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Digital Broadcasting Multiplies Programming Choices

Wider Horizons is one of six service "strands" being launched in anticipation of WHYY's conversion to digital broadcasting. The new digital signal will enable us to broadcast at least four video channels, multiple audio channels, as well as text and data at the same time. This means that we will be able to address the interests of many audiences simultaneously. At the same time that children are watching Sesame Street and Barney during daytime hours, mature adults will be able to enjoy Britcoms, musical performances and other favorites on WHYY.

Even without a digital television, you will be able to benefit from the rich and comprehensive programming of Wider Horizons -- on WHYY-TV's ongoing analog television signal, on WHYY-FM, on a dedicated web site and in WHYY's Civic Space. As we build partnerships with local institutions and community organizations, we hope you will join us in the Technology Center for the many off-air and off-line activities we have planned for the future.

As Executive Director of Wider Horizons, Willo Carey has spent the first few months in her new position talking to experts and residents in the community to see how WHYY can serve older adults. We have learned that their interests and needs are diverse and numerous. With retirement, many people discover new talents and the time to explore their interests through travel, education and online research. Some become community activists, volunteer as mentors or start new businesses. Many audience members have medical concerns, both for themselves and their loved ones. Many have financial concerns. Some take care of older relatives. Some need help themselves and seek ways to stay independent.

In response to these wide-ranging needs, we are developing programs that encompass topics as diverse as health and wellness, financial planning, travel opportunities and cultural interests. Medical and technological advances have transformed the notion of aging. In many cases 50-year-olds are planning the second half of their lives. The Delaware Valley is rich with opportunities for exploration and discovery. Educational institutions, social clubs, recreational facilities and cultural organizations offer a wide range of options to meet new people, learn new skills and develop new potentials. By partnering with local organizations, we hope to bring you information to enable you to take full advantage of what this region offers. A wealth of resources will be offered at WHYY's Wider Horizons website, which will provide links to other interesting websites, community services and cultural institutions, audio and video "streaming" of lectures and other events of interest, and archives of helpful information.

We realize that aging can be a difficult and frustrating process. As people mature, they often need to lean on loved ones or turn to professionals for financial or medical assistance. Wider Horizons will offer programming and resources to help you navigate through these challenges and connect you with resources in your community. There's also a tremendous need to help overcome the sense of isolation and depression that often accompanies aging and institutionalized care. One of our members reminds us often, "We need more programs that make us laugh!"

We've been told that many people who are elderly and unable to go out to the Orchestra or the theater rely on WHYY as their continuing connection to the arts though programs such as Live from Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Opera Presents and the many special performances broadcast over WHYY. We know WHYY brings you laughter with British comedies, nostalgia through programs such as Things That Aren't There Anymore and Lawrence Welk, and armchair exploration with NOVA and Nature. Wider Horizons will continue to bring you these favorites and more.

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