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Member Spotlight: WGVU

This is the first in a series of regular Member Station Spotlights, in which we shine a light on a PBS station somewhere out there in America, bringing quality public media to Viewers Like You.

And who gets to be the inaugural affiliate? Not Tucson’s own KUAT.  Not even official Friends of Pretty Boss Shows KAET in Phoenix.  Instead we decided to bring some focus to WGVU.


WGVU is a service of Grand Valley State University, and serves West and Southwestern Michigan with PBS and NPR programming, as well as community outreach services with WGVU Engage.  WVGU has even produced award winning documentaries like The Deadly Fuze: The Story of World War II’s Best Kept Secret, Defying Hitler, and Surviving Auschwitz: Children of the Shoah.     image

On September 24, WGVU will be staging its own first annual Nerd Walk, borrowing an awesome idea from KAET.  I’d love to see Member Stations all over hosting Nerd Walks, to let nerds of all stripes show their passion for public media.  And also so I can collect some awesome T-shirts.  


If you’re in Western Michigan, register and show up for the WGVU Nerd Walk.  You can also support WGVU with a pledge.  Because that would be Pretty Boss. 


Why I love PBS Reason # 101.4: Idea Channel

I am on vacation for the next week YAY!! and am home sick with a fever BOO!! that was kindly brought to be from India wait, what?


So I have been binging on Idea Channel, the YouTube channel from PBS Digital Studios.


Each video is around 15 minutes long, which is about all I can handle right now.




Also, in case anyone is wondering,



google images could not help me with that visual. If you find one, BY LAW you must share it with me

Holly Post: Vote for the 2014 #PBSNerd shirt design!

It’s time again to start preparing for KAET’s annual Nerd Walk!  Time to clear your schedule for November 1, time to start thinking about awesome cosplay.  But most of all time to VOTE for your favorite #PBSNerd shirt design!


If you’re having a hard time deciding, let me sway you toward the D-Nerd-A design.  Gaming is great, but STEM is awesome.  And who knows?  Your design choice may find its way to other markets.

Photo: Just acquired the first #PBSNerd shirt from out of state. 6 more and I'm going to make a quilt. Thanks @wedupbs!

Vote for the 2014 PBS Nerd Shirt

…and Pretty Boss Shows will see you at the Walk!


Holly Post: PBS Goes to the Emmys


Pretty Boss Shows would like to congratulate all the PBS Emmy winners tonight:

  • Steven Moffat - Sherlock: His Last Vow, Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Dramatic Special

  • Martin Freeman - Sherlock: His Last Vow, Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries

  • Neville Kid - Sherlock: His Last Vow, Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie

  • American Masters, Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series

  • JFK (American Experience), Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special

  • Downton Abbey - Episode 8, Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series

  • Sherlock: His Last Vow, Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Special (Original Dramatic Score)

  • Yan Miles, Editor - Sherlock: His Last Vow, Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries or a Movie

  • Sherlock: His Last Vow, Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Special

  • Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin’ (American Masters), Outstanding Sound Mixing for Nonfiction Programming

  • Benedict Cumberbatch - Sherlock: His Last Vow, Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or Movie




A lot of people are doing the Ice Bucket Challenge, including our own Editor-in-making-stuff-happen.  

I will not be joining this.

I should explain, since Holly explained why she did.

Charity, fundraising, what have you, does need to change with the times.  And while internet campaigns are a successful, short term, marketing solution, they are exactly that: short term.

In an informal poll, I have been told the Ice Bucket challenge has something to do with the deaf community, ALS, breast cancer, a fun internet meme, several other charities and water conservation.

What is comes down to is causes, whatever your cause may be, is supposed to be about the people you help.  The Ice Bucket Challenge, and other things like this, are all about the ego of the individual.  It is a bunch of people saying “LOOK AT ME!! I AM AWESOME BECAUSE I AM DOING SOMETHING!!!”

But that is not what helping people is supposed to be about. By its very nature, helping people is about the people!

There are so many worthy causes.  And there are so many flashy causes. Sometimes they are the same thing.

But all too often, when a cause becomes flashy, it loses something. The hope is that all it loses is its sustainability.  In a month, in 6 months, how many of the people who did this challenge are still going to be donating to ALS (or whatever)? How many will even remember what ALS is?

But at the worst, it loses its ability to help.  A lot of worthy organizations have gotten into trouble because of the cause of the moment, where people donate because they really want to help, but they do not understand what exactly they are doing.

A good example of this is the Christmas Tsunami Fund with the Red Cross. So many people donated to that particular fund and then got upset when that money was being used to build hotels on the beach. They never took the time to learn that when you donate to a fund, it can only be used for that particular, very narrowly scoped, reason. So if a huge amount if donated, it must be used there. That is why donating to a general fund is always better.  Red Cross and MSF are great organizations that prefer you donate to their general funds. That way, they can move the money where it needs to go. Because while there are sometimes flashy disasters, more often there are the long term ones that don’t get the attention.

I am not saying to not donate. I am not saying to not get involved with viral causes.

I am saying to be educated about what you do and why you do it.

I am saying to be sustainable in your donation or cause.

I am saying to keep in mind it isn’t about you.

We are a community of people who want to help.  We want to help on a local level and on a national level.

That is part of what makes us who we are.

Be educated. Isn’t that one of the reasons we love PBS?

And always, Be More.


Holly Post: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

If your social media feeds seem all wet these days, it’s not your imagination.  People from Mark Zuckerberg to your local high school principal are participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, dousing themselves with cold water, donating money to a cause, and nominating friends and rivals to do the same.  

Critics claim this viral “slactivism” isn’t really effective, but the numbers tell a different story.  According to ALSA estimates, the Challenge has raised $31.5 million since late July, compared to $1.9 million in the same time period last year.  

This sort of viral fundraising may seem difficult to connect to results, but the truth is that times change, and fundraising must change with them.  Telethons, previously a major source of funding for ALS (and other worthy causes) are no longer effective, and are now seen as an antiquated form of beg-u-tainment.  I used to answer phones for the annual Labor Day MDA telethon, and a few years ago, I received a letter from them stating that my services were no longer needed.  They still valued my volunteerism, but they had moved away from the telethon concept.  

PBS is no stranger to fundraising.  For decades they have explored many avenues of bringing in money to finance exceptional programming.  (Full disclosure: I used to answer phones for PBS too.)  Maybe it’s time to consider viral stunts like this.  Would you get dunked for Downton Abbey or shiver for Sherlock?  

PBS is also participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge.  PBS president Paula Kerger got soaked with the help of Curious George and Daniel Striped Tiger and challenged the presidents of local PBS stations to join her.  Cookie Monster got a shower too, challenging Neil Patrick Harris and Kid President.  I’ve yet to be challenged, but I know people affected by ALS.  If challenged, I’m in.

Whether you get involved by getting wet or by quietly donating via a sustaining membership, the key is to get involved.  Diseases don’t cure themselves, and quality programming doesn’t just magically appear.  It takes money, effort, and support.  Are you an active participant in the causes that matter to you?  This is my challenge to you: find something that matters and do something to move the needle.  Whether it’s money, time, or a bucket of ice, if it affects change, do it.

Holly Post: Frankenstein, MD

PBS Digital Studios takes its first foray into scripted webseries today with Frankenstein, MD.  Formatted as a vlog, it follows modern day almost-Dr. Victoria Frankenstein (@vfrankmd) and her long-suffering assistant Iggy through some sketchy experiments as they attempt to achieve the impossible.  Think of it as Ban Bossy and Girls & STEM gone a bit wonky.  

The first three episodes are fun and fast-paced.  They have enough science to keep you interested, but not so much that you get utterly lost.  Think Futurama on DVD with the commentary turned on.  


Girls are getting their STEM on with much greater visibility of late. Lands’ End was recently pressured into introducing a line of science-themed T-shirts for girls after a frustrated mom’s letter went viral.   Even Lego is getting into the action with a Research Institute set populated exclusively by female minifigs—-and not a drop of pink in sight.  For the record, they have a pretty entertaining Twitter account too.  



I’m excited for this series, not just because it shows smart women learning from mistakes, but because this is a new direction for broadcasting.  PBS Digital Studios is committed to being at the forefront of a new frontier in entertainment.  This means that instead of waiting for viewers to come to them, they’re going where the viewers are.  Viewers like you.


Why I Love PBS Reason #131: Bones of the Buddha


Like most people, I did my teenage religious rebellion. One of the paths I explored was Buddhism. Tibetan, of course. One of my friends pointed out that every religion I explored was polytheistic. I never rebelled far enough to try monotheism.

I was never a really good Buddhist. The whole moderation thing doesn’t work well when you are a teenager.

But I have always liked the religion, or the philosophy at least.


One of the things I like is that it was started by a normal guy. Or as normal a guy as a prince can be.  I think that makes it approachable. If a normal guy can do that, than I can achieve great things too.

Starting my own religion hasn’t worked out well.  There are only two followers to Pientology.


A lot of times, I think that I will just fade away. That when I am gone, no one will remember me.  Most of the time, I am ok with that.




2500 years later, more people have heard of Buddha than pretty much any other figure.


It is a little funny that this guy who walked away from his palace is remembered in shrines and temples that are basically palaces.  He turned away from jewels, and one of his tombs is full of jewels.




Just goes to show.


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