WKAR Network Continues to Bring New Original Shows to Mid-Michigan

Sep 12, 2014

Classical Music, Global News, Local Stars, Kids & Science: all new, all original

Mid-Michigan fans of quality television and radio have a lot to look forward to in the months ahead, as WKAR launches four new, original programs and adds some fresh twists to long-time favorites. There’s music, news, science, lifestyle and more on the air, online and created especially for the mid-Michigan community.

"In addition to our NPR and PBS programming, WKAR is committed to producing locally generated content that is meaningful to our community in mid-Michigan," says Gary Reid, WKAR general manager.

“We’re able to continue to expand our local, original program offerings because there’s so much happening here in the Greater Lansing area and beyond,” says Susi Elkins, WKAR TV station manager. “And it’s support from our members and partners that makes it possible for us to continue creating original programming that reflects the vibrant, varied community where we all work, play and grow.”

Conductor Arie Lipsky and the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra
Credit courtesy / Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra

The local program explosion begins Saturday, September 13, with Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra LIVE, a new concert series on 90.5 FM. WKAR’s Peter Whorf hosts the debut broadcast live from Hill Auditorium, featuring a Gala All-Beethoven program. The series brings the orchestra’s main stage performances to mid-Michigan classical music lovers throughout the 2014-2015 concert season. Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra LIVE airs at 8:00 p.m. on select Saturdays throughout the year on 90.5 FM.

Sweetie-licious Slice of Life. (l-r) Betsie Hundt, Ellie Hundt, and host Linda Hundt
Credit Anthony Cepak / WKAR-MSU

On September 26 and 27, DeWitt’s own Linda Hundt returns to WKAR with Sweetie-licious Slice of Life: A Farm to Table Gathering. The all-new special hosted by the Sweetie-licious Bakery Cafés owner explores how fresh entrees, side dishes and desserts get from the garden to your table. Joining Hundt on the show are her husband John, daughters Ellie and Betsie and WKAR's Susi Elkins.  Sweetie-licious Slice of Life debuts Friday, September 26 at 8:00 p.m. on WKAR World (23.2), and has its high-definition debut Saturday, September 27 at 10:00 a.m. on WKAR HD (23.1).

October brings a new line-up to your local WKAR Network news and talk source, AM870. The station adds the global perspective of BBC World Service to your morning and afternoon commutes, plus new programs including The Takeaway, hosted by John Hockenberry. AM870 continues to feature fresh, insightful local news and talk with WKAR’s popular Current State with Mark Bashore, weekdays at noon.

Charlotte High School Symphony Band, under the direction of Jerry Rose, appearing on 'Forte'
Credit Anthony Cepak / WKAR-MSU

From the rigor of the rehearsal room, to the bright lights of the stage, Forté presents heartwarming stories of Michigan high school band and orchestra programs as students prepare for competition at State Festival. Hosted by WKAR's Peter Whorf, the new original series from WKAR debuts Oct. 4 with Owosso High School Symphony Band. Episodes that follow feature band and orchestra high school groups from Charlotte, Lowell, Carson City, Williamston and Howell. Forté airs 5:30 p.m. Saturdays on WKAR-HD (23.1) beginning Oct. 4, with replays on WKAR World (23.2, check listings in October).

October also brings the start of season 26 for mid-Michigan’s original game show, QuizBusters. This year’s competition kicks off with two Special Edition episodes featuring local personalities from music, sports, business, media and the arts. Host Matt Ottinger quizzes contestants including basketball star Andre Hutson, singer Wally Pleasant, Sexton coach Carlton Valentine, Sweetie-Licious owner Linda Hundt, WILX's Darrin Rockcole, MSU coach Jacquie Joseph, WLNS's Emerald Morrow and more. QuizBusters Special Edition episodes air 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4 on WKAR-HD (23.1).

Off the Record with Tim Skubick has been Michigan’s source for weekly public television coverage of state government since 1972. The statewide series gets a new look in October, as the WKAR Network TV studio C on the MSU campus is upgraded for high-definition production. Off the Record is expected to debut in high-definition in mid-October.

And that’s not all.

Host Rob Stephenson with the inquisitive kids of the Curious Crew.
Credit Anthony Cepak / WKAR-MSU

November brings the addition of a new local series to the all-important children’s line-up on WKAR. Curious Crew features host Rob Stephenson and a cast of inquisitive kids as they take a hands-on approach to scientific exploration. The setting is Impression 5 Science Center in Lansing. The host is an award-winning educator and principal at East Lansing’s Donley Elementary School. The Curious Crew members are 8- to 14-year-old explorers from across mid-Michigan. Curious Crew debuts November 3, airing weekly at 5:30 p.m. Mondays and 11:00 a.m. Saturdays on WKAR-HD (23.1).


Another November highlight is WKAR’s Emmy® award-winning live broadcast of Silver Bells in the City. The live TV special from downtown Lansing includes the 30th Annual Electric Light Parade, the lighting of the tree on the state capitol lawn and a spectacular fireworks display. WKAR partners again with WSYM, WLNZ and the city of Lansing to bring this special celebration to viewers across mid-Michigan. Silver Bells in the City airs at 6:00 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21 on WKAR-HD (23.1).

December brings the return of MSU Home for the Holidays, the annual showcase of seasonal favorites from the College of Music at Michigan State University. MSU Home for the Holidays will air on WKAR-HD (23.1) during the holiday season.

All 90.5 FM and AM 870 broadcasts are available via live online streaming on mobile devices and at WKAR.org. Most WKAR original television productions are available for on demand viewing in the PBS App on Roku, XBox 360, Apple TV, on iPad/iPhone, and at video.wkar.org.