Former WOUB Student Directs PBS “A Capitol Fourth”< < Back to
Paul Miller has worked on the program for more than 30 years
ATHENS, OH – In his more than 30 years working on the production of A Capitol Fourth for PBS, former WOUB student Paul Miller says 2020 has been an unusual year. Miller is the director of the annual July 4th program and also directs the PBS broadcast of the National Memorial Day Concert. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional live A Capitol Fourth will not be held on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Instead, this year’s concert performances were pre-taped without a live audience.
“Normally, there are 300,000 to 400,000 people on the lawn. The show is very exciting because all these people are there watching it live. There’s an energy that will definitely be missed,” said Miller. “But times are different now, and I think the approach we have taken to this year’s show is very appropriate.”
Miller, a three-time Emmy award winner, graduated from Ohio University in 1971 and majored in both telecommunications and English. He started working at WOUB almost as soon as he arrived on campus.
“I grew up in New York and went to visit Ohio University. On the tour, I saw WOUB and got really excited,” said Miller. “The people who gave the tour said students could have access to equipment and work at WOUB starting their freshman year. That’s really why I went to Ohio University.”
Miller did both on-air and production work during his time at WOUB. He says the experience gained gave him the confidence he needed to pursue his dreams.
“I spent all of my time at WOUB,” said Miller. “I hosted a weekly live radio show that had the university’s president as its guest after the 1970 riots. It was a call-in program where students and town people would ask questions. I also ran camera for TV news and got to produce radio specials and documentaries on subjects that interested me. We had such opportunities to be on the air and to write and produce and do all the different jobs. It was great hands-on experience.”
After Miller graduated, he moved to California and has been working as a freelance producer/director in the broadcast industry. His credits include The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special on CBS, The Country Music Awards, The Tony Awards, Saturday Night Live, Star Spangled Spectacular: A Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of our National Anthem, In Living Color and many specials and series for all the major broadcast and cable television networks. Miller has specialized in live events, like A Capitol Fourth.
Even though the entire show will not be live this year, Miller is very excited about the program. The segments that included this year’s hosts, John Stamos and Vanessa Williams, were recorded in Washington last week. The pre-taped musical segments for the program were recorded all over the country, in places like Nashville, Tennessee, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New York City. While Miller still directed all those segments, he did not do it in person.
“I was working remotely from home in California on my computer and directing via Zoom,” said Miller. “I have never done that before. It was different, but it was cool.”
The fireworks display will still air live and Miller will still be at the helm. But again, he will not be in Washington D.C. He will be working at a studio in Burbank, California.
“I will be directing the live fireworks display happening in Washington D.C. from a control room with a small crew in California,” said Miller. “I will be looking at monitors feeding the output of cameras that are set up in Washington.”
A Capitol Fourth will air on WOUB HD 20.1/44.1 at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 4.