NPT’s ‘Aging Matters: Companionship & Intimacy’ premieres Dec. 18

Humans are social animals, connected by the relationships we build over a lifetime. But the process of aging can be isolating and put us at risk for loneliness – and that, as NPT explored in a previous Aging Matters documentary – can have negative effects on our health. Aging Matters: Companionship & Intimacy, the 16th documentary in Nashville Public Television’s NPT Reports: Aging Matters series, considers various kinds of relationships and intimacy issues, including romantic companionship and discussions of sexuality and sexual activity as we age. Aging Matters: Companionship & Intimacy premieres Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 9 p.m. on NPT and will be followed at 9:30 p.m. by a frank discussion about the sex lives of older adults.

A luncheon and preview screening of Aging Matters: Companionship & Intimacy will be held Dec. 18, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at FiftyForward Patricia Hart Building. The event is free, but RSVPs are required at Panelists for the post-screening discussion are retired nurse practitioner and certified sex therapist Ginger Manley (Assisted Loving: The Journey Through Sexuality and Aging); Monet Shell, a therapist at Insight Counseling; and Dan Surface, founder of the “Refired Not Retired” men’s group sponsored by Mental Health America Mid-South and FiftyForward. FiftyForward’s Gretchen Funk will moderate the discussion.



There are many levels of relationships, from deep connections to casual interactions. Research suggests they all matter and they all influence your health and wellbeing. Aging Matters: Companionship & Intimacy includes commentary from specialists in medicine, psychology and social work, as well as men and women who discuss their own situations and relationships. The participants address adjusting to new surroundings, creating new friendships or finding new love after losing a spouse.

“Finding someone you love when you’re young is very important, very exciting,” says Frances Hahn in the program. “But finding someone you love after you’ve been widowed is really special, and should really be encouraged and fostered,”

Supporting the relationships of older adults may require unlearning accepted beliefs about aging. This includes having conversations that may be challenging, but are essential to living life to the fullest.

“We plan for retirement financially; we need to plan for retirement socially,” says Julianne Holt-Leunstad, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, in the documentary.

Other experts appearing in the documentary are Dr. Stacy Tessler Lindau, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and medicine-geriatrics at the University of Chicago; Annamarie Pluhar, president of Sharing Housing Inc.; Carrie Plummer, assistant professor of nursing at Vanderbilt School of Nursing; and Manoj Pardasani, professor of social work at Hunter College/City University of New York.

The panel discussion airing after the documentary is a conversation about sexual drive and activity of older adults, as well as related health indicators and concerns. Taking part in the conversation are Renee Burwell, a certified sex therapist at Pandora’s Awakening and executive director of the Tennessee Alliance for Sexual Health; Dr. David Duong, urologist at Urology Associates in Nashville; Brooke Faught, a women’s health nurse practitioner and director of the Women’s Institute for Sexual Health at Urology Associates; and Ginger Manley, a retired nurse practitioner and certified sex therapist (author of Assisted Loving: The Journey Through Sexuality and Aging).

Additional broadcast times for Aging Matters: Companionship & Intimacy are below; the documentary will also be available for online viewing at

  • Friday, Dec. 20, at 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. on NPT2
  • Monday, Dec. 23, at 2 p.m. on NPT2

Aging Matters: Companionship & Intimacy was produced by Will Pedigo, whose previous Aging Matters documentaries include Legal Help and Aging & the Workplace. Pedigo also produced NPT’s Emmy-nominated documentary Voyage of Adventure: Retracing John Donelson’s Journey.

The NPT Reports: Aging Matters series is hosted by Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Kathy Mattea. Aging Matters: Companionship & Intimacy is made possible by the generous support of the West End Home Foundation, the Jeanette Travis Foundation, The HCA Foundation and Cigna-HealthSpring. Additional support was provided by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and Jackson National Life Insurance Company.

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NPT receives Three Midsouth Regional Emmy Award nominations

NPT received three nominations at the 34th Midsouth Regional Emmy Award announcement party on Nov. 21, 2019, at BMI on Nashville’s Music Row.

The following NPT productions, staff and contributors received nominations:

Soldier & Citizen
Ed Jones

Voyage of Adventure: Retracing Donelson’s Journey
Will Pedigo, Jason Code, Shawn Anfinson, Suzy Hence, John Guider, Shane Burkeen

Next Door Neighbors: Taste of Home
Shawn Anfinson, Jason Code

The 34th Annual Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards will be held Feb. 15, 2020, at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

‘Volunteer Gardener’ November in the Garden: Cold-weather Prep

By Laura Bigbee-Fott

Most of you have probably already received a killing frost. Much of the flowers and foliage that looked so jubilant a few weeks ago (think: dahlias!) are now sad and dead-looking. Not to worry, all your perennials are now busy doing very important work underground –some above ground. Roots are growing, new shoots and eyes are forming, and buds are setting for next spring. You can also do your part to get things working toward the next growing season.

Go for the green
The first week of November or so, I give my entire garden a gentle sprinkling of Green Sand. If this is the first time you’ve heard of this wonderful soil amendment, you are in for a treat! It is mined from the shallows of the ocean and is also called “Glauconite.” Green Sand is high in iron, potassium and magnesium, as well as several other important trace minerals. Potassium is the “K” in the NPK ratings of fertilizers and is important in root growth. Green Sand contains a very gentle dose at 0 0 3. So while you’re clearing away the tops of dahlias, peonies and all the annuals that bit the dust with the first hard frost, think about adding a bit of magic green dust to your beds to encourage healthy new growth next season.

If you are going to lift and store your dahlia tubers, make certain to wait two weeks from the time of your first hard frost. This way you won’t inhibit the growth of any eyes forming on the tubers. Meanwhile, other items in the garden might want some extra mulching, like tuberoses, acidanthera, and salvia leucantha. Any perennial that is at the extent of its growing zone will need a little extra warmth for the winter.

Leave it alone
Lots of seeds can be left on the plants to help feed birds that don’t travel south in the winter. If you love goldfinches, for example, do not remove the blackened stems of rudbeckia and echinacea. Instead, leave them and the birds will feast on the seeds all winter long. Also, don’t be in a big hurry to remove fallen leaves, especially from your garden, as they provide extra warmth to roots over the winter. Got a brush pile? Wait till late spring to burn it because many beneficials, small vertebrates and invertebrates over-winter in these piles. Your garden will be healthier next year, so your “laziness” will be rewarded!

One last thing, instead of raking your leaves, consider mowing them. You can either mow them into your yard or you can bag them while you mow. I try to alternate between the two, collecting the mown leaves after the first big drop into piles for use as mulch next season. These may also be used on the compost pile or dumped around woodland plants that love them, such as hydrangeas and azaleas. When the second big leaf shower happens, I mow those leaves into the grass.

Happy Gardening!

Laura Bigbee-Fott is a Davidson County Master Gardener. She owns Whites Creek Flower Farm and runs a floral event and wedding design business called Everything Blooms.

NPT’s ‘By One Vote: Woman Suffrage in the South’ premieres Thursday, Nov. 21

Nashville Public Television’s By One Vote: Woman Suffrage in the South, the latest documentary in our Citizenship Project series, premieres on Thursday, Nov. 21, at 8 p.m. Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash narrates this chronicle of events leading to the turbulent, nail-biting showdown that took place Aug. 18, 1920, in the Tennessee General Assembly. By a single legislator’s vote, which was influenced by a note from his mother, Tennessee became the 36th and final state needed to ratify the 19th Amendment giving women in the United States the right to vote.

The U.S. woman’s suffrage movement began in the Northeast as an offshoot of the anti-slavery movement. By One Vote: Woman Suffrage in the South tells the lesser-known history of the efforts by Southern women to gain the vote in the years following the Civil War through 1920. “It was a different story than what happened in the North and in it was in some ways the least successful part of the movement,” said Mary Makley, the documentary’s producer. “We’re trying to tell how difficult it was to be a Southern suffragist within the broader context of how Tennessee got to be the final state to ratify the 19th Amendment.”

“Women’s legal position was pretty much the same as the legal position of felons,” says Wanda Sobieski, J.D., president of Knoxville’s Suffrage Coalition, in the documentary. Married women had no rights in terms of property, not even to income they might have earned. They did not have child custody rights in cases of divorce.

By One Vote: Woman Suffrage in the South highlights major figures in Tennessee’s suffrage movement such as Anne Dallas Dudley and Sue Shelton White; as well as anti-suffragist Josephine Pearson and key legislator Harry T. Burn. Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul are among the national activists referenced in the documentary.

In addition to Sobieski, By One Vote: Woman Suffrage in the South includes appearances by Adele Logan Alexander, Ph.D. (Princess of the Hither Isles: A Black Suffragist Story from the Jim Crow South); Beverly Bond, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, University of Memphis; Carole Bucy, Ph.D., Professor of History, Volunteer State Community College; Mary Evins, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, MTSU; Elna Green, Ph.D., Dean of Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Augusta University; Marjorie Spruill, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of History, University of South Carolina; Elaine Weiss (The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote); and Linda Wynn, M.S., Assistant Director for State Programs, Tennessee Historical Commission and Professor of History and Public Administration, Fisk University.

By One Vote: Woman Suffrage in the South incorporates audio accounts from suffragists Abby Crawford Milton and Dorothy Loomis, as well as 1960s television footage of Rep. Burn. Numerous vintage illustrations, postcards and photographs – including images from Tennessee suffragist parades in 1914 and 1915 – are used throughout the documentary. New illustrations by Holly Carden and original music by Joshua Carter augment this historical program.

After its broadcast premiere, By One Vote: Woman Suffrage in the South will re-air Sunday, Nov. 24, at 7 p.m. and will be available for streaming and online viewing at Learn more about Women’s Suffrage Centennial commemoration events in Nashville at

NPT’s Citizenship Project is a series of original productions about how different groups have fought for, obtained and maintained the rights and access we commonly associate with American citizenship. These include the right to vote, the right to receive a public education, the right to be considered equal before the law, and the right to worship the religion of one’s choice. More about the series is available at

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‘Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum’ joins PBS Kids lineup Nov. 11

Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum, a new PBS Kids series, premieres Monday, Nov. 11, on NPT with a one-hour special airing at 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. This animated series combines adventure, history and comedy and is aimed at children ages 4 to 7. The show is based on the bestselling children’s book series, Ordinary People Change the World, by Brad Meltzer and illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos.

In each half-hour episode, intrepid Xavier Riddle, his indomitable little sister Yadina and their reluctant, yet determined, friend Brad – along with their robot buddy, Berby – turn to the Secret Museum. Here they travel back in time to consult real-life historical figures when they were kids to get help solving a problem. Helen Keller, George Washington Carver, Amelia Earhart, Zora Neale Hurston and Charles Dickens are the “kids” Xavier and his pals meet in the first week of shows. Upcoming “guests” include Harriet Tubman, Neil Armstrong and Susan B. Anthony.


Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum
will air weekdays at 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on NPT. The series will air weekdays at 6 p.m. and weekends at 4:30 p.m. on NPT3 PBS Kids.

Children’s programming is available around the clock on NPT3, our 24-hour PBS Kids Channel, available over-the-air at 8.3, on Comcast 242 and Charter 189 (or 192, depending on your viewing area). NPT3 PBS Kids is available for streaming at

NPT weekday schedule of children’s programs beginning Monday, Nov. 11, 2019:

6:00 a.m.     Curious George

6:30             Nature Cat

7:00             Wild Kratts

7:30             Molly of Denali

8:00             Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum

8:30             Let’s Go Luna!

9:00             Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

9:30             Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

10:00           Sesame Street

10:30           Pinkalicious & Peterrific

11:00           Dinosaur Train

11:30           Cat in the Hat

noon            Sesame Street

12:30 p.m.   Splash and Bubbles

1:00             Pinkalicious & Peterrific

1:30             Let’s Go Luna!

2:00             Nature Cat

2:30             Wild Kratts

3:00             Molly of Denali

3:30             Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum

4:00             Odd Squad

4:30             Arthur


As of Nov. 16, our weekend schedule of children’s lineup will be:

5:00 a.m.     Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

5:30             Dinosaur Train

6:00             Sesame Street

6:30             Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

7:00             Pinkalicious & Peterrific

7:30             Molly of Denali

8:00             Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum

8:30             Let’s Go Luna!

NPT spot on TSU/VU program for minority students is in nat’l pub media show

NPT is among 15 public media stations whose work is included in JOURNEY TO JOBS, a one-hour television special presented as part of the American Graduate: Getting to Work initiative. JOURNEY TO JOBS will be hosted by PBS NewsHour’s Hari Sreenivasan and will air on NPT Sunday, Oct. 27, at 1 p.m. and Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 5 p.m.

JOURNEY TO JOBS shows how communities are providing support, advice, and intervention services to youth, veterans, and adults in career transition. In JOURNEY TO JOBS, viewers hear directly from job seekers and the newly employed, from business and nonprofit leaders, as well as program staff, volunteers and mentors as they work to create pathways to high-demand skilled careers. Each segment is tied to one of the American Graduate content strands, including Barriers to Employment, Career Pathways, Connecting Job Seekers to Networks, Innovative Career Education Models, and Mentorship.

NPT’s segment highlights Earth Horizons, a National Science Foundation project launched earlier this year by professors from Tennessee State University, a historically black university, and Vanderbilt University. The goal of Earth Horizons is to expand opportunities and awareness about geosciences for minority students. The video is available below, at and on our NPT Reports YouTube channel.

American Graduate is public media’s long-term commitment to supporting community-based solutions to help young people succeed in school, career and life. Supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, more than 125 public television and radio stations have joined forces with over 1,700 partners to elevate the stories of youth and the supportive adults that help them succeed. Public media’s national and local reporting – on-air and online – is helping communities understand the challenges and community-driven solutions associated with education and future successes. Public forums, town halls and community conversations are activating discussions between community leaders, educators and more.

See more of NPT’s American Graduate work at

NPT is named finalist in the 2019 NETA Awards

Nashville Public Television has been named a finalist in the 2019 NETA Awards competition in the “Excellence in Content” category. Winners will be announced during a reception and awards gala on Sunday, Jan. 26, during the National Educational Telecommunications Association’s annual conference in Arlington, Va., in January 2020.

NPT’s entry, Rooted in the Community, highlights how we solicit and incorporate community input when producing new documentaries in our Aging Matters and Next Door Neighbors series; organizing town halls on current affairs; and developing other content. This commitment to community engagement drives and informs everything we do here at NPT.

In the 2018 NETA Awards, NPT received two awards at the Salt Lake City conference and gala in January 2019.

The NETA Awards are an annual recognition of public broadcasting’s best work in education, community engagement, marking/communications and content. NETA is a professional association that serves and supports public television licensees and affiliated educational organizations. The organization has member stations in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands.

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‘Volunteer Gardener’ October in the Garden: Dahlia Season

By Laura Bigbee-Fott

It’s been so warm this year that dahlia production in the Nashville area has been difficult. Dahlias love warm days and cool nights, and there have precious few cool nights this season. However, with our recent change in the weather, we should start to see a few more luscious blooms from one of my favorite flowers.

Even as the dahlias finally begin to bloom in earnest, our enjoyment is bittersweet as we are also approaching our first hard frost of the year. In Nashville, the average first frost is October 28th. After that we have to decide whether to leave the dahlia tubers where they are, or take them up and store them over the winter.

I’ve gone back and forth through the years about whether to lift my dahlia tubers or leave them in place and I’ve done both with mixed results. Last winter was so wet that every tuber I left in the ground rotted – even some of the ones I planted out in the spring rotted! Now after losing hundreds of tubers, I think I’m in the “lifting” camp for good!

Why is it called “lifting”? Because you use a broad fork or garden fork and literally lift the soil from around the plant. A single dahlia tuber can multiply exponentially over a growing season, so if you use a shovel, you can easily slice through several tubers that could otherwise grow into entirely new plants in the spring.

After lifting, gently brush off any attached dirt with a stiff paint brush, then set the tubers out to cure for a few days. To store, place the tubers in boxes layered with peat moss or coir. (Some people also use perlite for this purpose.) Do not make the boxes airtight or mold may form and the tubers may rot. You will also want to check the tubers periodically over the winter. If you see mold forming, let the tubers air out and change the storage medium. If the tubers look shriveled, you might want to mist them gently with water.

I usually cut my tubers in the spring when I take them out of storage. Note: The eyes can continue to develop over the winter, so it’s important not to be in too big of a rush to separate them.

As you can see, dahlias are the divas of the cutting garden and require a lot of patience and care. But when they get that attention, they reward you with extravagant, long-lasting blooms, both in the garden as well as in the vase.

Happy gardening!

Laura Bigbee-Fott is a Davidson County Master Gardener. She owns Whites Creek Flower Farm and runs a floral event and wedding design business called Everything Blooms.

NPT relaunches John Seigenthaler ‘A Word on Words’ online archive

On Nashville Public Television’s A Word on Words, renowned journalist John Seigenthaler held in-depth and informed discussions with authors over the series’ 40-year run (1972 to 2013). NPT has digitized 901 episodes of A Word on Words and made them available online at Mr. Seigenthaler’s many guests over the years extended beyond literary figures to include a wide array of historical and cultural notables such as astronaut Al Shepard, Rep. John Lewis and Julia Child.

The show’s host may have been its most fascinating subject, however. Mr. Seigenthaler served as editor of The Tennessean, founding editor of USA Today, assistant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and chair of the selection committee for the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He was a passionate advocate of the First Amendment and founded the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University in 1991.

“These are programs that we hope will be seen in many places over the years and maybe provide a little historical perspective on both Nashville and the country,” said John Seigenthaler, Mr. Seigenthaler’s son. To that end, NPT has shared the episodes with the American Archive of Public Broadcasting online archive, a collaboration between the Library of Congress and WGBH that includes more than 50,000 hours of public broadcasting programs and original materials. This database is searchable by title and guest and the show transcripts can be searched for words and topics.

NPT has already mined the newly available interviews for digital-first projects in conjunction with Ken Burns’ Country Music documentary series and this summer’s Apollo 11 moon landing anniversary.

According to NPT’s President & CEO Kevin Crane, who serves on American Archive’s advisory board, the A Word on Words digitization project got underway more than a decade ago when a cache of tapes was found in the station’s basement. “Some of them, we didn’t even have machines that could play them,” Crane said. Thus the station first made some of A Word on Words audio available online; now the entire shows are available for viewers to enjoy again.

Mr. Seigenthaler’s thorough preparation for each interview was legendary. Crane remembered how much authors appreciated that dedication. “I used to drive authors back and forth to the Southern Festival of Books and all the authors said the same thing: He really read my book,” Crane said.

“Dad spent longer doing the television shows at [NPT] than he did any other job in his life. He did it for free and he did it out of love for books and for the community. So these wonderful television programs are important us,” the younger Seigenthaler said. “There’s not a day that passes that I don’t hear from somebody almost who says, ‘I love to watch A Word on Words, I love to watch him talk to authors about their books.’”

NPT has shared the John Seigenthaler A Word on Words episodes with the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University. Mr. Seigenthaler’s papers are now part of the Vanderbilt University Library and a chair in his name is part of the university’s history department. “This is a wonderful addition to what, for us, is a real tribute to his life, but also we hope to be available to researchers and students to learn more about him, the country and the history that he lived,” the younger Seigenthaler said.

NPT also continues to build on Mr. Seigenthaler’s legacy with a reboot of his classic series. Hosted by Mystery writer J.T. Ellison and essayist Mary Laura Philpott, the new A Word on Words received a Midsouth Regional Emmy Award in January 2017 and was nominated for a second Emmy for the 2018 season.

Enter NPT’s AWOW Giveaway through Oct. 11!

It’s time for another AWOW Giveaway of books by authors we’ve interviewed on NPT’s Emmy-winning A WORD ON WORDS series.

With the Southern Festival of Books approaching, we’re keeping it local with authors who live in the Nashville area ‒ and we’ve included A WORD ON WORDS hosts J.T. Ellison and Mary Laura Philpott!

Register at for a chance to win the following books:

Lie to Me: J.T. Ellison
The Orphan Mother: Robert Hicks
Flight of Dreams: Ariel Lawhon
This Is Our War: Lagnajita Mukhopadhyay
Commonwealth: Ann Patchett
Rush: Lisa Patton
I Miss You When I Blink: Mary Laura Philpott

See A WORD ON WORDS episodes featuring these authors on the NPT Arts YouTube channel.

The contest ends Friday, Oct. 11, and the winner will be notified by Tuesday, Oct. 15.

Limit one entry per person. Keep Reading!