Hey…guess what we’re talking about today!
For the last few months, I’ve been devoting a few theme weeks to interstitial/Public Service Announcement/Public Awareness Messages, and after a few months, I’m ready to close the chapter on this series. It has been a fun series to write and learn about, and I would be remiss if I didn’t save the most well-known interstitial/Public Service Announcement/Public Awareness Message for the grand finale.
It was almost inevitable that this one would be covered, so why not as the last one?
The year was 1989, the network was NBC, and a series of kid-friendly interstitial programs were a big part of the network’s Saturday morning programming. Featuring stars of the network’s shows (and First Lady Nancy Reagan) explaining important issues of growing up while talking to (not down on) children had been going strong for six years.
The time had come to expand this type of knowledge into adult-related issues, while keeping the tone friendly. One to Grow On grew up, and became The More You Know!
The More You Know premiered on NBC beginning on September 9, 1989, starting off with the 1989-1990 television season. Broadcast during NBC’s programming, the segments now air across NBC’s various stations, and feature appearances by well-known NBC series and network personalities, all toting knowledge on various subjects, including physical and mental health, cultural awareness, teacher appreciation, reading, spending time as a family, substance abuse, and, well everything that these segments across all other networks are known for.
Except colonoscopy sweepstakes – only CBS Cares can claim that one!
The More You Know was created by then-senior NBC Executive Dr. Rosalyn Weinman, who developed the campaign and wrote most of the on-air Public Service Announcements after putting an advisory council together. She ran the campaign for the next ten years. Aside from NBC personalities, Presidents and First Ladies have been the presenters, and Tom Brokaw kicked off the whole series in 1989.
The more you know about…the more you know!
The iconic logo was designed by Steve Bernstein, and produced by Paul Johnson on an animation stand using a slit-scan technique (animation created image-by-image) at R/Greenberg Associates, now R/GA Digital Studios in Manhattan. The logo animation was later updated using three-dimensional graphics. The segment itself has earned high praise, winning a Peabody Award in 1993 for serving as “a model national public service campaign to provide a range of useful information to its vast television audience.” (source: The New York Times. April 3, 1993)
The logo isn’t exciting anymore, but the message is still the same, so it balances out.
If you recorded something – anything – on NBC at any point in the 1990s and early 2000s, you probably recorded at least one of these segments. I definitely have a few in my archives – even NBC has some in theirs!
Over the years, The More You Know has expanded with NBC’s profile, even airing on Telemundo, where it is called El Poder de Saber (The Power of Knowledge), and as of 2016, is the name of NBC’s children’s programming block, which is programmed by Litton Entertainment, and replaced NBC’s in-house educational/informational programming block.
With the changing times, topics have evolved to current concerns – digital literacy, the environment – heck, even the logo has changed! But what hasn’t changed is the importance of good advice, and these segments, while often parodied, still hold up as well as they did in their earliest days, when Betty White told the tale of reading a good book…
…Phil Hartman talked teenagers!
…Will Smith told us the importance of staying in school…
…Bill Cosby told us about teaching (simpler times!)…
…and there was even a time it took six Eric McCormicks to teach us about diversity!
The more you know!
Have a fantastic Flashback Friday, and a great weekend!