studios at Lehman College, build on what are now six BronxNet TV channels, and expand our services across the Bronx, we celebrate 20 years of building culture and community together.”
BronxNet Executive Director Michael Max Knobbe
“Through the hard work of BronxNet and its supporters, including Fernando Ferrer, to the first BronxNet Chairman, Herman Badillo, to Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., to Dr. Ricardo Fernández, President of Lehman College, Bronxites have been empowered with innovative tools of communication that allow them to tell their stories and share issues of concern in their communities. Resources and services at BronxNet have grown exponentially, thanks to strong leaders in the borough and within the organization.”
Paul T. Gentile, Chairman of the BronxNet Board of Directors
“When I came to the Bronx almost 24 years ago, in terms of media and coverage you could say we were living in an information desert. I remember getting a call from the borough president at the time about the idea of a new media institution that was being formed and that needed a home.” Regarding Lehman College and BronxNet Dr. Fernández stated “It was clear that this was a partnership that was going to work and work for all of us, and over the last 20 years that has been the case. Many of our students have attained experience at BronxNet and moved on to start careers in media.”
Dr. Ricardo Fernández, President, Lehman College and BronxNet Honoree