Thinking Inside the Box
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF GREAT PUBLIC TELEVISION!
by Ellis Bromberg, General Manager of MPTV
WMVS, better known to most as Channel 10, signed on the air as Milwaukee Public Television's first station on October 28, 1957, and we have begun to celebrate our 50th anniversary with a variety of great activities!
We're using the phrase "the best is yet to come" to describe what we've got planned this year and into the future. That includes new services which give the public additional ways to enjoy MPTV, special events and guest appearances, and a number of exciting broadcasts -- including many that celebrate the performing arts and artists of southeastern Wisconsin.
Let me tell you about some of the highlights:
- In April we introduced MPTV ON DEMAND, which enables viewers to watch most MPTV productions they have missed "on demand" on Time Warner Cable channel 1111.
- In May, we launched MPTV V-ME, our new 24-hour Spanish language channel, on digital channel 10-2 (Time Warner Cable channel 551).
- The DVD box set of one of the most popular mini-series in our station's history, THE MAKING OF MILWAUKEE, is now available in retail bookstores, through mptv.org, and even on eBay. It makes a great gift!
- In July, FINE TUNING, our monthly guide for MPTV Friends members, is getting a significant makeover: we've added our HD and digital channel programs to the listings.
- Later in the year we are planning to launch: MPTV WORLD, a new public affairs and documentary digital multicast channel; online archiving of selected MPTV programs; MPTV COMMUNITY CINEMA, a monthly screening of documentary films; and a continuous showing of THE MAKING OF MILWAUKEE at Discovery World in Milwaukee.
> SPECIAL EVENTS AND GUEST APPEARANCES
- Already this year, we have had: the OUTDOOR WISCONSIN banquet at the Country Springs Hotel in Waukesha; METROPOLITAN OPERA HD screenings at Discovery World and at Tinseltown in Kenosha; a MAKING OF MILWAUKEE luncheon with author John Gurda at our studios in Milwaukee; MPTV Student Portfolio Night at Discovery World; and screenings of AMERICAN MASTERS: LES PAUL - CHASING SOUND at the Downer Theater in Milwaukee and SUMMERFEST STORIES - 40 YEARS OF MAKING MUSIC at the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee.
- And we have welcomed two very special guests to Milwaukee: in May, PBS President Paula Kerger spoke to local arts group leaders at The Eisner, joined us for a reception with MPTV supporters at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, and introduced the MPTV-sponsored concert with Andre Rieu & The Johann Strauss Orchestra at the US Cellular Arena; then in June, PBS KIDS host Miss Lori (Lori Holton Nash, who grew up in Shorewood) was the star attraction at MPTV KIDS DAY at the Milwaukee County Zoo.
- In October, our 50th anniversary month, we will have a number of special activities including: an ANTIQUES ROADSHOW guest appraisal event; dinner and conversation with NEWSHOUR anchor Jim Lehrer and Marquette University's Mike Gousha; a birthday open house at the MPTV studios; and more!
- And in December, a return visit to town by Lidia Bastianich, host of LIDIA'S FAMILY TABLE and LIDIA'S ITALY.
> SPECIAL PRODUCTIONS
- Already this year, we have offered a number of special broadcast events including MPTV STUDENT OPERATIONS DAY; THE GREAT TV AUCTION; THE JON FADDIS QUARTET PLUS 2 taped at the Cedarburg Performing Arts Center; and THE KENNAN FORUM ON INTERNATIONAL ISSUES: ISRAELIS AND PALESTINIANS taped at the Pabst Theatre, THE MILWAUKEE SYMPHONY POPS: DOC SEVERINSEN'S FAREWELL WEEKEND and SUMMERFEST STORIES.
- Later in the year, be watching MPTV for: MICHAEL PINK'S ROMEO & JULIET: THE MILWAUKEE BALLET; THE MILWAUKEE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: MAHLER'S SYMPHONY NO. 2; A MIDSUMMER NIGHT McGIVERN with Milwaukee's own John McGivern; AMERICAN MASTERS: LES PAUL - CHASING SOUND; the premieres of three ANTIQUES ROADSHOW episodes taped at the Midwest Airlines Center in Milwaukee; a special on the role some Wisconsinites played during World War II; the story of Milwaukee's most famous gorilla, Samson, produced in cooperation with the Milwaukee Public Museum; and more.
- And we'll cap it off with a retrospective on MPTV's first half-century!
As you can see, it's an ambitious schedule of projects, activities, and productions, and there will be even more to announce as the year goes on!
Something else we have initiated is a new membership opportunity -- our 50th ANNIVERSARY GOLDEN CIRCLE SOCIETY at the $10,000 contribution level for corporations, foundations, and individuals. To find out more, please call (414) 297-8026.
A big thank you to all our supporters who are helping to ensure that "the best is -- definitely! -- yet to come" on MPTV!
MPTV General Manager