MOLINE, ILLINOIS -  Thirty years ago, WQPT, Quad Cities PBS went on the air for the first time with four hours of programming. Nancy Reagan hosted "The Chemical People," and the station held a televised talk back. Since that day Nov. 3, 1983, WQPT has expanded its broadcasting 24 hours a day, seven days a week on its main channel (Mediacom 10 - Ch. 24) and its secondary channel, MHz Worldview.

The station's founding general manager was Robert Fletcher, who spent 10 years laying the groundwork for local public television and headed the station in its early years. Fred Marino followed him from 1986 to1992 and Jerry Sandler from 1992 to 1994. Moss Bresnahan expanded the station's impact in the community, and Rick Best, who started as a WQPT volunteer, business manager and assistant general manager took over general manager duties in 1997, retiring in 2012. Mary Pruess has served as general manager since April 2013.

Milestones in the station's history include the transfer of the WQPT license from Black Hawk College to Western Illinois University in 2010, the conversion to digital transmission in 2005 and the addition of the Sterling/Rock Falls transmitter in March 1991.

"We always seek ways to improve on what we are doing, both on television and in our community," said Pruess. "We are grateful for the support of so many who have made this milestone possible. Our volunteers, partners, sponsors and our faithful members have made it possible for WQPT to reach 30 years, and with their continued support, the sky is the limit."

The WQPT- exclusive series, "The Cities with Jim Mertens," began in 2009. Other long-run series that have called WQPT home include "Perspective" and "Life and Time," hosted by Susan McPeters. "Get Movin,'" "Artists in Profile," "Originals at RME," "Recipe Re-Do," and "Dining In" were produced by WQPT, and "Romper Room," produced by WQAD, found a home in the late afternoon on WQPT. Throughout the years, the station has produced documentaries like "3 Esthers" and "Chad Pregracke: The River Rescuer," along with such special performances as "The Nutcracker," "Dracula" and "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play."

WQPT has won numerous national awards including an Emmy nomination for "Scattergood," two CINE Golden Eagle Awards, Telly Awards, the PBS Sterling Award and others.

While education was always at the core of the WQPT mission, the "Ready to Learn Initiative" began in 1995. Since that time, WQPT has distributed more than 123,000 books to low literate, low-income children and has conducted more than 1,600 workshops in area schools.

WQPT will air a history of the station, "WQPT: Thirty Years, A Million Thanks," on Friday, November 1 at 7:30 pm and November 2 at 6:30 pm.

WQPT is a media service of Western Illinois University located in Moline, Illinois.

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MOLINE, ILLINOIS - WQPT's local public affairs program "The Cities," hosted by Jim Mertens, is now being taped at the WQAD studios in Moline.

"The Cities," which premiered on Thanksgiving Day in 2010, features a new opening and graphics and a more intimate set.

"We are excited to be working with WQAD as we enter our fourth year producing 'The Cities,'," said WQPT General Manager Mary Pruess. "We look forward to expanding this partnership in the coming months."

"The Cities" airs on WQPT on Thursdays at 6:30 pm and Sunday at 5:30 pm, and on WVIK on Fridays at 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays at noon.

WQPT is a media service of Western Illinois University located in Moline, Illinois.

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MOLINE, IL - WQPT's annual Brew Ha Ha tasting event kicks off at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 in LeClaire Park in Downtown Davenport.

"Each year we try to provide something new for our guests," said Bea Brasel, special project coordinator. "This year, we are introducing special limited tastes and a new vendor."

Times and location for the specialty tastings are:

2 p.m., Booth 14, Boulevard's Tank 7

3p.m., Booth 19, August Schell's Octoberfest

3:30 p.m., Booth 14, Boulevard's Harvest Dance White Wine Ale

Johnson Brothers of Iowa, who has been added to this year's vendor lineup, will showcase nine breweries and 25 beers.

Music for the four-hour event will be provided by Jim the Mule, with comedy from the Blacklist Improv Troupe. The traditional games will be back at this year's event, along with cheese-tasting with samples from Cabot Cheese Cooperative.

Advance tickets ($25) are available at  Old Chicago in Bettendorf or CO-OP in either Davenport or Moline. There is a $2 surcharge for purchases at CO-OP. Tickets the day of the event, if available, are $30 (WQPT caps attendance).

Funds from the event support local programming on WQPT, a media service of Western Illinois University located in Moline.

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WQPT AMBASSADORS RECEIVE THE GRASSROOTS ADVOCACY AWARD FOR 2013

 

MOLINE, IL - The WQPT-PBS Ambassadors have been selected to receive the Grassroots Advocacy Award for 2013 from the National Friends of Public Broadcasting (NFPB). A part of the mission of NFPB is to showcase outstanding public broadcasting volunteers, volunteer-led programs, and volunteer program managers from across the nation.

The WQPT-PBS Ambassadors, which is in its ninth year, is a student-oriented program focused on community outreach efforts, as well as fundraising support. The 2013 ambassadors are from Western Illinois University, Augustana College, Black Hawk College, Monmouth College, St. Ambrose University, University of Northern Iowa and St. Francis College of Nursing.


"We understand the importance of being active in our community, but sometimes that can be difficult with a small staff," said Bea Brasel, WQPT special projects coordinator. "We rely on our student ambassadors to represent WQPT in the community to help build reading, science and math skills through our programming. We are delighted that our WQPT-PBS Ambassadors have received this national honor."

The ambassadors will be honored at a ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Western Illinois University-Quad Cities Riverfront campus.

WQPT is a media service of Western Illinois University located in Moline, Illinois.

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MOLINE, IL -- If you want "real" reality television, look no further than WQPT and PBS.

CHI & Partners, a New York marketing and advertising agency, created a series of fake reality television trailers for public television, comparing absurd reality TV with the quality of public television programming. WQPT will air these trailers throughout October.

At the end of these trailers a plain and simple message is revealed, "The fact that you thought this was a real show says a lot about the state of TV." According to WQPT General Manager Mary Pruess, the trailers are intended to make people realize that although they might occasionally indulge in reality-style programming, it's also important to support a public broadcasting station, which doesn't have a giant marketing force behind it and relies on its members to keep running.

"We saw these spots and thought they were very funny. We asked WNET in New York if they would be willing to allow us to share them with our audience," Pruess added. "While the message is intended as tongue-in-cheek, we want people to stop and think about the value that our public television station delivers to our communities, at no cost. We hope these spots will start a vibrant conversation about quality television and remind viewers why they should support local public television."

The trailers can also be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/pages/WQPT-Quad-Cities-PBS/152046043220 and at wqpt.org.

WQPT is a media service of Western Illinois University located in Moline, Ill.

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MOLINE, ILLINOIS - WQPT honored its youngest Volunteer of the Year naming Allison Foster, a 14-year-old freshman at Rock Island High School, the 2013 recipient.

Foster was presented the award by WQPT General Manager Mary Pruess and WQPT Special Projects Coordinator Bea Brasel at a breakfast celebration Aug. 7.

"Allison became involved with WQPT as a member of our Kids Club. As the years have gone by, Allison has continued as a volunteer, including becoming our 'go-to' talent for costume characters," said Brasel. "Volunteers are important to WQPT. In our 30-year history we have relied on more than 7,000 volunteers in various capacities doing everything from stuffing envelopes to serving as pledge talent."

WQPT is a media service of Western Illinois University located in Moline, Illinois.

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ROCK ISLAND, IL - The District Theatre (formerly Harrison Hilltop Theatre) has entered a new era.  The theatre, located in downtown Rock Island on 2nd Avenue has completed the process to become a non-profit theatre and has inducted a board of directors, which includes Bryan Tank, Deborah Shippy, Georgia Jecklin, Thomas Hanson, Joseph Maubach, Dana Copell, and Lora Adams.  Matt Mercer is the board president.

"I had wanted to complete the season as planned, but the board and I met and felt that rather than wait to implement our new business strategies with the beginning of the sixth season, we roll them out now," said Tristan Tapscott, District Theatre Artistic Director.

"We looked at our projected expenses and revenue and made the decision to unveil our 'new vision' for the District Theatre immediately," said board president, Mercer.  That new vision included changing some of the lineup for the remainder of the year, partnering with other arts organizations and producing special events like the upcoming roast of Tristan Layne Tapscott on July 20th.  The theatre's website is undergoing a change and will be unveiled later this summer.

Opening June 28 is "Reasons to Be Pretty" followed by, James Fairchild's one man cabaret titled "Out of Character."  New offerings begin August 1st with "Twelve Angry Men" "Let's Face the Music," a musical revue, in September; "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" in early October and "The Rocky Horror Show" in late October. November 15-24 will be "The Tempest" with and rounding out the year will be the critically acclaimed musical "A Christmas Carol" by Tapscott and Danny White running December 6 to 15.

"In many ways we are returning to our roots presenting a classic play, a new musical and a contemporary show this fall," said Tapscott

The District Theatre formerly known as Harrison Hilltop theatre, opened in 2008 and moved to their Rock Island location in June 2011. At that time the theatre changed its name to better define its new location in The District of Rock Island.  

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MOLINE, IL - The 2013 WQPT Broadcast Scholarship has been awarded to Victoria Hanson of Cambridge (IL), a senior broadcasting major at Western Illinois University's Macomb campus.

 Victoria Hanson WQPT.jpg

"Victoria is the type of student who simply gets the work done, and she does a quality job at the same time," said Roger Sadler, WIU broadcasting professor.

Hanson is a member of Students in the Illinois News Broadcasters Association, and is a 2013 inductee in the National Broadcasting Society.

"I am so thankful to have won WQPT's broadcast scholarship. My final semester will be this fall, and I can't believe my college years are coming to an end. I am excited for my future,  and thanks to WQPT, I will have a little less financial stress." Hanson said. "I have been a television reporter on WIU's newscast for two years, and I will be a television anchor in the fall for a second semester. I hope to become a television anchor or reporter for a local television station on the East Coast."

WQPT is a media service of Western Illinois University located in Moline.

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A special celebration was held in their honor on Sunday, May 19, at the Deere-Wiman House in Moline, IL. Our 16 winners from Kindergarten through 3rd grade won some cool prizes for their outstanding stories, and the first place winners from each grade will go on to compete in the PBS national contest. All 405 children who entered the local contest received certificates for their efforts.

Their stories can be viewed at Butterworth Center in Moline, IL until May 30, at the Family Museum in Bettendorf, IA from June 3 to 16, and at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, IA from June 18 to 30.

(The kids are in order in the photos...first place on left, then second place etc. The names are listed below.)

Kindergarten

First Place                 Rylan Edwards, Ekstrand Elementary, DeWitt, IA

Second Place            Ellie Curnyn, Jane Addams Elementary, Moline, IL

Third Place                Sophia Foad, Cody Elementary, LeClaire, IA

Hon. Mention             Oliver Borders, Longfellow Liberal Arts, Rock Island, IL

 

First Grade

First Place                 Georgia Brunkan, Ed White Elementary, Eldridge, IA

Second Place            Xion Owens-Holst, McKinley Elementary, Davenport, IA

Third Place                Gianna Schwartz, Paul Norton School, Bettendorf, IA

Hon. Mention             Nate Stanger, Garfield School, Davenport, IA

 

Second Grade

First Place                 Paul Schwartz, Paul Norton School, Bettendorf, IA

Second Place            Isabella Jones, Rivermont Collegiate, Bettendorf, IA

Third Place                Nikhil Ramaraju, Riverdale Heights, Bettendorf, IA

Hon. Mention             Jena Edwards, Ekstrand Elementary, DeWitt, IA

 

Third Grade

First Place                 Dalton Morrow, Harrison Elementary, Davenport, IA

Second Place            Alana Kruse, Morning Star Academy, Davenport, IA

Third Place                Eden Swails, Riverdale Elementary, Port Byron, IL

Hon. Mention             Calla Brunkan, Ed White Elementary, Eldridge, IA

MOLINE, IL -WQPT, Quad Cities PBS has received a grant from the PBS Warning Alert and Response Network (WARN) program to a fund power backup and hardening project for WQPT studios and transmitters.

WQPT will purchase, install and test back-up equipment required to maintain the station's broadcast of Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) to cellular telephone companies for up to 72 hours in the event of a power outage. WQPT will have the system installed by August 31.

"We are pleased to be working with PBS and the Department of Commerce on the WARN program. Not only will it improve uninterrupted service to our viewers in times of emergency or crisis, but it will protect their investment in public television," said WQPT Director Mary Pruess.

On June 1, 2010, the Department of Commerce awarded PBS a grant under the WARN Act of 2005, which allowed PBS to implement a project establishing the PBS WARN program. With this grant, PBS assists stations like WQPT comply with an FCC a mandate to provide a backup pathway for sending WEAs from FEMA to cellular phone companies. One year later, the Department of Commerce authorized an additional round of funding, which allowed PBS to award sub-grants for the purchase and installation of the generators, UPS systems and related power backup and hardening equipment that would ensure continuous dissemination of WEAs.

For more information on Wireless Emergency Alerts and the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) visit http://www.pbs.org/about/WARN.

WQPT signed on the air November 3, 1983. WQPT's signal covers all or part of 10 counties in western Illinois and three in eastern Iowa. The station reaches 309,000 households and estimates 50,000 households view the station on a weekly basis.

WQPT is a public media service of Western Illinois University Quad Cities located in Moline, IL.

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