Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev

Celebrate, Create and Educate with Becky Magura

March 20, 2023 Kosta Yepifantsev Season 2 Episode 61
Celebrate, Create and Educate with Becky Magura
Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev
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Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev
Celebrate, Create and Educate with Becky Magura
Mar 20, 2023 Season 2 Episode 61
Kosta Yepifantsev

🥳 Join Kosta and his 100th guest: Becky Magura, President and CEO of Nashville Public Television and former CEO of WCTE, a PBS member station serving the entire Upper Cumberland to provide community engagement, education, and lifelong learning.

Becky’s career in broadcasting began in 1982 with WCTE as an Audio Technician and Producer and transformed into CEO. 

During her tenure at WCTE, Becky oversaw a relocation to downtown Cookeville and the development of a joint broadcast master control with Lite Wire Media Management. She was also the liaison for the Tennessee PBS At Home Learning Collaborative in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education and Tennessee’s six public TV stations.

Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev is a product of Morgan Franklin Media and recorded in Cookeville, TN.

Find out more about Becky Magura and NPT:
https://www.wnpt.org/

Watch Clean Slate with Becky Magura:
https://www.pbs.org/show/clean-slate-becky-magura/

Find out more about Kosta and all the ways we're better together:
http://kostayepifantsev.com/

Show Notes Transcript

🥳 Join Kosta and his 100th guest: Becky Magura, President and CEO of Nashville Public Television and former CEO of WCTE, a PBS member station serving the entire Upper Cumberland to provide community engagement, education, and lifelong learning.

Becky’s career in broadcasting began in 1982 with WCTE as an Audio Technician and Producer and transformed into CEO. 

During her tenure at WCTE, Becky oversaw a relocation to downtown Cookeville and the development of a joint broadcast master control with Lite Wire Media Management. She was also the liaison for the Tennessee PBS At Home Learning Collaborative in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education and Tennessee’s six public TV stations.

Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev is a product of Morgan Franklin Media and recorded in Cookeville, TN.

Find out more about Becky Magura and NPT:
https://www.wnpt.org/

Watch Clean Slate with Becky Magura:
https://www.pbs.org/show/clean-slate-becky-magura/

Find out more about Kosta and all the ways we're better together:
http://kostayepifantsev.com/

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Hey y'all, it's Kosta and today is our 100th episode. First, I want to say a special thank you to all the listeners who support the show every week. We couldn't do this without you. And we wouldn't want to second to all the guests who have shared their stories, open their hearts and given us 100 Unforgettable conversations. I couldn't be more grateful. We look forward to 100 more episodes of finding all the ways we're better together.

Becky Magura:

So I am passionate about diversity. I'm really just adamant about inclusion. But more importantly, I want people to have that sense of belonging. You know, it's one thing to be included. It's something else for somebody to really want you there. And that is the difference.

Morgan Franklin:

Welcome to Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev, a podcast on parenting business and living life intentionally. We're here every week to bring you thoughtful conversation, making your own path to success, challenging the status quo, and finding all the ways we're better together. Here's your host, Kosta Yepifantsev.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Hey, y'all, this is Kosta and today I'm here with my guest Becky Magura, President and CEO of Nashville Public Television and former CEO of W CTE. A PBS member stations serving the entire upper Cumberland to provide community engagement, education and lifelong learning. Becky's career in broadcasting began in 1982, with WC t as an audio technician and producer and transformed from technician, to director to manager and finally CEO. During her tenure at W CTE, Becky oversaw a relocation to downtown Cookeville and the development of a joint broadcast master control with lightwire Media Management. She also was the liaison for the Tennessee PBS at home learning collaborative in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education. So Becky, I want to start this episode with a personal question. Most people know you as Becky Magara, President, CEO and fearless leader, but I want to go back to the beginning when you started at Tennessee Tech, as the first person in your family to become a college graduate. Did you think any of this would be possible?

Becky Magura:

No, no, I didn't. You know, I have a really kind of unique story about that. My parents who were lifelong educators, really, and I mean, they weren't professionally My mother was a teacher's assistant at Jerry Whitson. Elementary. Oh, that's great. That's where I went to school official adopter, by the way, there you go. I love that. I love Jerry Whitson. And so she didn't get to go to college. Okay, so my dad is a world war two veteran, and he didn't get to go to college. So the fact that I was able to have that opportunity wasn't lost on me, and it wasn't lost on them. They were so happy for me to have this chance to go. Now my brothers, I have two older brothers, they both did a little bit of college, but it wasn't for them. They found other professions that were really well suited. And they've been very successful. But this was really an opportunity for me to pursue my dreams. And I will just tell you, I was WC T EAS first student intern,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

I read. Yeah, and I mean, we're gonna get into all of that. But the fact that you've been doing this, literally your entire adult life, just about so when you were a kid growing up your mission is like combining education and communication. Right, right. How did that become your mission? As a kid? What was your inflection point or something like in your childhood that you were like, you know, what's important in life, the most important thing is education and getting it out in mass communication.

Becky Magura:

I think it dawned on me in college, okay. I did a lot of theater and speech and things like that in high school and in college. And while I was in college, I worked at wh CB radio, as well as to be TTU radio, and loved it love and got the magic of broadcast. I mean, truly, you know, you you're out there. And you have to think this was back in the early Well, when I was in college, it was late 70s. And you didn't have the internet, right? You didn't have satellite. You didn't have cable you didn't I mean, there was a lot you didn't have what you had were three commercial channels, and PBS. And we didn't have our own local PBS. You know, we didn't have WC TV. Interesting. So ironically, that I'm at Nashville Public Television, you could if you had a really powerful outdoor antenna pick up MPT, which at that time was wD C n, which, by the way stands for Davidson County, Nashville, in case you want to know what those call letters stands for. WC T stands for Cookeville, Tennessee educational Well, there you go. I had no idea. I know. Right? So it's really was just sort of a dream of mine when I realized how powerful broadcast could be and then Thinking about, you know how you could make education beyond the classroom? And that's what I started thinking how can I combine these two? How can I combine and so it was when I started to work on a graduate degree.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

And so in 1970 A W CTE is formed. And you start working in 1982 for WC T, were you guys under the bleachers in 1982? Yes, I mean, what was it like first off I don't even know how you guys made it till what 2010 or 12 until you finally moved out from tech All right, what was the office in the vibe the environment like back in the 80s at WC TV starting out well you

Becky Magura:

You're too young to know this Do you ever watch a show called Wk RP know some of your listeners will know that they used to like tape off on the like if someone's office, there wasn't really an office tape on that and said that's my door don't cross my door. We didn't really wasn't like that. But we were kind of like a family. So when I started at WC te as an intern, the station had gone on the air and 78 with the tower, but no studio in 1980 They opened a studio. And to just let you know that spring of 1980. I was a senior at Tennessee Tech. I had gone to Pepperdine University. Wow. At spring break with my very best high school friend Cindy Whittaker, Putman and Cindy and I went to visit our previous theater teacher at Tennessee Tech, Dr. Jerry Henderson. He was out there teaching at Pepperdine, and he said, You guys should look at coming to graduate school out here. And so when I got out there, I told him, I said, Look, I have this dream of combining education and communications. And he said, You know what, I'm gonna get you a meeting with the dean of the Communication School of Communications. So I did. And I was really seriously considering going because I thought this is what I want to do. I want to get a master's in in communications. I had an undergraduate in education, I want to get a master's in communications. And when I got back to tech, my advisor was Dr. Mary Ayers. Dr. Ayers had offered me a graduate assistantship for the next year. She said, Ah, did you go look at another school over spring break? And you know how you never want it just like I said, Okay. Dr. Harris? Yes, I did. And she goes, even after I've offered you and a graduate assistantship, and I said, Dr. Ayers tech doesn't have what I'm looking for. I want to combine this communications with education. And I love Tennessee Tech. And I've loved what I've gained. But I want to combine these two. And she goes, Well, did you know they're opening a PBS station up here? And I went, they're not going to open a PBS station up in Cookeville. And she goes, yes, they are. It's going to open up on campus. And I've already talked to the Dean of the Graduate School Rebecca quatro bomb, and you can do all your coursework with this station. I said, What? She goes, Yes, instead of assigning you to a school, we're going to assign you to that station. That's amazing. I know. She said in your thesis, you will do your work. It still had to be an education, but you will work and create what you think is the right direction to combine Communications and Education. And I'm telling you, it was the best decision I could ever have made as wonderful as Pepperdine was and you have to imagine the campus is located in Malibu. Sure. You know, graduate student housing was on Malibu Beach, actually. But what I gained at Tennessee Tech was unbelievable. And when I walked in the door, under the stadium, they were just hooking up the equipment. The equipment wasn't even completely hooked up. And I'll never forget Dr. Ayers, she walked in with me. Richard Castle was the general manager. She introduced herself to him and said, This is Becky Roberson. That was my main name. She said, This is Becky Roberson, and she's going to be your intern. And you're going to teach her everything you know about television. Nice. And she said, but I'll tell you what, she's not going to make your coffee and she's not going to sweep your floors. And he went, Uh, yes, ma'am. And I loved it, loved it, loved it. And from then on, I just started developing every skill set. I could.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

So here's something that's really interesting that you said Pepperdine is in California. It's in a huge market. Yes. And obviously you're in a big market now, but you also have worked in Cookeville IWC T from 82 Till what 2021 in a long time, that's right. I know you wouldn't trade it for anything and I completely understand that. Is it because you love Cookeville? Or is it because you just in general love Tennessee? Both okay.

Becky Magura:

I love cook Bill and I love Tennessee and cook Bill's home you know when I applied for the job in Nashville and I was fortunate enough to get to the interview process. One of the things they said was, we're going to want you to live in Nashville, right? And I said, Well, that's okay. I have a condo in Nashville, I said, I can do that. Because Cookeville is my home, it will always be my home. But Nashville has always been my city. So I'm good with that. And it's true. It really is true. So, you know, I think what I gained working at WC te, is the opportunity to you know, when you're, when you're small, you have to be pretty scrappy. And you have to be very tenacious. And I knew I could see every day the difference Public Television made in our upper Cumberland region.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

What did people think of WC te, when you first started, like when someone said, we're opening up a public broadcasting station in Cookeville? Did the community just galvanized around and said, Yes, this is great, or did no one know anything about it?

Becky Magura:

Well, both. I mean, there were some people who knew, and some people who really recognized how amazing that was. Yeah. And you know, I remember for a while there were people whose and this is pretty unique. At the time cook Bill was the smallest city in the nation, to have a professional symphony, and a public television station. Wow. And I don't know that that's still the truth. I mean, it possibly is still the truth when you think about it, but it really made a difference. And it's the only station and a 75 mile radius, the only television station broadcast television station, a 75 mile radius. So if you didn't have a powerful outdoor antenna, and even if you did, there would be places you could not reach another TV signal. So for a very, very long time. In fact, the very first probably 15 years or so of my career, there was at least a third of the population that couldn't see anything, but WC t. So that's powerful. That

Kosta Yepifantsev:

is powerful. What is something about public television and broadcasting? Most people don't know or fully understand. And are there still misconceptions about what this service provides? Yes,

Becky Magura:

yes. So I was fortunate to serve on the PBS board of directors for six years. And first of all, PBS stands for Public Broadcasting Service, not stations. Okay. That's something that people don't realize. We are a service industry. It's a weird system, because it's a member federated system. So unlike ABC, NBC, CBS, which are networks, and all the power is at the top, and all the content is basically pushed down and the local station really doesn't have as much autonomy, right. PBS is a member federated system. We are members of PBS. So we pay PBS, and the content for being a member. And there is a lot of content that we receive from PBS. When you think about all the children's content. You think about all the primetime content that you know and love like antiques roadshow and Nova nature, masterpiece, theater, news hour. All of that is not created by PBS. It's created by member stations. The big powerhouse stations are WGBH Boston, or WNET, New York or WETA, Washington. But every station in the nation and there are 330 can create content and offer it to PBS. And we did a lot of that at WC T by getting blue Gretz underground on the air. on PBS. We got Barney hall with Dimitra Kela DMOZ on the air. I mean, there's been a lot and there are other distributors of content so you can build out your system. But it really truly is one of the last locally owned television broadcast entities.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

So I listen to NPR a lot. Probably the only radio show that I listened to when I say I listen to podcasts, I usually listen to either American Public Media sponsored podcasts or podcasts on NPR. Right. What is it about NPR that's different than public television?

Becky Magura:

Well, we both received some funding from the federal government because we're part of the 1969 Public Broadcasting Act. So in 1969, and I just listened to a really interesting podcast, which you may know it's called 10%. Happier. Do you know that podcast by Dan Harris? Actually, well, he had a guest on who talked about the disruptive moments in our American history. And he talked about how in times of disruption and crisis and chaos, we often have our greatest institutions form from them. Yes. So the Civil War Are you mentioned World War Two, Vietnam War will in 1969, during the Great stresses in our country around Vietnam, around civil rights, public broadcasting was birthed. Now there were educational stations already operating. In fact, Nashville Public Television is 60 years old. Wow. I know, right. So there were some stations that were already sort of starting to formulate with their educational systems. But the Public Broadcasting Act written in part by Bill Moyers, who was working for President Lyndon Baines Johnson, LBJ, LBJ wrote the Public Broadcasting Act, and it was passed by Congress. And it started right then of creating both public radio and public television. And the Corporation for Public Broadcasting a little later became the recipient of the funding, so that PBS didn't become a lightning rod. So the money from the federal government, which by the way, is only $1.40 per citizen, for both radio and TV, that's how much of your taxpayer dollars goes to public broadcast. It's

Kosta Yepifantsev:

like nothing$1.40

Becky Magura:

Wow, think what you can buy for $1.40. So it is the very foundation of all of our funding. So it goes to Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and they in turn, send 70% of that down to stations. And this stations then can become members of PBS, they can become members of NPR, or they can purchase programming or licensed programming or produce programming from other distributors.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

So for decades, you've put your blood sweat and tears into WC T. Why did you decide to leave?

Becky Magura:

Wow. Well, that's a hard question. That really is, you know, it's so funny, because friends of mine and friends that I've worked with, and people in this community know that for probably, oh, I don't know, going on 10 years, I would say, you know, probably I'm going to retire in the next few years, probably going to retire in the next few years. I hit 30 years at the station and thought I really probably should retire. But I loved it. I didn't want to retire.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

You don't seem like they're retiring? No,

Becky Magura:

right. And so I kept thinking, Well, I'm not finished doing such and such. And I'm not finished doing this. And we needed to be off Tennessee Tech's campus because we loved our relationship with Tennessee Tech. But so many times people thought we belong to tech, and we had this wonderful symbiotic partnership. But we didn't belong to the university. We belong to the community. So we needed to be where the community could recognize that. So when we were able to move downtown, that was sort of a checklist, you know, a checklist moment, during the Joint Master Control was a checklist moment so that we could be more efficient and find ways to broaden our signal. I mean, there were just a lot of things that I had sort of said, when I did this, when I do this, when I rotate off the PBS board. I mean, there was a lot and so really, that year that this Nashville job opened up, I was already thinking, you know, this is probably time. Avery Hutchins is amazing leader, we have amazing team members, WC TE is nationally recognized. And this would be a time for a new leader to take it into the next era of service. And so I've already been talking to members of our team, I think I'm really going to retire in the next few years. Now. I will say I didn't intend to not work. I just intended to retire from leading WC to

Kosta Yepifantsev:

start over. No, no,

Becky Magura:

no. And so when a friend of mine who was recruiting call me and said, Hey, you should apply for this job in Nashville. I said, No, I think I mean, that's starting over. And they said, Becky, you would be perfect for this job, though. This is your job. It's Music City. You've taken five music shows with the WC T team nationally, why wouldn't you be looking at doing this job? And I said, Well, there's gonna be a lot of competition. And I'm towards the end of my career, not the beginning of my career. And they said it's exactly the kind of person Nashville needs. It was competitive. And fortunately, you know, I got to the final cut. And the board of directors were supportive and given me this opportunity.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

So aside from starting over, what has changed the most for you taking this new role?

Becky Magura:

Well, that's a that's a good question. Well, I tell you, I love the WC T team. And it's really hard to go somewhere and have to prove yourself again, right. You know, if I could dream it, the WC T team and we would deliver it we lived in a community that believed and would be 100% behind us. Now it's not that MPT doesn't have that Nashville Public Television absolutely has the same thing. It's just different if you're the new leader, because while they were tight and knew what they could deliver, and had a community that had supported them for 60 years, having someone new come in and say, Yeah, I know you've done it this way. But we're gonna try something a little different. And so I think I had to prove myself at first. And that was a humbling, it's humbling to do that,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

you know, when when I interviewed Avery, one of the things that she mentioned about working with you, and she worked with you for quite some time, and very closely as well was that you were a disrupter. And you know, and essentially, what that means I'll paraphrase it in her words, is that you took an idea. And instead of just like holding on to it and keeping it in your back pocket, you just shared it. And then when most people were like, Well, maybe it's just an idea. We're like, No, we're implementing it, go do it. We can do this. And also, don't be scared and stay optimistic, and we can accomplish these goals. And so when you walk into NPT, and you're saying, you know, you've got this really tight knit group, are you just waiting for that moment? Or has that moment already come where you have an idea, you tell him, let's go, it's successful? And then everybody's like, Oh, okay, so she's the real deal. Okay, we're good.

Becky Magura:

But you know, I think it's taken, I've been there a year and a half. Yeah, I think that is a good description that I like to disrupt. But it's not to disrupt just for chaotic reasons, I see opportunities, and I'm not one to pass up an opportunity. So when I got to Nashville, one of the things I knew is they were operating three channels, WC T was operating four channels. So I wanted to add that fourth channel. And in fact, in my interview process, one of the things they said was, what do you think you'll do the first six months? And I said, Well, you know, it's a new team. It's a new town, even though it was my city. I said, I'm gonna listen, I need to listen. Well, I listened for about two months, and then started implementing. And I've remembered that our chief engineer, he's so great. He popped in and said, what happened in that six months of listening with you? Because when I started in like, September, I got hired in July, started in September of 21. By January of 22, we have that fourth channel on the air. That's how fast Yeah, but it was because, you know, I knew I just knew that it would make a difference. And it would kind of start pinging that we could be different, we also transitioned our second channel to be the world channel. So those are two important channels that I felt like with a city as diverse and growing as Nashville that we needed to have them. And it's taken a while for people to be okay with that. I will tell you something I've started doing now, because I can see, there might be some concern, if I start saying, you know, I've been thinking, wish I could do that here. And they'd be like, Oh, get ready. But now I'll go. I've been thinking but this is a thought bubble. This isn't a directive. It's a thought bubble. And that eases the conversation. Because temperature. Yeah, it does. And I don't want it to be a directive, right? You know, we need to build trust. And we need to build the opportunity for them to know that I take into account that they were way successful before I got there. So there are things that I want to honor and protect. But at the same time, we need to be innovative and bold and try some new things.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

So one of the things I was watching, preparing for this interview was the Jerome more interview with the Tennessee Republican chair and the Tennessee democratic chair, and I thought it was produced fantastically great interviewer and both of the guests obviously, were extremely great to hear and their thoughts and things like that. So you're talking about, you know, obviously in a city like Nashville that's growing, and it's extremely diverse. So you have 50 years potentially, of being from Cookeville. Right, right. And so Greg Ville versus Davidson County, is like, night and day. Do you ever, like encounter yourself being put between a rock and a hard place because you have this very good understanding of rural Tennessee versus being in a metro area, and you're having to produce content for a metro area, but then you have all these kind of controversial topics swirling around you, especially in a time like now?

Becky Magura:

Right? I think what I've learned is, first of all, public television is nonpartisan. So we're not going to take one side or the other. We're here to create an informed citizenry. It's why the children's content is so important because we're raising a generation of citizens, not consumers. And so, what I loved about At our work here is often in Cookeville, we would push the envelope around diversity and around inclusion. And it's one of the reasons that we stood up the world channel here is because we wanted to build a community we aspire to be, and yet, needs in rural communities are vastly different than needs in urban communities. I know that. But often, both communities struggle with accessibility and poverty and health care. It's just in different fashions, and it's with different communities. The other thing that I learned is MPT very much identifies and serves and is in the heart of Nashville, but it has a broader broadcast reach, so it's surrounded by rural counties. Right. And so that sets me apart from a lot of people who have been at MPT, most of the people who have been at MPT will not most but most of the leaders who have been at MPT the CEOs came from Boston or New York in so to have someone who is a native Tennessean, who understands the challenges of being in either a rural or an urban community, it just gives me an opportunity to be authentic. I think that's the thing I've heard the most from people in Nashville is, you seem to just be who you are. And that's an important trait.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Is it hard for you, though, because I know, or I'm pretty certain that you're approached on a daily basis or weekly basis from people that want you to speak on certain topics and hear your opinion. And, you know, like when you listen, for example, to NPR, they have people that come on and give commentary on certain social issues, whether it's local or state or federal, how hard is it to stay unbiased and balanced and not go down one narrative or another?

Becky Magura:

Well, I think what's important is, I have my own personal opinion. Sure. But what I know is that public media is important to everyone. I believe, with all my heart that it is an important institution in our American democracy, just like public libraries, and public schools and public education and hospital, we have an obligation to serve everyone. Yes. And I don't have to agree with everyone. But I have to be open to their opinion and serve them. I think, unfortunately, we've developed a society that is less interested in learning from each other, and more interested in attacking each other. And so I've had more than one occasion for someone to call me and not Ness, they may not like something we've had on MPD. Okay, and I will talk to them. And in fact, I was told it first, well, you don't have to call them back. And I'd be like, No, I want to talk to them. If they don't like something, it doesn't mean I'm going to change what we are airing, unless there's a really good reason behind that. But you know what, most of the time people are shocked if you just say, I care what you think this may not change what I'm going to do, but I do care what you think it's all about that conversation. Well, why are we so afraid to just have a conversation because

Kosta Yepifantsev:

we have been sitting behind a computer screen for so long? Throwing attacks and never getting anything back? You know? And so we've been conditioned for some time now to behave in that capacity. So face to face communication is it's like a dare I say like a lost art.

Becky Magura:

It will you're right, in many ways. Yeah. Right. And it's funny the difference between Nashville and Cookeville, though, if someone called me in Cookeville, and told me they didn't like something we were airing, they usually knew my brother. So they might start the conversation with that, you know, I know your brother, I'm gonna tell him and I'd be like, he won't be surprised.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

So as you look at the next generation of broadcasters and creators, what's your advice for them?

Becky Magura:

You know, one thing I'm so proud of our team since I've been in Nashville, we have met with 100 independent producers personally, because one of the things I'm passionate about is being a convener of really wonderful content that is speaking true to Tennessee to our region to different generations. And getting that into the PBS pipeline, or public media pipeline. It may just air on MPD. It may not air nationally, but I'm passionate about that. And I would say you know, we live in a generation where the youngest person knows how to create, they know how to take a phone and they can shoot video and they can edit video and they can write can create and I think this is probably an opportunity for just a renewal in the kind of storytelling that young people can create. This is like our Renaissance, I think it could be a renaissance will especially because you know, there's a new broadcast standard, which is coming. Well, it's already out. It's ATSC 3.0. And that new broadcast standard is IP based. Oh, wow. And so it will allow a broadcast signal to really show up on every platform, and it will allow for us to super serve audiences. Now, commercial entities may super market audiences. But for public television, we're talking about what can we do in public safety? What can we do in workforce development? What can we do in telehealth? What can we do in education? I'm really excited a about the new broadcast technology, but also about what young people can do to help us super serve. Yeah.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

So you've always had a passion for incorporating education with communication, like we talked about earlier? And I know that's part of what led you to a career in public media? How does PBS bring education, inclusion and community development to the populations that need it most?

Becky Magura:

I think public media probably does it better than anybody, you know, when you think about it, we are that locally owned, and connected media. And so we're telling the community stories in rural communities, we may lack the ethnic diversity. In some instances, when I was at PBS, I would say, you know, geography is diversity. Because when you are living in a rural community, you are often the unseen and unheard, there's a reason they call us flyover states. Because when you're just thinking, coastal, you ignore populations that are the richest parts of the country. And the people are so genuine and so true. And what I want them to know is public media will tell your authentic story. We're not somebody who's going to come in here from outside and act like we know what your story is, or even tell you what you think your story is. We will because we live here and know you were going to tell it from an authentic place. And we're going to allow you to be the spokesperson of your own story. Well, in an urban community, you have a lot more diversity. I'm so surprised. You know, Nashville is the number one Kurdish population in the country. It has the highest Kurdish population. And that's because of a civil war that brought so many people here who were like any of us wanted their families to have a better life. And they wanted to live in a democracy where they were safe and treated. Right. And so we have a series in MPT called next door neighbors. And we tell stories about immigrant populations, their challenges, their successes, what's great for them, again, that's such an important place. So I am passionate about diversity. I'm really just adamant about inclusion. But more importantly, I want people to have that sense of belonging. You know, it's one thing to be included. It's something else for somebody to really want you there. And that is the difference.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

When you look back at your time at WC t, if you had to pick one show that you had the most fun creating, producing, I mean, just I know it's hard. I know it's gonna be hard. But like, if you could think of maybe your greatest contribution to WC T reflecting back on your time there, what would it be? Hmm.

Becky Magura:

Wow. You know, I love the years of the Smithville Fiddler's jamboree. I love that as hard as it was. That was such a collaborative effort and people I would hear more about, you know, from people, older people who couldn't go anymore how important that series was for them. You know, the Putnam County Fair, that was something that warmed my heart. I grew up going to the fair, it was one of my favorite things to do as a little kid. And so then for us to be there and, again, provide that kind of legacy programming. You know, I don't know how relevant it continues to be today. I loved running camera on football games. Loved it, even though sometimes the weather was not nice. I loved it, but probably, I love doing the interview show. I did one on one with Becky Maga and I had eight seasons. I think it was like 11 years that it was probably eight seasons over 11 years. It was almost it was over 80 program so I haven't hit the 100 mark. Well, thank

Kosta Yepifantsev:

you. Yeah, it's our 100 So

Becky Magura:

congrats on that. But, you know, it is something that I am really proud of the people who gave up their time and talked with us about it and nothing. It presented people in a different light.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Would you ever do anything else? Like if you went all the way back to like, 18 year old Becky, would you ever consider I don't know, going into like the space program instead of public media or something like that?

Becky Magura:

No, I think sometimes I think, wow, wish, you know, I kind of wanted to be an actor, really. And so sometimes I think, well, what if I had been a create, you know, what if I'd taken that creative route? Well, I know No, it isn't too late. Too late. Right. But I think, you know, no, I can't imagine I can't imagine that one day did I go to work that I felt like I was working? Not one day.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

And you've done so much. I mean, as you're talking, especially like, how you've affected so many different populations? And then after you've done it all, instead of, you know, hanging up your hat and you know, enjoying, I don't know, the sunshine, right? Yes, yes. Because before you were under bleachers, and they were added at an office on the square, but like, instead of enjoying the sunshine, you're like, No, I need a new challenge. And you decided to go into such a large and such a ever changing market. I mean, you Our market is growing, and literally changing weekly, if not daily. And I mean, none of your metrics are relevant. I mean, in terms of like, you know, you may have something that is like, okay, the audience likes this. And then in a month, it's going to change, because it's a new audience, or at least a more diverse audience. And I mean, you know, as Morgan and I were getting ready for the episode, and I'm like, I gotta figure out why she wanted to go to Nashville.

Becky Magura:

That's fun. You know, I think I wanted to go because I love it. I love the work, I knew it would be a challenge. And it has been a challenge. It's because the city has grown so fast, because we had a history a 60 year history of great service. But how do you remain relevant in a time where media is in such a transformational state, right. And this isn't a conversation just locally, this is what PBS is talking about. In the universe of media. PBS is the number one trusted media source in the country year after year, for 20 years in a row. It's been the number one trusted media source. And yet, if you look at it on a landscape with Netflix and Hulu, it occupies a fraction of the budget, and a fraction of the space. So we are now in an era of making sure people discover PBS a knew they loved it as a kid. And they may think it's their grandparents show. But trying to get that audience to know there's so much new rich content

Kosta Yepifantsev:

is that like, I'm sorry, not on PBS. But is it a good thing to have so many different choices? Like you have Netflix, Hulu? And you know, we're just talking about before we wrap up? I'm just curious to hear your thoughts like do you feel like we're overloaded by content?

Becky Magura:

Well, sure. I think in many ways, we're deflecting life in many ways. Because you know, one of the things I remember I was a director of education at WC T. That was when I, when I stopped being the audio Tech, I was moving up into the company, the first job that I had, that I had the opportunity to really utilize my education degree was as Director of Education engagement. And I visited every single school, every school in the upper Cumberland. And I took Teacher Guides, and I worked with librarians. And I remember thinking then, and then of course, we didn't have all that you have now. But it just made me realize that there is such power in media and storytelling and accuracy that maybe what we're missing is a centering. It's not bad to have choices. But when you have so many choices, that you lose the moment to engage. I worry, I so worry about students who I see them never look up. They're looking at their phones, and they're, you know, when did we learn to type with our phones? I mean, it's crazy, but I can time pretty fast with my thumb, but you know, it's just like, Okay, where is the humanity and the connectivity, and I get it, they're doing it. They're doing it, but it's a different means. Yeah,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

I think in in a lot of ways. We, as parents, as adults, essentially as role models, that's how we operate. Like we conditioned, the younger generations. We conditioned big and we did it because we thought I was going to be more efficient, which in a lot of ways it is, you know, there's no Pony Express, right? So we're not waiting three weeks for mail to come in, right. But we've lost that human interaction. And the reason why we're always so anxious I feel like is because we can't properly communicate with each other. Because, you know, we're wondering what emoji we should put instead of you know, how to get your point across?

Becky Magura:

Yeah, right. Well, I remember when I was making those school visits, one of the things that we said, and it's still true, we would say, Look, we're gonna provide you eight hours of children's content in a day, we don't want your children to watch eight hours of content. In fact, we recommend that they do not have more than two hours of screen time. And that's any screen time? Well, if we would live into that, if we would all live into that, truthfully, you know, we would have more interaction, and we would have more time to enjoy being outside and taking a walk and being simple. Anxiety come sometimes from having too many choices, right? Have you ever seen people who just you think, man, you seem so happy? And yet you don't have much at all? Yeah, well, you know what they don't have to worry about. There's 50 cereals to pick and which cereal? Right? And when you think we have 50 Different kinds of TV to watch, but I don't know what to watch. Well, I have a suggestion. Just watch PBS and just listen to NPR and then you'll be

Kosta Yepifantsev:

good. That's right. So we always like to end the show on a high note. Who is someone that makes you better when you're together?

Becky Magura:

Oh, well, oh, gosh, I have lots of people. But my partner Jen, she makes me a better person. She is a good kind, stabilizing human who's never anxious. I can get pretty anxious and get pretty wired up about stuff, you know. And I do have that somebody said you only have one speed Becky and it's full throttle go. And she is absolutely not that. And so it is that yin yang kind of you know, relationship and so she is just a wonderful human and makes me better.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

And we have a special guest in the studio today. My son Louis Yepifantsev. So Louis, who is someone that makes you better when you're together?

Louis Yepifantsev:

My dad, my mom, the people that support me make me feel better together.

Morgan Franklin:

Thank you for joining us on this episode of Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev. If you've enjoyed listening and you want to hear more, make sure you subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you find your podcasts. Leave us a review or better yet, share this episode with a friend. Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev is a Kosta Yepifantsev Production. Today's episode was written and produced by Morgan Franklin post production mixing and editing by Mike Franklin. Want to know more about Kosta visit us at kostayepifantsev.com We're better together.