‘Idaho Reports’ Special Examines COVID Crisis Standards of Care

Idaho Reports is airing a third special on Idaho’s hospital crisis, focusing on the ripple effects of Crisis Standards of Care. See how the surge in COVID patients is affecting the emergency department and other aspects of patient care at Saint Alphonsus Health System, and get a glimpse behind the scenes on the coordination it takes to find hospital beds for rural patients across Idaho.

The special report Idaho Reports: A Statewide Disaster airs Friday, Sept. 24, at 8 PM on Idaho Public Television. 

The first two special reports in this series, Hospitals in Crisis and The Consequences of Crisis Care can be streamed online or through the PBS Video app.

[Canceled] ‘Idaho Reports’ Team to Appear at Storyfort

[Our Idaho Reports team made the difficult decision to cancel our Sept. 24 Storyfort event. While our panel was scheduled at an outdoor venue, and Treefort organizers are requiring either proof of vaccination or a recent negative test to attend, we are concerned about sending the wrong message if we were to participate in a festival that draws thousands of people to downtown Boise, as we continue to cover the implications of statewide crisis standards of care. We want to thank the Storyfort and Treefort organizers for their understanding, as well as their efforts to conduct a safe event.]

Support IdahoPTV and Get Tickets to See ‘Straight No Chaser’ in Boise

Anywhere in the world they appear, the dapper a cappella vocalists known as Straight No Chaser walk across the stage and immediately brings audiences to their feet. They do so with nothing more than microphones, ear-to-ear grins, witty banter, and an uncanny ability to belt out holiday staples, R & B smooth jams, and stadium anthems carried by style, swagger and spirit.

Tune in for the broadcast special Straight No Chaser: Songs of the Decades on Friday, Sept. 24, at 9 PM on Idaho Public Television and hear about how you can donate for tickets to see Straight No Chaser LIVE in Boise in March 2022.

More information about the live show and how to donate for tickets can be found here: idahoptv.wedid.it/campaigns/9595-straight-no-chaser-tickets.

‘Idaho Utopia’ Reveals the Unique History of New Plymouth

At first glance, New Plymouth, Idaho, looks like any small town. But from the air, New Plymouth reveals its unique place in history. As far as anyone knows, it’s the world’s only horseshoe-shaped town.

The New Plymouth Colony was founded in the 1890s by members of the National Irrigation Congress in Chicago, who were looking for somewhere to test the premise that small, productive irrigated farms could be arranged to let farmers work their land while living close to church, school and neighbors.

The shape was part of that plan. The horseshoe included boulevards on either side of a U-shaped park one mile long, which separates inner and outer rows of houses. Each “colonist” got one of these “home acres.” Farmland radiated out from the horseshoe, with churches, businesses and a village hall inside the ring.

“This is a surprising story, because no one expects a town with utopian roots or in the shape of a horseshoe,” says producer Bill Manny. “Every small town has a story to tell, but few have origin stories as compelling as New Plymouth’s.”

Idaho Utopia: The New Plymouth Colony on Idaho Experience airs Thursday, Sept. 23, at 8:30 PM and again on Sunday, Sept. 26, at 7:30 PM. IdahoPTV Passport members can stream it early beginning Thursday, Sept. 16.

Major funding for Idaho Experience is provided by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Anne Voillequé and Louise Nelson, Judy and Steve Meyer, the Richard K. and Shirley S. Hemingway Foundation, the Friends of Idaho Public Television, the Idaho Public Television Endowment, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Use Geocaching to Find ‘Science Trek’ Trinkets Hidden in Idaho State Parks

Geocachers use satellites to help them find hidden stores of goodies and trinkets. It’s a chance for people to get out and explore their neighborhood and even the world.

Idaho Public Television’s local production Science Trek and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation have teamed up to make your geocaching adventure even more fun. We’ve placed Science Trek swag in five Idaho state parks.

Check out the 360-degree immersive video “Geocaching: Ins and Outs” on the Science Trek YouTube page to learn how geocaching works with satellites to help people find treasure. Then, download the geocaching app on your phone and head to one of these Idaho state parks: Eagle Island, Farragut, Massacre Rocks, Round Lake and Winchester Lake. Check with the park rangers for hints and help.

Not every cache in every park has Science Trek goodies, but if you are lucky enough to find one, send an email to the address listed on the sticker or card found along with the item. Include a picture of your find and you’ll be entered into our contest to win a Science Trek mug and bragging rights on a special on-air promo. The contest ends in November.

If you have any questions about satellites, geocaching or the contest, check out the link on the Science Trek website.

To find out more about geocaching, visit the game’s official site: geocaching.com/play.

Jeff Tucker Appointed IdahoPTV General Manager

On August 26, the Idaho State Board of Education approved the appointment of Jeff Tucker as Idaho Public Television’s fourth general manager. Tucker — who has worked for IdahoPTV as a videographer, producer/director, production manager and, most recently, as director of content — replaces GM Ron Pisaneschi, who retired earlier this year.

Tucker’s career with IdahoPTV began in 1983, when he was still a high school student. He worked that legislative season with the Idaho Reports team covering politics at the Idaho State Capitol. “What an amazing time for a senior in high school! I got to learn how to use broadcast cameras, capture debates on the House floor, experience how our state functions and how journalists reported it,” he says.

While attending college at the University of Idaho, Tucker worked on the IdahoPTV production Outdoor Idaho and had opportunities to travel the state, capturing outdoor footage for the fledgling series.

In 1987 he began his first full-time job with the organization as director/videographer/editor for The History of Idaho, a series of 13 hour-long documentaries created for Idaho’s state centennial. He traveled and filmed at locations throughout the state, allowing him to see what he calls “the heart and culture of our remarkable state.”

“All of this work taught me so much more about the state than just journalism and the outdoors,” Tucker says. “It taught me why people are proud to call themselves Idahoans. That has a lot to do with making a living, remembering history, educating families, preserving the farm or a local business for kids to take over, and our independent rural lifestyle.”

Preserving a Legacy of Trust

In 1993 Tucker left to start his own video production company and for nearly a decade worked in the private sector. But he never forgot the meaning and mission of public media. Commercial broadcasters, by their nature, are motivated to preserve advertising dollars, but public television has always strived to present multiple viewpoints, even those that might be unpopular, he says. “Public television was and still is the best, most centered and trusted media that we have in the United States. Argue as one might that the right or left commercial media is center, surveys comparing public TV to others — like the yearly PBS trust survey — show who the public really trusts. In today’s media landscape, which can be full of angry voices and sometimes outright lies, this is the time and place for public television to shine.”

How exactly does public media shine? By offering a more balanced and thoughtful approach, says Tucker. “I’ve always liked the saying ‘We provide the light, not the heat.’ Public television shows people how the world operates. It stands back and reports, while taking deep dives into why. We present diverse views so that people can learn and decide for themselves. We seek to elevate the conversation and keep it on a higher plane. Viewers may not always like what they see but at least they can view the world as it is.”

A Focus on Idaho Communities

Idaho Public Television understands the importance of offering local productions that focus on the people and places that make Idaho special, Tucker says. “Whether it’s history and Idaho Experience or the great outdoors and Outdoor Idaho, we try to ask and answer what it means to be an Idahoan. We are the only statewide media outlet producing ongoing series focusing on Idaho. And it’s not just the two big ongoing series. Just as important are our local productions Science Trek, The 180, Idaho Reports, Dialogue and other special productions like our recent documentary on adverse childhood experiences in Idaho. Our production team knows this state.”

IdahoPTV’s service to local communities is not limited to on-air programming either. According to Tucker, the station has expanded its education department to focus its outreach efforts on supporting teachers, families and communities throughout Idaho. “From training Idaho schoolteachers to better utilize technology in their classrooms, to assisting parents in preparing their kids for school, to leading story times and fun preschool activities in rural libraries, our education team will continue to make a difference in Idaho communities.”

“All of this is done through a statewide public-private partnership which is worth supporting,” says Tucker. “Private donations, foundations, businesses from around the state enthusiastically support our programming and education services through the Friends of Idaho Public Television. And to complete the cycle, the State of Idaho supports the state agency and our infrastructure and content delivery equipment, and microwaves and transmitters that get the programs to most households in the state. It’s not an easy task but our partnership makes it happen.

“We’re all proud of where we live,” Tucker says, “and at IdahoPTV we allow Idahoans to see Idaho as it is.”

APT and PBS Partnership Brings More Programming to IdahoPTV Passport

American Public Television (APT) and PBS have formed a partnership to make nearly 3,000 episodes of content from the APT catalog accessible to stream on IdahoPTV Passport, a member-benefit streaming service available to supporters of Idaho Public Television. Passport content can be streamed online at video.idahoptv.org or through the free PBS Video app on most connected devices including app-enabled TVs, tablets and phones.

The new content consists of stand-alone specials and recent seasons of longstanding APT series including Rick Steves’ Europe, The Best of the Joy of Painting With Bob Ross and the international drama The Indian Doctor. APT plans to release 300-500 episodes into Passport every quarter over the next 18 months (see schedule below).

Beginning September 1, 2021, local PBS station members with Passport will be able to stream episodes of popular cooking series including America’s Test Kitchen From Cook’s Illustrated, Cook’s Country, Simply Ming, Pati’s Mexican Table, Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Television and Lidia’s Kitchen; military and history documentary films; the drama series Packed to the Rafters; and travel series including Real Rail Adventures, Rick Steves’ Best of the Alps and Rick Steves’ Europe Awaits.

Expected future releases — which include additional food and travel titles, home and gardening series, documentary specials, public affairs programming, as well as drama and concert performances — are planned for late November 2021, March 2022, June 2022, August 2022, late November 2022 and March 2023.

“We are pleased to partner with PBS and share the wealth of the APT catalog, presenting current favorite series and episodes that will greatly expand the current Passport offerings through early 2023, and beyond,” says Cynthia Fenneman, President and CEO of APT. “These programs demonstrate the wide range of topics and genres APT has distributed to stations since 1961. We celebrate APT’s 60th anniversary this year and contribute to the future of public media by providing enriching digital content.”

“As the digital landscape continues to evolve, PBS is committed to providing a best-in-class user experience to our viewers through the expansion of both our content offerings and available platforms,” said PBS Chief Digital and Marketing Officer Ira Rubenstein. “Through our partnership with APT, PBS platforms will have an additional 3,000 locally and nationally distributed titles available in PBS Passport, allowing us to provide audiences with greater access to quality programming that is produced or distributed by our member stations and independent producers.”

About American Public Television
American Public Television (APT) is the leading syndicator of high-quality, top-rated programming to the nation’s public television stations. Founded in 1961, APT distributes 250 new program titles per year and more than one-third of the top 100 highest-rated public television titles in the U.S. APT’s diverse catalog includes prominent documentaries, performance, dramas, how-to programs, classic movies, children’s series and news and current affairs programs. To find out more about APT’s programs and services, visit APTonline.org.

About PBS
PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 120 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices.

About Idaho Public Television
An entity of the Idaho State Board of Education, Idaho Public Television is a statewide multimedia network with transmitters and translator stations that reach nearly 100 percent of all Idaho households with free over-the-air broadcast signals. IdahoPTV broadcasts across five digital channels through five full-power transmitters (KAID, Boise; KCDT, Coeur d’Alene; KIPT, Twin Falls; KISU, Pocatello; and KUID, Moscow) and offers streaming content and educational resources through its website: idahoptv.org. IdahoPTV is among the most-watched PBS affiliate networks per capita in the United States. The mission of Idaho Public Television is to “harness the power of public media to encourage lifelong learning, connect our communities, and enrich the lives of all Idahoans. We tell Idaho’s stories.”

‘Tech Talk Tuesdays’ Offer Weekly Technology Topics for Teachers

Join Idaho Public Television and MontanaPBS for another season of Tech Talk Tuesday, a weekly online discussion for teachers about implementing technology in the classroom. The virtual discussions are hosted by Kari Wardle and Nikki Vradenburg, public media educators who are tech nerds and former classroom teachers!

This season (Sept. 7, 2021 through April 26, 2022), Tech Talk Tuesday begins each month by announcing an overarching theme (see below). Then each Tuesday, videos will be released on the Tech Talk website (idahoptv.org/techtalk) featuring national experts along with teachers from Idaho and Montana sharing strategies, tips and tricks, and real-world solutions for integrating technology into the classroom and online learning environments. This is NOT another boring webinar! Tech Talk Tuesdays are all about teachers discussing practical tips for overcoming challenges and mastering technology!

“MontanaPBS is thrilled to collaborate with Idaho Public Television to host Tech Talk Tuesday for teachers in both of our states,” says Nikki Vradenburg, director of education at MontanaPBS. “The conversations are sure to be packed with great, just-in-time information for teachers as they implement media and technology with students. This is a rich opportunity for teachers in Montana and Idaho to share and learn together, proving that in public media we are better together!”

Kari Wardle, education manager at Idaho Public Television, adds, “I am excited to partner with MontanaPBS to facilitate Tech Talk Tuesday. We recognize that teachers are being inundated with distance-learning and remote-teaching resources, so we hope that each Tech Talk will provide teachers with the WHY and the HOW for using those resources. Additionally, we are proud to elevate the voice of innovative teachers from both of our states and showcase the amazing things they are doing. We hope educators will return to view new installments each Tuesday beginning Sept. 7. They won’t be disappointed.”

September Topic: “Technology Integration”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers are using digital learning tools now more than ever to support students to be creative and collaborate with one another. We learned so much during the 2020-21 school year about how digital tools should and should not be used, when to pick them up and when to put them down, but most of all we learned that high-quality technology integration is just as important now as it ever was. Join Montana PBS and Idaho Public Television for this series about how technology and digital tools can continue to successfully support student learning.

Week 1 video (released Tuesday, Sept. 7): 2021 School Year: Is technology still in your toolbox? Making the case for digital learning

The COVID-19 pandemic forced teachers and students to use digital tools for learning and communicating more than ever before, and many schools have more access to technology than they did before the pandemic. And while the pandemic may not be over, we know there may be fewer students learning at home this year depending on the county they are in. What does this mean for digital learning this new school year? How will teachers continue to use technology to engage students? What practices are worth holding onto and which ones are we happy to let go? Technology Integration Specialist Mekca Wallace-Spurgin will share her research about strategies for getting the most out of digital learning with students and the importance of sound technology integration practices.

Find this video on Sept. 7 and additional weekly videos on the Tech Talk website (idahoptv.org/techtalk).

Local Filmmaker Follows Salmon Migration From ‘Ocean to Idaho’

Salmon swim 850 miles from the Pacific Ocean to their spawning grounds in Idaho. Outdoor journalist Kris Millgate documents this epic journey in Ocean to Idaho, premiering Tuesday, Aug. 31, at 8 PM on Idaho Public Television.

Millgate, based in Idaho Falls, followed salmon migration on a solo trek from Oregon’s coast through Washington’s fields to Idaho’s wilderness during the pandemic. She documented the helps and hurdles these diminishing fish face as they migrate home to turn their crib into their grave.

See every mile of the remarkable journey and hear the wide range of perspectives involved in the salmon saga that’s currently challenging the Pacific Northwest. From farmers and fishers to dam builders and dam breakers, this half-hour special swims against the current through four rivers across three states with dying but resilient wildlife.

What happened in front of Millgate’s cameras appears in the film. What happened behind Millgate’s cameras is revealed in her most recent book, My Place Among Fish. As a companion to the film, the book reveals the story of how one woman chased salmon migration from the ocean to Idaho. And, just like the fish, she fell apart along the way.

“Broken camera, bruises, stitches and skin cancer. I wasn’t expecting any of that. I was as worn out as the fish by the time we made it to mile 850,” says Millgate, a journalist for 25 years. “I collected 25 hours of footage then had to cut that down to a 26-minute show. It was like trying to shove the stepsister’s foot into Cinderella’s slipper because every salmon shot is astounding.”

For more information visit oceantoidaho.com.

Is the Promise of a Lifelong Career Path Still the Future of Work?

Since early 2020, the world has been rocked by three simultaneous crises: a global pandemic, ensuing economic disruptions, and a reckoning with long-existing racial inequities. Unemployment in the United States rose to a rate not seen in more than a century.

A majority of Americans now report economic distress and concern about the future certainty of stable employment. The usual ladders to security — education, hard work, and a lifelong career path — appear to have broken down. 

These realities are not distributed equally. Service workers, disproportionately people of color and recent immigrants, have been hit hardest by the pandemic and the ensuing economic hardships. Meanwhile, many high-earning white-collar workers have stayed employed virtually.

With education becoming virtual, debates about the value of traditional post-secondary schooling and vocational/technical career training programs are fueling discussions about how best to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow.

The three-part series FUTURE OF WORK (airing Wednesdays, Sept. 1, 8 & 15, at 9 PM) on Idaho Public Television) explores how America can preserve opportunities for work that sustains families, communities and the nation while preparing workers for careers of the future.


In addition to illuminating the ongoing drivers for disruptions to the world of work — AI, robotics, platform technology, globalization, labor practices — the pandemic has been a driver of change. Unemployment flipped from the lowest rate in 50 years to the highest in a century.


Front-line and service workers have borne the health consequences of the pandemic, increasing racial and economic disparities. Certain robotic and AI applications are accelerating as the value of human workers is further questioned. Determining the likely areas of job growth and training needs is difficult. Post-secondary education has become more virtual and its costs more controversial.


Companies rethink the need to even have offices, and the traditional 40-hour workweek is losing relevance. Many companies are adopting the remote work model, spawned by the pandemic, as their new normal. The sense of precariousness and fear increases for many. Does the nation need new policies of Guaranteed Basic Income (UBI) or a drastic rethinking of social safety nets?