More DecemberFest Specials to Warm Your Nights

Here are some of the musical performances, documentaries, and arts and entertainment specials you’ll find during the final days of DecemberFest 2020 (Wednesday-Sunday, Dec. 2-6). For a complete lineup, visit

Journey to Lapland, where tales of Santa Claus mingle with hearty wildlife and stunning landscapes, in Santa’s Wild Home on Nature (Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 7 PM). Explore this region in northern Finland, the fabled home of Santa and actual home of reindeer, wolverines, eagles, wolves, brown bears and more.

Blenko Glass: Behind the Scenes (Friday, Dec. 4, at 9 PM) travels to the hills of Milton, West Virginia, to discover how each unique piece of beautiful, hand-blown glassware is created at the family-owned Blenko Glassworks by human hands and hearts, not by impersonal machines.

The Avett Brothers perform songs highlighting their energetic and eclectic combination of bluegrass, country, punk, pop melodies, folk and indie rock in a concert at a stunning Colorado outdoor venue in The Avett Brothers at Red Rocks (Friday, Dec. 4, at 10 PM).

On May 5, 1973, Johnny Cash performed a stellar set at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, featuring an appearance by his wife, June Carter Cash. The recently discovered footage airs for the first time in Johnny Cash: A Night to Remember (Saturday, Dec. 5, at 5:30 PM).

Recorded in Norway in February 2020, Judy Collins – Winter Stories (Saturday, Dec. 5, at 7 PM) is a collection of seasonal tales and emotionally evocative songs by folk singer-songwriter Collins with Norwegian folk artist Jonas Fjeld and American bluegrass band Chatham County Line.

ABBA Forever – A Celebration (Saturday, Dec. 5, at 8:30 PM) combines live performance clips with exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews to tell the story of the Swedish band that performed together for only 10 years but remains one of the biggest-selling musical acts of all time.

Some seek thrills, some seek records, some push themselves to the edge of physical and mental endurance. But for most Idaho climbers, standing on the top of Idaho’s tallest mountains is reward enough. For Idaho’s 12ers (Sunday, Dec. 6, at 7 PM), the Outdoor Idaho production crew spent time on all nine of the Gem State’s 12,000-foot peaks (and a few 11,000-footers) with 44 intrepid climbers of a variety of ages and experience levels — Idaho natives and newcomers, experts and novices, men and women.

In Books, Boats and Embezzlers (Sunday, Dec. 6, at 8:30 PM), our Idaho Experience team shares a collection of short stories drawn from Idaho’s rich and varied history: a publisher who maintains hands-on printing traditions; how Ernest Hemingway’s time in Idaho influenced him; the steamboats that thrived on Lake Pend Oreille at the turn of the 20th century; and drive-in theaters that keep movie-watching traditions alive.

The Western Front of World War I, Christmas 1914. Out of the violence comes a silence, then a song. A German soldier steps into No Man’s Land singing “Stille Nacht” (Silent Night). Thus begins an extraordinary (though fleeting) night of camaraderie, music and peace. The theatrical performance All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 (Sunday, Dec. 6, at 9:30 PM) recreates this remarkable true story, told in the words and songs of the men who lived it.

Escape With Us During the First Weekend of DecemberFest

The first weekend of DecemberFest 2020 is Friday-Sunday, Nov. 27-29, with three evenings of special programming. Here are some of the new musical performances and arts and entertainment specials we have in store for you. For a complete lineup, visit

Recorded at the Sydney Opera House, Lea Salonga in Concert (Nov. 27 at 9:30 PM) is a performance recorded at the Sydney Opera House featuring the internationally acclaimed singer Lea Salonga and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. The concert features selections from Salonga’s Broadway career (Miss Saigon, Les Misérables, Flower Drum Song and other musicals), as well as songs she performed in the animated Disney blockbusters Aladdin and Mulan.

Ken Burns: Here & There (Nov. 28 at 4 PM) captures the intimate 40-year relationship filmmaker Ken Burns has had with America, his colleagues, his family and community, and with history. Those close to Burns reveal how “America’s storyteller” has become so adept at taking sweeping historical concepts and making them relatable to his audiences.

In John Denver: Country Roads – Live in England (Nov. 28 at 5:30 PM), the singer-songwriter performs fan favorites in a 1986 concert filmed at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England. Performances include “Farewell Andromeda,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Sunshine on my Shoulders” and other songs.

Andy Williams: Greatest Love Songs (My Music) airs Nov. 28 at 7 PM. This special presents many of the romantic crooner’s biggest hits in colorful, full-length performances not seen in decades along with previously unaired recollections from Williams. Songs include “Can’t Get Used to Losing You,” “Dear Heart,” “Butterfly” and “Moon River.”

In Josh Groban: An Evening of Harmony (Nov. 28 at 8:30 PM), join Groban for highlights from three virtual concert events filmed during the coronavirus lockdown. Performances feature songs from his new album, Harmony, as well as fan favorites and many of Groban’s greatest hits.

The documentary Classic Albums: John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band (Nov. 29 at 5:30 PM) explores the making of Lennon’s first post-Beatles record. Widely regarded as one of his finest, Plastic Ono Band is a raw, emotionally painful yet beautiful collection of personal and cathartic songs. The film features interviews with Yoko Ono and Ringo Starr.

Celebrate the iconic series that introduced generations of PBS viewers to the delights of British drama in Masterpiece: 50 Fabulous Years! (Nov. 29 at 8:30 PM). From Upstairs Downstairs and I, Claudius to The Jewel in the Crown and Downton Abbey, see why Masterpiece has stood the test of time as a beloved favorite.

Dolly Parton: I Will Always Love You (My Music) celebrates the beloved singer-songwriter’s career from her early days in rural Tennessee to her success as a crossover pop superstar. Featured performances include “Coat of Many Colors,” “Here You Come Again,” “Islands in the Stream” (with Kenny Rogers) and “9 to 5.” The show airs Nov. 29 at 10 PM.

Join IdahoPTV and MontanaPBS for “Tech Talk Tuesday”

Join Idaho Public Television and MontanaPBS for Tech Talk Tuesday, a monthly online virtual discussion about teaching and learning with technology. The monthly discussions are hosted by Kari Wardle and Nikki Vradenburg, public media educators who are tech nerds and former classroom teachers!

The monthly discussions are held the last Tuesday of each month and feature teachers from both states sharing strategies, tips and tricks, and real-world solutions for integrating technology in your classroom.

This is NOT another boring webinar! Tech Talk Tuesdays are all about teachers talking about teaching and learning with technology! With more than 30 collective years in public education (and nerddom), Nikki and Kari have the expertise and ability to provide relevant and useful content for teachers. If you can’t join live, don’t worry, all Tech Talks will be recorded and archived on YouTube. Learn more at

“MontanaPBS is thrilled to collaborate with Idaho Public Television to host Tech Talk Tuesday for teachers in both of our states. 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!”
— Nikki Vradenburg, MontanaPBS

“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 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. Please join us on the last Tuesday of each month. You won’t be disappointed.”
— Kari Wardle, IdahoPTV

Join Us for an Online Screening of ‘Barns of Idaho’

Please register to join us for a free online screening of Barns of Idaho, the newest film from Idaho Public Television’s original series Outdoor Idaho. The screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the filmmaker, Forrest Burger, and special guests Frank Eld and Dawn Dempsey.

The screening will be hosted on the interactive platform OVEE on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. Mountain / 6 p.m. Pacific time. Viewers can RSVP to attend, and join in the live screening and discussion, using this link:

Barns of Idaho will air on Idaho Public Television on Thursday, Oct. 15, at 9 p.m. and will repeat Sunday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. Viewers can also stream Barns of Idaho through the PBS Video app or online at beginning Thursday, Oct. 8.

About ‘Barns of Idaho’

Idaho was built on agriculture and farming, and barns have always played a vital role in that history. When the Outdoor Idaho staff kicked around the idea of doing a show about barns in our state, we had no idea what kind of reaction we would get from our viewers. So, we decided to put a feeler out on Facebook. Boy, did we ever get some great feedback. Because, like preservationist Frank Eld says, “Everyone loves a barn!”

Barns of Idaho producer/director Forrest Burger says, “The response to the idea was almost overwhelming. And, more importantly, there were some great tips we got about barns that we pursued for the show.”

Although we’re not able to highlight all of the outstanding barns in our great state, we did our best to focus on some interesting ones and the stories that surround them.

About Filmmaker Forrest Burger

Producer/director Forrest Burger has been with Idaho Public Television for nearly two years. Prior to that he owned his own video production company for more than 20 years producing documentaries and corporate videos. He started his career as a photojournalist for CNN in Tokyo and later worked as a video editor for 60 Minutes in New York City.

About Panelist Frank Eld

Frank Eld was raised in the Finnish homestead in Long Valley, Idaho. After graduation from Columbia University in 1969, Frank founded the Preservation Society in Roseberry, Idaho. Frank is a recognized expert on Finnish log construction, researching and lecturing throughout the United States and Canada. His research has resulted in the book Finnish Log Construction, The Art. Since retirement, Frank continues his restoration work as well as chairing the Preservation Idaho’s Barn Register Committee. Frank also continues traveling across the upper United States locating and documenting Finnish communities and their log construction and working on his current book while studying for his master’s at Boise State.

About Panelist Dawn Dempsey

Dawn Dempsey, also known as “The Horse Rescuer,” is the founder of Survivors Rescue Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, providing sanctuary for abandoned, neglected and abused horses. She has been a lifelong advocate for animal rights and is dedicated to being “the voice for those that have none.” Her organization rescues horses from slaughter, rehabilitates them into lifetime homes, educates the community with hands-on horsemanship and animal well-being, and teaches awareness of equine health and welfare. Survivors Rescue Inc. also offers gelding incentives and promotes companion animals in therapy. Some of Dawn’s techniques that were once considered by veterinarians to be “not medically possible” are now being implemented at WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. The generous support her organization receives means life for those she rescues.

IdahoPTV Announces Winners of PBS KIDS Writers Contest

For the 26th year, Idaho Public Television hosted the annual PBS KIDS Writers Contest. IdahoPTV’s three regional stations — KUID/Moscow, KISU/Pocatello and KAID/Boise — encouraged children who were in kindergarten through third grade during the 2019-2020 school year to write and illustrate their own imaginative story.

IdahoPTV received 154 entries. A team of volunteers judged the entries on creativity, originality, language skills and illustrations. Winners for each grade were chosen for each region of Idaho for a total of 34 winners.

On Saturday, Oct. 24, virtual awards ceremonies will be held online to celebrate these children and their stories. By Nov. 1, the winning stories will be scanned and uploaded in full color onto the IdahoPTV website.

Read the 2020 Idaho Public Television PBS KIDS Writers Contest winners here once they’re available.

“This year we had 154 submissions from around Idaho, and the stories were awesome. A few of them made me laugh until I cried,” says Katheryn Astle, IdahoPTV community education specialist. “Some of the writers drew from real-life experiences, others dreamed up imaginative adventures, and they all added wonderful illustrations. The PBS KIDS Writers Contest is a great way for children to engage in polishing their language skills and creativity — abilities that are vital in today’s world.”

Principal support for this year’s contest was provided by IDeal – Idaho College Savings Program

‘The Idaho Debates’ to Host Virtual Discussions with Senate, Congressional Candidates

This election season, The Idaho Debates on Idaho Public Television is temporarily shifting formats. Known for hosting live, in-person debates in the past, this election season — due to COVID-19 — The Idaho Debates will be comprised of pre-recorded Q & A sessions with the candidates conducted via video teleconference.

Candidates for Idaho Congressional District 1, Congressional District 2, and U.S. Senate have been invited to participate. Each candidate will be asked the same questions on issues relevant to their congressional or senate race. Those answers will be edited together to give voters a clear picture of where the candidates stand.

Each program will be broadcast on Idaho Public Television and available online at the following dates:

Friday, Oct. 9, at 8 p.m. – Rep. Russ Fulcher, Rudy Soto and Joe Evans are scheduled to appear in the Idaho Congressional District 1 debate, which will be moderated by Marcia Franklin.

Monday, Oct. 12, at 8 p.m. – Rep. Mike Simpson and Aaron Swisher are scheduled to appear in the Idaho Congressional District 2 debate, which will be moderated by Marcia Franklin.

Friday, Oct. 16, at 8 p.m. – Sen. Jim Risch, Paulette Jordan and Natalie Fleming are scheduled to appear in the United States Senate debate, which will be moderated by Melissa Davlin.

Though these are unusual times, The Idaho Debates is committed to bringing Idaho voters information about candidates in their own words. Find the most up-to-date schedule of virtual debates at

The Idaho Debates is a collaborative effort among the Idaho Press Club, Boise State University’s School of Public Service, University of Idaho’s McClure Center, Idaho State University’s Department of Political Science, League of Women Voters’ Voter Education Fund, and Idaho Public Television. Our goal is to give the public an unbiased platform to hear the views of congressional candidates on the ballot. We do not support or oppose political parties or candidates.

‘The 180’ Celebrates the Power of Turnarounds

In her 1993 Nobel Prize lecture, the writer Toni Morrison recounted a fable of an old, blind, wise woman, weaving the tale with the multilayered prose that only Morrison could conjure.

In her version, two children exhort the woman to provide them with an honest appraisal of life, as well as guideposts for their future.

“Tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light,” they say. “Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.”

“Language alone,” they went on, “protects us from the scariness of things with no names.”

We find ourselves now in an often frightening time, with many nameless threats. But our combined wisdom — shared through language and story — can help us find a path.

That path is not always straight, though. Sometimes it means turning completely around. In that light, producer Marcia Franklin started a new online series called The 180. For it, Franklin is talking with people who’ve had to make a turnaround, either during this pandemic or in the past. By hearing their experiences, we, too, can gain a new perspective, one that can propel us in new directions.

You can find installments of the series in The 180 playlist on YouTube, and on the Dialogue on IdahoPTV Facebook page.

Inaugural guests include artist Erin Cunningham; Tamara Cameron, the executive director of the Boise Farmers Market; and Dana Marsh, the spiritual director of Heart of the Dharma.

“The process has been a 180 for me as well, as I try to navigate the vicissitudes of Zoom, a finicky editing program, and an aging computer,” Franklin says. “But it’s also been a great learning experience. And there’s a nimbleness that comes with being able to call someone up one day and record them the next day from my living room. We’re fortunate to have the tools to be much more connected than our ancestors were during their times of crisis.

“Years from now, we’ll be those ancestors, with our descendants looking back at us for clues about how we weathered this era. I hope The 180 will be part of that tucked-away archive that gets opened by a wide-eyed journalist or schoolchild tracing history’s breadcrumbs back to this moment in time.”

Marcia Franklin welcomes your story ideas for future installments. You can reach her at

Funding for The 180 is provided in part by the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation.

‘Dialogue’ Conversations With Writers Now Available as a Podcast

For more than 25 years, host Marcia Franklin has been bringing viewers “conversations that matter” on Dialogue. More than 150 of those conversations are with writers, many of them conducted at the annual Sun Valley Writers’ Conference.

Now you can take those interviews with you wherever go! A new podcast, Dialogue With Marcia Franklin, is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Libsyn and elsewhere. Search “Dialogue With Marcia Franklin” to find it on your favorite podcast platform.

This growing collection includes conversations with historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, investigative journalist Jane Mayer, historian Annette Gordon-Reed, and the late U.S. Representative John Lewis.

One new interview will be added to the collection every Sunday beginning Oct. 4, so be sure to subscribe to the podcast so that new shows download automatically.

Classroom Idaho Fall Session Broadcasts Free Lessons for Home Learning

Access to the internet is difficult in Idaho and that’s why, with COVID and online learning, IdahoPTV is bringing the classroom to the viewer with Classroom Idaho: Learn@Home. Last spring when schools across the state shut down and moved to distance learning, IdahoPTV knew there were thousands of parents and students without internet access and/or devices to access high quality instruction. In response to that need, we launched Classroom Idaho, a broadcast service, received for free over the air that connects students with certified Idaho teachers.

Classroom Idaho fall 2020 is available for FREE across the entire state via over-the-air antenna. Fall school sessions will air on our CREATE Channel. Additionally, many cable providers broadcast the CREATE Channel in your area.

Lessons are taught by certified Gem State teachers, and are aligned to Idaho content standards. Hourlong K-6 modules will air Monday through Friday, beginning at 8 a.m., September 14 through December 18. *There will not be classes during Thanksgiving week.

Hourlong English language courses (ELL) will air on Mondays and repeat on Fridays at 3 p.m., September 14 through December 18. These courses will be for both children and adults. *There will not be classes during Thanksgiving week.

College and career readiness sessions will be offered on Mondays and repeated on Fridays at 4 p.m. These courses will be taught by academic advisors and help prepare students and parents for college and career. *There will not be classes during Thanksgiving week.

During the 14-week fall session, K-6th-grade students will be given standards-aligned direct instruction from a certified Idaho teacher via our CREATE Channel. Students in grades 7-12 can tune in directly after Classroom Idaho for quality PBS programming and secondary teachers can find links to corresponding teaching resources on our website at

IdahoPTV’s over-the-air broadcast channels are free to receive. All you need is an antenna. Our signal is available to over 99 percent of the households in Idaho. For information on where to find our CREATE Channel and other free channels in your area, or how to re-scan to find our channels, visit our website.

Our full channel lineup is also available on many major cable outlets around the state. Check with your local cable provider.

Idaho Public Television General Manager Ron Pisaneschi shared the station’s enthusiasm for the project noting that “We are pleased to partner with the Boise School District, Jannus, Idaho Digital Learning Alliance and the State Board of Education to use the power of public television to deliver these lessons to students and families in homes throughout Idaho. PBS has always been America’s largest classroom, but now we are bringing Idaho’s teachers and their lessons directly into students’ homes.”

“For anyone who has studied another language, excellent instruction and opportunities to practice are key. Partnering with Idaho Public Television allows us to provide remote learning in new ways. The IdahoPTV platform allows families to learn English and access lessons from the safety of their homes. These lessons are meant to help build language skills in children and parents and to provide opportunities for families to practice together.”
— Kate Udall, Manager of the English Language Center at Jannus

“The academic needs of our students are consistently at the forefront of our Board’s work. Now more than ever, we must utilize every tool available to support moving into the new school year. Classroom Idaho is one of those tools. Every opportunity we have to highlight these opportunities is time well spent. We see so many partners springing to action and we need every one of them. Leveraging the power of IdahoTV, we can bring the needed supports right to homes and to students.”
— Debbie Critchfield, president of the State Board of Education

CLASSROOM IDAHO is a partnership of Idaho Public Television and Boise School District, the English Language Center and the Idaho Office for Refugees (projects of Jannus), Idaho Digital Learning Alliance and the State Board of Education.

Double Your Contribution During ‘Democracy in Action’

More than 200 years ago Thomas Jefferson said, “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” And as our country prepares for this fall’s elections, that statement is more timely than ever.

As Idaho Public Television and PBS prepare to cover the 2020 elections and shine a light on our democracy in action, your active involvement and continued support are vital. 

Public media plays a critically important role in our democracy as a bastion of accurate, impartial information, providing clarity and context in a confusing world. We hope you’ll agree that supporting public media and the trusted, informative and unbiased reporting it provides is more critical now than ever before.

A generous group of statewide donors has created The 2020 Democracy in Action Matching Gift Fund.  These donors strongly believe in the power of public media and have created a fund to match all gifts received between now and October 31, up to $40,000! 

CLICK HERE to make a donation now, and your gift will be matched – so you can double your gift and double your impact!

This viewer comment from April perfectly captures the importance of public media’s role in journalism and the upcoming elections: 

“In these perilous times, public television is a beacon of hope, like a lighthouse revealing the breakers upon which this ship of state could wreck. I’ve watched my whole life and hope to continue living and watching.” – C. Wolfe, Boise

Sincere thanks to these statewide donors who made generous contributions to create The 2020 Democracy in Action Matching Gift Fund:

A.J. and Susie Balukoff

Anne Voillequé and Louise Nelson

Thomas and Marilyn Beck

Doug Oppenheimer

Carol Lloyd

Thank you!

CLICK HERE to contribute now, and double your gift to support this vital coverage of our American democracy in action!