To the editors:

I read with interest James Krohe, Jr.’s article “Media: Not Made for TV” in the issue of the week of December 9, 1988. I found it to be very well written and it certainly provides a terrific overview of the state of the documentary today on television.

I just take exception to one point that Mr. Krohe made and that is, WTTW’s production of The Frugal Gourmet (which recently has been shot in various locations such as Hong Kong, Athens, Greece and Rome) is not an extravagant way for Channel 11 to expend monies for the production of a major national television program. Quite the opposite. WTTW produces this program using funds contributed by all of the other public television stations who, in fact, are buying the program. Prior to the stations paying the bills we were fortunate to have two major underwriters who picked up the costs for the production of The Frugal Gourmet. The series is about Ancient Cuisines and it truly is much better to show The Frugal Gourmet in Greece, Rome and China showing his talent not only as a cook but as a storyteller and one who can talk about those cuisines at length. This is after all a national television program which should look just as good as any commercial television production.

In other words, subscription dollars weren’t allocated to send Jeff Smith and our crew to various countries. The program pays for itself because all of the public television stations in the country contributed to the production costs for new episodes of The Frugal Gourmet series. In fact, WTTW makes a little bit of money and in turn uses that to operate as one of America’s premier public television stations.

I just thought your readers should know what the facts are regarding this point in Mr. Krohe’s article.

William M. Natale

Director of Publicity and Promotion