February 1, 2024 / Modified feb 19, 2024 3:49 p.m.

February Highlights and Happenings

Letter from the CEO

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It’s official – AZPM has broken ground on its new broadcast facility, The Paul and Alice Baker Center for Public Media! Lead donors joined University of Arizona leadership and AZPM staff at the building site in late January to formally kick off the construction phase. Although construction has begun, fundraising continues to close the capital campaign by the end of the fiscal year. Please explore AZPM’s Bridging Communities page for information about the facility, plus giving options, memorial campaigns, naming opportunities, and more.

Although much of the rest of the country is still in the grip of a cold, dark winter, the days here in Southern Arizona are already noticeably longer. AZPM has much to offer as we transition from winter to spring, including special programming highlighting Black History Month, Thinking Wednesday, and Diversity and Inclusion.

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The centerpiece of Black History month programming is the February 12 premiere of Gospel, a 4-hour docuseries that explores the rich history of Black spirituality through sermon and song. From ragtime to jazz to the blues to hip-hop, Black Americans have been the driving force of sonic innovation for more than a century. Musical styles come and go, but one sound has been a constant source of strength, courage, and wisdom for Black Americans: Gospel. Intimate interviews interwoven with dynamic performances allow viewers to fully experience and be energized by this unique art form of prayer, praise, and promise. Hosted by Executive Producer Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Finding Your Roots), Gospel premieres February 12 and 13 at 9 p.m. on PBS 6.

An introductory piece to Gospel premieres Sunday, February 11 at noon. Gospel Live! Presented by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., will feature performances by contemporary secular and gospel stars including Erica Campbell, John Legend, Anthony Hamilton & The Ton3s, LaTocha, Tauren Wells, Lena Byrd Miles, Mali Music, Sheléa, and more.

AZPM will host a special preview of Gospel at 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 4 at the University of Arizona Environmental and Natural Resources building. This special preview will feature curated excerpts from the series followed by a panel discussion and Q&A session, plus an inspiring live performance by the choir of Tucson’s Greater Emmanuel Grace Apostolic Church. The event is free, but reservations are required; reserve your seat here.

Wednesday evenings are chock-full of fascinating and compelling science and nature programs, earning the slot the nickname “Thinking Wednesday.” At 8 p.m. New episodes of Nature include Flyways, Attenborough and the Jurassic Sea Monster, Patrick and the Whale, and an encore broadcast of AZPM’s original documentary OSIRIS REx: To Bennu and Back. On February 7, follow a conservation movement of bird-loving experts and citizen scientists as they mobilize to the challenge of understanding and saving shorebirds. Sir David Attenborough and a team of forensic experts unearth the fossil of a giant Pliosaur, the largest Jurassic predator ever known, on February 14, and on February 21, stunning underwater photography gives viewers an up-close and personal look at the fascinating nature of the sperm whale, its intelligence and complexity, and its relationship with humankind. On February 28, catch the encore of the AZPM original documentary, OSIRIS REx: To Bennu and Back, which reveals the incredible challenges, surprises, and human triumphs of the nearly 20-year space mission.

The intellectual stimulation continues at 9 p.m. Wednesdays with all-new episodes of NOVA. Easter Island Origins premieres February 7, followed by Building the Eiffel Tower on February 14, and Hunt for the Oldest DNA February 21.

Highlighting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion this month is American Experience: Fly with Me, which tells the story of new frontiers for working women and the constraints of traditional notions of femininity. Maligned as feminist sellouts, stewardesses, as they were called, knew different: They were on the frontlines of a battle to assert gender equality and transform the workplace. Fly with Me premieres on PBS 6 at 2 p.m. on Thursday, February 22.

Benista Fiesta hero Benise: Fiesta!
Courtesy of Marie Gregorio-Oviedo

AZPM’s spring fundraising campaign begins on PBS 6 on Saturday, February 24, and includes several opportunities to secure tickets to see favorite performers right here in Tucson. Tune in to The Bee Gees: One Night Only at 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 24 and 2:30 p.m. on Monday, February 26 to find out how you can get tickets to Stayin’ Alive – One Night of the Bee Gees at the Rialto Theatre on April 20. Celtic Woman 20th Anniversary Concert, airing at 9 p.m. Sunday, February 25 and 8 p.m. Thursday, February 29, offers the opportunity to receive tickets for Celtic Woman’s only appearance in Tucson, May 5 at Centennial Hall. Tickets to hear Emmy® award-winning Spanish-style guitarist Roni Benise and elaborately choreographed dancers live at the Fox Theater on Friday, April 26 will be offered as a thank-you to contributors during Benise: Fiesta!, airing at 9:30 p.m. Monday, February 26 on PBS 6.

AZPM Passport-exclusive programming continues to expand with new titles added regularly. Viewers can binge all twelve episodes of Season 2 of Sisi: Austrian Empress starting on February 2. Sisi follows the extraordinary life of Elisabeth of Bavaria, the legendary Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary who was thrust into formal court life when she married Franz Joseph at the age of 16. In the style that our viewers have come to expect, this series features beautiful costumes and lavish sets. In German with English subtitles.

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PBS Kids

On February 5, PBS KIDS will debut LYLA IN THE LOOP, a funny and engaging new animated series for kids ages 4-8. LYLA IN THE LOOP follows Lyla, a dynamic 7-year-old girl, who lives in a big city with her close-knit family, fantastical blue sidekick Stu, and a host of relatable and quirky characters in her community, who use creative and strategic problem-solving and critical thinking skills to address a range of everyday problems together. The new series will debut in both English and Spanish.

AZPM’s original podcast More Than a Game returns this month with more untold stories behind Arizona sports. Veteran sports reporter Tony Perkins takes listeners behind the scenes for some of the greatest sports stories you’ve never heard. Listen on Apple, Spotify, Amazon, or wherever you find your podcasts.

AZPM’s radio services will also offer special Black History Month programming. A new, special hour-long edition of Witness History from the BBC World Service, featuring fascinating, harrowing, and inspiring interviews with people who live the African-American experience, airs Wednesday, February 7 at 10 a.m. on NPR 89.1. Also on NPR 89.1, State of the Re:Union commemorates Black History Month with an annual special episode exploring lesser-known corners of African-American history. This year’s program looks at Black history through the lens of African-American art, the role it has played in social movements and everyday life, and why it matters to both the Black community and the country as a whole. This rich hour of art as a window into African-American history airs Wednesday, February 21 at 10 a.m.

Since its birth, jazz has served as a commentary on the African-American struggle. Join AZPM JAZZ 89.1-HD2 at 6 p.m. Wednesday, February 14 for a special jazz conversation on social justice and change produced by Jazz Night in America. At 6 p.m. Saturday, February 17, [Classical 90.5] showcases Justin Holland: The Guitar’s Black Pioneer, hosted by Holland expert and guitarist Professor Ernie Jackson.

Starting on February 25 and continuing until mid-May, Classical 90.5 will feature concerts from previous seasons of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Sundays at 3 p.m. and Thursdays at 9 p.m. Don’t miss romantic favorites on Classical 90.5 in honor of Valentine’s Day on February 14, and a salute to Abraham Lincoln on Presidents Day, February 19. Programming includes Aaron Copland’s iconic Lincoln Portrait, with Erich Kunzel conducting the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and the incomparable Katharine Hepburn narrating.

AZPM exists for the community and because of the community. Thank you for your ongoing support.


Jack Gibson Signature

Jack Gibson
Chief Executive Officer

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