Thinking Inside the Box

MPTV Remembers 9/11

by Ellis Bromberg, General Manager of MPTV

Hi, Ellis Bromberg with more "Thinking Inside the Box" on

It's one of those events you remember where you where and what you were doing. My memories of 9/11 -- September 11, 2001 -- are actually tied closely to public television. Thankfully, I didn't lose any relatives or close friends in the tragic incidents -- although I know of people who did.

When the planes hit the Twin Towers, I was actually at a meeting in Madison with other public television managers from all over the country discussing what was then our pending transition to digital broadcasting. When the tragic news unfolded that morning, the meeting began to break up -- folks drifted away to a monitor we'd set up with the latest news, and checked in with their families.

Then, most of us were on our cellphones calling our stations back home to change local program schedules. Because we operate two stations here in Milwaukee, Channels 10 and 36, we were able to maintain a schedule of educational programming for children on one channel while reporting the latest news on the other. Over the ensuing weeks and months, we received many compliments from viewers because of that. We were always there for our youngest viewers with safe, uninterrupted programming. And for adults, there were the solid reporting and analysis of the events of 9/11 from THE NEWSHOUR, FRONTLINE, NOVA, and other outstanding public television series.

You may recall that in those months after 9/11, most of us tended to stay home in the evenings: attendance at movies, outside events, and restaurants was way down. In contrast, our audiences for public television were larger, but more importantly, were grateful for the way our programming served viewers with sensitivity and without sensationalism as America grieved and went through dramatic changes in the wake of the tragedy.

So it is now the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and we will remember it on Milwaukee Public Television. At 3 in the afternoon on Sunday, September 11, on Channel 10.1, we will present coverage of our area's primary memorial event, the UNITED WE STAND concert, broadcast live from Cathedral Square Park in Milwaukee. Community leaders and clergy will be there, we will honor first responders and veterans, and hear performances from the Bel Canto Chorus and the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra.

Actually, beginning September 6, our schedule includes no fewer than a half-dozen programs dealing with: the occurrences of 9/11; what role faith played in our response to and understanding of it; the changes that have reshaped America as a result; the decade of war which has followed; the story of the building of the memorial site at Ground Zero; and of course, coverage of the national 10th anniversary events from the World Trade Center site, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Information about the programming may be found right here on, in local listings, and in Fine Tuning, our program guide for members. I do hope you'll be able to join us.

And I'll be back soon with more "Thinking Inside the Box."