Great TV Auction

The Great TV Auction is a Milwaukee tradition! It is a unique on-air fundraising event which airs live on Milwaukee PBS Channel 36 to Southeastern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. New merchandise, certificates, services, art, antiques and collectibles are auctioned off to viewers who bid both by telephone and via the internet.

The Auction is also an excellent opportunity for companies, corporations, small businesses and individuals to garner valuable television exposure with our loyal Public Broadcasting audience and devoted Auction fans.

The money the Auction raises is used to purchase quality programming and maintain equipment for Milwaukee PBS. The majority of funding for Milwaukee PBS comes from community support.

The Great TV Auction facts at a glance:

    •    premiered in 1969 with a goal of raising $50,000 with a volunteer base of 250
    •    has raised millions of dollars over the last 48 years
    •    supports 10 minutes of every hour of programming on Milwaukee PBS
    •    reaches an 11 county viewing area across Southeastern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois
    •    made up of 3,500 volunteers, 6,000 donors and supporters, and countless buyers
    •    leads the nation’s PBS auctions in prime-time viewer ratings
    •    is the #1 PBS Auction in the nation, based on net revenue
    •    has won five PBS awards for fundraising excellence
    •    features art and antiques in a public exhibit and on-air
    •    In 2016 an Online Auction site was launched resulting in two additional auction opportunities per year

Auction Sponsorship Information

Align Your Organization with a Trusted Public Institution

The Auction offers a wonderful opportunity for businesses large and small, organizations and individuals to garner valuable television exposure to the loyal Milwaukee PBS viewing audience and devoted Auction fans.

Milwaukee PBS is southeastern Wisconsin’s most trusted source for intelligent and thought provoking programming on television.  Our viewers are more loyal, more supportive of our underwriters and more engaged with their communities than any other audience in our viewing area.  We’ve earned the respect of our viewers.  In fact, a national survey has confirmed that PBS is the country’s most trusted public institution! 

Align your organization with Milwaukee PBS, we’ve got a great reputation. Share in this high regard through a sponsorship of the 50th Anniversary Great TV Auction, the largest event of Milwaukee PBS.  

Auction sponsorship offers a uniquely effective way to billboard your organization to Southeastern Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and beyond via the internet.  Of course, the purpose of the Great TV Auction is to raise money to support Milwaukee PBS, but we also strive to provide sponsors with generous promotional value for their investment.  We are in the unique position to offer valuable televised promotion to an audience loyal to the Great TV Auction and association with the great reputation of PBS!  And did we mention it’s fun?  Join us and see for yourself!

Call or write Ray Schmidt, Director of Televised Fund Development, for detailed information about the Great TV Auction sponsorship level that is best for your organization.  Reach Ray by email, or phone, 414 297-7588.

Seeking Auction Donations!

We welcome donations of items for the 50th Great TV Auction.  If you would like to donate merchandise, services or have questions, please first give us a call at (414) 297-7036 or send an email our way to  We take delivery of most donations at Milwaukee PBS, via mail/delivery service or pick-up.  All donations must be accompanied by a completed Donor Form.


Auction Donations