Thinking Inside the Box

Welcoming 2010: Unfinished Business and New Initiatives

by Ellis Bromberg, General Manager of MPTV

Hi, Ellis Bromberg with another video "Thinking Inside the Box," here today in front of our lovely holiday set in the MPTV studios, so I guess we can call this "the holiday edition." And it's a time to reflect on the past year, and tell you a little about what we're planning for 2010.

It has been such an extraordinary year, really, in the history of television and the history of our stations as we moved from the analog broadcasting world to digital. If you're a cable or satellite subscriber, you may not have noticed much difference. But in fact internally there have been many significant equipment changes needed to bring you our new family of MPTV stations.

The one out of five viewers who still receive us over the air using an antenna have had to adjust, too, and believe it or not, not all the problems viewers have with the reception of Channel 10, in particular, have been resolved. It's a complicated issue to explain, but in short, a number of viewers who used to receive the old analog Channel 10 fine have had much more difficulty picking up the new digital Channel 10. It's a problem with VHF channel transmission and antennas that was not anticipated. Stations in other cities have had similar problems, but because of our channel assignment on channel 10, ours is the only station having this particular problem in southeastern Wisconsin.

I'm mentioning it today as we close the year because I want you to know that among our list of New Year's resolutions is to try to find the funding to address this problem, and it is not an inexpensive fix. If you're among the viewers having difficulty receiving Channel 10, I'd like you to contact me at the station. Thanks.

And as we turn the calendar to a new year and a new decade, let me tell you about three initiatives we're working on that will lead to new on-air productions and new online content, likely new print materials, and special events, too.

First up is our Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities initiative -- should kick off in February. Among the key elements of this is a series of short video segments featuring a musical group, The Figureheads, who are great at communicating to kids messages about healthy eating and healthy living through their performances of rap music which they write themselves.

With our Arts Initiative -- that should start online in early 2010, leading up to a significant on-air component in May -- we hope to profile the vibrant arts and cultural scene in southeastern Wisconsin.

And later in the year, on or about Labor Day, we hope to launch our Jobs Initiative intended to link 1000 local residents with 1000 new jobs.

All three of these initiatives will build on lessons learned in our Facing the Mortgage Crisis project which during the summer and fall of 2009 has involved 17 local agencies working with MPTV in the development of broadcast and online content. It's been a very positive experience that has helped our viewers face and resolve foreclosure issues.

I want to make clear that all these projects require raising funds from the community -- foundations, businesses, and individuals -- so that we can develop content that is truly engaging and responsive and really makes a difference. If the projects don't have impact and can't find adequate funding, why do them?

So you can see, we are ready to hit the ground running in the new year. And as 2009 draws to a close, let me thank you for your support of Milwaukee Public Television this year. As I said before, it's been an extraordinary year when you consider all the new programming and online content we've produced, and all the interaction we've had with you at special events, over the phone, at our town hall meetings, and more.

On behalf of the staff of Milwaukee Public Television, and on a more personal note, from my wife Mel and me, happy holidays, and best wishes for a healthy New Year!