The New York State Broadcasters Association (NYSBA) honored Mountain Lake PBS with an award for “Outstanding Specialty Programming.” The winning show is an episode of the weekly series Mountain Lake Journal, titled Fulton Fryar’s Closet, A Spotlight Special. The program focused on a relatively unknown story of racial inequality in 1950s Adirondack culture, and how memories of it resurfaced recently when a building at Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake, New York, faced demolition.
The small building housed a young singer named Fulton Fryar. He was the first African American singer to study at the colony. In 1957 his sleeping quarters were kept separate from those of the other singers on the campus.
The television program explored the reasons for the unequal treatment, even in a northern state, and the efforts to preserve Fryar’s sleeping quarters when the old building was about to be destroyed.
Spotlight producer Paul Larson accepted the award at the NYSBA ceremony in Albany this month. Videographer Michael C. Hansen also received recognition for his work on the program. Spotlight, a regular segment on Mountain Lake Journal, celebrates the arts, performers, and stories involving creativity in the Mountain Lake PBS viewing area and beyond.
“I’m so thrilled for Fulton Fryar that his story received this honor from NYSBA,” Larson said. “We wanted to explore his situation from many different angles. We expanded the Spotlight segment into a half-hour special to examine a variety of topics related to the central theme: historical segregation, preservation of the building as a reminder of past attitudes, and Mr. Fryar’s views on the two summers he spent studying music while bunking apart from his peers.”
“We are so pleased that our talented team has once again been honored by the New York State Broadcasters Association, particularly as it recognizes Mountain Lake’s role as storyteller for our Adirondack Region,” said Bill McColgan, President and CEO of Mountain Lake PBS. “We take that mission very seriously, and we are so grateful to Mr. Fryar for allowing us to tell his story, and to our supporters who make this work possible.”
Besides an exclusive conversation with Fulton Fryar, the special features interviews with administrators at Seagle Music Colony, historians from the North Country Underground Railroad History Society and Adirondack Architectural Heritage, and curators at the Adirondack Experience, where Fryar’s little building is now housed as a museum exhibit.
Spotlight is made possible, in part, by the Glenn and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Foundation, dedicated to improving the quality of life for year-round residents of the Adirondack Park. http://pearsallfoundation.org “Spotlight” is also supported by Hill & Hollow Music. hillandhollowmusic.org