Lillian Hartgrove

The local programming shines a spotlight on the Upper Cumberland throughout the state and nationally with programs that are aired in other markets. Shows like Live Green Tennessee, Jammin' at Hippie Jacks, the Smithville Jamboree, Bluegrass Underground, the Great TV Auction and more - they all have a positive impact on tourism and the local economy.

Lillian Hartgrove - Chair of the Upper Cumberland Broadcast Council (Photo Credit: Ron Baker Photography)

Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?

I grew up in Bay St. Louis, MS, a small town on the Mississippi Gulf Coast about 50 miles east of New Orleans and went to St. Joseph’s Academy (an all girls’ school) in my hometown and Mississippi State College for Women (the “W” now MS State University of Women) in Columbus, MS.

What brought you to the Upper Cumberland?

We (husband Ken and I) moved here in 2003 to accept a job transfer with SunTrust Banks Inc. to open a state-of-the-art call center.

What do you like best about living here?

I like the overall quality of life. That includes many things but especially the way people come together to make a difference in this community, caring about others, volunteering at WCTE, Habitat, BSO, Genesis House, Chamber of Commerce, and other non-profit organizations. Then there’s the natural beauty around us.  All of this makes me proud to live here.

How did you become involved with WCTE?

Ken and I became members right after moving here because of our love of public television.  We’ve supported public television since we were married in 1974.  I became involved  (with WCTE) when Bob Luna and Angelo Volpe tag-teamed me to join the Board.

But saying yes to PBS and WCTE was easy.  The national programming won us over long ago, and to come here to discover that we had our own PBS station was like receiving an extra bonus in our paychecks. No one else does what WCTE does in the region.

What did you learn as a Board member about the station that surprised you? 

How hard the management and staff works for the station.  Each and every one of them is so passionate about what they do. We are fortunate to have such talented, dedicated, hard- working people who care about the Upper Cumberland and the education of our citizens.

From your unique position as the VP of Economic Development for the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce AND the Chair of the Upper Cumberland Broadcast Council, do you see an economic advantage to having our own PBS TV Station?

I do. The local programming shines a spotlight on the Upper Cumberland throughout the state and nationally with programs that are aired in other markets. Shows like Live Green Tennessee, Jammin’ at Hippie Jack’s, the Smithville Jamboree, Bluegrass Underground, the Great TV Auctionand more – they all have a positive impact on tourism and the local economy.

In the purest sense, our PBS TV station is about education and outreach to people of all age groups.  Education is the cornerstone of a strong economy.  Becky Magura recognizes the importance of educational partnerships and offering programs that support that mission. Additionally, the work we do at the Chamber of Commerce in Workforce Development and Education has been featured on WCTE. The station is committed to informing the viewing audience about these types of educational initiatives.

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the station today?

Gaining support of the local community at the level needed so we can continue to provide the national and local programming.  WCTE provides commercial-free, high quality programming and we do not have anywhere near the level of funding of commercial stations. We need everyone’s financial support to ensure the long-term sustainability of this local treasure (and national treasure). Membership at any level from the viewing audience will go a long way to support the station.


Photo Credit: Ron Baker Photography

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