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WQED builds outpost
in fine-arts territory

Based on articles published in Current, Sept. 22 and Oct. 6, 2003
By Steve Behrens

Pittsburgh’s WQED-FM will energize its evening music schedule starting this week as it inaugurates a new downtown Cultural District studio and strengthens ties with the city’s fine-arts stars.

Interviews, performances and other live broadcasts including series tied to the Pittsburgh Symphony and Pittsburgh Opera, which are based near the new studio, will replace much of the syndicated fare in the evenings, Tuesday through Saturday.

William C. Byham, a board member of WQED Multimedia in Pittsburgh, donated funds for the studio in the city's Cultural as a surprise gift for his wife, a former WQED Board member. The facility will be named the Carolyn M. Byham WQED fm Studio.

The Byhams are founders and owners of Development Dimensions International Inc., a human resources consulting firm. The couple earlier paid for renovation of the Fulton Theatre, now known as the Byham Theatre. Mrs. Byham is chair of the annual fund of the Pittsburgh Public Theater and a board member of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, which owns the new Theater Square building where the studio is located and coordinates the theater district. She also served eight years as a city commissioner in Mount Lebanon, Pa.

In a 10-year tradeout deal, the station will pay rent for the studio by airing promos and underwriting credits for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, according to FM Station Manager Jim Cunningham. WQED’s Pittsburgh magazine will also run ads for the trust.

Passersby will be able to watch performers in the studio through large windows.

Staffers of the classical-music station had wanted a space in the Cultural District for years, Cunningham said.

It was such a “win-win” deal that the station and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust were able to reach agreement over lunch, said Station Manager B.J. Leber.

Posted Oct. 6, 2003
Current: the newspaper about public TV and radio in the United States
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