South Carolina ETV


Rowland Alston, Host of “Making It Grow!” Retires in June

Last Show as Host Airs Tuesday, June 26 at 7 p.m.

For Immediate Release
May 10, 2012

High resolution images are below

Columbia, SC… Rowland Alston will host his final episode of the award-winning series “Making It Grow!,” on Tuesday, June 26 at 7 p.m. Co-host Amanda McNulty will take over full-time hosting duties of the weekly series, while Alston will continue contributing to the programs’ field segments each month.

“I thought we’d be on for about three or four years before we ran out of things to talk about,“ said Alston. But over 18 years, 500 live episodes, six regional Emmy and nine Telly awards later, the program shows no signs of stopping.

“It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences any South Carolinian could encounter. I’ve been from Caesar’s Head to Hilton Head and from Aiken to the Grand Strand, meeting so many fine people, and really getting to know our state,” said Alston, “And I’m proud of the significant role we’ve played in the growth of small businesses that wouldn’t have been known if it weren’t for ‘Making It Grow!’ and ETV.”

In fact, Alston said he expects things to only get better: “I’m real excited about Amanda. She brings new ideas and a new dimension and will increase quality exponentially.”

“We will miss his innate ability to entertain and educate viewers with his down-home humor and vast knowledge of horticulture,” said Linda O’Bryon, president of ETV. “But we’re glad that we’ll still see him on the show from time to time, and that he’ll still be leading ETV Endowment members on an adventure to Oregon this September.”

Alston came to ETV in 1975, producing segments for ETV Sumter’s “Agriculture Today,” a program which focused on commercial farming issues across South Carolina. In 1981, he took over as host. But as the years went on, Alston noticed that more and more of the questions the show received were about gardening on a much smaller scale.

To meet the changing needs of their audience, Alston, along with ETV Sumter’s Jim Barnard and Ed Sexauer, came up with the idea for “Making It Grow!,” including its live broadcast that allows viewers a great chance to interact directly with master gardeners. The program began airing in 1993.

For her part, McNulty said when she first appeared on the program, “I could never figure out which camera was on, [so] our producer told me to ‘look at Rowland and smile.’ I’m still smiling as I step into Rowland’s shoes but it’s a huge difference from showing up at 5 p.m. with a plant or insect for ‘show and tell’ to booking the panelists and side counter guests, planning a weekly off site shoot anywhere in the state, and answering questions about kudzu bugs while our producer is talking in my ear piece! Thankfully, I had a great teacher and a great friend in Rowland Alston.”

Despite taking a step back from the spotlight, Alston has no plans on slowing down. He plans to continue working on his farm, as well as some wildlife gardening. Then there’s his passion for deep sea fishing, and a week-long excursion to Portland, Oregon, where he’ll be leading a group of ETV Endowment members on a horticultural tour of the Pacific Northwest, including a visit to Mount St. Helens and a dune buggy ride.

A co-production of ETV and Clemson University, “Making It Grow!” can be seen live Tuesdays at 7 p.m. on ETV, and rebroadcast at 8 p.m. on the SC Channel.

South Carolina ETV (presenting station) is the state's public educational broadcasting network.  Using television, radio and the web, SCETV's mission is to enrich lives by educating children, informing and connecting citizens, celebrating our culture and environment and instilling the joy of learning.  South Carolina ETV currently presents A Chef’s Life, Expeditions, and For Your Home on public television in addition to national radio productions Song Travels, Piano Jazz, Spoleto Festival USA, and World of Opera.

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Rowland Alston, Host of “Making It Grow!” Retires in June
Rowland Alston. Photo credit: ETV
Rowland Alston, Host of “Making It Grow!” Retires in June
Amanda McNulty. Photo credit: ETV


Photos may be downloaded for the sole purpose of publicizing this program. To download an image, click on the picture below. A new Web page will open containing the hi-res version. Right click on the hi-res image, and select "Save As" or "Save Picture As."
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