SYRACUSE -- Get a handful of the area's top local professors. Sit them down at a table. Invite them to discuss current political and social issues. Add lights and TV cameras. Sit back and enjoy for 30 minutes. It's a recipe for success for WCNY-TV's "Ivory Tower Half Hour," which celebrates its 400th episode -- a special hour-long edition -- tonight at 8:00pm.
According to an announcement from WCNY, the first half-hour of tonight's show will be just like any other episode, with a panel of professors discussing the week's hottest issues. And of course, they'll include the popular "As and Fs" segment, where panelists "grade" the week's top newsmakers.
David Rubin, former Dean of the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and now a professor at Newhouse, is the panel moderator. Also appearing on the program:
• Kristi Anderson (Chapple Family Professor of Citizenship and Democracy at SU’s Maxwell School)
• Tim Byrnes (Professor of Political Science at Colgate University)
• Lisa Dolak (Angela S. Cooney Professor of Law at SU’s College of Law)
• Bob Greene (Paul Schupf Professor of History Humanities at Cazenovia College)
• Tara Ross (Professor of History at Onondaga Community College)
• Bob Spitzer (Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at SUNY Cortland)
• Barbara Fought, guest moderator (Journalism Professor at SU’s Newhouse School)
For the second half-hour, panelists will reflect on 10-year history of the "Ivory Tower Half-Hour" and they'll take questions from members of a live studio audience.
Regarding the show's longevity, Rubin explained, "it's all about the chemistry." He says the panelists "know each other very well. We can pull each other’s legs and make fun of each other without getting our noses out of joint," compared to similar nationally-produced shows where panelists and guests might wind up getting into shouting matches.
"For 10 years, the men and women of ‘Ivory Tower’ have made good on their pledge to ‘keep debate alive,’ " WCNY President and CEO Robert J. Daino said. “As thoughtful, in-depth exchange on current events gets harder to come by, WCNY is proud to offer Central New York a program where it can be found.’’