Idaho Public Television Productions Win Two Regional Emmy Awards

In April, we announced that 14 Idaho Public Television productions were nominated for 2020 Northwest Regional Emmy Awards. This weekend we were thrilled to hear that two of those nominees placed first in their respective categories and were awarded Emmy statuettes.

The Outdoor Idaho episode Sawtooths on My Mind was awarded the Emmy for Informational/Instructional: Long-Form Content. IdahoPTV Passport members can view the episode online; here’s a preview.

“Sawtooths on My Mind” explores the attraction of this remarkable mountain range, from the point of view of people who are seeing it for the first time and folks who have worked for decades to preserve the unique flavor of the region. They all speak from the heart about one of Idaho’s truly inspiring landscapes.

The Outdoor Idaho episode Idaho’s 12ers was awarded the Emmy for Sports Program: Post-Produced or Edited. IdahoPTV Passport members can view the episode online; here’s a preview.

“Idaho’s 12ers” explores Idaho’s 12,000-foot mountain peaks and the Idahoans who cherish them, from close up and from afar. Some seek thrills, some seek records, some push themselves to the edge of physical and mental endurance. But for most Idaho climbers, simply standing on the top of Idaho’s tallest mountains is reward enough.

Congratulations to executive producer Bruce Reichert, producers Bill Manny and Lauren Melink, videographer Jay Krajic, and all the others who worked on these productions!

Online Event Explores Ohio Connection to Hemingway’s Years in Idaho

Ernest Hemingway never lived in Ohio, but an Ohio University alumnus lived in Idaho and became involved in the effort to preserve Hemingway’s legacy. Van Gordon Sauter, former president of CBS News and Fox News, will be part of a virtual screening and panel discussion hosted by Ohio’s WOUB Public Media, in partnership with Idaho Public Television.

The online event Ohio Connection to Hemingway in Idaho will take place Tuesday, June 29, at 5 PM Mountain/4 PM Pacific. Register here to join this free discussion.

Sauter will talk about his time as the head of a committee that was trying to find or become the manager/protector of the Hemingway House in Ketchum. Sauter also wrote a book about Sun Valley, where the home is located.

The panel will also feature Lynn Novick, who directed and produced the Hemingway documentary series with Ken Burns, which premiered on Idaho Public Television in April; Jenny Emery Davidson of the Community Library in Ketchum, which currently owns and manages the Hemingway House; and Gary Holcomb, an African American Studies professor at Ohio University, who published a critical collection called Teaching Hemingway and Race.

Those in attendance will see an excerpt from the PBS Hemingway documentary series, as well as an episode of IdahoPTV’s original series Idaho Experience that focuses on the extraordinary home Hemingway lived in during his time in Idaho. The panel will take questions from the virtual audience and discuss the life of Hemingway and the history of this home.

The Hemingway House in Ketchum and its associated 13.9 acres of land alongside the Big Wood River is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its association with the great writer and because it is an exquisite example of midcentury architecture. Hemingway worked on For Whom the Bell Tolls, Islands in the Stream and a memoir, A Moveable Feast, while in Idaho. However, it was a memoir he never finished. Hemingway committed suicide on July 2, 1961, at the Idaho home.

WOUB Community Engagement Manager Cheri Russo says, “We are thrilled to be able to hear from Van, Lynn, Jenny and Gary about their perspective on Hemingway and the way his Idaho home is being preserved for future generations and present-day writers who use the home for inspiration.”

Check Out the Winners of Our PBS KIDS Writers Contest!

For the 27th year, Idaho Public Television hosted the annual PBS KIDS Writers Contest. IdahoPTV’s three regional stations — KUID/Moscow, KISU/Pocatello, and KAID/Boise — encouraged children in kindergarten through third grade during the 2020-2021 school year to write and illustrate their own imaginative story.

IdahoPTV received 318 entries from students across Idaho. A team of volunteers judged the entries on creativity, originality, language skills and illustrations. Winners for each grade were chosen for each region of Idaho for a total of 34 winners. Winners will receive books, toys and a $100 contribution to an Ideal – Idaho College Savings Program account.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, no in-person awards ceremonies were held this year. On Saturday, May 22, virtual awards ceremonies were held online to celebrate the contest winners and their stories. The winning stories have been scanned and uploaded in full color onto the IdahoPTV website (

Read the winning entries online here.

Principal support for this year’s contest was provided by the F.M., Anne G. & Beverly B. Bistline Foundation in the Idaho Community Foundation and IDeal – Idaho College Savings Program.

General Manager Ron Pisaneschi to Retire

Idaho Public Television announced today that General Manager Ron Pisaneschi will retire on June 30, 2021, or as soon thereafter as a replacement can be named.

“After more than 35 years at Idaho Public Television and eight of those as general manager, I have decided to retire and let someone new lead the organization into an exciting future,” Pisaneschi said. “It has been the greatest privilege and joy to be part of the Idaho Public Television family and to lead this extraordinary organization. We have an amazing, talented and dedicated staff that I am honored to have had the chance to work with and lead.”

Pisaneschi has been part of Idaho Public Television since 1985, during which time he served as director of content, director of programming, director of public information, and director of marketing and development before taking on his current duties. He became general manager in August 2013. Pisaneschi is responsible for a staff of 70 full-time and more than 40 part-time employees and a $9+ million budget. Under his leadership, Idaho Public Television has been one of the most-watched and best supported PBS stations per capita in the nation.

Pisaneschi recalled some of the milestones and most successful achievements of his tenure. “I am proud of the successes we have had in recent years, including strong support from our viewers and donors and increasing viewership across multiple platforms. We have enhanced our local production offerings, including the launch of our newest ongoing production, Idaho Experience. We built a new education department that is having real impact on the lives of students, educators and families, especially during this pandemic year. And we have embraced new technologies and platforms to make sure that our content and services are available whenever and wherever viewers want them via services like the free PBS Video app, smart TVs, YouTube TV, live linear streaming on our website ( and more. I want to thank my family, my colleagues, our viewers and donors, the Friends of Idaho Public Television Board of Directors, the Idaho State Board of Education, and so many others for their support over the years. I know the future is bright for this wonderful organization.”

Two of Pisaneschi’s longtime colleagues reflected on his leadership and legacy. Jeff Tucker, director of content at Idaho Public Television, said, “Ron’s time in the PBS and public media system has really benefitted not just Idaho Public Television but public media nationwide. His work here in Idaho has been strong and his compassion shows. What he’s managed to achieve over his eight years as general manager and over three decades with IdahoPTV is remarkable. His influence and expertise will be greatly missed.”

Bruce Reichert, Idaho Public Television executive producer, added, “I’ve worked with Ron for three decades. He’s been a steady, caring administrator and a stalwart supporter of our locally grown productions. He’s represented the agency well, especially when certain advocacy groups were willing to bend the truth to make a point. And he’s warned PBS officials back east that they need to do a better job listening to the concerns of rural states like Idaho. Ron has moved the needle, and Idaho is the better for it.”

Douglas Balfour, president of the Friends of Idaho Public Television, sent congratulations on behalf of the nonprofit that helps IdahoPTV publicize its services and secure financial support. “The Friends of Idaho Public Television congratulate Ron Pisaneschi on his retirement. Under his management, IdahoPTV has continued to provide amazing national shows and brilliant original productions. No wonder IdahoPTV is recognized as being among the best public television stations in the nation. With his leadership, IdahoPTV has focused on the wonderful people and places we have in the Gem State, with local productions like Idaho Reports, Outdoor Idaho and Idaho Experience. Ron will be missed, but we will carry on in the tradition he established.”

Debbie Critchfield, Idaho State Board of Education member, said, “The commitment and work ethic of Ron Pisaneschi is the reason Idaho Public Television has the state and national status that it does. It’s because of his leadership and absolute belief in quality programming that we have had a public television system that reflected the needs and values of Idaho. We acknowledge his efforts and thank him for his dedication.”

The Idaho State Board of Education, which oversees the operation of Idaho Public Television, will form a committee to conduct a nationwide search for Pisaneschi’s replacement. For more details on the replacement process, contact Mike Keckler, chief communications and legislative affairs officer at the Idaho State Board of Education:

‘Summer of Learning’ Makes Education Fun!

Join us May 31 through Aug. 20 for our “Summer of Learning,” a summer lineup of educational programs on our CREATE Channel, available free over the air and through some cable and satellite providers.

Beginning Monday, May 31, at 9 a.m., Camp TV brings the summer camp experience to kids in their living room. Broadway performer Zachary Noah Piser plays the head counselor who guides campers as they learn through play. Each episode features a hands-on activity kids can do at home. Additional activities and resources are available at

Following “Camp TV,” the fun and engaging series Let’s Learn offers two hours of exploration beginning at 10 a.m. This series helps build foundational skills that are critical for kids, using interactive lessons and virtual field trips. Additional support materials for this awesome new series are at

After “Let’s Learn,” older kids can watch the documentary series Eyes on the Prize each day at noon. In 14 episodes, “Eyes on the Prize” recounts the fight to end decades of discrimination and segregation. It is the story of the people who, compelled by a meeting of conscience and circumstance, worked to eradicate a world where Whites and Blacks could not go to the same school, ride the same bus, or participate equally in society.

Then, beginning at 8 a.m. on July 19 and running through Aug. 20, students preparing to enter grades K-6 can tune in for Classroom Idaho: Boot Camp. This locally produced series features educators from across Idaho teaching students everything they need to know to be ready for the upcoming school year. Additionally, English language learning (ELL) courses will air on Mondays and Fridays at 10:30 a.m. For more information and an up-to date-schedule of Classroom Idaho programs visit

Bid on Uniquely Idaho Items in Our Online Auction

Get ready to bid on some uniquely Idaho items and adventures in our second “Experiencing Idaho” online auction (June 1 – 13).

During the auction, you can bid on original art from Idaho artists, wine events, fly-fishing adventures and other uniquely Idaho experiences, all while supporting Idaho Public Television. Bidding will open on Tuesday, June 1, at 12:00 A.M. MST and close on Sunday, June 13, at 9:00 P.M. MST.

All funds raised will go to support Idaho Public Television in fulfilling our mission of harnessing the power of public media to encourage lifelong learning, connecting our communities, and enriching the lives of all Idahoans.

Everyone is welcome to browse the items available for auction. If you see items you’re excited to bid on, create an account now and then begin your bidding on June 1.

If you don’t find an item you’re excited about, you can still support the educational mission of Idaho Public Television by making a donation.

Local Productions Find Empowerment With Women Hunters, Celebrate Idaho Statehouse

Two new productions from Idaho Public Television feature female hunters from across the state and celebrate the 100-year history of the Idaho State Capitol.

“Women Who Hunt” on Outdoor Idaho

It’s the taste for meat and a thirst for adventure that drives hunters to dedicate early mornings and dusky evenings to the pursuit of an animal. From elk to pheasant, deer to chukar, hunting is in the genetic makeup of Idaho, both historically and culturally.

The Outdoor Idaho crew hikes along a snowy ridge, scrambles across rocks, and learns how to train bird dogs and track animals as they follow along on the journey of Idaho’s Women Who Hunt. The show airs Thursday, May 13, at 8 PM and Sunday, May 16, at 7 PM. Viewers can stream the program for free beginning Thursday, May 6, through the PBS Video app on their favorite device or online at

“These hunters are truly passionate about the outdoors,” producer Lauren Melink says. “It’s been fascinating to better understand just why hunters love to hunt. For these women who hunt, it’s not just about getting an animal; it’s much more than that, and this show really tells that story.”

Women Who Hunt features hunters from across the state, each with her own motivation for hunting, while unraveling the historical significance of females moving from indoor roles into the outdoors.

“Capitol of Light Turns 100” on Idaho Experience

Capitol of Light Turns 100 on Idaho Experience documents 100 years of the Idaho State Capitol, from its design and construction through its most recent renovation and expansion.  The original architects, John E. Tourtellotte and Charles Hummel, worked together to imagine and deliver a “Capitol for the Ages” at a time when most of the actual construction was done completely by hand, hammer, and horse power.

Through archived materials, photographs, interviews and reenactments, Capitol of Light Turns 100 tells the story of this grand building and its builders. The program airs Thursday, May 13, at 8:30 PM and repeats Sunday, May 16, at 7:30 PM. Viewers can stream the program for free beginning Thursday, May 6, through the PBS Video app or online at The program also digs into the remodel that took place from 2007 through 2010. Cameras capture the painstaking process of restoration and the construction of new underground wings that allowed expansion without destroying the original footprint of the Capitol grounds. Capitol of Light Turns 100 celebrates a century as Idaho’s symbol of democracy and freedom.

IdahoPTV Productions Honored With Idaho Press Club Awards

The Idaho Press Club has announced its “Best of 2020” awards. Here are the Idaho Public Television productions and production team members honored by these annual awards.


Videographer of the Year – Jay Krajic – Outdoor Idaho


Outdoor/Environmental Reporting             

First place – Bill Manny, Jay Krajic – Outdoor Idaho: Idaho’s 12ers

Third place – Joan Cartan-Hansen, Al Hagenlock, Cassandra Groll, Jenessa Carson, Eric Westrom – Science Trek: Climate: Climate Change

Arts and Entertainment Reporting

First place – Forrest Burger – Idaho Experience: Drive-Ins

Second place – Marcia Franklin, Andy Lawless, Jay Krajic, Eric Westrom – Idaho Experience: Limberlost Press

Serious Feature

Honorable Mention – Aaron Kunz, Marv Hagadorn – Memorial Day

Television Writing – Program-length

First place – Forrest Burger – Outdoor Idaho: Barns of Idaho

Second Place – Jennie Sue Weltner – Idaho Experience: Ahead of Her Time

Third Place – Lauren Melink – Outdoor Idaho: Urban Wildlife

Television Writing – Single Story

First place – Marcia Franklin – Idaho Experience: Limberlost Press

Education Reporting

Second place – Andy Lawless, Tammy Scardino, Hank Nystrom – American Graduate: Explore COSSA

Election Reporting

Second place – Melissa Davlin, Troy Shreve, Devon Downey, Logan Finney – Idaho Reports: Applying Lessons Learned

Government/Political Reporting 

First place – Andy Lawless – American Graduate: Workforce Development Council Youth Apprenticeship Initiative


First place – Forrest Burger, Aaron Kunz – Idaho Experience: Through Youthful Eyes

Second place – Jennie Sue Weltner, Marcia Franklin, Andy Lawless – Idaho Experience: Ahead of Her Time

Third place – Bill Manny, Eric Westrom – Idaho’s Experience: Idaho Constitution Revealed

TV Graphics

First place – Cassandra Groll – Science Trek

Public Affairs- Studio

Third place – Melissa Davlin, Troy Shreve, Devon Downey, Logan Finney – Idaho Reports: Extraordinary Special Session

Public Affairs – Field

First place – Kris Millgate, Jay Krajic – Outdoor Idaho: Trailblazers

Second place – Jay Krajic, Bill Many, Bruce Reichert, Lauren Melink, Forrest Burger, Peter Morrill, Pat Metzler, Troy Shreve, Sauni Symonds, Terry ‘Mule’ Lee – Outdoor Idaho: Sawtooths On My Mind

Third place – Lauren Melink, Bruce Reichert, Aaron Kunz – Outdoor Idaho: Urban Wildlife

Videography – Program-length

First place – Jay Krajic – Outdoor Idaho: Jay Krajic composite

Second place – Forrest Burger – Outdoor Idaho: Barns of Idaho


Online-only Video Program – General

First place – Marcia Franklin, Dave Butler – The 180: Jonathan Amissa

Third place – Marcia Franklin, Jay Krajic – The 180: Howard Olivier

Best Website-General: Television

Second place – Stephanie Dickey, Cassy Rider – Idaho Public Television website

Best Website-Special Purpose

First place – Stephanie Dickey, Cassy Rider, Joan Cartan-Hansen, Janna DeLange – Science Trek

Best Audience Engagement

Third place – Lauren Melink, Aaron Kunz – Outdoor Idaho: Urban Wildlife


Election Report

Third place – Melissa Davlin – Idaho Reports Blog

Online Events Raise Mental Health Awareness, Celebrate Idaho Statehouse

Join Idaho Public Television in May for these two online events that raise awareness of mental health resources and celebrate the 100-year history of the Idaho State Capitol.

“Resilient Idaho” Mental Health Awareness Panel Discussion – Tuesday, May 4

Join us Tuesday, May 4, at 6/5 PM MT/PT for a special online presentation of the documentary Resilient Idaho: Hope Lives Here, followed by a live panel discussion on mental health awareness. Panelists include Dr. Julie Wood, medical director of Optum Idaho; Christina Cernansky, president of NAMI Idaho; and Amber Leyba-Castle, NAMI Idaho young and well coordinator. The evening will be hosted by Nicole Sanchez, writer, narrator, and one of the producers of Resilient Idaho: Hope Lives Here.

Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions during the event via chat.

The event is free to attend but registration is required. Register to attend here.

The documentary Resilient Idaho: Hope Lives Here looks into the latest research regarding ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and how ACES affect people here in Idaho. Most importantly, the film explores resilience, which could be considered an antidote to ACEs. Child abuse, neglect and growing up in a seriously dysfunctional household are all ACEs; left unresolved or untreated, these experiences can create childhood trauma and toxic stress that can last a lifetime. Research shows that at least five of the ten leading causes of death, such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, can be rooted in ACEs. They can even shorten a person’s lifespan by up to 20 years. In the documentary, community health experts uncover what makes people resilient and share powerful stories of how people have overcome tragedies. Data show that ACEs don’t have to be predictive, and resilience can help people bounce forward after trauma and tragedy.

“Capitol of Light Turns 100” Watch Party & Panel Discussion – Wednesday, May 12

The upcoming Idaho Experience film Capitol of Light Turns 100 celebrates a century of Idaho’s Statehouse as a symbol of democracy and freedom. This program explores its history from design and construction through its most recent renovation and expansion.

Join us online Wednesday, May 12, at 6/5 PM MT/PT for a preview of the documentary followed by a panel discussion with Dan Everhart, outreach historian at the Idaho State Historic Preservation Office; John Maulin, executive vice president of CSHQA; Ed Daniels, principal architect at Hummel Architects; Royce Williams, co-creator of the Idaho Public Television series Outdoor Idaho and Idaho Centennial history series producer/scriptwriter; and moderator Alison Espindola, events and rentals coordinator at the Idaho State Museum.

The discussion will explore what it took to bring this program together, why it is important to tell the history of “the people’s house,” and how the community worked together to deliver a restoration that expanded the building while maintaining the character of this Idaho treasure. 

Register early for this free virtual event; space is limited to the first 500 registrants. Reserve your space here. This free virtual event is presented in partnership with the Idaho State Historical Society.

The Idaho Experience documentary Capitol of Light Turns 100 documents 100 years of the Idaho State Capitol, from its design and construction through its most recent renovation and expansion. The original architects, John E. Tourtellotte and Charles Hummel, worked together to imagine and deliver a “Capitol for the Ages” at a time when most of the actual construction was done completely by hand, hammer, and horse power. The program also digs into the remodel that took place from 2007 through 2010. Cameras capture the painstaking process of restoration and the construction of new underground wings that allowed expansion without destroying the original footprint of the Capitol grounds.

New Series ‘Donkey Hodie’ Premieres May 3

Donkey Hodie, a vibrant new puppet series inspired by Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, empowers young viewers to dream big, be resourceful and persevere to realize their goals. The show premieres Monday, May 3, at 9:30 AM & 1:30 PM on our IDAHO Channel (see below for a full list of air times).

Set in the whimsical land of Someplace Else, created by Fred Rogers on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the imaginative social-emotional series for children ages 3-5 centers on the adventures of Donkey Hodie, an enthusiastic, “can-do” yellow donkey with a bright magenta mane. Joining in on her adventures are her pals: Purple Panda, her loyal and empathetic best friend who wears his big heart on his sleeve; Duck Duck, a practical, quick-witted young mallard who loves to figure things out; and Bob Dog, an energetic and eager canine who is always ready to boogie to music or fetch a ball.

In Someplace Else, everyone’s big dreams are possible — whether it’s Purple Panda finding the end of the Golden Rainbow, Duck Duck planning a Book-A-Palooza Festival or Bob Dog playing the largest kickball game in history. Episodes include catchy songs that reinforce the stories’ positive messages and fun adventures.

This Donkey Hodie is the granddaughter of the original Donkey Hodie character from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (now known as “Grampy Hodie”). The original puppet appeared in 59 episodes of the beloved children’s series. Inspired by the quirky, funny side of Fred Rogers, Donkey Hodie furthers Rogers’ mission of helping young viewers navigate the challenges of childhood.

The series premieres on our main broadcast channel, the IDAHO Channel, on Monday, May 3, with two episodes at 9:30 & 10 AM and again at 1:30 & 2 PM. The show continues throughout the week at its regularly scheduled times on the IDAHO Channel: each Monday through Friday at 9:30 AM & 1:30 PM and each Sunday at 8 AM. The show also airs on our IDAHO PBS KIDS Channel, with a two-episode premiere on Monday, May 3, at 4 & 4:30 PM. It continues throughout the week at its regularly scheduled times on the IDAHO PBS KIDS Channel, each Monday through Friday at 4 PM and each Saturday and Sunday at 9 AM.

Digital content for kids, parents and teachers will launch in tandem with the series. Games will be available on and on the free PBS KIDS Games app, along with clips and full episodes streaming across PBS KIDS’ video platforms, including the free PBS KIDS Video app. Parent resources, such as tips and hands-on activities to extend the learning at home, will be available on PBS KIDS for Parents, and PBS LearningMedia will offer classroom-ready materials for teachers, including video excerpts, games, teaching tips and printable activities.