More Summer Adventure for ‘Passport’ Members

Throughout the Summer of Adventure, PBS programs are traveling the globe — from China to Cuba, the waters of the Pacific to the Atlantic coast of Ireland — to give viewers a sweeping summerlong look at many of the most fascinating places and cultures on the planet.

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Additional programs are available for streaming exclusively to our members who have activated IdahoPTV Passport. These titles represent the broad depth and breadth of the Passport library and highlight some of our most popular and exciting science, natural history, cultural, and travel programs. Summer of Adventure Passport picks include:

“Petra – Lost City of Stone” from NOVA

“Siberian Tiger Quest” from Nature

“Water,” an episode of Earth – A New Wild

“Nero’s Sunken City” from Secrets of the Dead

“Machu Picchu” from Time Scanners

Great Old Amusement Parks

These programs (and many others) can be found on IdahoPTV’s Passport video page or through the PBS Video app on your phone, tablet, or favorite streaming service (Roku, Apple TV, etc.). Information about registering for Passport and activating your account can be found here.

IdahoPTV Passport is a streaming service that gives IdahoPTV members additional programming with over 1,000 hours of content, including drama, science and history — anywhere, anytime, on any device. To become a member, call (800) 543-6868, email, or register online.

Remembering Idaho Singer-Songwriter Rosalie Sorrels

Many of us at Idaho Public Television are sharing our fond memories and celebrating the life and music of Rosalie Sorrels. The Idaho singer, songwriter, author, and folk musician died Sunday at age 83. Sorrels was the subject of the 2006 IdahoPTV documentary Rosalie Sorrels: Way Out in Idaho, which is available to view for free through July 30. After that, the film will be available exclusively to IdahoPTV Passport members.

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Dialogue host Marcia Franklin, who grew up in Washington, D.C., might not have settled in Idaho except for an inspirational encounter with Sorrels.

“Rosalie Sorrels was one of the reasons that I made the trek out to Idaho in 1989 on a wing and a prayer to find a job,” Franklin says. “I had heard Rosalie sing at a folk festival I was covering during graduate school and had been mesmerized. I saw it as a sign that I should follow my rather nutty whim. Only a year after arriving, I was pinching myself, as I was just a few feet away from Rosalie chatting with her. And 15 years after that original inspiration, I was privileged to work on the Idaho Public Television documentary about her.”

For Rosalie Sorrels: Way Out in Idaho, Franklin interviewed Pete Seeger, Nanci Griffith, Jean Ritchie, Bruce “Utah” Phillips, Terry Garthwaite, and others. “Traveling with Rosalie to New York to interview Pete Seeger at his house on the Hudson River will always be a highlight of my career,” Franklin says.

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Sorrels and Pete Seeger sing together at Seeger’s house on the Hudson River, 2005

Those fellow musicians all speak of Rosalie’s unique talent. “It was fascinating to see how they all independently wanted to stress the same point — that Rosalie’s storytelling was as much about who she was as her singing,” Franklin says. “And they all talked about how Rosalie didn’t fit into any commercial ‘box.’ She was her own person, with her own inimitable style.”

Rosalie Sorrels: Way Out in Idaho showcases Sorrels in concert with friends — musicians from Idaho and across the nation — at the Liberty Theatre in Hailey in September 2005. The Divas of Boise add their voices to the songs; Rosalie adds depth with her stories. “Sometimes I sing in places where they don’t want me to tell stories, and I almost can’t do that,” Sorrels says in the film. “I can sing a bunch of songs but they don’t make any sense to me if you don’t have the stories.”

The portrait drawn by concert footage, interviews, and vintage photographs of Sorrels and her family is vibrant and uniquely Idaho.

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The “Rosalie Sorrels and Friends” concert, 2005

“She was incredibly generous with other musicians,” says Bruce Reichert, the documentary’s executive producer. “She would never do a song without mentioning the songwriter’s name. It was important to her to give credit where credit was due. I met Rosalie in the 1970s, when she would come and play for her Idaho City fans in the library we had built. Back then, my favorite song of hers was ‘Apple of My Eye’; I would always request it, and she would always generously perform it. I made sure that song was in the documentary. To this day, when I hear that song, I think of Rosalie, the songwriter who loved her children dearly and spoke to them in song.”

Reichert adds that Sorrels also epitomized something that reflected her Idaho pioneer heritage — perseverance. “Her life was not easy, but she persevered. And she was gutsy. As a friend commented to me, she played those low notes. She went where others feared to tread.”

Paying tribute to the musician upon her passing, Franklin writes, “Rosalie was as strong and deep as the current of Grimes Creek, which rushed near her cabin. She was a feisty survivor who could find her way around innumerable dams. And like a river, her story-songs let us drift in and out of many lives. Those stories will live on in her amazing body of work, as will she.”

A Musical Tribute to Rosalie

IdahoPTV corporate sponsorship manager Kathe Alters says, “I first met Rosalie in 2003 when I was working for public radio in Boise. She had come to our studios to be interviewed for a national NPR story. I was familiar with her music and proud that she represented Idaho, so when she walked in, I introduced myself to her, gushing as one does when you meet a hero. She was gracious and took time to talk with me about her music and how she wasn’t planning on performing much anymore. Of course, that didn’t work out — she went on to record a Grammy-nominated album in 2004, perform for the IdahoPTV documentary in 2006, and record an album benefiting Utah Phillips in 2007, all the while continuing to perform and record as long as she could.”

Their paths didn’t cross again for more than 10 years. “At that time, my then-husband and I heard through a Facebook post that Rosalie wasn’t doing so well and might have to move from her beloved home in Grimes Creek,” Alters says. “Through a mutual friend, and then one of Rosalie’s daughters, we were introduced to the singer Rocci Johnson, who had a tribute album in the works to honor Rosalie’s music and her legacy. We stepped aboard Team Rosalie as volunteers more than two years ago. What started as a modest project is now a four-CD set of songs, most of which are written by Rosalie, performed by local and nationally known musicians in a loving Tribute to the Travelin’ Lady that we’ll be rolling out in early August.”

Travelin Lady

Though Rosalie didn’t live to see the final CD set, she listened to the tapes and saw the artwork for the CD box, inserts, and singers’ bios booklet, which is a design based on her famous traveling scrapbook Miscellaneous Abstract Record No. 1. She told Rocci that she approved. “I saw her on a brief visit last summer,” Alters says, “and while her dementia had progressed, she was still so cordial and kind to this fangirl. I’ll never forget her sitting on the couch next to her much-loved Dudley the Do-Right Dog, smiling, as the rest of us buzzed around her.”

Alters asked IdahoPTV graphic design specialist Jim Hadley if he would lend his talents to design the Tribute to the Travelin’ Lady CD packaging — and she introduced him to Rocci Johnson. “Seeing Rosalie’s beloved scrapbook, I instantly knew it would provide the design look for the project,” Hadley says. “It is a treasure trove of old photos, news clippings, concert announcements, handwritten song scraps, notes and drawings — everything I would need to help illustrate her amazing musical career. One of my favorite statements of hers was ‘I may leave one of my kids behind somewhere, but NEVER my scrapbook!’ Meeting Rosalie and her daughter Shelly, I knew that was probably not totally true!”

Renowned artist Ward Hooper also agreed to apply his talent creating the train illustration and picture of Rosalie that Hadley used on the CD case and booklet. “Ward has a way of taking images and giving them a new life, just as we have done with all of Rosalie’s songs on these four CDs,” says Hadley.

IdahoPTV’s Sherri Walton Honored as Programmer of the Year

Sherri WaltonIdaho Public Television is proud to announce that Sherri Walton, IdahoPTV program manager, has been named Programmer of the Year by her peers at the national level.

The Charles Impaglia Programmer of the Year Award is presented annually by the Public Television Programmers’ Association, a national organization dedicated to assisting public media professionals in increasing the value their content provides to local communities.

“This award recognizes a programmer who is a role model for all of us,” states the PTPA website. “Candidates for Programmer of the Year must demonstrate excellent programming skills in their local market, proven creative and effective programming within the public television mission, and a willingness to share their experience and knowledge with others in the PBS [Public Broadcasting Service] system.”

According to Jeff Tucker, IdahoPTV director of content services, Walton was recognized specifically “for making IdahoPTV the most watched station per capita in the PBS system, for regularly drawing impressive viewer numbers, for using multiple digital channels to build loyalty and donors, for her commitment to the profession, and for being a friend to her colleagues.”

Walton began her career with IdahoPTV in September 1994 working in traffic (the scheduling of broadcast programs and breaks). As the 2008 transition from analog to digital broadcast approached, Walton became IdahoPTV operations manager, a role in which she coordinated the efforts of traffic and engineering to facilitate the digital transition and to add additional channels (IdahoPTV now offers four channels of digital programming). The additional channels created a need for an additional programmer, and Walton became assistant programmer and later program manager.

“I enjoy being able to bring great programs to our viewers across Idaho,” Walton says. “I especially enjoy the challenge of finding an array of programs that meet the diversity of our viewers’ interests — whether they be science, drama, musicals or history.”

“I’m so pleased to see Sherri honored by her peers with this award,” says Ron Pisaneschi, IdahoPTV general manager. “She is a very talented programmer with a great sense of what Idaho viewers appreciate. Her selection of programs and astute scheduling across all four of our channels has resulted in Idaho Public Television being regularly the most watched PBS station in the nation.”

Idaho Public Television Earns GuideStar’s Platinum Seal of Transparency

The Friends of Idaho Public Television Inc. — a 501(c)(3) organization that assists Idaho Public Television in fulfilling its mission — has earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, the world’s largest source of information about nonprofit organizations.

GuideStar lists 8,360 nonprofits in Idaho. Only 10 of those are ranked at the Platinum level.

To reach the Platinum level, the Friends of Idaho Public GuideStar LogoTelevision added extensive information to its Nonprofit Profile on GuideStar: organizational information; in-depth financial information; qualitative information about goals, strategies and capabilities; and quantitative information about results and progress toward fulfilling the mission of Idaho Public Television. By providing this information, the Friends of Idaho Public Television has demonstrated its commitment to transparency and to giving donors and funders meaningful data with which to evaluate Idaho Public Television’s performance.

“To show Idaho Public Television’s impact, we added qualitative metrics for educational programming and outreach, local television production, and television service to Idaho and six surrounding states,” says Jenifer Johnson, Idaho Public Television’s director of development. “These represent how hard IdahoPTV is working toward achieving our mission. This information takes us beyond the WHAT we do, and tells more of the story about WHO is impacted and WHY it matters.”

The Friends of Idaho Public Television is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that accepts tax-deductible donations designated to support public television programming, local production efforts, and outreach services provided through Idaho Public Television.

Idaho Public Television, an entity of the Idaho State Board of Education, is a statewide multimedia broadcast network with transmitters and translator stations that deliver programs to more than 98 percent of Idaho’s population, and is the most-watched PBS affiliate network per capita in the United States. IdahoPTV broadcasts across four 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:

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.”

The GuideStar database contains a profile for every tax-exempt nonprofit registered with the IRS. GuideStar encourages every nonprofit to claim and update its profile at no cost to the organization. Updating allows nonprofits to share a wealth of up-to-date information with the more than 7 million people who visit GuideStar to learn more about nonprofit organizations each year. Learn more at

A Book and a Summer Bite

Idaho Public Television has joined TVEP — the Treasure Valley Education Partnership — to help children in southwest Idaho. This summer we will be presenting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities at several “A Book and a Bite” events at Emmett City Park and at Reed Elementary School in Kuna.

BB vector logo englishThese events offer children free lunches and summer activities to help their tummies stay full and their brains stay engaged throughout the summer. Children who attend will be able to select a free used book and try out fun STEM activities.

Come see us at Emmett City Park on June 28, July 12, July 26 and August 9. Join us at Reed Elementary on June 29, July 13 and July 27. The activities  run from 11:30 AM  to 1:00 PM.

For more information on TVEP visit

‘Outdoor Idaho’ Hits the Road for Summer Shooting Adventures

It’s probably not a surprise that the Outdoor Idaho crew does most of its shooting during the summer months; it’s easier to get around the state, and the days are longer.

This summer we’re shooting video for half a dozen programs, each of them a distinct slice of the Idaho story.  Take, for example, our July 13 show, “Creative License.” We’ll spend time with creative talents who connect to their art through nature. Casey Outdoor IdahoKristofferson has a head full of music he can’t wait to strum on one of his many guitars from his perch in the mountains of central Idaho. John Grade pursued his artistic vision by creating a 75-foot wooden sculpture of a lava tube at Craters of the Moon National Monument based on a digital scan of the interior. Alexandra Paliwoda pounds and forges iron into works of art from her blacksmith shop in the shadow of the Tetons near the Wyoming border. John Mills chases thunder clouds to capture digital images of stunning desert lightning storms in southern Idaho — he’s even been hit by lightning!

Our September show, “Jobs Without Walls,” involves a jet boat pilot in Hells Canyon, a soil scientist in eastern Idaho, a Life Flight helicopter pilot, a Christmas tree hunter, and a postal worker who delivers the mail by boat.

“Wild Horses” is our October show, and the start of our 35th season. Wild horses are a symbol of the western tradition; yet they are often reviled, as they compete for resources in an ever-changing environment. Idaho’s own mustangs fight for ground taken by fire and drought and livestock, many sent to holding corrals far from home. We’ll take a look at what is happening with wild horse herds in our state and how some new ideas may offer solutions to a seemingly hopeless situation.

We’ll also be shooting footage for our November show, “Restoring Rivers.” The Portneuf and the Kootenai are two rivers where wonderful things are being done to make them more natural.

“Into the Pioneers” will take the Outdoor Idaho crew into a mountain range that most Idahoans know little about. In April we shot a wInterviewing outfitter Mike Scott in the Boulder-White Cloud mountains Photo by Peter Morrillinter segment at Pioneer Yurt. Other possible segments include a llama trek with Ketchum native Bob Jonas and his wife, Sarah Michael; a mountain climbing segment; a bike race; a feature on pronghorns and sheep, mining and geology; and much more. This hourlong December show is already generating a lot of interest among the crew.

We’ll also be doing some shooting for a handful of 2018 shows, notably “Small Town Festivals,” “Grapes & Hops,” and “Off the Grid.”

Oh, and then there’s our March 2018 show, “35th Anniversary.” That’s right, 35 years. We’re planning a fascinating look “behind the scenes,” with those who have kept us on the air for more than three decades.

So if you see us out and about this summer, be sure to say “Hi!” And if you have a story idea, that’s even better!

General Manager Ron Pisaneschi Honored With Career Achievement Award

Idaho Public Television is proud to announce that General Manager Ron Pisaneschi will be inducted into the Silver Circle of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Northwest Chapter (NATASNW).

The Silver Circle honors media professionals who began their careers in television at least 25 years ago, either in a performing, creative, technical or administrative role within the industry or in an area related to television, such as TV journalism education, advertising, promotion, or public relations. Honorees — who are reviewed by a committee of recent Silver Circle inductees and then approved by the Northwest Chapter board of governors — must also have made a significant contribution to the Northwest Chapter region for at least part of their 25-year career. The Northwest Chapter of NATAS has been honoring Silver Circle members since 1991.

Pisaneschi came to Idaho Public Television in 1985, and has served as the agency’s general manager since August 2013. During his 32 years at Idaho Public Television, Pisaneschi has also served as director of public information, director of marketing, director of ron silver circle emblemprogramming, and director of content. Under his leadership, Idaho Public Television has regularly attracted the largest viewership, per capita, in the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) system. Pisaneschi served on the board of directors of the Public Television Programmers Association, the PBS Children’s Advisory Committee, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Research Advisory Panel, and numerous other national funding and programming advisory panels. He was named the 2005 Programmer of the Year by his colleagues in the PBS system.

Pisaneschi holds a fine arts degree in film and photography from Lone Mountain College (now a part of the University of San Francisco) and has also worked in educational filmmaking, radio programming, public relations and marketing. In addition to his work for Idaho Public Television, he served for two terms as chairman of the board of directors of the Idaho Humanities Council.

Joan Cartan-Hansen, NATASNW president, says Pisaneschi “exemplifies the best in our profession. He cares about the quality of the work produced at Idaho Public Television and about serving the public. He is a leader in the PBS community and committed to his employees, the station volunteers and the viewers. Ron has made a tremendous difference in Idaho, our region and our nation.”

“With the roles that Ron has played nationwide in the PBS system and in IdahoPTV, he is certainly deserving of this honor,” says Jeff Tucker, IdahoPTV’s director of content services. “And without a doubt the entire staff respects his work and applauds his efforts throughout the years.”

Pisaneschi and eight fellow inductees will be honored at the Silver Circle Reception on Friday, June 2, and formally inducted at the 54th Annual Northwest Regional Emmy Awards Ceremony on Saturday, June 3. Both events take place at Fremont Studios in Seattle, Washington.

More information about the Northwest Regional Emmy Awards and the Northwest Chapter of NATAS can be found here.