About Susannah Brooks

I'm a Wisconsin Public Television publicist as well as the editor of Airwaves, WPT's monthly program guide. When I'm not communing with my computer, I'm reading a book a day on my Kindle app, battling my fellow trivia geeks, dabbling in odd crafts and wrangling one very determined small person. Drop me a line at susannah.brooks@wpt.org.

 

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Meet Wisconsin’s 2017 PBS Digital Innovator: David Olson

In April, we introduced you to David Olson, chair of the social studies department at Madison’s James Madison Memorial High School. As Wisconsin’s 2017 PBS Digital Innovator, he was one of 52 educators across the country to attend the 2017 PBS Digital Summit. Read their stories.

WPT spoke with Olson shortly after his return from the Digital Summit in San Antonio.

“Having access to high quality digital resources, and finding ways for teachers to connect with one other and foster innovation, can only lead to good things,” says Olson. “It will lead to much better outcomes for students; we’re creating citizens who hopefully will be ready to be full participants in a very different world than the one in which many WPT members might have grown up.”

For more great resources for educators, kids and anyone who loves to learn, visit WPT Education.

Continue reading Meet Wisconsin’s 2017 PBS Digital Innovator: David Olson

Polka! – Meet Mollie B.!

Polka! host Mollie B. poses with her squeezeboxWisconsin Public Television’s all-new film Polka!premiering 7 p.m. tonight, March 6! –  goes inside Wisconsin’s vibrant polka culture to see why so many people love this lively dance.

Who better to host this warm tribute than internationally known polka star Mollie Busta, also known as Mollie B.? Ahead of the premiere, WPT’s Erik Ernst caught up with Mollie to talk about how polka has shaped her life and why Wisconsin is such a great polka state.

Continue reading Polka! – Meet Mollie B.!

Introducing: What We Watch!

With so many great programs on Wisconsin Public Television, it’s hard to pick favorites – especially for the people who work here! Meet some of the people behind the scenes at WPT and see what gets us excited in this new blog series, “What We Watch.”

Diane Agans, major gifts manager for WPTFirst up: Diane Agans, major gifts manager, who has worked for WPT since 1986.

With two busy teenagers, Diane enjoys programs the family can watch together and discuss – which includes a lot of public television programming!
Continue reading Introducing: What We Watch!

“Miss me?” Sherlock returns for Season 4 on Sunday, Jan. 1

“There’s an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it’s God’s own wind none the less and a cleaner, better stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.”
–Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “His Last Bow”

As the premiere of Sherlock’s “darkest season yet” creeps up on us this Sunday, a dedicated Sherlockian reflects on the BBC production’s relationship with the Canon: the original 60 stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Tune in at 8 p.m. on New Year’s Day (Sunday, Jan. 1) for the premiere of Masterpiece Mystery! Sherlock, Season 4 with “The Six Thatchers.” An encore of this 90-minute episode begins at 9:36 p.m.

Then, tune in at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8 for an up-to-the-minute encore of “The Six Thatchers,” followed at 8 p.m. by “The Lying Detective.” The finale of Season 4, aptly titled “The Final Problem,” airs at 6:30 p.m. – just before the series premiere of Victoria; how’s that for an evening of great TV? – on Sunday, Jan. 15.

And don’t forget: you can watch Sherlock from the very beginning starting 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27 with “A Study in Pink.”

Continue reading “Miss me?” Sherlock returns for Season 4 on Sunday, Jan. 1

Chemistry prof keeps Christmas Cheery for the 47th time

It’s always fun to watch a show that discusses safety precautions and fire extinguishers before a lecture begins. So it is, once again, for University of Wisconsin-Madison chemistry professor Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, leading his 47th annual “Once Upon a Christmas Cheery In the Lab of Shakhashiri” in 2016.

As Wisconsin Public Television prepares to celebrate 100 years of public broadcasting in Wisconsin in 2017, the lecture, which airs multiple times over the next few days (as well as online), is a perfect example of local, educational programming that has enhanced the station’s reputation for outreach and engagement.

Chemistry professor Bassam Shakhashiri ignites a gas-filled balloon during a free demonstration about the science of fireworks held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Memorial Union Terrace on June 28, 2009. The outreach event, led by Shakhashiri and others from the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy, explored the chemistry used to create the colors, shapes, light and explosive heat that combine to create fantastic firework displays such as the city's Rhythm and Booms that occurred later in the evening. ©UW-Madison University Communications 608/262-0067 Photo by: Jeff Miller Date: 06/09 File#: NIKON D3 digital frame 2008
©UW-Madison University Communications/Jeff Miller

WPT has been there from the early years, broadcasting since 1973. The program has grown so popular that it not only sells out but airs on television stations around the country. Here on WPT, upcoming airings take place at the following times:

  • Thursday, Dec. 22 – 8 a.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 23 – 11 a.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 24 – 8 a.m.

 

Not by a TV? Watch the full program online or on the PBS channel of your Roku or other digital TV device now!

Then, read more inside about the history and pageantry of this holiday mainstay.

Continue reading Chemistry prof keeps Christmas Cheery for the 47th time

“Anne of Green Gables” returns to PBS for Thanksgiving

How many readers of this blog remember the original Anne of Green Gables series of the 1980s? From childhood through courtship, millions of us tuned in to PBS – and some much-watched VHS tapes, too – to see how the spirited, imaginative heroine made her way past any obstacle.

Now a new adaptation, starring Martin Sheen as the beloved Matthew Cuthbert, premieres at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 24 (Thanksgiving night!) for another generation to enjoy with family and friends.

Watch as Anne gets her first glimpse of her new home:

So why is the story of this redheaded Canadian orphan so memorable, decades after its publication? We asked WPT staffers for their thoughts on the matter and got a flurry of responses. (To be specific, the verbatim response from multiple people was “OMG Anne of Green Gables!”)

As you settle in to watch on Thursday night, enjoy reading some of our memories as you make your own.

What are your memories of Anne of Green Gables? Do you have any favorite holiday film traditions? Share them in the comments!
Continue reading “Anne of Green Gables” returns to PBS for Thanksgiving

Tribal Histories Q&A: Andy Gokee, Red Cliff Ojibwe

“Our history is an oral history, not written down,” says Andy Gokee, a member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. “If it is written down, we don’t pay much attention to it.”

A new season of Wisconsin Public Television’s Tribal Histories premieres Thursday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

federallyrecognizedtribesRecorded in the natural settings of the regions that native people have called home for centuries, these films feature tribal members sharing the triumphs, challenges and time-honored traditions that have shaped their vibrant communities across generations.

The series premiered in 2014 with the Menominee, Oneida and Potawatomi stories. In 2015, the Ho-Chunk, Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican and Bad River Ojibwe stories followed. The series continues with stories from the five other sovereign nations within Wisconsin’s modern boundaries, as well as the Brothertown Indian Nation, whose sovereign status is no longer recognized by the federal government.

All premieres air at 7:30 p.m., following Wisconsin Life.

Red Cliff Elder Marvin DeFoe
Red Cliff Elder Marvin DeFoe

Thursday, Dec. 15: Red Cliff Ojibwe History
Featuring Marvin DeFoe, Red Cliff Ojibwe Tribal Elder, teacher and master canoe maker; and Andy Gokee, director of the Native American Center at UW-Stevens Point

Thursday, Dec. 22: Lac du Flambeau History
Featuring Ernie St. Germaine, Lac du Flambeau Tribal Elder and American Birkebeiner Co-Founder

Thursday, Dec. 29: Brothertown History
Featuring Joan Schadewald, First Nation Brothertown Elder, Cowgirl and Peacemaker

Read on for a Q&A with Andy Gokee.

Continue reading Tribal Histories Q&A: Andy Gokee, Red Cliff Ojibwe

Q&A: Treasured Quilts of Wisconsin

“Quilting is so much more than making a bed quilt to keep someone warm,” says Nancy Zieman. The longtime host of Sewing With Nancy is excited to present the new Treasured Quilts of Wisconsin special, premiering Tuesday, Nov. 29. at 7 p.m.

Read on to see why and how this unique program came to be.

Continue reading Q&A: Treasured Quilts of Wisconsin

Celebrating Bob Dylan

A young Bob Dylan on the street with a tireTo some, the choice of Bob Dylan as the 2016 Nobel laureate in Literature might be surprising. To others, who have followed the path of his lyrics since before he went electric, it’s an honor many years in the making.

Public broadcasters have often captured Dylan’s long career in film and discussion. Here are some WPT-approved options for reacquainting yourself with the wide scope of Dylan’s life and legacy.

Got any stories about Bob Dylan and how his words have made an impact on your life? We bet you do. Please share them in the comments!

Continue reading Celebrating Bob Dylan