Interviews

American Experience producer Sharon Grimberg discusses “The Circus”

Aerialist La NormaStep right up! American Experience: The Circus is a four-hour, two-part documentary airing 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 8-9 on WPT. Exploring the colorful history of this distinctly American entertainment, this fascinating film includes extensive historical material from and about Wisconsin, the home of the famed Ringling Bros. and other major acts.

In our exclusive Q&A, writer/producer/director Sharon Grimberg shares her thoughts on the film’s production, as well as the circus itself.

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The Great American Read: Michael Perry shares his picks

It’s here! Tune in 7 p.m. tonight for the fall kickoff episode of The Great American ReadThere’s plenty of action to come, both on TV and in our continuing series of Wisconsin authors.

Author Michael Perry smiles and wears a plaid shirt.Today we present WPT/WPR favorite and The New York Times bestselling essayist Michael Perry, of New Auburn. The paperback of his latest book, Montaigne in Barn Boots, will be released by HarperPerennial in November while he is on tour with his band the Long Beds.

Read more to find out which books have encouraged Perry to question his assumptions about writing and life.

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What We Watch: Garry Denny

Bringing Wisconsin Public Television’s delightful mix of programming together takes a lot more work than most of us realize. Beyond PBS itself, WPT previews and purchases programs from American Public Television, the BBC, our own local production teams and multiple other independent sources.

Garry Denny

In our latest installment of What We Watch, we chat with Garry Denny, WPT’s director of programming. A member of our staff since 1986, he’s the one who brings it all together: acquisition, scheduling and delivery of programming services on WPT’s six-station network.

Read more to find out what Garry is most looking forward to in WPT’s fall schedule!
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The Great American Read: Jerry Apps shares his picks

We’re getting closer to the Fall Kick Off episode of The Great American Read: airing 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept.  11. Have you voted on the list yet? If you’re stuck – as we are! – why not check out some more picks by Wisconsin writers?

Today we bring you the prolific, the folksy, the one and only Jerry Apps. He’s a WPT favorite for good reason: adept at memoir writing, storytelling, history, teaching and more, he keeps readers busy turning out new and sometimes unexpected stories at a blistering pace.

A person stares into a frozen wave of water.His latest, Cold as Thunder, is a dystopian novel set in a frozen wasteland where only “a resourceful band of Wisconsin sixty-somethings calling themselves the Oldsters” have the knowledge to fight the ruling regime.

Read more to find out which books have helped this beloved author think about writing!

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WPT Producer Joel Waldinger Shares His Wisconsin Life

Wisconsin Life relies on its producers to tell the stories of the people who make the show what it is. Their abilities to capture the emotion off camera and present it on camera is truly inspiring. One of those talented producers is Joel Waldinger. Ahead of this season’s premiere 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, we caught up with Joel to ask a few questions about his life in and outside of Wisconsin Life. Read on to uncover Joel’s Wisconsin Life!
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The Great American Read: Baptiste and Miranda Paul share their picks

We continue to read, debate and vote on the books of The Great American Read, and several Wisconsin writers have shared their own picks with us. Today, we enjoy several firsts: our first team (in life and work), AND our first children’s authors!

Baptiste Paul, a dark-skinned man wearing a gray and maroon shirt, and Miranda Paul, a light-skinned woman with long blonde hair, sit together and smile.Currently residing in Green Bay, Baptiste and Miranda Paul are the globe-trekking, dynamic duo behind the new book Adventures to School: Real-Life Journeys of Students From Around the World. 

As for her inevitable “I can’t choose!” answer, Miranda writes,  “Asking a reader to pick a favorite book is like asking a sweet-tooth to pick a favorite dessert; these are the things that shape us and bring us joy. All the time, children ask me which of my own books is my favorite, an interrogation I’ve labeled ‘The Forbidden Question.’ I ultimately let them know the truth: my favorite book is always the one I haven’t written yet, because I intend to write forever.”

Keep reading to learn about this insightful pair and the deep emotions that drive them to create.

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The Great American Read: Author Lesley Kagen shares her picks

As we read, debate and vote on the books of The Great American Read, we’ve had the delightful opportunity to discuss the top picks of several Wisconsin writers.

Lesley Kagen

This week, we meet Lesley Kagen, a multitalented Milwaukee native who began her writing career after many years in several other fields. And we do mean several, as you’ll find out below.

As with Patrick Rothfuss – and, we suspect, many of you! – Kagen had a very hard time choosing one book over another.

“It’s very, very tough to pick just a few of these books, as so many have impacted my life,” she says. “But I gave it a shot!”

Keep reading to learn more about Kagen and her warm, curious stories.

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The Great American Read: Author Patrick Rothfuss weighs in

Patrick Rothfuss has a long beard and a bemused smile.
Photo: Kyle Cassidy

As we read, debate and vote on the books of The Great American Read, bestselling author – and Wisconsin native – Patrick Rothfuss shares some of his top picks with Airwaves readers.

It wasn’t easy to choose.

“I’m dappled by the impact of a thousand books,” he says. “So many of them struck me so deeply, singling out one feels like I’d be missing the point, which is the cumulative effect they’ve all had on me.”

Keep reading to learn more about Rothfuss and how his love of reading goes well beyond the books he writes.
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What We Watch: Dominique Johnson, Audience Services Specialist

Dominique (Dom) Johnson is an audience services specialist at WPT. One of Dom’s daily tasks includes answering audience questions about Wisconsin Public Broadcasting’s content. One of his favorite things about his job is “hearing about all of the positive effects that our programming has on the lives of our viewers and listeners across the state.” We caught up with Dom to learn more about his top public television picks.

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What We Watch: Erica Lee, Planned Giving Associate

Erica Lee is a planned giving associate at Wisconsin Public Television, working with members of WPT’s Heritage Society. “My role in Planned Giving is very rewarding; I get to speak with WPT super fans every day!” she says.

For the June issue of our member program guide, Airwaves, we caught up with Erica to learn more about her top public television picks.

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