By Dave Crawley

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The familiar voice of WQED-TV’s Rick Sebak has entertained and informed us with more than 40 documentaries.

“I grew up here,” Sebak says. “I went to school at Bethel Park High School. Then, I moved away. I went to school in North Carolina.”

When he came home to WQED, public television was thriving. But changing times and dwindling revenue led him social media, in hopes that crowdfunding might help finance for his next big project.

“The Buhl Foundation was really kind and gave me a good kick for this, but it wasn’t enough to do six half hours. So, we put together a budget and we said, we’ve been tossing around the idea for a kickstarter. Let’s go for that,” said Sebak.

He describes “Rickstarter” as a 21st century pledge break, to produce programs with topics ranging from “Our Bike Trails” to “People Who Write Books Around Here.

The title, he says, is strictly “Pittsburghese.”

“I thought of ‘Nebby.’ And I thought everybody in our business has to be nebby; you have to ask a lot of questions or it doesn’t work,” he said.

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Just as commercial radio began here with KDKA, WQED was the first community-sponsored television station. In fact, they collected donations to put it on the air. Sebak has brought it all full circle.

Rickstarter exceeded its goal of $113,000, but there are still a few days left.

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