PCN host to share stories, facts about Pennsylvania’s history at Northern Tier Library
Tuesday, September 24, 2019 | 12:01 AM
For 20 years, Brian Lockman has hosted a Pennsylvania Cable Network show interviewing authors of books written about the state’s history, people and culture and on Oct. 21 he’ll talk about some of his favorites at Northern Tier Regional Library.
“I (recently) did program No. 857, so that’s 857 authors of books on Pennsylvania,” said Lockman, who is president and CEO at PCN. “I’ve learned a lot about the state’s history and people and culture and tell stories that are about Pennsylvania history and some obscure things that people might not know.”
For instance, he said, who the state is named after and against what state Pennsylvania fought a border war.
Lockman came to PCN in 1994 after getting his start in television with C-SPAN. That network did a show he loved called “Booknotes,” so when he came to PCN, Lockman said he “shamelessly ripped off the idea” to start doing a similar program talking to authors of nonfiction books about Pennsylvania.
“I didn’t want to do Pa. authors because you could have a Pa. author who wrote a book about the Roman Empire,” said Lockman, a native of Norwood, Pa., in Delaware County. “I wanted people to learn something about Pennsylvania when they watched the program. We have great history and there’ve been lots of books published about Pennsylvania. We do about 40 new programs a year and never seem to run out of new and interesting topics.”
Lockman’s favorite thing is when he learns something about the state he didn’t know, which still happens quite a bit, he said. The state is filled with fascinating facts about history, such as Harrisburg hosting the first Whig Party convention where they nominated William Henry Harrison for president, or the role that the Cumberland Valley Railroad between Harrisburg and Winchester, Va., played in the Civil War.
“We do a lot of biographies and there’s one about a guy named Ed Delahanty who played for the Phillies in the 1890s,” he said. “He was also the greatest player in baseball history to die by going over Niagara Falls. It turns out he had a drinking problem and late in his career he was on a train and they put him off. He went stumbling along the railroad, fell in the river and went over the falls. There’s tons of fascinating stories from all across the state.”
Lockman announced his retirement earlier this month, effective March 31, 2020. He said he will still keep hosting the book show and will have his hands in the goings-on at the network a bit, but will step back from the administrative part and enjoy life a little more.
“I’ll have more time to play the fiddle,” he said. “And I’ll be going around doing talks like these and spreading the word about history.”