In 2020, Milwaukee PBS, a licensee of Milwaukee Area Technical College, created a trove of new specials and local productions that focused on what was happening in Milwaukee, in real time, even as the station faced new and unforeseen television production challenges. This commitment to innovative, timely, relevant content was recently recognized with the nation’s 2020 Public Media Award for Excellence in Overall Content by the National Education Telecommunications Association (NETA).
“We are extremely honored to be recognized with the national Excellence in Overall Content Award. It is especially meaningful to receive this award for Overall Content, recognizing Milwaukee PBS as one of the top public television stations in the country” said Bohdan Zachary, Vice President and General Manager of Milwaukee PBS. “From the very beginning of this pandemic, our talented production teams sought to find out what Milwaukee stories needed to be told. They were creative, inventive and flexible; reached out to our community partners; and they brought our viewers the local stories of health, help and hope residents of southeastern Wisconsin needed.”
As events unfolded in 2020, Milwaukee PBS strove to bring viewers current, local content that specifically speaks to southeastern Wisconsin. Milwaukee PBS has been dedicated to educate and inspire, and to present global and national events in a local context, by telling Milwaukee’s stories. As the issues that mattered to its viewers frequently and abruptly changed, Milwaukee PBS developed several new series and specials to provide content that addressed these changing issues and perspectives:
- Home/Work - this series began in April and started remotely, with local producers and hosts reporting and creating content from their homes during the state’s lockdown.
- Stories of Our Pandemic – Milwaukee PBS utilized its three award-winning news and public affairs series - Black Nouveau, Adelante and 10thirtysix, to present Stories of Our Pandemic with each of these program’s unique and distinct perspectives. Stories presented included reports from frontline health workers, the economic impact on the region including the plight of furloughed employees, and local residents’ inspiring efforts to aid their neighbors in need. Stories of Our Pandemic utilized various social media platforms to share this content online and to engage its audience with virtual town halls and community discussions.
- Listen MKE – In 2020, Milwaukee PBS partnered with several other local media partners, to focus on the calls for social change that are taking place during this uncertain time. Listen MKE is a community listening project with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, WUWM and the Milwaukee Public Library.
- Pandemic in the Heartland - Before the pandemic, 10thirtysix had been selected to be part of PBS FRONTLINE local projects initiative. In collaboration with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, they embarked on a year-long project to examine the crisis facing America’s Dairyland. When the pandemic, the 10thirtysix production team pivoted to bring viewers the story of how the pandemic was uniquely affecting Wisconsin’s dairy farmers.
- Beyond the Virus and the Protests - Black Nouveau hosted a public virtual town hall, so viewers could talk with a panel of community leaders and experts about the impact on mental health recent events had, specifically on the African American community.
- My Wisconsin Backyard – Initially launched as a digital series, My Wisconsin Backyard focuses on things people are doing outside, in nature during the pandemic. These features focus on the benefits of outdoor activity including, mental and physical health, eco-friendly gardening and community engagement.
Before the pandemic hit in 2020, Milwaukee PBS had produced and broadcast other innovative, inspiring local content, including Shipwrecks of Milwaukee, and follow-up installments of 10thirtysix’s A Hope For Tomorrow and Kids In Crisis: You’re Not Alone.
In 2021, Milwaukee PBS will continue to tell important stories about the impact of these issues on our Milwaukee community. In the first quarter of 2021, Milwaukee PBS presents these specials:
Black Nouveau: Understanding Implicit Bias
January 27, 2021 at 7:00 PM / February 11 at 7:00 PM on Milwaukee PBS 10.1
This interactive webinar was facilitated by Dasha Kelly Hamilton (Wisconsin’s poet laureate) and her husband Kima Hamilton. The Zoom webinar was held on January 27 and will be re-broadcast as a television special on February 11 at 7:00 p.m.
The Vaccine: A Milwaukee PBS Special
February 4, 2021 at 7:00 PM on Milwaukee PBS 10.1
Milwaukee PBS will broadcast an hour-long live special from the producers and hosts of Adelante, Black Nouveau and 10thirtysix. This special will provide stories and resources about the vaccine distribution challenges, the misinformation and distrust of the vaccine in communities of color, and a look at the impact of the 1918 Spanish flu on the state of Wisconsin.
Milwaukee’s Black Churches
February 18, 2021 at 7:30 PM on Milwaukee PBS 10.1
Black Nouveau takes a look at the history and impact of Milwaukee’s vibrant Black churches, with historian Reggie Jackson and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter James Causey.
The NETA Awards honor public television’s best work in education, community engagement, marketing/communications and content. The NETA Awards were announced on Tuesday, January 26 during the 2021 NETA Conference and CPB Thought Leader Forum.