Some of Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s brightest stars are coming to you live at 7 p.m. August 23 for a special televised pledge event called MPB - Watch Us Shine! The two-hour program falls in the middle of pledge programming from August 17-26. An encore presentation is set for 6 p.m. August 26.
MPB - Watch Us Shine! will feature some of MPB’s most celebrated radio and television talent, including restaurateur/chef Robert St. John and watercolor artist Wyatt Waters, hosts of Palate to Palette; Deborah Hunter, host of Deep South Dining; Marshall Ramsey, host of Conversations and Now You’re Talking; Walt Grayson, host of Mississippi Roads; and Bill Ellison, host of Grassroots. There will be a cameo appearance from the Gestalt Gardener himself – Felder Rushing.
MPB - Watch Us Shine! includes gems from the MPB vault that haven’t aired in decades and snippets of upcoming episodes of Palate to Palette and Conversations. Some lucky viewers will receive exclusive, surprise prizes, and a major programming announcement will be revealed!
It’s been years since MPB presented a live, local pledge program on television. The return allows MPB fans to hear directly from their favorite MPB stars as well as encourage viewers to financially support MPB’s programs and services.
Without appropriated funds from the state – about $6.1 million in fiscal year 2019 – MPB would not exist. The agency’s total budget for a year is more than $10 million. All revenue sources, including appropriations and pledge funds, are crucial to MPB. On average, about $150,000 is generated from yearly pledge efforts.
“While I know some of our fans don’t like the disruption in regular programming, the truth is the pledge shows help us raise funds to produce more of the shows they have come to love,” said MPB Executive Director Ronnie Agnew. “It’s because of pledge, and funds resulting from it, that we’re able to bring them Mississippi Roads, local documentaries such as Fannie Lou Hamer: Stand Up, and music shows, such as Paul Thorn’s Mission Temple Fireworks Revival. Pledge also helps us to recruit new supporters to the MPB Foundation.
“In my seven years here, MPB and the MPB Foundation have grown membership from 4,000 to more than 9,000. In a state like Mississippi, known for its charitable giving, we need to continue to grow membership. Doubling that number is our goal.”
“Simply stated, there would be no Mississippi Public Broadcasting without our members and supporters,” said Angela Ferraez, MPB Foundation Development Director. “Individual members put the ‘public’ in MPB. And in return, our members get to be part of the wonderful broadcast programming and educational services we provide them and all Mississippians. Thank you for your loyal support.”
Pledge touches everything and everybody. “We have been transparent with our audience about the need to balance our state appropriation with altruistic giving from our fans,” Agnew said. “We invite our fans to watch the live pledge show, get to know their favorite MPB personality better, and help us achieve our goal of raising funds to develop more innovative programming.”