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Headwaters Television

Jump to: Headwaters Episodes

Headwaters Television began in 1980 as an early experiment in community-based television, offering commercial free programs of local interest on commercial television. Young people at Appalshop had been producing documentaries about the place they lived in for over ten years. Although these films were garnering awards at film festivals and being screened at museums and universities in the cities, Appalshop filmmakers were eager to increase their audiences in rural Appalachia. With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Headwaters came into being as a regular program on the local NBC affiliate in Hazard, KY, featuring live in-studio productions and selections from the Appalshop Film catalogue. In 1984, Appalshop video makers expanded the scope and audience for Headwaters by producing new programming specifically for the series and partnering with Kentucky Educational Television (KET) to air the programs statewide. PBS stations in West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee also joined in broadcasting Headwaters.

Recognizing the dearth of quality programming about rural America, Appalshop created an eight-hour Headwaters series that was offered to PBS stations nationwide via satellite in 1996. Headwaters was carried by over 100 stations in 34 states. This strong response was indicative of a heart-felt need for public television programs by and about rural people.

Headwaters programs have been awarded the duPont Columbia Award for Broadcast Journalism, the Cine Golden Eagle, the Retirement Research Foundation’s Silver Owl Award, and Channels Magazine’s Award for Excellence in Broadcast Television.

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