PCN president hosting 20 years of 'PA Books' at Shaler North Hills Library - ShalerJournal.com

PCN president hosting 20 years of ‘PA Books’ at Shaler North Hills Library

Monday, October 14, 2019 | 12:01 AM


Brian Lockman, Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) president and CEO, is visiting Shaler North Hills Library (SNHL) as part of a statewide tour discussing his 20 years hosting the “PA Books” television program focusing on newly published literature covering the state’s history, people and culture.

During his 3 p.m. Oct. 24 presentation, Lockman will share some of his favorite stories from more than 850 interviews with authors for the show and educate guests about lesser-known Pennsylvania historical facts. Patrons will have the opportunity to win “PA Books” merchandise by answering trivia questions. A question-and-answer session will follow. The library will offer refreshments during the free event.

One of C-SPAN’s original four employees, Lockman started “PA Books” upon joining PCN.

“At the time he joined PCN, it was a struggling instructional network which he quickly developed into the nation’s pre-eminent state cable network built on the C-SPAN model,” according to a news release announcing Lockman’s upcoming March 2020 retirement from PCN.

He formatted the PCN series similarly to C-SPAN’s “BOOK TV” program, Felicia Duger, PCN marketing coordinator, said.

“It’s just a one-on-one conversation and it’s more for the author to talk about it (the book). The host tries to talk about it as little as possible, but sometimes he’ll ask leading questions to keep the episode moving,” she said of the show filmed at PCN’s Camp Hill, Pa., studio.

According to Lockman, sports author Jim O’Brien has appeared the most on the show at nine times, followed by thriller writer Lisa Scottoline and Anabaptist lecturer and author Donald Kraybill, tied at six times.

Lockman has written the following books: “PCN Tours: A Companion to the Popular Television Series,” “World War II: In Their Own Words: An Oral History of Pennsylvania’s Veterans,” and “World War II Reflections: An Oral History of Pennsylvania’s Veterans.” He co-wrote “Pioneers of Cable Television” and “Arlen Specter: An Oral History.”

Lockman’s tour stops include libraries, Rotary and Lions clubs.

“It is our 40th anniversary. PCN opened its doors in September of 1979, and as part of this celebration for the year, he wanted to go around and do talks about ‘PA Books.’ … He’s been hosting it for 20 years. … We started with (Cleve J.) Fredricksen (Library) in Camp Hill and it went over well, so we decided to spread it over the state,” Duger said.

“Shaler North Hills Library has always been supportive of local authors and we are excited to host Brian Lockwood who has been speaking with Pa. authors for 20 years. The state has a great history of authors — from David McCullough to Rachel Carson to Stewart O’Nan and Thomas Sweterlitsch. It will be fascinating to hear of the authors Mr. Lockwood has met and what he learned from the interviews,” Beth Lawry, library adult services manager said.

PCN airs new “PA Books” episodes at 7 p.m. Sundays and repeats at 8 a.m. daily. Episodes also are available for purchase and through the PCN Select streaming service.

Register at shalerlibrary.org or call 412-486-0211 for details.