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Mississippi Public Broadcasting has enjoyed one of its biggest years in some time. And as we look forward to 2015, the calendar doesn’t offer any relief. It’s just the way we like it. We see it as our mission to move Mississippi forward and the dedicated staff at MPB will not rest until we are satisfied that we’ve done our part. I thought I’d use this blog post to give you a heads up on just a few things to come. I’ll write more later about the incredible shows that you will see and hear on our air:

  • MPB and the Foundation for Public Broadcasting had a very successful fundraising event/screening of Downton Abbey in Oxford recently. The Downton Abbey fans came dressed in period costumes and the night could not have gone better. The screening was packed, the donor event was full, and the atmosphere in the room was absolutely electric. And we’re not done yet: We have scheduled another event Jan. 3 at the Lynn Meadows Center on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and we expect no less than the great time we had in Oxford. We are also in the planning stages of hosting a Downton Abbey Season 5 finale party in Jackson when the last episode this season airs.
  • In late January, we will debut the second season of @ISSUE, our public affairs show focusing on issues debated in the Capitol. With the debate over Common Core, fully funding education, the ever-present controversy over Medicaid, the thorny problem of how to fund prisons in the wake of the Chris Epps scandal, and the basic premise of not spending beyond the state’s means. This is a pivotal year for Mississippi, as are all years. We still rank at or near the bottom in per capital income, income disparities between the races, low-ranking schools, teacher pay and a plethora of complicated issues that are not easily solvable. For my money, I would like to see more attention spent discussing the plight of the Mississippi Delta. Maybe it’s an exaggeration, but I have not seen or heard of a serious strategy to help this huge region lift itself up from decades of poverty, blight and hopelessness.
  • We will soon debut our own music show. PBS’s long-running hit “Austin City Limits” is certainly television worth watching. But I have to acknowledge that the competitor in me would rather spotlight the talent we have right here in Mississippi. It will be our challenge at MPB to work toward creating a music show that may not be “Austin City Limits” quality, but it will be close. After all, ACL has a head start on us of several years. But something tells me that with the quality of artists we have in Mississippi, we’ll catch up.
  • We’ve had a change in format in how we produce Southern Remedy for television. While we used to produce a show every few months for airing, our new strategy is to create entire seasons of Southern Remedy so that you can view a new show every week after the season begins. As you know, there is no bigger topic in Mississippi than healthcare. Southern Remedy is the only show on television that goes into depth on medical situations and health disparities. It is there to help Mississippians help themselves. By creating seasons of the show, it is our hope that you will tune in from week to week. We promise to offer compelling content.