WQED replaces ‘Black Horizons’…Mixed reaction to loss of exclusive Black program

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“Black Horizons,” one of the longest national running public affairs television talk shows that addressed issues of interest and relevance to the African-American community, is scheduled to be replaced this fall after more than 40 years. The show that has, like the WQED-Multimedia station’s motto states “changes lives,” may no longer do that after Nov. 1, when it is replaced with new programming that will focus on not just African-Americans but the growing number of ethnicities in the region.

The station will have a whole new change in its weekly programming and it’s being viewed as an expansion that was carefully explored.

MooreProctorWilliamsSeate
CHRIS MOORE, RALPH PROCTOR, DARRYL FORD WILLIAMS, MINETTE SEATE

Darryl Ford Williams, vice president of Productions for WQED, said the changes are being made after dialogue with viewers and that in designing a program that is more valuable to the viewer; the station is better serving the community.

The new programming will replace the Mondays through Thursdays 7:30 p.m. show “OnQ” with new nightly programs, which will include a Tuesday evening show called “Horizons,” that will be hosted by “Black Horizon’s” Chris Moore and produced by Minette Seate, and will cater to not only African-Americans, but a growing population of ethnicities in the region.

The station said “Horizons” is a way to embrace all people in the community, plus it will put it in a prime time slot and there will be a rotation of the show on not only the main WQED channel, but on WQED Create and The Neighborhood channels.

“Black Horizons,” the Sunday night public affairs program, began in 1968 and was first hosted by Ralph Proctor. After several years as host, the program was taken over by Moore.

“I think that (through ‘Horizons’) we will find out how much we (African-Americans) have in common with other cultures,” Williams said. The show will not isolate African-Americans from other cultures, which can sometimes be the case, but instead give other cultures a chance to be explored and celebrated, she said.

“I am less concerned with the change because I think as long as Chris Moore is doing that show, I think he will look out for the community,” Proctor said. “I’d be more concerned if ‘Black Horizons’ had been taken off the air and Chris left the station. He ought to be congratulated for helping the program continue to survive because I know it has been a struggle. I think we (as African-Americans) will be well served.”

Proctor also said he feels this is a change he is in favor of because it will allow the material from “Black Horizons” to be integrated into other programming on the station, which was something he said he tried to do when he was there.

“As a professor in ethnic studies I am very much interested in other cultures. And by having (the African-American culture) integrated with a show it will not let people avoid us. Often times people could avoid us by just turning off ‘Black Horizons’ and not tuning in, now they cannot,” Proctor said.

John Brewer, a well-known local historian and business owner said, “I think there should be some programming dedicated specifically to African-Americans. We represent a considerable portion of the Pittsburgh population and we seem to dominate the news, so why can’t we dominate a portion of the programming to resolve our critical issues?”

While the station views this as an expansion, some view it as another vital institution in the Black community being taken away, like that of radio station WAMO. Proctor said while he can understand that feeling, what people need to know is that unlike WAMO, Black culture will not disappear from WQED. WAMO was gone in an instant. “We will be well served and will not disappear. I think more people will learn about us because we are being integrated. When there are budget cuts, what are the first programs to go—‘ours.’ But now we have allies.”

Like Proctor, Williams agrees that this is not a loss, like WAMO was. “WAMO went away, we are not going away,” she said.

Other weekly programming changes include new nightly shows at 7:30 p.m. They are: “Experience,” on Mondays; “It’s Pittsburgh and A Lot of Other Stuff” on Wednesdays; “Pittsburgh 360” on Thursdays; and “4802,” which will take the place of Friday night’s “Off Q” program. It will continue to be hosted by Moore and discuss current events and top news stories of the week with local reporters. The Saturday show “Filmmaker’s Corner,” will continue to appear in its regular slot at 10 p.m.

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