The Civil War Trust recently had the opportunity to talk with Brian Lockman, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Cable Network. The network produces the long-running series "Gettysburg Battlewalks," which feature tours on specific parts of the battle presented by National Park Service rangers.
Civil War Trust: Can you give us some examples of the areas and topics discussed in past episodes of Gettysburg Battlewalks?
Brian Lockman: It is amazing that, after all these years, the rangers continue to develop tours around different parts of the battle.
Over the years talks have focused on the Attack and Defense of Oak Ridge, the Bucktail Brigade, the Confederate Attack on Blocher Knoll and the Union Right, Geary and Sickles on Little Round Top, General Lee's Approach from Cashtown, the Attack and Repulse of Longstreet's Assault, Brigadier General George Custer's Brigade, Cemetery Ridge, the Clash at East Cavalry Field, and many, many more.
In 2012 they covered Wofford's Brigade, the 11th Corps, the Bliss Farm, Pickett's Charge, Steuart's Brigade at Culp's Hill, Kershaw's Brigade, Devil's Den and Little Roundtop, and Culp's Hill Then and Now.
These tours are a treasure for anyone interested in the battle.
Does the show typically draw a large audience? Is it accessible to viewers outside Pennsylvania?
BL: Since we are a non-profit, non-commercial television network we do not do Neilsen ratings, but from viewer response it is safe to say that the Gettysburg Battlewalks are among our most popular program offerings all year.
People who are not cable subscribers can view the tours through our on-line service, "PCN Select." DVD's of the walks can be purchased through the PCN Store on our web site, pcntv.com. The walks are also available for instant viewing or purchase through amazon.com by going to their website and searching "Gettysburg Battlewalks."
Being located near a primarily intact battlefield such as Gettysburg must be useful. Do you feel that it makes a difference in the quality of a production when you’re able to film at well-preserved locations?
BL: More than the location, the thing that really makes Gettysburg Battlewalks so special is the Park Service rangers. Their level of knowledge is astounding, and they present the information in a very compelling manner. While the video production is fairly basic, the rangers are so good that they make for riveting television.
Is PCN doing anything special for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg?
BL: We have only had preliminary talks about it, but it will probably involve three-day-long coverage, live from the battlefield.
Do you have any other notable programs for historically-inclined individuals?
BL: We have a weekly program entitled It’s History, where we visit historic sites around the state and record tours of them similar to the approach we take at Gettysburg. It runs on Sundays at 7:30 p.m.
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