Melinda & Randy Keifer

WCTE not only has a cultural impact – it has a very strong economic impact as well.

Melinda Keifer is serving on the Upper Cumberland Broadcast Council, the body that governs WCTE. She contributes her time as a host at the Great TV Auction and as an advisor to the station. Her husband Randy, in his strong, quiet way, supports the station less visibly but no less enthusiastically. He donates to the Auction through the business (Stone Steel) and he cooks at the volunteer picnic that follows the event. Both are tried and true friends of WCTE.

Melinda: “When we had young children, WCTE became a part of our lives. I think a lot of people are introduced to public television that way.”

Randy: “When the girls were young, they watched Sesame Street and childrens’ shows. Now we watch Volunteer Garden every Sunday – and I enjoy the documentary pieces like local wood artist Brad Sells in Tree Safari.“
“There is so much local programming and it’s great to show off what we have here in the Upper Cumberland. We have so many talented people here and we are so diverse. Being able to showcase those people through local programming is invaluable.”

Melinda: “What impresses me about the station is the growth and the change. I’ve watched it evolve from programming minimal local shows to becoming a leader in highlighting the things that are so critical, so important in the Upper Cumberland.”
“Viewers have a huge number of choices today. There are a lot of channels to choose from and it is hard for a station to compete for attention. You have to have the kind of quality that attracts people and that is what WCTE strives for every day.”
“My job with the Dept. of Economic and Community Development, has given me a statewide perspective. I have stepped foot in 90 out of our 95 counties so you begin to understand who we are as a state, region, community and as a station. In the Upper Cumberland, we are truly blessed.“
“Today I was in a meeting about the TSSAA football championship, and WCTE was such a critical factor in giving Cookeville the chance to be a host city. What a great gift it will be to be able to network with our other PBS affiliates from across the state and reach 98% of the population of Tennessee with these football games.”
“So you see, WCTE not only has a cultural impact – it has a very strong economic impact as well.”
“What is it that sets Cookeville and the Upper Cumberland apart? Everyone has nice roads and schools and beautiful lakes. How are we different and how are we going to move forward in the future? For me, it will be with a team that includes WCTE – I believe the station will help make that happen.”
“Serving as a host for the Auction, serving on the Board is natural for me. I’m finishing up my stint this year on the Board but nothing is going to change – I’ll still be hanging around the station, helping out.”

Randy: “I think it is important to contribute time, effort and financial resources to the station – it is a jewel that so many other communities do not have. What it does for our community, what it does for our children… we have to do what we can to help support it and keep it right here.”

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