WCNY-TV’s ‘Ivory Tower’ celebrates 20 years

Twenty years ago, Newhouse Dean Emeritus David Rubin sat down with faculty members from several Central New York colleges and universities to discuss current political and societal issues.

The setting was the WCNY-TV studios. The occasion was the launch of “Ivory Tower,” the station’s weekly public affairs program. Rubin served as the show’s first moderator; panelists were Kristi Andersen of the Maxwell School, Glenn Altschuler of Cornell University, Bob Greene of Cazenovia College, Tara Ross of Onondaga Community College and Bob Spitzer of SUNY Cortland. Barbara Fought of the Newhouse School has served as substitute moderator for the show’s whole run.

Tonight, a live one-hour special will celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary. It airs at 8 p.m. on WCNY-TV.

Over the course of two decades, “Ivory Tower” has served as the backbone of local programming on WCNY-TV, focusing on on news and events from the perspective of academicians.

“We highly value the platform that ‘Ivory Tower’ affords us to discuss the major local and national issues of the day in front of an intelligent public television audience,” Rubin said in 2015. “If we can influence the public debate for that audience even a little bit, we are very satisfied.”

Rubin retired in 2016 and stepped down from his role as moderator. Fought and David Chanatry of Utica College have both served in the role since then.

In addition to Fought, Ross and Andersen, current panelists are Anirban Acharya of Le Moyne College, Ben Baughman of Cazenovia College, Chad Sparber of Colgate University, Luke Perry of Utica University, Nina Moore of Colgate University, Ty Seidule of Hamilton College, Rick Fenner of Utica University and Michael Tillotson of SUNY Cortland.

“Ivory Tower” airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET and again on Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. ET on WCNY-TV. It’s also available for streaming at wcny.org.

The panel in 2019, from left: Lisa Dolak, Kristi Andersen, Bob Greene, David Chanatry, producer/director Doug Moreau, Barbara Fought, David Rubin, Tara Ross and Bob Spitzer
The panel in 2016, from left: Lisa Dolak, Kristi Andersen, Holly Rine, Bob Greene, David Chanatry, David Rubin, Barbara Fought, Tara Ross, Tim Byrnes and Bob Spitzer
David Chanatry (left) and David Rubin in 2016
On the set in 2017