About Erik Ernst

I'm the promotion manager at Wisconsin Public Television. When I'm not letting people know about all of the awesome work the station is doing around the state, you'll find me planning my family's next trip to somewhere fun, warm and likely connected to a Disney Park.

 

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My Favorite Things: Erik Ernst

As 2017 winds to a close, we’re looking back on some of our favorite memories of the year. From favorite programs to community events, this was a big year, with fun run-ins and meaningful moments.

Today’s memories come from Erik Ernst, the promotion manager at Wisconsin Public Television. Read on to find out what he’ll remember the most from 2017!

Public Television’s Role in Inspiring Conversation

Continue reading My Favorite Things: Erik Ernst

Q&A: John McGivern

As the new year begins, John McGivern is on the road once more, visiting cities across Wisconsin to uncover unique locations in each neighborhood – and meeting the interesting people who make our state’s communities thrive.

We caught up with the host to talk about Around the Corner With John McGivern ahead of the show’s seventh season premiere 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18 on Wisconsin Public Television.

You can catch up with McGivern, too, in a series of free community screenings premiering new episodes in the communities they profile!

  • Appleton: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17
    Fox Cities Exhibition Center
  • Middleton: 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22
    Performing Arts Center, Middleton High School
  • Viroqua: 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31
    Historic Temple Theatre

Check in for more details posted soon at wpt.org/events.

Continue reading Q&A: John McGivern

Wisconsin Public Television Remembers Nancy Zieman

Wisconsin Public Television is saddened by the death of Nancy Zieman, longtime host of Sewing With Nancy.

Zieman passed away at her home in Beaver Dam Tuesday morning after a long battle with cancer.

An educator, author, pattern maker, television producer, entrepreneur and innovator, Zieman inspired millions of sewing and quilting enthusiasts throughout her career. She hosted Sewing With Nancy, the longest-running sewing series on television, since 1982. The program continues to air on public television stations across the United States.

A careful, kind and generous presence, Zieman presented each of her programs in an engaging how-to format that empowered people of all skill levels to explore their own talents.

In addition to her TV program, Zieman was the founder of Nancy’s Notions, a Tacony Corporation company. Grown from her own kitchen table into a nationwide name trusted by sewers and quilters, the company offers thousands of products including sewing books, notions, videos and DVDs, fabrics and quilting products and embroidery designs through its website, retail store and Nancy’s Notions catalog.

In 2005, Zieman helped develop Quilt Expo with WPT in Madison. The event is a vibrant example of Zieman’s inspiration, now drawing more than 20,000 people from across the United States to celebrate the art and craft of quilting.

Zieman is survived by her husband, Richard, their two sons, Ted and Tom, and her beloved grandchildren.

“Nancy was an entrepreneur, a talented television host, a dear friend to so many people at Wisconsin Public Television, and a true Wisconsin treasure,” WPT’s Director of Television Jon Miskowski said. “During the time that she produced her series Sewing With Nancy with WPT, she made hundreds of hours of programs sharing her love of sewing and quilting – work that reflects the essence of Nancy’s legacy in passing the love of sewing, a passion she held very dear, on to the next generation. It was an honor for WPT to be a part of her story. We will all miss Nancy and share our condolences with her family and friends as we remember a life well-lived and a legacy that will continue to inspire for years to come.”

“I am proud to have worked with Nancy on Sewing With Nancy for more than 25 years,” Laurie Gorman, WPT’s producer of Sewing With Nancy, said. “She had the rare ability to take her passion – the love of sewing – and share it with a national audience through the medium of television. Nancy was a savvy entrepreneur, talented colleague, and dear friend. She will be greatly missed by the staff at WPT and her many viewers and fans across the country.”

Zieman’s work on Sewing With Nancy lives on in the hundreds of hours of television that she created, much of which is available online at wpt.org/SewingWithNancy as a lasting resource that is still used by sewing and quilting enthusiasts around the world.

A private funeral service will be held. Fans and friends hoping to share their memories of Nancy’s life and inspiration are welcome to leave comments at NancyZieman.com/blog. If friends, fans and viewers desire, information about suggested memorial gifts is also available at that website.

This Wisconsin Native Living in Alaska Wants WPT Viewers to Watch Wild Alaska Live!

Meet Lewis Pagel, an Edgerton, Wisconsin native, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh alum and a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan who moved to the Arctic town of Kotzebue, Alaska 10 years ago. We couldn’t think of anyone better to tell us why we should watch the three-part  Wild Alaska Live starting this Sunday night at 7 on Wisconsin Public Television to learn about the natural beauty and wonders of America’s last frontier! We’ll be watching, Lew!
Watch a trailer below for the three-part series, hosted by the Kratt brothers, that will continue Wednesday, July 26 and Sunday, July 30.

Meet Angela Fitzgerald – New Host of Wisconsin Life

This fall’s new season of Wisconsin Life on Wisconsin Public Television  brings plenty to get excited about. New adventures await, bringing us closer to the people and places that make our state such a great place to live and explore.

And, this year, the show has a new host to help guide the way.

Angela Fitzgerald joins Wisconsin Life as the series’ host for its fifth season, inviting viewers along to visit new locations, meet people whose passions, hobbies and expertise celebrate the best of our state, and introduce new stories from every corner of Wisconsin.

“I’m excited to experience the people and places of Wisconsin, while introducing our viewers to the diversity that exists in our state,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s been a blast filming in locations around Wisconsin so far, and I look forward to sharing all those stories with viewers across Wisconsin.”

In addition to her new role as host of Wisconsin Life, Fitzgerald is a member of the Madison College faculty, as well as a professional financial educator with Summit Credit Union. Her work in the field of financial literacy led her to be a founder of Brown Girl, Green Money – a social network of women of color working to support the achievement and pursuit of personal finance goals.

The award-winning WPT series dedicated to telling personal and engaging stories about Wisconsin people and places begins its new season Thursday, Oct. 5, but viewers can start watching exclusive new segments online now at WisconsinLife.org.

Get to know Angela a little bit better – and learn about some of the exciting places we’ll all visit in the new season of Wisconsin Life in this exclusive interview from a recent on-location shoot in Minocqua!

See Holy Hill and Other Scenes From Around Wisconsin’s U.S. Open Golf Course From the Air

The Basilica of Holy Hill National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians is just one of the landmarks of Southeastern Wisconsin that golf fans around the world will become familiar with during this week’s U.S. Open Championship at Erin Hills Golf Course.

Fly alongside the beautiful basilica, over Old World Wisconsin and along the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in this beautiful clip from Wisconsin Public Television’s Wisconsin From the Air. Want more? Click here to watch the full show on-demand!

May the 4th Be With You: Remembering a Very Special Star Wars Visit to Sesame Street

This annual unofficial Star Wars holiday – May the 4th be with you! – gives us a great excuse to go back and look at one of our favorite moments from the legendary intergalactic franchise. That, of course, was the day that R2D2 and C-3PO visited Sesame Street!

Landing just before the release of The Empire Strikes Back, the second film in the still-growing series, the two iconic droids actually appeared on our favorite children’s program for two episodes in January 1980. And the highlights are still amazing.

First, the Sesame Street gang approach the friendly pair to see what brings them to town. Naturally R2D2 claims a secret mission has brought him to deliver a secret message, while C-3PO simply wants an oil change after traveling 50 parsecs.

Then, the two space friends join in the kind of impromptu musical fun – and learning – that can only happen on Sesame Street when they teach Big Bird how to count with their own personalized numbers ditty – “If it says one, I go ‘beep!’ If it says two, I go ‘beep beep!'” – and join in with Bob and friends on an almost avant-garde interpretation of the alphabet song!

And, of course, what would a visit to Sesame Street be without meeting a new friend? Before blasting off back to another galaxy, R2D2 even fell in love with an unexpected feature of almost every street!

Of course, this actual visit from real stars of the Star Wars cast isn’t the only time the films have found their way onto the beloved children’s series. In fact, just a few years ago, Star Wars was the focus of one of our favorite Sesame Street parodies, “Star S’mores.” Watch for Snuffleupagus as a Bantha, and stay for the meta in-joke of Grover as Yoda. And, May the 4th be with you!

Madison Teacher Selected For 2017 PBS Digital Innovators Program

David Olson is recognized for his game-changing integration of digital media in the classroom; Olson will partner with Wisconsin Public Television to build learning outcomes in Wisconsin.

Today, Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) announced David Olson, a teacher from James Madison Memorial High School in Madison, as one of 52 educators from across the country selected for the fifth annual PBS Digital Innovators Program. The program recognizes classroom change makers: educators who skillfully approach education with a bold and fresh perspective, and who integrate digital media and resources into their classrooms.

“WPT is excited to collaborate with David Olson, who was chosen from a pool of innovative educators across the country,” said Alyssa Tsagong, WPT Director of Education.  (Explore more about WPT Education online!) “Working directly with Wisconsin’s most passionate educators inspires our entire station, and leads to our best work. We are proud that he will represent WPT and our state as he participates in this unique opportunity to work in-depth with the excellent resources and professional development from PBS LearningMedia.”

As a social studies teacher, Olson said he finds his students are most engaged when they get to learn from history and apply their knowledge to real situations. Simulations, authentic textual analysis and games he brings into in his classroom give students the opportunity to see how the things they learn apply to the real world.

Olson, who has employed WPT resources in his classroom, including those from WPT’s WisconsinVote.org project and the Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams documentary, said that digital content helps many of his lessons make the strongest impact. “When I have my students experience life inside a solitary confinement cell using a Virtual Reality headset or [invite them to] create their own political advertisements, it sparks their curiosity and leads them to think of new problems to solve,” he said.

In partnership with WPT, Olson will work to deepen the connection between the educator community and the educational resources offered through public television. PBS Digital Innovators also participate in ongoing professional development, share their ideas on PBS platforms, have access to exclusive resources from PBS LearningMedia, receive a free PBS Teacherline professional development course, and are invited to special events, including the 2017 PBS Digital Summit in San Antonio, Texas.

For all educators, PBS LearningMedia offers more than 100,000 digital resources – including lesson plans, worksheets, video content and more, are available through PBS LearningMedia – for pre-K-12 classrooms and other learning environments. Teachers can access this content at pbslearningmedia.org.

Experience the Sounds of Solitary

What does solitary confinement sound like? In the short film below from our colleagues at FRONTLINE, experience a solitary existence that is anything but silent. Then, join us Tuesday night at 8 on Wisconsin Public Television for the powerful new FRONTLINE documentary, “Last Days of Solitary.” In the film, producers take us inside a Maine prison to learn what happens when prisoners from solitary confinement try to re-enter society, and why leaders in that state are trying to decrease its use of this isolating correction tactic.

Click here to listen to an exclusive Wisconsin Public Radio interview with FRONTLINE Executive Producer and UW-Madison alumna Raney Aronson-Rath from her recent visit to Wisconsin.

Happy Birthday, Daniel Tiger! Watch his 1954 TV debut

Happy birthday, Daniel Tiger! Watch our favorite little tiger puppet make his April 5, 1954 TV debut on WQED’s  “The Children’s Corner” in the video below.

According to The Fred Rogers’ Company, “Originally, a bird was supposed to come out of the clock that was drawn on the set wall. The night before, WQED Pittsburgh Station Manager Dorothy Daniel presented Fred Rogers with a tiger puppet as a gift at the program’s launch party. He decided to use the tiger puppet instead of the bird and named the puppet Daniel, after the person who gave him the gift.”

Since then, Daniel’s been helping educate, entertain and comfort generations of children on Wisconsin Public Television and PBS through Mister Rogers Neighborhood and now Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Ugga Mugga, Daniel. We love you!

Of course, Daniel Tiger and Mister Rogers are just part of the strong educational legacy of Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio. Join us all this year as we celebrate landmarks like this from our first 100 years. Explore our history and share your story of how public broadcasting has impacted your life online now at wpt.org/100.

Happy Birthday, Daniel Tiger!

Happy Birthday, Daniel Tiger!
On April 5th, 1954, Daniel Tiger appeared for the first time on the first episode of “The Children’s Corner.” Originally, a bird was supposed to come out of the clock that was drawn on the set wall. The night before, WQED Pittsburgh Station Manager Dorothy Daniel presented Fred Rogers with a tiger puppet as a gift at the program’s launch party. He decided to use the tiger puppet instead of the bird and named the puppet Daniel, after the person who gave him the gift.

Posted by The Fred Rogers Company on Wednesday, April 5, 2017