Meet the Staff Mondays – Debbie Siddoway

We thought our readers/viewers might like to learn about some of the folks who 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 Financial Support Technician, Debbie Siddoway.

IdahoPTV’s Carol Beres recently sat down with Debbie, who says, “I pay invoices, I do all the travel reimbursements for production and anybody that travels, and P-card charges (when employees are on the road and they have expenses, they put them on a P-card). I also count all the membership money (donations from donors – thank you!).”

Debbie grew up in the Pacific Northwest. “I grew up in Washington State, in the Marysville area,” she says. “We moved around Washington…Vancouver, Washington for a while. Then Marysville, which is north of Seattle, about 45 minutes or so. I graduated from high school there. Then I moved to Salt Lake and went to community college there.” She graduated as a medical transcriptionist, but she followed a different path after school. She got married, moved to California, where she was a stay-at-home mom while raising five kids. Then her husband got a job in Idaho and Debbie began looking for work. “I started at IdahoPTV in August of 2000,” she says. ”My kids were still in school, so I just worked part time for about 10 years. And then an opening came up, and they asked me if I wanted to work full time, so I did that for about four years.” She’s back to part time these days so she has more time with her family, especially her 13 grandkids. “So they keep me pretty busy,” Debbie says. One of her granddaughters likes to come over and do crafts. “We sew headbands, lots of hair things,” she says. “I’m a hoarder. Yarn, sewing, painting, all that kind of stuff.” She’s a fan of cooking, but not baking so much. “Cooking is fun because you don’t have to follow the recipe exactly,” she says. Reading is another one of her hobbies when she has the time.

Debbie appreciates the people at IdahoPTV, as well as her job. “I think it’s pretty cool to work for IdahoPTV,” she says. “I like what we stand for…lifelong learning…my kids grew up watching it. If I was busy, they could just turn on PBS and watch Mister Rogers or Sesame Street. I think Barney was on when my kids were little.” In addition to children’s programming, Debbie knows that PBS provides teachers with tools and professional development, and that helps the community as a whole.

Her favorite PBS Kids character is a well-known one to fans of Sesame Street. “One that I really like is Grover,” she says.” He’s just so cute and lovable and energetic. He embraces new challenges and he’s hard working, and he has a desire to please people…I think that’s also one of the things that gets him down sometimes, I can relate. I mean, he’s blue, right? He gets blue sometimes because he can’t accomplish all the things that he wants to accomplish.” Debbie’s also a fan of the cooking shows and nature programs. “I like the NOVA’s because they’re really interesting,” she says. “I love Outdoor Idaho. Probably because I get out, but I don’t get out to those places that they go to. They’re really adventurous, cool places. You would really have to go with somebody who knows what they’re doing so you don’t get lost…it shows the diversity of our state, and I can live vicariously through Bruce and all those people.”

Speaking of different parts of the Gem State, Debbie has a few favorites. “In the summertime we pull our RV up to Cascade as often as we can and get away,” she says. “We like to kayak and hike and bike and explore. I also like the Coeur d’Alene area. It’s really pretty over there. My youngest son graduated from the U of I and we would go up there often and just go exploring. Idaho is really pretty and pretty diverse with all kinds of terrain. It’s a place I think everyone should visit.”

Snacks for Debbie are chips and salsa, fresh guacamole, and Hot Cheetos. “Those spicy hot, crunchy Cheetos,” she says. Hummus and veggies are other foods that she reaches for when the urge to snack strikes. “I like dessert too, but I eat more dinner. I do like ice cream, too,” she says.

Meet the Staff Mondays – Stephanie Dickey

We thought our readers/viewers might like to learn about some of the folks who 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 Web Developer, Stephanie Dickey.

IdahoPTV’s Carol Beres recently sat down with Stephanie to find out a little bit about her. Stephanie keeps our website running smoothly, along with “my great coworker Robin,” she says. She started here 25 years ago as a part-time writer for the Channels magazine. She then worked as a graphic designer for the magazine; then in 2000, Stephanie became a web designer. She’s worked on the website ever since. “For about the last eight months, I’ve been rebuilding our Science Trek website with my marvelous coworker Krystal,” she says. “The current version of the website is very old and breaks a lot. Krystal and I are rebuilding it from the ground up.”

Stephanie was born in Portland, Oregon and moved to Boise when she was 5. “I went to the U of I my freshman year and part of my sophomore year. Then I came back to Boise and went to BSU for a couple of years. And then I moved to Eugene, Oregon, and finally finished with a degree in journalism,” she says. “Right after I graduated, I moved to New York City and lived there for a little more than a year.” It was quite the change in environment. “The switch from Eugene to NYC was a little shocking, but I was glad I did it. For the next five years, I lived in Austin, Texas, and learned that the only weather that affects me negatively is humidity and never-ending cloudless blue skies.” One more move: this time to Laramie, Wyoming for a year. Finally, Stephanie came back to the Gem State 27 years ago.

When asked why she works here at IdahoPTV, besides the people she works with, Stephanie notes that her job directly impacts helping kids across the state. “I like knowing we’re helping kids and families all over the state who wouldn’t have access to TV without us. Working on Classroom Idaho during COVID was really rewarding. It was inspiring to realize how many kids were positively affected by the program.”

In her free time, Stephanie likes to get her hands dirty. “During the summer I garden a lot. I have my own garden and I also help my mom with her giant garden, which is close to a ¼ acre.” She has some furry friends to take care of. “I have two standard poodles and they keep me busy too.” During the winter, you can catch Stephanie on the ski slopes with some of her coworkers. She likes to cook and read, too.

When the urge to reach for a snack arises, she has a weakness for Funyons and Bugles, but she snacks mostly on the healthy side. “Mainly I snack on homemade popcorn, nuts and fruit.” When it comes to her favorite part of Idaho, she’s partial to a certain northern Idaho area. “My favorite part of the state is the Palouse. I backpack every summer and see other beautiful parts of the state, but I always go back to the Palouse.” And her favorite PBS Kids character is one that she still cherishes. “Ever since I was a kid, Grover has been my very favorite. When I was about seven years old, I got a Grover hand puppet,” she says. “I still have it and I chuckle every time I walk past him.”

Meet the Staff Mondays – Dan Ward

We thought our readers/viewers might like to learn about some of the folks who 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 Digital Broadcast Technician, Dan Ward.

IdahoPTV’s Carol Beres recently sat down with Dan, whose job is in master control, where all of the “broadcast magic” happens. “In operations, I work in master control two days a week. I keep everything running smoothly on air. And two days a week I do production engineering, which involves building promos for all the up-coming show,” he says. “And I also help do the live productions whenever they need me. I do everything from audio to cameras. So, I have a full production background.”

Dan is originally from a neighboring state, but he’s been here for a long time. “I grew up in Salt Lake, but I’ve been in Idaho for coming up on 29 years,” Dan says. “I went to the University of Utah, then Weber State to finish up…I got a four-year degree in Broadcast Communications.”

Dan’s been a supporter of public media since university days. He worked for the University of Utah’s instructional Media Services, which is an on-campus facility. “We did industrial production for the university, for the departments of education and nursing and stuff like that,” he says. “I’ve always liked that environment. I did a lot of stuff with the PBS station down in Salt Lake. When I had a chance to get a job with the PBS (station) up here, I took it.”

When asked about his hobbies, he pointed to all the toy trains around him and laughs, “I don’t know, all this train stuff around me. I don’t know if I have any hobbies or not…whenever I get time or money, I go chasing steam trains. Like the steam train rides that go to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, or Durango (Colorado)…I’ve been over to Sumpter (Oregon) for their steam train rides.” And when it comes to Dan’s favorite snack, he says, “maybe carrot cake.” As for his favorite part of the Gem State, Dan likes to go into the mountains.

Meet the Staff Mondays – Carol Beres

We thought our readers/viewers might like to learn about some of the folks who 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 Office Specialist, Carol Beres.

IdahoPTV’s Carol Beres recently sat down with…herself…to bring you this week’s Meet the Staff interview. If you call IdahoPTV, chances are Carol will answer your call. And she does plenty more besides answering the phones. “I help the production department with ingesting (moving to permanent storage) videos and programs,” she says. “I run errands for the station. For a few months, I helped out the accounting department when they needed another person. When the development team needs help with sending out a mailing, I pitch in there. And I get to interview my colleagues and be creative writing up these articles.” 

Carol grew up in the Pacific Northwest. “I’m an Oregonian originally,” she says. “But my family traveled through Idaho when they came by wagon on the Oregon Trail.” That was five generations ago. She says, “The family story is that my great-great-grandfather came to Oregon with 50 cents in his pocket (which, granted, was probably a decent amount of money in the 1860s), and eventually did well enough to move his mother and sister out from Illinois.” Carol grew up in Beaverton, now famous for Nike. She says, “I grew up during the 1970s and 1980s, when the music on the radio was rockin’ and the hair was big.” The first album she bought was “Tattoo You” by the Rolling Stones (“I wonder what my parents thought of that!”). Her first car was a Ford Mustang (“Not a good one, a 1983 model. But I was lucky to have my own car.”).

Carol attended college at the University of Oregon. “I chose journalism for my degree. I love writing and I really love reading, so it seemed like a good fit.” Her senior year of college, she met the man of her dreams and got the courage to ask him out. “We were in the same class and we had everyone’s phone numbers so we could schedule the editing equipment, so I called him up,” she chuckles. The rest, as they say, is history. “We just celebrated our 26th anniversary in August,” she says. “And our two kids are finishing up high school and hopefully going on to college!” They’ve moved around for her husband’s work, from Washington to Wisconsin, but they plan to stay here in the Gem State.

Back when she graduated, it was tough to find a writing job. “I graduated from college in 1990,” she says. “I think the economy took a dive then. I remember seeing on TV hundreds of people lining up for job interviews at a hotel. I started working wherever I could.” Over the years, Carol has worked in retail, at a catalog company, in insurance, in education, and in health care. Her degree came in handy recently. She says, “A few years ago I worked in broadcasting a little bit. I produced a morning newscast and loved the fast pace and informing the viewers, but not the hours. Getting up at 1:15 a.m. to get to work by 2:00 a.m. is rough. So, I moved on to health care and then special education. But both of those jobs were very physical and didn’t feel quite right for me.” She’s found the best place at IdahoPTV. “I love the educational aspect of working at IdahoPTV,” she says. “And not only for kids. We adults can learn so much from NOVA, Nature, Finding Your Roots, etc. Also, I appreciate our mission of informing Idahoans about what’s happening at the Statehouse without any filter. We just point the camera and let it roll.”

In her downtime, Carol likes to curl up with a good book, go for a walk in her Meridian neighborhood, or go downtown and explore Boise. “I love looking at the old houses in the North End,” she says. “Although I do appreciate my garage.” Her favorite place in the state is tough to narrow down. “This is a beautiful state,” she says. “We’re spoiled here. I like the desert. I like the mountains. We go to McCall for family reunions, and I love Payette Lake. I hope our son goes to the University of Idaho so I can see more of the Palouse.” If there’s a good baseball game on,

especially the Milwaukee Brewers, you might find her on the couch with her pugs, Murphy and Porter, by her side. When it comes to snacks, it’s hard to beat Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Or chocolate in general. Pumpkin is also a go-to during the fall. She says, “Pumpkin chocolate-chip cookies, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pie are all good in my book.” Carol’s favorite PBS Kids character is Cookie Monster. “He’s pure joy. Plus, I can get behind eating some delicious cookies,” she laughs.

Meet the Staff Mondays – Brad Butzbach

We thought our readers/viewers might like to learn about some of the folks who 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 Field Engineering Supervisor, Brad Butzbach.

IdahoPTV’s Carol Beres recently sat down with Brad, who tells her, “We have 47 transmitter sites throughout the state and I try to keep all of those communities up and running.” Suffice it to say that he’s on-the-go around the state a lot.

Like many of us, Brad grew up outside of the Gem State. “I grew up in the middle of California, in Visalia, cow country. I grew up on a farm,” he remembers. “It’s very similar to here. Hot and dry in the summers, but not as cold in the winter. It’s foggy there. The Central San Joaquin Valley gets socked in with fog for three months straight in the winter,” he remembers. “I hated growing up on a farm. It was just me and my dad, and I was an indentured servant, I felt like. So while all the other kids were playing on the weekends, I was plowing the north forty. We had horses and cows, walnut trees and grapes. It was just my dad and (me), and for the two of us, it was a lot of work.”

Brad started out as a TV repairman back in the day. “I was just getting going,” he says, “and one day my dad met me for lunch and he said, ‘Son, it’s time for you to take over the farm.’ I said, ‘Dad, I went to college so I don’t have to be a farmer. Sell the farm and have a nice life.’ So that’s what he did.” Brad moved on to a TV station and worked his way up in the engineering department. “I eventually became the Director of Technology at a Fox affiliate in Knoxville (Tenn.).” Brad’s daughter was finishing up nursing school in California and she wanted to move to Idaho. He and his wife ended up beating her to Idaho by a few years, but she’s here now as well.

He has always believed in the mission of public television. “I got a little disillusioned working at a (commercial station). I didn’t feel like my talents were being used to help the community. So, a position opened up (here), which I thought was a worthy cause. So, I took a huge cut in salary and came to Idaho.”

Brad has a few hobbies that keep him busy in his downtime. “I’m an avid motorcyclist,” he says. “I also build and fly large scale, remote-controlled airplanes. And just recently, I bought an ultralight (aircraft)!” Even though he didn’t enjoy growing up on a farm, now he has a five-acre ranch where he can build a runway for his plane. He says, “It’s where I’m the most comfortable.” He’s also handy in the kitchen. He says, “I’m a little bit chef-y. I like to cook a lot. I do a lot of ethnic stuff. I do Northern African carissa cuisine; basically, from all around the world. I used to call my wife, ask her to name a country, and then when she came home, I’d have that country’s dish for dinner.”

When it comes to his favorite part of Idaho, it’s a personal question. “I especially like to visit viewers who are on a lower income, and have families, and get them Sesame Street and some of the other PBS shows. I was the first generation of Sesame Street, and I thought that it was my job to learn how to read and write before I got to kindergarten. And thanks to Sesame Street and other PBS shows, I did exactly that,” he says. Speaking of Sesame Street, his favorite PBS Kids character is Ernie. Brad says, “He’s the happy, curious guy. Bert’s the grouchy one.”

Meet the Staff Mondays – Robin Barclay

We thought our readers/viewers might like to learn about some of the folks who 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 Web Design Specialist, Robin Barclay.

IdahoPTV’s Carol Beres recently sat down with Robin. “My job is building and maintaining the pages you see on our website and on As many of us do here at IdahoPTV, I also manage a few other projects – including creating and posting social media content, blog posts, ad buys, and various duties on the communications team,” she says.

Robin grew up in many different places. From the age of seven to 11, she lived in South Africa. “Our vacations were a bit different than most kids growing up,” she says. “We’d go on safaris, which meant driving through these huge game reserves (like Kruger National Park and Pilanesberg National Park) hoping to see wild animals up close (but not too close!) My brothers and I even had a point system for seeing animals, with the most points going to the big game animals like lions, elephants, cheetahs, etc., and negative points for things like warthogs, springbok and kudu, since they were everywhere. And you had to be careful if there were ostriches nearby – if you had your window open, they would try and stick their heads in! I have great memories living in Johannesburg (South Africa) – swimming on Christmas day, since it was summertime then, and learning the languages, cultures, and food of the country. I look back on it with a lot of love.”

From high school on, she lived in Texas. “I went to the University of North Texas, which is in Denton, TX – about an hour north of Dallas,” she says. “UNT is known for being a top school for jazz, but I majored in international studies.” Her husband got a job in Idaho a few years ago. She says, “Idaho was never on my radar. My family is mainly from the Midwest and the South, but I had always wanted to live in the Northwest. When my husband got a job offer in Boise, we jumped at the chance, even though we had no idea what to expect.”

Although Robin and her husband have only been in Idaho for four years, they have done some exploring. “Last summer we went up to north Idaho and rode on the Hiawatha bike trail,” she says. “Being up that high, with the views of the mountains, the lake, the trees – you see so much beauty all around you. It’s truly magical.” She also likes camping in the Sun Valley area.

Robin is excited about working at IdahoPTV. “I’ve always been interested in non-profit work,” she says. “It just really resonates working with organizations that do a lot for their communities. After volunteering for animal shelters, disaster relief organizations and environmental groups, I felt pulled in the direction of doing work that can make a direct impact on people. Working for IdahoPTV felt like a natural fit and I really enjoy the work and the people.”

In her free time, Robin’s hobbies are wide-ranging. She says “I’m a big fan of reading, mostly science fiction and fantasy, but I do enjoy a fascinating history book or biography. Other hobbies include hanging out with my cats (great reading companions), binge-watching shows or movie marathons, baking, and various crafts such as hand-lettering and calligraphy.” During the fall season, Robin is all for baking with pumpkin. “I love baking and cooking with pumpkin! Pumpkin monkey bread, pumpkin pie, curried pumpkin soup, toasted pumpkin seeds – you name it, I’ll eat it.” And in the snack area, she says “I love a soft, hot pretzel with a mug of cider (especially in the fall) and warm, baked fruit desserts like a cobbler, turnover or pie. And I’ll never say no to a cheese board! And for after-dinner treats, I usually go for an ice cream. I love ice cream. I even love making ice cream sometimes.”

Robin has an unusual pick for her favorite PBS Kids character. “I’m going to say ‘The Martians’ – you know those guys that go “Yip yip yip yip!” – because they’re so inquisitive, not to mention hilarious! One of my coworkers has ‘The Martians’ sound as a ringtone and it cracks me up every time I hear it,” she laughs.

Meet the Staff Mondays – Mary McMahon

We thought our readers/viewers might like to learn about some of the folks who 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 Infrastructure Engineer III, Mary McMahon.

IdahoPTV’s Carol Beres recently sat down with Mary, who says her job title “Is just a state classification, but it basically involves all the information technology for the station. Anything having to do with the network, the phones, the computers: everything that’s information technology. I manage, install and support it.”

Mary is a native of the Gem State. “I grew up in Mountain Home. I was born at St. Luke’s (in Boise),” she says. “When I was born, there was not a hospital in Mountain Home.” She grew up on five acres there. “My dad raised pigs,” she remembers. “Pigs are horrible, dirty animals. They taste great…(but) I would never raise pigs. Where we lived in Mountain Home was at the low end of a field, and when they put in the overpass, they put in a culvert. And the culvert would always get clogged up. So, then all the snow that came off Bennett Mountain would end up right there in our yard. So, there’d be times we’d have three feet of water around our house…you’d have to get the horses out. You’d have to get the pigs out…and what I remember is getting a 300-pound pig out of the water. You know, you can’t!” She remembers digging up the pig pen area 20 years later and she remembers “…it still smelled. It didn’t smell as bad, but it was still pretty bad.”

Mary attended college in Boise. “I have a communication degree. I went to school with Sherri (Walton, who is our Program Director),” she says. She thought of working in news, but decided it wasn’t for her. “I didn’t enjoy the ‘poking into other people’s lives’ part,” she said. She worked as a cocktail waitress during school and kept that going while looking for work after graduating. She says, “Eventually, about a year after I graduated, I was like, ‘If I’m going to be a cocktail waitress, I might as well go somewhere where I can make more money.” She moved to Reno and worked there for five years. She picked up some part-time jobs in the technical side of television. “Eventually I got a job at a TV station in Reno,” she says. “Cocktailing made a lot more money, but I still wanted to do what I got my degree for.” She left that TV station, got a job at another TV station in town, working full time, about the time she married her husband, Jim. A year later, they decided to move back to Idaho.

Mary worked at a couple of other TV stations in town before getting a job here at IdahoPTV. “I worked in Master Control for five years,” she remembers. “There were a lot of problems with the broadcast automation system and it would break down often. It was hard getting through to technical support people who actually knew what they were talking about.” It was during that time Mary realized that she enjoyed troubleshooting and fixing computer systems. She learned all she could about the automation system and it wasn’t long before she started helping the engineer who was in charge of the computers here. Eventually he left and she applied and was hired for her current job. Now, the engineers come to her with their computer questions.

Mary is a fan of the mission here at IdahoPTV. “I wouldn’t have been here 27 years if I didn’t think so,” she says. “It’s nice to enjoy coming to work.” And in her free time, Mary loves to ski (water and snow), go boating, go camping (in an RV) “I’m too old for tent camping,” she adds. Her favorite part of the state is where she and her family can do some of those things. “I like up near Anderson (Ranch) and Fall Creek. We have some land up at Anderson. We haven’t been there for several years, since it burned…we used to camp there a lot when I was a kid.” Mary has a water-ski boat and brings the ladies from work out on the water a couple of times a year. And she and her sister, Ruthie, show them how it’s done when they go water skiing and surfing on Lucky Peak Reservoir. Chips, salsa and guacamole are her go-to snack. And her favorite PBS Kids characters are two classics: Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers. “You know, just your being you,” she adds.

Meet the Staff Mondays – Laura Hull

We thought our readers/viewers might like to learn about some of the folks who 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 Grants Manager, Laura Hull.

IdahoPTV’s Carol Beres recently sat down with Laura. She learned that Laura has lots of responsibilities in securing grant funding for IdahoPTV. “As grants manager I run IdahoPTV’s grants calendar which includes assembling information for grant proposals and reports, strategy, and research.” Laura keeps track of the grant schedules, including due dates. “My work is deadline driven. There’s a lot more to grants that doesn’t include writing,” she says. “When I do get to write, I especially enjoy picking which gems shine brightest for a particular narrative. My colleagues do such top-notch work that I often have more ‘case for support’ language than character- or page-limits allow.”  

While you don’t hear it in her voice, Laura is originally from another country. “I was born in Cape Town, South Africa and immigrated to Idaho with my family in 1991. My mom is Italian and my dad English, both were born and raised in Africa,” she says. Her family lived in Sun Valley before they moved to Boise. “Outdoor Idaho helped us learn about our new home.” She has lived in other places, such as Portland, Oregon, and Italy, where she taught English and got to see a bit more of Europe while finishing her degree, and before eventually settling back in the Gem State.

She believes in the mission of Idaho Public Television. “I value public media, believe in our mission to ‘tell Idaho’s stories,’ and am privileged to work amongst such talented people,” she says. “I feel fortunate to play a small part in the significantly positive impact IdahoPTV has on citizens and communities at large, especially in early education.” Taking care of two small children and running a grants consulting business, while working here part time, keeps Laura busy.

Her hobbies include yoga, writing, reading, and many outdoor activities like camping and hiking. She recently took up mountain biking, “which I instantly fell in love with,” she says. Her kids influence her choices as well. “They’re curious outdoor adventurers and love collecting ‘nature treasures’ on walks, bike rides, and hikes. We like to press and preserve them in thick books to admire later. We have a LOT of special rocks at our house,” she says. 

Laura chooses a warm spot for her favorite part of the state. “Hagerman is one of my favorite spots to unwind and take in Idaho’s breathtaking scenery,” she says. “I find its fossil beds and thermal springs fascinating, and it’s a fun place to camp with kids.” Another favorite place is the City of Trees. “I love to wander around downtown or go for a run in the foothills,” she says. She’s looking forward to exploring the Panhandle in the future as her children get older.

When it’s time for a snack, Laura goes back to her roots. “A staple is tea – English or Rooibos, with milk – and for a quick bite I’d pick boerewors (a type of sausage which originated in South Africa) every time if I could. I tend to stick to healthy stuff like nuts, fruits, and veggies, but in an indulgent moment will reach for kettle chips or milk chocolate,” she says. 

With young children in her house, Laura is pretty familiar with PBS KIDS, but when it comes to her favorite character, she sticks with a classic: “Definitely Grover and his unbridled enthusiasm for everything he sets his mind to,” she says. “He tends to take on a bit much but his heart is always in the right place. If we were friends, I’d tell him to slow down and take a deep breath, which I often have to tell myself!” Her children like the newer characters, like Alma from Alma’s Way. “They now love to say, ‘Hmmm, I gotta think about this…’ and Curious George is always on at home. My toddler daughter can definitely relate to his monkey business.”

Meet the Staff Mondays – Sherri Walton

We thought our readers/viewers might like to learn about some of the folks who 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 Sherri Walton, Program Manager.

IdahoPTV’s Carol Beres recently sat down with Sherri. “One of my main duties is that I curate and put the broadcast schedules together for our channels, with the help of my great assistants and teams,” she says. Since we’re the PBS station for Idaho, you would think it would be easy scheduling shows, but there’s more to it than that. “Being a PBS station we get the PBS programming…but then, there’s a lot of times when the shows aren’t from PBS. There aren’t enough national shows (to fill up the schedule). So it’s part of my job to acquire other programs,” Sherri says. “There’s a number of different program distributor organizations that work with most PBS stations. And so part of my job is working with them and going through their catalogs of what they offer and purchasing additional shows from those different distributors. For example, some of those shows like Father Brown, Escape to the Chateau, Death in Paradise; those aren’t PBS (shows), even though a lot of PBS stations will carry those. But, that’s what’s called an acquisition, because I work with other program distributors and get those.”

Sherri is a longtime Idahoan. “I grew up in rural Canyon County, out in Parma,” she remembers. “In the summer time you’d head outside and play outside until the sun went down…and then I came up to Boise to go to Boise State. Go Broncos! I graduated from Boise State and I just stayed here working and doing all those things you do as a young person.” She has had a longtime interest in the broadcast medium and the non-profit realm. “I was a Communications major at Boise State. In college I was interested in producing and the production of content; and so I’ve always been interested in that. And after college, I was doing several different jobs and some of what I was doing was working in a non-profit, the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I worked for them a couple of different times, actually. I just think the non-profit appealed to me. And then I got into television and made my way to Idaho Public Television.”

Sherri feels the programming we provide serves the state well. “I really love the content that we’re able to share with everyone and the mission of Idaho Public Television,” she says. “There’s just so many great things. The kids’ programming, growing up and watching Sesame Street and Mister Rogers, and now with the great dramas, biographies and science programs and then our great local content. It’s a privilege to be able to work here and bring all this to the folks of our state; because being a state broadcaster, it’s nice to share that with the entire state and hopefully, bring us together…share different parts of our state with everyone. Like our Outdoor Idaho might highlight something that’s particularly strong in one area and other folks in another part of the state might not really be aware.”

In her free time, Sherri likes to take in some music. “I like going to concerts, depending on who it is,” she laughs. “I enjoy working out in my yard and I also enjoy a good PBS drama.” Sherri recommends the classic Poldark, the delightful Downton Abbey and some of the newer dramas, Sanditon and Hotel Portofino. And she’s a big fan of the Ken Burns’ documentaries. “They’re just so well done. I feel I learn so much and they’re so wonderfully put together.”

Her favorite part of the Gem State is hard to pin down to just one place. “I do really enjoy the Wood River Valley- Sun Valley, Ketchum is so pretty.” She appreciates the Treasure Valley as well, “when it’s not smoky,” she says. Sherri is a fan of the Panhandle as well. “The Coeur d’Alene area is just gorgeous. I love water and the mountains and trees.” Her favorite PBS Kids character is a familiar fuzzy fella. “I’ve always been partial to Grover. I love his energy. I think he’s fun. He’s inquisitive and excitable,” Sherri laughs. And when it’s time to reach for a snack, Sherri sticks with some classics: “I go for chips, but then I won’t ever turn down a Krispy Kreme.”

Meet the Staff Mondays – Sandy McBride

We thought our readers/viewers might like to learn about some of the folks who 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 Sandy McBride, Director of Communications and Programming.

IdahoPTV’s Carol Beres recently sat down with Sandy. “I mainly oversee all of the communications, external and internal, for the station,” Sandy says. “And I’m supporting the programming team as well. We’re really trying to tie together digital. We’re pretty focused on linear (broadcasting), but we’re trying to move into the digital realm. And Communications directly promotes national and local programming; that’s why it fell under my umbrella.”

Sandy is a native Idahoan. “I’m a fifth-generation Idahoan. My family tree goes way, way back. My great-grandfather was the first Fire Chief of Twin Falls. And my grandfather was the Chief of Police in Twin Falls. My brother is in the Hailey area and the rest of us, there are four sisters, and we’re in the Treasure Valley area, which is really nice.”

Sandy went to the University of Idaho and started working in broadcasting after college. “I worked at KBCI (now KBOI)… I met my husband there. I worked there for seven years,” she says. She then went to work at another TV station in town. She says, “That was really fun, because even though there wasn’t a lot of equipment, it was really creative to start something from scratch: the logo and all of that.” She worked there for a few years, then had her own business for a while. “When my kids were growing up I worked part-time freelancing,” she says. From there, Sandy went to Idaho Fish and Game. “I did graphic design and video over there for (a number of) years. And then I came here seven years ago,” she remembers.

Her hobbies get her out in nature. “I love camping. When I was growing up, I camped in the South Hills, south of Twin Falls,” she says. “We’d camp there every weekend or up north in North Fork, or the Sun Valley, Wood River Valley area. And then when I moved here, my husband and I camped a lot in Idaho City. And when we had kids we’d go to McCall every summer.” Her favorite spot in the state is anywhere there’s a lake or river, such as McCall, where she can stand up paddleboard, kayak or occasionally fish. “I love the sound of water,” she says. She’s also partial to the Palouse. “I love the rolling hills up there. It’s a different landscape up there than it is down here.” Growing up in the Magic Valley, Sandy took to the outdoors. She says, “I used to work in the fields. I loved working in the fields and seeing the clouds roll in and a lot of weather patterns. I felt really connected to Earth that way.” Skiing is the next hobby Sandy would like to get involved in again. “When the kids were little, we skied every weekend…I’m hoping to get back into it. We’ll see,” she says.

Sandy feels strongly about working at Idaho Public Television. “I believe in the mission here. The people are all really good people and they care about Idaho. And they care about serving the underserved,” she says. “And I think that’s an important value.”

When the urge to snack strikes, Sandy keeps it salty or salty-sweet. “I love nachos. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are good,” she says. And her favorite PBS Kids character is D.W. from the much-loved Arthur show. “We didn’t have cable when the kids were little,” she remembers. “And so that’s all we’d watch (PBS). That was great for the kids, because I didn’t have to worry…Arthur just cracks me up. It’s very well written and really funny. And entertaining for the adults. And the kids loved Barney.”