Thinking Inside the Box

The Auction's Success -- and What's "Next"?

by Ellis Bromberg, General Manager of MPTV

Hi, Ellis Bromberg with more Thinking Inside the Box on This time, I want to tell you about two major ongoing projects here at the station.

The first is THE GREAT TV AUCTION: if you were watching Channel 10 in late April and early May it was hard to miss it! For nine days and nights we had such fun auctioning off great merchandise -- artwork, gift certificates, sports items, clothing, food and drink, vacations, jewelry, collectibles -- almost anything you can imagine. This year's GREAT TV AUCTION was the 44th in the station's history, and it's grown to be the biggest public television auction in the entire country -- that's right, in the entire country! It is the single largest annual fundraising event of the year for the station and its success is critical if we are to provide the programming and services you've come to expect from Milwaukee Public Television.

This year we had some unusual drama, since three of the members of our Auction family, Auction director Art Langlas and key volunteers Fran Riedel and Lee Price, had passed away since the last Auction. Could we make our million goal without them?

Well, we knew Art, Fran, and Lee were there in spirit when in the early morning, the very early morning, of May 6, we were delighted to announce that we had raised $1,039,362, once again topping our goal. So, big thanks to all our generous donors, our tireless volunteers, our hardworking staff and students, and especially all our viewers and bidders who through your purchases did your part to help MPTV. We're already accepting donations for the 45th annual GREAT TV AUCTION in 2013, and we're bringing back the online HOLIDAY AUCTION this December, as well.

Now, with the summer comes a brand new initiative which will be accessible mostly online, right here on

It's called NEXT AVENUE; it's a website-based resource for those of us age 50 and older.

Its specific content areas include health and well-being, money and security, work and purpose, living and learning, and caregiving. There will be articles, columns, local information, and links to videos all intended for us, the largest and most diverse 50+ population in history, as we plan for and define a new life stage.

Through a grant from the Helen Bader Foundation of Milwaukee, MPTV will be announcing a series of local community conversations that parallel and draw from the information on the NEXT AVENUE website.

The project is called NEXT AVENUE in tribute to public TV's most famous avenue, SESAME STREET. I'll try not to get lost in this metaphor, but here goes: just as SESAME STREET has been a trusted highway for our youngest viewers for decades, our older viewers will now be able to find safe passage on their new road of life through NEXT AVENUE.

Starting in June, please join us on this journey by clicking on the link on the homepage which will take you to NEXT AVENUE.

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