The Library of American Broadcasting Foundation (LABF) is pleased to announce the winner of its 2019 Broadcast Historian Award is James Forsher, for his documentary, Roddenberry’s Trek, which traces the contribution of one of the largest Hollywood franchises to broadcast history specifically on integration of race and gender.
“This documentary explores two themes. The first is focusing on what creates fame,” says Forsher. “In an age of films, television and music, pop culture helps drive the very nature of our society. Gene Roddenberry, legendary producer and writer created the biggest franchise in Hollywood history, Star Trek. In Rodenberry’s Trek we learn in his own words how his keen ability to find the most talented actors, writers and crew Hollywood helped propel Star Trek to international fame.”
“Roddenberry’s Trek also explores the story behind the fame,” continues Forsher. “This was his story of a career in which he was asked and refused to accept the institutional racism and sexual roles limiting women’s parts on US programs and how he refused to abide by them. His story was one of not accepting what he considered wrong and how he fought to create a better future for all of us.”
James Forsher is a retired Associate Professor in Communication, having taught at the University of Vienna, California State University, East Bay, Seattle University, Temple University and Florida State University. He has served as a Fulbright Scholar at both the University of Vienna and Klagenfurt University. His background is a blend of an interest in American cultural institutions and communication studies, which he has examined both in written works and as a television producer.
In a career spanning four decades, his television programs include the twenty-six part Hollywood Chronicles for the Discovery Channel (1990), the eight-part Changing Culture of the Workplace (1995), The Hollywood Censorship Wars for the Arts & Entertainment Network (1994), Lost Warriors for PBS (1998) and the thirteen part THE 1960’s for Encore! Feature length specials include Hollywood Uncensored and Hollywood Ghost Stories (which have aired on such systems as Cinemax and The Movie Channel). He recently developed and narrated the ORF/Langbein production of Elvis Und Das Madschen Aus Wien (2017). Dr.Forsher wrote The Community Of Cinema: How Cinema And Spectacle Transformed The American Downtown (Praeger, 2002). His latest book, Stock Footage was published in January, 2019 by Michael Wiese Productions.
In 2015 LABF and BEA partnered to establish the annual Broadcast Historian Award. With the support of LABF, BEA annually awards $5,000 to an educator who has published or produced work specifically related to broadcast history. In alternating years, the award is given to an author of a book or a producer of a documentary/multimedia project. A call for the 2020 Broadcast Historian Award, for a book, will be available this spring.
The LABF supports a broadcast archive housed at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland. Forsher has graciously agreed to donate a copy of his documentary to the archives. Forsher will receive a $5,000 check at the Broadcast Education Association’s annual convention (BEA2019) in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 7.