‘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 wnpt.org/npt3.

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 video.wnpt.org 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 amgrad.wnpt.org.

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 https://www.wnpt.org/a-word-on-words-john-seigenthaler/. 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 wnpt.org/books 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!

‘Volunteer Gardener’ September in the Garden: Botanical Names

By Laura Bigbee-Fott

Have you ever felt completely lost when trying to decipher the Latin (and/or Greek) botanical names of plants? When I first started my flower farm, I made myself read and memorize every botanical name for every species I grew. It made my brain hurt, but after a while, I started noticing similarities and the reasoning behind the nomenclature began to make sense. It’s like looking at a Where’s Waldo? picture: Suddenly the chaos disappears as the image snaps into focus.

What’s in a name?
Many gardeners simply use the common names for the plants in their gardens. But these names are often regional and can refer to different plants all together. In some areas of the country, “spirea” refers to Astilbe, the herbaceous shade perennial, while in other parts of the country, it refers to the woody perennial flowering shrub. Using the correct botanical names can cut through a lot of confusion.

There are seven levels of organization to identifying a particular plant, beginning with Kingdom. For now we’ll concentrate on the last three: family; genus; and species. (There are sometimes sub-categories below species, but they usually refer to a cultivar or hybrid.)

You’ve probably seen the name “Asteraceae.” This is one of the most common families of flowering plants, encompassing all daisy-flowered plants, from the largest sunflowers to the tiniest wild aster. Two other familiar family names are “Violaceae” and “Liliaceae,” violet and lily forms, respectively.

Family names can help you identify a new plant. If you’re out on a hike and find a lovely wild daisy, you know to start looking in the Asteraceae family. In addition to flower forms, there are several identifiers that place a plant in a particular family. These include: Where the seeds are located, how they will look, and how to germinate them ‒ these are just a few of the similarities in a plant family.

This is where you really begin to see the differentiation of plant types, from Aquilegia to Zinnia. These are the names by which you will narrow down your search for a particular flowering plant (also known as angiosperm).

This name tells you what kind of Aquilegia (common name: columbine) you’re growing. There are literally dozens of different species! So if you want to finish your native garden with some aquilegia, you will most likely look for A. canadensis. which has red nodding blooms and is native to Tennessee. If, on the other hand, you want something frillier with upward-facing blooms in a mix of colors, you might grow A. vulgaris, “Barlow Mix” (which is what I’m growing this year). In this case, “vulgaris” is the species, and “Barlow Mix” is the cultivar or variety of this species.

(Note: When the genus has already been stated in a paragraph, you may abbreviate it in following sentences while referring to the species in full, as I have done above.)

I hope this gives you a place to start the next time you’re flummoxed when trying to identify a particular plant. It really can be fun, and will give you a much deeper understanding of the magical world of flowering plants!

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 Reports: Whose Music?’ premieres on Sunday, Sept. 22

NPT’s LaTonya Turner with NPT REPORTS: WHOSE MUSIC? panelists Ann Powers, Cecilia Olusola Tribble, Dr. Kristine McCusker, and Tiera.

NPT Reports: Whose Music? premieres on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 6:30 p.m. The half-hour current affairs show will be hosted by NPT’s LaTonya Turner and will take a deep dive into issues and topics of importance to our community. Experts, stakeholders and others offer perspective and context on a range of subjects through group conversations, interviews and segments.

In this episode, Turner is joined by MTSU’s Dr. Kristine McCusker, an ethnomusicologist and co-director of the Oral History Association; NPR music critic Ann Powers; arts and cultural educator Cecilia Olusola Tribble, a racial equity coach; and country music singer-songwriter Tiera, a member of the Song Suffragettes writers collective. The group discusses the relevance of genres in the modern, digital age; whether the music industry is responding to consumers’ fluid listening habits; and how race and gender influence how artists are received and marketed.

Interviews with Henry Hicks, president and CEO of the National Museum of African American Music; and Belmont University voice student Leslie Osey are also part the program.

NPT Reports: Whose Music? was partly inspired by recent headlines and controversies about Little Nas X’s “Old Town Road” phenomena, as well as the kind of cultural exploration found in Ken Burns’ Country Music series. The intersection of race and music is also part of the story told in NPT’s DeFord Bailey: A Legend Lost (returning to television Thursday, Sept. 19, at 8 p.m., after an absence of more than a decade). But the idea of elastic genres and cultural appropriation, especially in regards to music, is not a new one; indeed the history of rock music is full of borrowing, tweaking and repackaging for different audiences.

“Why now, why is this different? We want to explore what has ramped up the intensity of the debate about crossover music and how it’s related to race and gender,” Turner says of the themes explored in NPT Reports: Whose Music?

After its broadcast premiere, NPT Reports: Whose Music? will be available for streaming and online viewing at wnpt.org/video.

Tower maintenance may affect daytime reception beginning mid-October

Attention NPT viewers: In order to ensure the safety of workers on our broadcast tower next week, our transmitter will operate at low power during daytime hours. Viewers who receive our signal via antenna or satellite may experience reception issues; cable viewers should not be affected.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Posted in Programming by MiChelle Jones. 19 Comments

NPT’s ‘DeFord Bailey: A Legend Lost’ documentary returns Sept. 19

Harmonica virtuoso and early Grand Ole Opry star DeFord Bailey.

DeFord Bailey: A Legend Lost, NPT’s Emmy-winning original production about the pioneering African American harmonica virtuoso, returns to television on Thursday, Sept. 19, at 8 p.m. and will also be available to stream at wnpt.org/video. The half-hour documentary about the early star of the Grand Ole Opry features appearances by Bailey’s three children and was narrated by R&B legend Lou Rawls.

DeFord Bailey learned to play the harmonica while bedridden with polio at the age of three and became a stunning player of what he referred to as “black hillbilly music.” He was a popular Opry star in the 1920s and ’30s, when the medium of radio allowed him to overcome the racial strictures of the era. Bailey also toured, however, sharing the bill with rising country stars like Bill Monroe and Roy Acuff, who appreciated the crowds drawn by his name and musical prowess. Being on the road was difficult and dangerous for Bailey, especially in the South, where Jim Crow laws meant he could not eat, lodge or socialize with his fellow performers in public.

“I was surprised to discover the amount of influence that African American musicians had on who we consider to be the fathers and grandfathers of country music,” said Kathy Conkwright, the documentary’s producer, in a 2002 Tennessean interview with Ken Beck when the film premiered. This theme of country music’s links to African American music is a prevalent one in Ken Burns’ 16-hour Country Music series premiering Sept. 15 on NPT. DeFord Bailey’s is one of the stories told in Country Music.

Bailey left the Opry roster in 1941 and refused to play in public for the next 40 years, returning for only four additional performances before his death in 1982. His return to the Opry was at the urging of David Morton, a history student who befriended him and later became his biographer. Back in 2002 when NPT’s documentary premiered, Bailey had yet to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame; that changed three years later.

Bailey’s story is no longer forgotten and neither is NPT’s DeFord Bailey: A Legend Lost. “We’ve heard from many people looking for the documentary over the years,” said Bridget Kling, NPT’s senior director of broadcast content. The launch of the Country Music series was an impetus to sort through licensing issues for footage and photos to bring the show back to the air and to make it available for streaming. “Now if someone’s interest is piqued, they can see more about his story,” Kling said.

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