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Twin Cities Public Television
Media Advisory

For Immediate Release
May 9th, 2013

Spring Arrives at tpt with Open Air, A Fresh New Approach for Public Television

Twin Cities Public Television’s New Initiative Takes Flight with an NEA Grant and a Series of Unique Events


St. Paul, Minn. May 7, 2013 – This month, Twin Cities Public Television (tpt) officially announces Open Air, a new programming and engagement initiative. Open Air is tailor-made to meet the demands of a new Minnesota public TV audience through community engagements, online content and smart inventive programming – making public TV funny, collaborative and authentic.


In an early vote of confidence for the initiative, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded Open Air a $75,000 grant for its upcoming artist-curated television channel, TV Takeover. Open Air has also lined up a partnership with PBS Digital Studios to produce an original web series called “Are You MN Enough?” and has a variety of events, partnerships and collaborations in the works for summer and beyond.


“TPT has been a trusted source for information and entertainment for decades,” says tpt’s Chief Content Officer, Terry O’Reilly, “but a new generation of viewers has very different ideas on how media can and should be created, delivered and consumed. Open Air is all about crafting a new relationship with this smart audience.”  


As tpt is launched into the rapidly developing world of new technology and media consumption, the public television leader is dedicating a new set of staff and resources to invite a confident and ambitious group of community and media trailblazers to drive content creation and distribution in an entirely different way.


Open Air will use a three-fold strategy to provide viewers with a voice and vested interest in public media programming including:

  • Community Engagement: a series of unique events that give people an opportunity to connect meaningfully around local issues and programming with humor, play, and a digital twist.
  • Online Content: surfacing public media content through a different lens via online content, web exclusives and updates about relevant programming.
  • Exclusive Programming: creating and distributing fresh new content for web and broadcast like the original web series, “Are You MN Enough?”.


In April, this ground-breaking approach to engaging people through public media was named as a recipient of a grant from the NEA for TV Takeover, where tpt will open up its airways to local filmmakers, media artists, and makers for a diverse array of locally produced content that otherwise might never see broadcast time. Local partners and supporters of TV Takeover include: MPLS.TV, Eat for Equity, Permanent Art & Design Group, MNArtists.org, SooVac, Minneapolis Institution of Arts (MIA), Soap Factory and mplsart.com. Open Air will also be sharing content with the influential PBS Digital Studios to further enrich both of their programming which serves this unique audience.


In addition to TV Takeover, other Open Air events that are already in the works include:

  • Red, White & Brew: Let’s Drink to the Constitution! May 8 & 22

Does the Constitution have what it takes to keep up with modern America? We’ll debate that question over beers - and laugh about it with the help of the talented improv troupe, The Theater of Public Policy.

  • The Lowertown Line Q&A with Brother Ali May 15

The lucky few who secured tickets for the second MN Original produced music special The Lowertown Line will enjoy a unique Q&A with Rhymesayers’ Brother Ali, facilitated by H2’s Kevin Beacham.

  • Northern Spark Festival June 8

The all-night arts festival Northern Spark’s 20,000-plus expected attendees will have the opportunity to experience tpt’s Studio A as part of an art installation that brings our archival footage to life in an interactive new way called Ghosts of the Twin Cities.


The new initiative will be led by Andi McDaniel, whose background in multimedia journalism uniquely positions her to help craft this new approach to public media programming. "The mission of public television - to serve our community through the power of media - matters more than it ever has," says McDaniel. "But we need to bring that mission to life in new ways that speak to this audience of public media consumers on their terms.”




About tpt’s Open Air

Open Air is a programming and engagement initiative from tpt that uses online content, community events and smart programming to engage a new generation of public television consumers. Championing collaboration, authenticity, play and humor, Open Air is an innovative approach to both the challenging new world of interactive media and the redefinition of  “TV.”  Open Air is a chance for digitally savvy consumers to engage with public media on a level that allows them to define the content, and how it is shared, distributed and created.


For more information about tpt’s Open Air, visit us online at openair.tpt.org and join us on Facebook and Twitter.


About tpt
The mission of tpt is to “enrich lives and strengthen our community through the power of media.”

As one of the nation’s leading public media organizations, tpt uses television, interactive media, and community engagement to advance education, culture and citizenship. Over its 50 plus year history, tpt has been recognized for its innovation and creativity with numerous awards, including Peabody awards and national and regional Emmys.
Based in St. Paul, MN, tpt is one of the highest rated PBS affiliates in the nation, reaching over 1.3 million people each month through multiple broadcast and online channels.  The organization's particular areas of focus include: the educational readiness of children; serving the needs and unleashing the potential of America's aging population; engaging a new generation in the power of public media; and being the preferred media partner for organizations that align with our mission to enrich lives and strengthen community.

For more information about tpt, please visit our website at www.tpt.org or join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Press Contact:

Elle Krause-Lyons




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