Thinking Inside the Box

Summertime at MPTV: A Transition, A Circus, and A Crisis

by Ellis Bromberg, General Manager of MPTV


Hi, Ellis Bromberg with another video "Thinking Inside the Box." For a lot of folks summertime may be a slow season at the office. We all know it's the perfect time to take some days off and travel, or just enjoy all the great events and attractions in the area. But this has been a very busy summer for us at Milwaukee Public Television, and I'd like to tell you about a couple of important projects we've been working on.

First, three events that occurred earlier in the summer. The final sign-off of our analog stations occurred June 12, and if you're still having trouble receiving our new digital stations, please call the station at 414-271-1036 and one of our staff will try to help.

On July 2, the new mptv.org, all around me -- all around here -- went live. We're still tweaking it, but I hope you've found it to be easier to navigate, more complete, and more colorful than our old website. Let me call your attention to the bottom left of the homepage, the "Watch Video" section. This is an exciting new feature for us, a growing archive of our local productions which you can watch in their entirety online. And by clicking on the "View All Videos" link, you have access to "PBS Video," where you can watch many national programs as well. So, local and national programs online, kind of one-stop shopping at mptv.org, no cost - that's a pretty good deal.

And you can also access both our Twitter and Facebook page through mptv.org.

And another new feature of the website is the MPTV Store - look for the link to that in the upper right hand of the homepage. That's the best place to go to order a DVD of the 2009 GREAT CIRCUS PARADE, which we produced for national television on July 12. We had great fun doing it and an enthusiastic response from viewers across the country. The two-hour DVDs are for sale at $28.45, and that includes shipping and handling.

You can also find a section on the homepage with information about our next big project, that's FACING THE MORTGAGE CRISIS. Look for the link to that in the right-hand column of the homepage. MPTV has taken the lead in gathering together some 17 agencies that are addressing mortgage and foreclosure issues, which have affected thousands of families and individuals in southeastern Wisconsin. During the last week of August, we will offer three full-length broadcast programs that address the issues, including a town hall meeting that will be simulcast statewide on the Ideas Network of Wisconsin Public Radio, and we will also operate a phone bank with experts to answer viewer questions.

Looking ahead to the fall, we are in production now on local documentaries about national parks sites in Wisconsin, about the experience of being a school principal in both the inner-city and suburbs, and about what it's like to be bi-racial in our society. We're also working on a mini-series about renewable energy, and a town hall meeting on volunteerism and community service, and - this is kind of interesting - an original musical that explores the issues of memory loss and Alzheimer's disease.

So we have a busy season ahead of us. We always appreciate your feedback, of course, and I'll be back again along the way with updates. And until then, keep cool and enjoy the rest of your summer!