Thinking Inside the Box

Auction a Success Thanks to Wonderful Volunteers!

by Ellis Bromberg, General Manager of MPTV

Hi, Ellis Bromberg, Thinking Inside the Box on and MPTV Mobile.

We've just completed the largest single fundraising event of the year for Milwaukee Public Television, the annual GREAT TV AUCTION. It's a Wisconsin tradition: this was its 46th year, and it is now the largest public TV broadcast auction in the entire country.

Once again we did well: just shy of one million dollars -- actually $996,000 -- raised in support of Milwaukee Public Television!

And when I say "we did well," I am really referring to the "we" that is our community, because the AUCTION is truly a community event. First of all, there were over 1300 donors who contributed items to the Auction, mostly local merchants and individuals -- and 45,000 bids were placed on some 8600 items by you, our viewers. We are so grateful for your involvement.

But I'll tell you that the true lifeblood of the Channel 10 AUCTION is the 3000 -- yes, 3000! -- volunteers who contributed their time to make the event a success. You saw many of them on the air answering phones, serving as auctioneers, and the like. But behind the scenes, throughout the year, volunteers help acquire art and general items for the AUCTION, set up the tables for the broadcast, manage the warehouse where we keep everything, run the technology to inventory items, work in Pick-up and Pay, and so much more. We have something for everyone to do, and everybody does find it fun!

Volunteers are truly part of our family. That is why it is so sad when we lose them. In April, we lost two of these good people.

Joei Kimpel volunteered for many years in the AUCTION table staging area, but she was also a regular answering phones on our membership drives; Joei and her husband Kyym coordinated the IKV Duras team, a group of sci-fi enthusiasts, for those drives. She also helped out at special MPTV events like our Kids Day at the Milwaukee Zoo and our booth at the Sports Show at State Fair Park.

Joei's funeral was held the very same day as Bill Hamrick's. Bill was among our most amazing volunteers. You may have spoken with him when you called the station for information about a program repeat or where you could find a DVD. Bill had worked in our Viewer Services area for 24 years -- and he just celebrated his 90th birthday in March! A proud World War II veteran, he was among those profiled in the MPTV 2012 documentary, FIELD OF HONOR: A SALUTE TO THE GREATEST GENERATION, which you can view right now from a link on

When he was interviewed about his work here at MPTV he said, "I like to help people, and it's really interesting to dig a little to find an answer for a viewer that calls in." He went on to say, "Volunteering at MPTV is a habit for me.... This gave me something to look forward to."

Well, we always looked forward to seeing Bill and Joei here at the station, and they are both missed at Channels 10&36.

Current volunteer activities are always listed in our monthly membership magazine, FINE TUNING, as well as here on -- just click the volunteer link at the top right of the homepage. I hope you can lend a hand.

And I'll see you soon with more Thinking Inside the Box.