Public Voice Salon
An open dialogue on education, the arts and social change.

About Us

Our Story

Welcome to the Public Voice Salon! We’re a non-profit TV show that encourages open dialogue on education, the arts, and social change: not necessarily in that order. 

As an English Professor in TV-Land, I’m more of a “teacher with a talk show” than a generic media personality. Many of our shows are also on You Tube, serving as a free, humanistic university for the masses—to ameliorate the dumbing down in society which weakens democracy. 

Speaking of the dumbing down of America, did you know that Steve Allen, one of my talk show heroes, addressed this issue in his 1989 book Dumbth? We combine the elements of a more traditional, entertaining talk show that’s fun to watch with a substantive, intellectual side: a Socratic seminar that’s ready for prime time. 

Husband and wife team

Since our premiere in 2010, with the help of my darling wife and co-producer Claudia Canasto (a microbiologist who hails from Bogota, Columbia) our “husband & wife” show has featured citizen roundtables in a community bookstore, spontaneous sidewalk encounters, and dialogues with the world’s most unique and original artists and thinkers. 

Our conversations are also rooted in a moral discourse, a quest for a more just, loving, and peaceful world that might be. We think the goal of education shouldn’t be limited to producing worker-technicians for the global economy, but should also nurture civic imagination and empathy for others. Capacities best learned via the liberal arts (literature, philosophy, history). 

Show business roots

We also have a great love of stories. An important part of my own story concerns one of America’s great forgotten actresses, Blanche Walsh, who was my grandmother’s dear “second mother.” So I come from an old show biz family. Not only did Walsh play a key role in creating Hollywood, she also campaigned for an American National Theater to educate and uplift the masses. 

Which is precisely the goal of our show. In 2014, our mission received a magical boost from the universe when we befriended Joe Franklin, who invented the TV talk show in 1950 (defying ABC, who thought it was a bad idea). When Joe blessed us by praising our work on the air, this deepened our faith in our project to re-imagine the talk show as a critical educational space. 

Can a talk show save the world?

Please browse through our You Tube “curriculum” online. See what topic or guest sparks your intellectual curiosity. Watch the show alone or with others, including your students if you’re a teacher, then have a dialogue afterward about what you learned. 

Each episode has its premiere on public access cable in Manhattan, though we’re currently working to expand our broadcast market. Watch and learn. Send us an email and let us know what you think. Because we’re a nonprofit show, your financial contributions are crucial to helping us achieve our vital educational mission—one with the power, we believe, to help save the world. 

John Bredin

 

 


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