Owings Mills, MD – October 16, 2019 – Maryland Public Television (MPT) today announced that Rhea Feikin, a fixture on television in Maryland since the 1960s and a mainstay on MPT over the past 40-plus years, will retire at the end of February 2020.
At present, Feikin hosts two MPT series, Artworks and Chesapeake Collectibles, and is the network’s principal pledge drive spokesperson.
Feikin is a Baltimore native who earned her bachelor’s degree in speech pathology from the University of Maryland where she was active in campus theater productions. She also participated in two overseas tours to U.S. Air Force bases from Iceland to the Azores. Upon graduation, she was the recipient of the Hale Award for the outstanding drama student.
After a short stint as a speech therapist for the Baltimore City Schools, she began a career at WBAL-TV, first with an educational program, Betty Better Speech, and then with a children’s program, Miss Rhea and Sunshine, in which she not only appeared but for which she also served as writer and producer. She went on to do weather reports and hosted a game show for the Maryland Lottery.
After leaving WBAL-TV, Feikin began a freelance career. Her first job at Maryland Public Television was on the series Consumer Survival Kit, an MPT production that aired during the 1970s. She then served as host for MPT productions including MPT on Location (1991-1996), ArtWorks This Week (2002-2013), and Impressions with Rhea Feikin (2007-2014). She currently hosts MPT’s long-running series Artworks (2013-present), and Chesapeake Collectibles (2011-present).
Many TV viewers know Feikin from her many decades of appearances as a pledge host for the statewide network’s on-air fundraising campaigns, a role that has made her recognizable throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C., and beyond.
“Rhea’s retirement brings to a close a remarkable career that spans more than four decades and that won her fans and admirers across Maryland and beyond our state borders,” said Larry D. Unger, MPT president and chief executive officer. “We will all certainly miss her at MPT, but she’s leaving behind an impressive legacy.”
Plans are underway at the statewide public TV network for salutes and tributes to Feikin in 2020.
In 2014 she was inducted into the Gold Circle of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter in recognition of 50 years of regional broadcasting excellence.
Hers was the first star unveiled when MPT created its outdoor Walk of Fame in 2010. Feikin’s star serves as permanent recognition of her years of service with distinction to public television and the greater
Maryland community. In 2018, the station’s renovated green room adjoining Studio A was dedicated and became the Rhea Feikin Green Room in her honor.
Feikin serves as honorary chair of MPT’s current comprehensive fundraising campaign.
She has previously served on the boards of the Baltimore School for the Arts, the Gordon Center for Performing Arts, the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and the Baltimore County Adult Education Committee. She was a founder of Baltimore’s Center Stage in 1963.
Among other recognitions, Feikin was the recipient of the Women in Film and Video’s Charm City Award and was named to Maryland’s Top 100 Women by The Daily Record newspaper.
Photo credit: Maryland Public Television