Intertel, a dramatic break-through in the dissemination of ideas and cultural exchange through global television, was conceived in November, 1960.
Five television broadcasters in the four major English-speaking nations joined to form the International Television Federation, to be known as Intertel, the first such international organization. The participants were, and are, Associated-Rediffusion Ltd. of Great Britain, the Australian Broadcasting Commission, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and for the United States, the National Educational Television and Radio Center and the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company.
Intertel produces on a bi-monthly basis hour-long documentaries on important world topics, inaugurating a global television production agency dedicated to the creation of programs of substance and meaning.
The first six programs, already widely seen in the four nations, are “The Quiet War” and “Heartbeat of France,” produced by Associated-Rediffusion, “Postscript to Empire,” produced by WBC and NET, and “Don’t Label Me” and “Forty Million Shoes,” produced by CBC. “America Abroad,” the seventh Intertel documentary went into distribution in August and is still being seen in some markets for the first time . The eighth and newest production is “Unfinished Revolution.”
In the United States, the Intertel series is being carried by the five WBC and 55 NET stations; WABC-TV, New York; KABC-TV, Los Angeles; WXYZ-TV, Detroit; WFLA, Tampa; KCRA, Sacramento; WOOD-TV, Grand Rapids; and other outlets throughout the country.
John F. White, President of NET, called Intertel “more than a fusion of the creative talents of the organizations involved in producing television programs of outstanding merit. It is a step forward to world understanding,” he added. “I believe that the exchange of documentaries, while of great significance in the vastness of the mutual understanding it can foster, is but the first step in a regular exchange of all forms of programming.”
Donald H. McGannon, President of WBC, hailed the new organization as “a pool of the technical and creative ability and knowledge of all the groups which will extend the international horizons of television in all its aspects. This is the first practical step, after years of talking and hoping, toward the creation and use of international television for cultural exchange and an effective weapon for peace.”
The supervisory committee for the United States programming segments consists of Mr. McGannon and Mr. White; Richard M. Pack, WBC Vice President – Programming; and Robert Hudson, NET Vice President for Programming.
By having observers examine topics far removed from their every-day assignments, Intertel gives viewers a fresh viewpoint. The founder members indicate that by dubbing these programs in foreign languages and making them available to all nations, they hope television companies in Europe, Asia and South America will eventually join this unique project.
Intertel came into formal being on November 14, 1960, in a special meeting in Vancouver, B.C., the culmination of plans for such an association which has been under way for a long time. John McMillan, of Associated-Rediffusion, was named Coordinating Officer at that time.