On-Air Highlights

A look at September on WITF TV

Written by Fred Vigeant, Director of Programming and Promotions for TV and Radio | Aug 27, 2014 3:30 PM

September is back to school time and so begins another change to the kids’ program schedule. WITF and PBS KIDS are working to adapt to changing TV viewing habits. A specific rundown of the children’s programs is available. I welcome your feedback as we settle into the new schedule. In late November, PBS KIDS will introduce us to a new series called the Odd Squad.  Look for more about them in the fall.  


On Sunday mornings you’ll notice a few changes as well. Both Aviators and McLaughlin Group move to 11:00 and 11:30 respectively.  Tracks Ahead is retired for now.  The same loop of episodes has been airing for several months, and I haven’t seen any indication of new ones coming down the tracks.  Noon to 2:00pm is a new extension of cooking programs.  These shows feature a twist; they dive a little deeper into the culture and stories about the food, the places we eat, and where the ingredients are coming from.  Some of these series are new, and others are transplanted from elsewhere in the schedule.  This new block begins at noon Sundays with The Mind of a Chef, A Chef’s Life, edibleFeast, and Food ForwardThe Mind of a Chef combines travel, cooking, history, science, and humor into an unforgettable journey. A Chef’s Life follows Chef Vivian Howard as she explores the rich bounty of farm fresh cooking, family and community.  edibleFeast is where we’ll learn about fresh local foods and the people who grow and produce them.  Food Forward introduces us to innovators and pioneers who are transforming the way we grow and eat.  One other note while we’re talking about cooking, America’s Test Kitchen is now on Saturdays at 1:00pm.  


Celebrate the bicentennial of the Star-Spangled Banner on September 13. At 7:00pm watch F.S. Key and the Song that Built America, a documentary celebrating the 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key's writing of the Star-Spangled Banner following the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814.  At 8:00pm Great Performances: Star-Spangled Spectacular: The Bicentennial of Our National Anthem present an entertainment event on the beautiful Baltimore Harbor front to commemorate the anthem’s creation and the courageous battle that inspired it.  


For seven days beginning September 14 we get a thorough look at The Roosevelts from Ken Burns.  This documentary weaves the stories of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of one of the most prominent and influential families in American politics. The 14-hour series marks the first time their individual stories have been woven into a single narrative. The documentary is broken into seven parts and will air at 8:00pm each night and repeat at 10:00pm.


WITF’s original production HeathSmart is back with a new episode on Memory.  You probably remember the day you graduated from school or the moment you saw your child for the first time, but you might struggle to remember what you ate for breakfast on Tuesday of last week.  HealthSmart looks at memory storage and the latest on dementia research.  Catch the new episode of HealthSmart Thursday September 25. Also this month, HealthSmart will begin a weekly schedule on WITF every Saturday at 3:30pm replacing Healthy Body, Healthy Mind.

For a third consecutive year, WITF will broadcast American Graduate Day on September 21.  This full-day broadcast event is dedicated to raising awareness about the dropout crisis and reveals stories from community partners who provide support, advice, and intervention for at-risk students, families, and schools.


On Masterpiece Mystery!, acclaimed British actress Julia McKenzie (“Cranford”) returns as spinster sleuth Miss Marple in three new episodes of the popular Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple series.  Masterpiece Classic returns at the end of September with The Paradise Season 2. This second (and final) series takes place a year after the first series ended.  WITF aired the first series last fall and presented an encore in May.  We look forward to the second series to resolve the cliffhangers from series one!  


September 26 marks the beginning of the 2014 PBS Arts Fall Festival.  They kick off the season with Live from Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic’s acclaimed production of Stephen Sondheim’s iconic musical thriller Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. This is the story of a barber who, with his romantically inclined landlady, Mrs. Lovett the pie maker, seeks vengeance on what he considers a merciless world.

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