Meet the Staff Mondays – Andy Lawless

We thought our readers/viewers might like to learn about some of the folks that work at IdahoPTV. Because there are so many people who work behind the scenes, you may have seen some of them, or maybe only heard about them. Today we would like to introduce Director/Videographer Andy Lawless.

IdahoPTV’s Carol Beres chatted with Andy, who also produces for the station. “I started in 2014, working with Marcia (Franklin) on Dialogue. And that was kind of a part-time thing for a few years. I did a little bit of Outdoor Idaho. And then, American Graduate: Getting to Work came along. So they hired me full-time to manage all of that content. So I produced all of the American Graduate pieces.” Those are short programs that “…illuminate pathways to post-secondary education.”

Andy was born in Georgia, but grew up in Idaho. “My family moved out here in the ‘70s so that my dad could distribute Schlitz Beer…which was going bankrupt at the time.” Andy attended college at Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts, in Santa Maria, California. “I studied theater down there and then I kind of roamed around a little bit…I started out really wanting to be an actor. And I soon realized that my interests were more in storytelling, camera work and film work. I figured acting is a good background to play any role,” Andy laughs. “When I worked in San Francisco, I started out sweeping stages, basically. And then I just watched what other people were doing and learned how to build sets, learned how to paint and then I started working with the camera department, learning how to load cameras. Slowly but surely, I learned how to be a photographer,” Andy remembers. “I ended up…working for a company called Colossal Pictures that did MTV interstitials (short programs), Pillsbury Doughboy commercials, special effects for Top Gun and The Right Stuff, Bram Stoker’s Dracula. And then I spent about a year being a camera guy for James and the Giant Peach.” That particular movie is stop motion animation, and Andy says, “you could start a shot in July and finish it around Thanksgiving…thirty seconds of film.” Then he found work in a galaxy far, far away. “I did a stint on Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace. Then I traveled to Indonesia and eventually found my way back to Boise.”

While he will do free-lance work occasionally, coming to Idaho Public Television has given him another way to tell stories. “It was an opportunity to collaborate. I’m a fan of the long-form stories that we get to tell. Idaho Experience and Outdoor Idaho are great avenues for that. And with the American Graduate series, they gave me a lot of freedom to go out and find the stories and tell them on my own, which was great.”

Andy plies the waters in his free time. “I’m into boating. I have a small Laser dinghy. It’s 14 feet. They’re very fast. It’s like a go-kart on the water. I take it up to Lucky Peak or Lake Alturas. I have a buddy in Seattle who has a ‘real’ boat. I go over there when I’ve got time and go sailing with him. We spent time in Indonesia together. We have a love of boats. That and cycling.” And when it comes to his favorite places in Idaho, it’s hard to pin him down. “The whole state is beautiful. I love Sandpoint. I love Stanley. My wife’s family has a place down on the Snake River, down near Hagerman. That’s beautiful,” Andy says. “The Thousand Springs area is gorgeous…you see the springs come down off the cliffs, beautiful water and you can paddle around if you’re into that sort of thing.” And a cute monkey is Andy’s go-to for favorite PBS Kids character. “I’ve always been a fan of Curious George. I like the trouble he gets into. I can relate.” When it comes to a favorite snack, he goes with an American favorite. “I like peanuts. It’s probably because I’m from Georgia originally. Me and Jimmy Carter. We like our peanuts.” 

Meet the Staff Mondays – Janna DeLange

We thought our readers/viewers might like to learn about some of the folks that work at IdahoPTV. Because there are so many people who work behind the scenes, you may have seen some of them, or maybe only heard about them. Today we would like to introduce Janna DeLange, IdahoPTV’s web content researcher and writer for our Science Trek website.

IdahoPTV’s Carol Beres chatted with Janna. “I do research and writing for the Science Trek website to accompany the Science Trek videos that Joan Cartan-Hansen does…The idea is to help make science content more accessible for both kids and teachers, with the goal to spark excitement and engagement and further investigation on the part of young people.”

Originally from Walnut Creek, California, Janna attended BYU and earned her bachelor’s degree in education. Then she went to the University of Washington for her master’s degree. After completing her master’s, Janna moved to Boise 38 years ago, “before it was cool,” she says. Janna and her husband raised their five kids in Idaho. She worked for the Boise School District as a resource teacher and special ed teacher for many years. “I worked with kids of all ages, with different kinds of learning challenges,” Janna says. She retired from teaching in 2016 and began working for Idaho Public Television in 2017.

For six seasons, Janna has really enjoyed working on Science Trek. “It’s been a really good fit for me, because it combines my passions for science and education and writing…all things that I love and that are important to me.” Her research varies depending on each season. “We usually do nine topics for each new season. Sometimes we’re updating old topics, and sometimes we’re starting new topics. So that part is fun for me. I get to research everything I can about a topic and then I get to write about it.”  Janna does research on the internet, in books, and “…sometimes I contact a content specialist. I know a lot of people in the Boise School District, so sometimes I will contact a science specialist in the district. And Joan has a wide network of contacts that she uses in the videos.”  In addition, Janna sometimes helps out our IdahoPTV education department when they have community events as well.

Janna remembers her kids grew up watching Mr. Rogers, Reading Rainbow, Wishbone and Arthur. “It’s fun now, when they get together, they quote the shows that they loved. When the kids were young, they didn’t really know any other TV. Idaho Public Television has always been really important to our family.”

In her downtime, Janna likes to explore the beautiful Idaho outdoors. “My husband and I like to go hiking and camping and kayaking whenever possible. The Sawtooths are probably my absolute favorite, but I love anywhere I can get out into the mountains.” She also likes gardening, reading and volunteering with our growing community. “I volunteer with the refugee center and I teach English to refugees who have come to Idaho.”

When it comes to satisfying snack cravings, Janna confesses to a sweet tooth. “I have a weakness for homemade cookies.” And as for her favorite PBS Kids show, “Mr. Rogers will always be the best…but now the grandkids like Daniel Tiger, Dinosaur Train, and other things.” As for her work with Science Trek, “My hope is that for the kids and the teachers who use it, it will lead to more questions and more curiosity and more investigations. That’s my goal: to make the website as engaging as possible and as accessible as possible. It is widely used throughout the United States and throughout the world.”

Meet the Staff Mondays – Jim Alpaugh

We thought our readers/viewers might like to learn about some of the folks that work at IdahoPTV. Because there are so many people who work behind the scenes, you may have seen some of them, or maybe only heard about them. Today we would like to introduce Master Control Operator Jim Alpaugh.

Master control operators are the folks who keep us on the air. “I monitor all of our incoming and outgoing signals and make sure we have clean audio and video.” Our master control operators not only monitor our many channel feeds, but they check the shows that are fed to Idaho Public Television to be aired later. “We gotta review all the shows that are streaming down (to us), so we can make sure before they get aired that they’re good.” Now that’s multi-tasking!

Jim was born in Miami, Florida, on Christmas Day in 1942. “I’m almost 80 now,” he laughs. “I grew up in Hialeah, during the 1950s, which was the best decade in the whole 20th century, as far as I’m concerned. The ‘50s were fabulous. I loved it.” His dad worked for Eastern Airlines as chief mechanic, and he remembers going for lots of test flights. “Any time there was a major problem that occurred with a plane and something had to be fixed, it would have to be signed off on. He would have to go up in the plane with the chief pilot and they would go out over the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean and just fly around and do several maneuvers, test everything out, make sure the plane was airworthy and sign off.” Sometimes, Jim’s dad would call home and see if he could come join him. “I couldn’t get to the airport fast enough…I’d be in the cockpit in the jump seat. Back then, you could do all this stuff.” And sometimes, the chief pilot would let Jim fly the plane. No passengers, of course, and the chief pilot had his hands on the controls also. “I was a 12- or 13-year-old kid. I would take the controls and maneuver the plane. People were envious.”

After Jim graduated from high school, he joined the Air Force. “I spent 26 years in the Air Force. I served mainly here in the United States.” His first year was spent in Alaska, but Jim had a lot of temporary duty posts all around the country, along with three tours of Vietnam. His last post was right here in Idaho. “Right after I retired (from the Air Force), I got a job with Hewlett Packard.” Jim was an engineering technician. “I worked for Hewlett Packard for 15 years, until they closed the laser jet printer division down, which is where I was working at, and they sent the job overseas.” He had plans to retire at the age of 62, but the division shut down when he was 61. “They paid me a year’s severance pay… I sat at home for three or four months and I said, I gotta do something.” So Jim went to the job services office and they asked him what he wanted to do. “I said I like videography…something with broadcasting.” He entered the Broadcast Engineering program at Boise State. Jim was required to get a part-time job during the program, as part of the schooling, and Idaho Public Television was looking for master control operators. Jim was hired, and he’s been doing it ever since for almost 20 years.

One of Jim’s hobbies is traveling. “My wife and I, we travel all over the globe. We’ve been around the world about three times…to about 80 countries.” They’ve been to all seven continents, including Antarctica; and they’ve been there twice. “Antarctica is my favorite place. The air is so clean down there, it’s unbelievable. You wouldn’t think Antarctica has a lot of wildlife, but they do. We saw five different kinds of penguins, I don’t know how many kinds of seals, whales and countless kinds of birds. The scenery is beautiful.” One thing he knows for sure, America is the best country to come home to. “I’ve been to a lot of places and I wouldn’t live any other place.” He loves all the outdoor recreation in the Gem State. “White water rafting, hiking, fishing. The only thing I haven’t done is skiing. I’m not a skier.”  And he’s been married to his wife, Nancy, for 59 years!

When the urge for a snack strikes, Jim will drive a long way to get his favorite. “Lobster. That’s it. I’ll travel all the way to Maine to get a good lobster.” When they drive through the fall leaves back east, he makes a special stop in Maine at some fave lobster shacks. “When lobster season is open, they’ve got a line two blocks long just to get a lobster roll. And it’s not filled with a whole bunch of fillers.” And when it comes to relaxing at home, he’ll turn to his favorite station. “I mostly watch our station. I like all the documentaries they do. That special on Ben Franklin, that was nice.”

Meet the Staff Mondays – Derek Begg

We thought our readers/viewers might like to learn about some of the folks that work at IdahoPTV. Because there are so many people who work behind the scenes, you may have seen some of them, or maybe only heard about them. Today we would like to introduce Broadcast Engineer Derek Begg.

As one of our broadcast engineers, Derek, maintains and services all broadcast equipment for our station. Not only does he work on equipment in our building, but he works out in the field as well. “I’ll work on the main transmitter at Bogus (Basin) and…in Twin Falls.”

Derek grew up in California. “I grew up on the Central Coast in California, in a city called Santa Maria.” He joined the Coast Guard when he turned 18. “I went to boot camp. And you get this thing, it’s called a wish list; basically, you choose places you would really wish to go for your unit.  And I just put the West Coast. I totally forgot about Alaska. I was thinking Hawaii, California, Oregon and Washington.” He ended up serving in Alaska for several years, then returned to California. After leaving the military and after a series of jobs, he got married. With the high cost of living in California, Derek and his wife decided to move to Idaho, where his wife is from, and start a family. Their daughter was born in the Gem State.

Derek is known around the station for his love of music. “When I was seven years old, I picked up the drums. I wasn’t really good at making other sounds. I tried the trumpet. I tried the saxophone…my elementary-school band teacher told me, ‘What’s wrong with you? Does your dad work in the toilet paper factory?’ But the drums have stuck with me ever since. I played all the way through junior high in the marching band and school jazz band…I played with punk rock bands and metal bands in high school. When I went up to Alaska I couldn’t take my drums with me, so I ended up picking up a guitar up there and that’s when I actually got into guitar.”

He’s a fan of many genres of music as well. “People would be surprised at how large a breadth of music I enjoy. A lot of people see me as just a ‘metal head’. I used to really like listening to Sinatra. All music is just expression of the soul…like Indian music, instead of doing the 12 note tempered scale (in Western music), they break it up into way more semitones.” Derek studied music production before he became an engineer. And while living in California, he performed with a few bands and recorded other bands that were cutting demos. He’s a Certified Audio Engineer, as well. “That’s one of the things that helped me get the job here.”  

Derek is a fan of Idaho as well. He’s been to Brundage Mountain to help out with a transmitter there. “That was really cool. I’d never actually been out in the wilderness there, or anywhere here, besides going up to Bogus (Basin). And that just blew my mind, because there was just so much to see like just the trees, being up on top of the mountain, looking down into the valley there, seeing the lake, everything is just beautiful up there. McCall, the whole drive up, is just absolutely beautiful. Garden Valley is beautiful…and that river that runs through there, it’s just amazing. It’s all very beautiful up there and I wish I had more time (to spend there).” That’s what he appreciates about living in the Treasure Valley. “You can live in a city, and just a couple of miles away see beautiful stuff.”

When it comes to snacking, he goes for an old standby. “My thing is peanut butter. I absolutely love peanut butter. I don’t care if it’s peanut butter on a spoon, peanut butter with chocolate, peanut butter in a smoothie, ice cream, whatever.” And his favorite PBS Kids character is Mr. Rogers. “I could not get enough of him. Just the fact that he was always on the kids’ level, trying to show people what life’s like. You get a glimpse of life through Mr. Rogers and a lot of other things, too, that you wouldn’t normally get. He’s always been my favorite.” And he’s thankful to be working at IdahoPTV. “I’m definitely honored to work for PBS…I never thought I’d be working for PBS at this point in my life.”

Meet the Staff Mondays – Krystal Goodman

We thought our readers/viewers might like to learn about some of the folks that work at IdahoPTV. Because there are so many people who work behind the scenes, you may have seen some of them, or maybe only heard about them. Today we would like to introduce IT Ops & Support Analyst I Krystal Goodman.

IdahoPTV’s Carol Beres gets to know Krystal, one of our computer tech gurus who provides general tech support for computers, phones, and software. Plus, Krystal helps the communications department with keeping track of our internet traffic. “I’ve been building a dashboard on our intranet site to try and centralize all of the numbers we’ve been tracking.”

Krystal grew up in Albion, Idaho, in the Magic Valley. When she was younger, she enjoyed skiing at Pomerelle Mountain Resort. “I stuck to the easier slopes, because I just enjoyed the ride down. I guess I was a “cruiser” as a skier. One year my knees just hurt looking at a ski run, so I stopped. Mary (another Idaho PublicTV employee) almost has me talked back into it. With the changes in equipment, I might try it again next year.”

She attended Boise State University, with a year’s detour to South Carolina. “I stumbled across Winthrop University. It was beautiful out there. I got into my major out there, so I graduated with a degree in chemistry.” But the school’s historic vibe came with something a little darker. “They were growing quickly at the time. They didn’t really have anywhere to expand. So they took over an old hotel (that I moved into). And I was pretty sure a murder had been committed in my room.” Luckily, Krystal was able to move to another room. On the bright side, she had a close encounter with a movie that was filmed there at the time. “They filmed ‘The Patriot’ while I was there. The plantation that was nearby was where they filmed all the plantation scenes.”

Krystal eventually decided to come back to Idaho and finish up her degree at Boise State. “I realized my last semester that I didn’t want to be trapped in a lab, all day, every day. All through high school, I helped my brother build computers. I was the unofficial tech support all the way through college, for whatever office I worked in. I have an aptitude for that. I went out and got a few certifications. And then I got my first tech position at the help desk at SuperValu.” Krystal held a few jobs in between that one and coming to Idaho Public Television.

She’s glad to be here, helping with the mission of bringing high quality television and internet resources to the entire state. “I remember watching it as a little kid, I had to be about 3 or 4, so this was in 1982 or 1983…my parents called in and made a donation. And then they announced my name on Festival! And I still remember that to this day.” Krystal’s favorite PBS Kids characters are Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch. “It’s the sarcasm.”

 Speaking of favorites, Krystal’s favorite snacks are a little outside the usual fare. “Peanut butter and cheese. I don’t eat them together, but one right after another. Either way around. And my guilty pleasure is Cheetos.” Her favorite part of the Gem State is near Salmon. “That part of the state is really beautiful.” And taking in the beauty of the state is her way to unwind. “I like to hike. And I discovered paddle boarding last summer. And I have a dog, a little miniature schnauzer that’s game to go anywhere. He loves to hike with me.”