“What is Public TV Day at the Capitol all about?” Public television supporters from around the state gathered at the Minnesota State Capitol on February 20, 2019 to celebrate the accomplishments of public television, and to thank the legislature for their partnership and support of Public Television for more than 50 years!    

The day was filled with inspiring stories and experiences. But without further adieu, here are our 10 favorite things from MPTA Day:

  1. SNOW!   

First on our list is snow! You couldn’t miss it. It pushed us over the edge and shattered the record for the snowiest February in Minnesota history, or at least since we started recording meteorological trends in 1885. But that didn’t stop us from celebrating! 

“Sometimes you’re right where you need to be.” – Mr. Rogers 

A snowy day at the Capitol.

2. Good Neighbors

High School Page students who were visiting legislators stopped by the vault for breakfast and hugs from Clifford.

One of public television’s most iconic children’s programs was Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. This year’s theme for the Public Television Day at the Capitol is based on the “Good Neighbor” concept of that groundbreaking show.  

Breakfast and an ice cream social brought friends and neighbors from all walks of life down to the Capitol Vault to connect, take a look at the work of the six Minnesota stations, and take some selfies with a lovable red dog and curious cat! 

We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” – Mr. Rogers  


3. Red Sweaters

The MPTA General Managers: Eric Olson- KSMQ, Les Heen- Pioneer Public Television, Bill Sanford- Lakeland PBS, John Harris- Prairie Public Broadcasting, Patty Mester- WDSE-WRPT, Jim Pagliarini- TPT, and Bill Strusinski- Friends of Minnesota Public Television

As you can see, to honor Fred Rogers’ legacy, many of us wore cardigan sweaters, just like Mr. Rogers did every day in his neighborhood television program. 

“I guess that’s the best thing about things, they remind you of people.” – Mr. Rogers 

We were certainly reminded of you and your amazing legacy yesterday, Mr. Rogers! 

4. Cat in the Hat Exploring the Capitol  

Cat in the Hat checked out our Good Neighbor Program from above.

Then, we spotted Cat in the Hat with TPT supporters down in the Vault as they looked up their legislators on a map and wrote to them about how much they love their local PBS station. 

You can write to your legislators, too! CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR LEGISLATOR. 

TPT staff, Cat in the Hat and Senator Chuck Wiger.

Later, Cat in the Hat and friends talked with our legislators about our plans for service going forward and to ask for the continuation of our partnership with the State of Minnesota so we can carry on with this important work for our communities. 

“There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” – Mr. Rogers 

5. Hugs

Senator Carrie Ruud snuggles with Clifford.

Nothing better than big hugs from a Big red Dog! Need we say more?  

There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.” – Mr. Rogers 

6. An Emmy Award

The statewide Minnesota Remembers Vietnam initiative received the 2018 Upper Midwest Emmy Award for Community Service, and was praised and appreciated by Vietnam veterans across the state. We heard from them that this was an important part of their healing and closure. Rich with impact, this project is a great example of how public television touches the lives of Minnesotans across the state.  

Peace means far more than the opposite of war.” -Mr. Rogers 

Representative Dean Urdahl, Cat in the Hat and Representative Jim Nash with the Minnesota Remembers Vietnam Emmy.

Along with the great work produced by the state’s public television stations, projects like Minnesota Remembers Vietnam are made possible by a partnership with the State of Minnesota. State funding is leveraged with funds from other sources to accomplish more than either the State of Minnesota or Minnesota’s public television stations could accomplish alone.   

7. Minnesota’s 6 Public Television Stations!

Patty Mester (WDSE-WRPT) with Cat in the Hat.

Also like Fred Rogers in his television neighborhood, Public Television has always been a good neighbor for the people of Minnesota… bringing education into our homes and schools, documenting and preserving the state’s rich arts, culture, and history, and providing important local and regional news and public affairs programs like Twin Cities PBS’s Almanac, Pioneer Public Television’s Your Legislators and Lakeland PBS’ Lakeland News at Ten to Minnesota’s citizens.  

I think it’s very important — no matter what you may do professionally — to keep alive some of the healthy interests of your youth. Children’s play is not just kids’ stuff. Children’s play is rather the stuff of most future inventions.” – Mr. Rogers 

8. Good Neighbor “Trolley” Awards

“In a way, you’ve already won in this world because you’re the only one who can be you.” – Mr. Rogers 

Senator Chris Eaton with her Trolley Award for being a Good Neighbor to our public television stations.

In the Capitol Rotunda, we gathered to give well-deserved recognition to some of our special friends of the public-television neighborhood in the legislature. As strong supporters of the work we and our fellow stations do, the following legislators received a very “prestigious” Trolley Award.  

Sen. Carrie Ruud (R) 

Rep. Bob Dettmer (R) 

Rep. Leon Lillie (DFL) 

Sen. Bruce D. Anderson (R) 

Sen. David H. Senjem (R) 

Rep. Bob Gunther (R) 

Rep. Dean Urdahl (R) 

Sen. Chris A. Eaton (DFL) 

9. Little Neighbors

Public television is a place of learning for all ages and is an open window into our neighborhoods, our great state of Minnesota, our country and the entire world.   

“One of the greatest dignities of humankind is that each successive generation is invested in the welfare of each new generation.” – Mr. Rogers 

10. YOU!

Last but not least – YOU made it such a special day! Thank you for joining us, for being our neighbor and for supporting public television in Minnesota. 

Our MPTA Day might be over, but your continued support means the world to us!  

“Often when you think you’re at the end of the something, you are at the beginning of something.”  – Mr. Rogers

Eric Olson with Sen. David H. Senjem and Clifford.