Staff at WNIT’s “Politically Speaking” will present the program’s 25th anniversary episode Sunday.
Hosted by Indiana University South Bend Professor Elizabeth Bennion, the program is broadcast live on Channel 34.1 each Sunday at 2 p.m. and rebroadcast Monday at 3 p.m. on 34.2. Show producers are asking viewers to call in to share their thoughts about the program or to highlight their favorite episodes.
This week’s guests will be former “Politically Speaking” hosts James Wensits and Jack Colwell.
The program was launched in 1988 as “Capitol Views” as part of the “Open Studio” four-hour live block of local shows on Sunday afternoons. WNIT changed the name in the 1999-2000 season. Organizers say that for the anniversary show, staffers will focus on the significance of the program and the guests. The hosts will discuss the biggest stories they have covered, the most interesting guests they’ve hosted, the dangers and joys of live TV, and some reflections on how Indiana and Michiana politics have changed over the years.
Colwell hosted the program for 18 years, from 1988 to 2006. Wensits took over as host in September 2006, hosting for six and a half years until retiring in December 2012. Bennion has hosted the program since January 2013.
Wensits said, “The most memorable show for me had to be the time, while we were still broadcasting from WNIT’s Elkhart studio, when a fire broke out in an adjacent administration building while I was interviewing then Speaker of the Indiana House B. Patrick Bauer. Near the end of the show the fire — or the firefighters, I was never sure which — knocked out the studio lights but left us on the air. So, Pat and I carried on with the interview while viewers at home saw only our shadows. You can’t beat live TV!”
Colwell recalled that a U.S. president once viewed the show.