Programming Marks 70th Anniversary of the Atomic Age

Seventy years ago this July, the U.S. carried out its first tests of the atomic bomb and in August 1945, the weapon was used against Japan. This summer PBS is airing The Bomb and Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail, two new documentaries to mark the anniversary of the dawn of the Atomic Age.


This month NPT will broadcast four programs related to the anniversary:

Friday, July 24, at 7 p.m. Knoxville filmmaker Keith McDaniel’s Secret City: The Oak Ridge Story explores the East Tennessee city’s role in the isolation of uranium, the key element in the atomic bomb. As the film states, though the city didn’t appear on maps in the 1940s, it was home to 75,000 people and the site of a round-the-clock wartime effort involving 100,000 workers.

Tuesday, July 28, at 7 p.m. The Bomb chronicles the development of the atomic bomb through interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes (The Making of the Atomic Bomb) and other historians, defense experts, and men and women who helped build the bomb. The documentary includes footage only recently declassified by the Department of Defense.

Tuesday, July 28, at 9 p.m. Produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Sonya Pemberton, Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail, is a two-part documentary about the element and its uses. In the first part, “How a Rock Became a Bomb,” host physicist Derek Muller traces the element’s origins.

Wednesday, July 29, at 8 p.m. Four years after one of history’s worst nuclear accidents, NOVA: Nuclear Meltdown Disaster reveals the minute-by-minute story of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear crisis and its ongoing aftermath.

Wednesday, July 29, at 9 p.m. The globe-traversing story of history and science continues in the second part of Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail. “The Rock That Changed the World” discusses life in the atomic age and the varying uses of atomic power. Among the places visited is Chernobyl, site of the 1986 Russian nuclear accident.

Join ‘Volunteer Gardener’ Host Troy B. Marden for Pennsylvania Garden Trip

When “Volunteer Gardener” host Troy B. Marden leads this fall’s tour of Pennsylvania Brandywine Valley gardens, he’ll be returning to familiar stamping grounds. While in college, Marden interned at Longwood Gardens, one of the many highlights of this tour’s six-day itinerary.

The “Brandywine Valley Gardens with Volunteer Gardener” tour takes place Oct. 11-16, 2016. Registrations for trip are being accepted now and 10 percent of the proceeds will benefit “Volunteer Gardener” and Nashville Public Television. The tour’s fee ($1,650 per person) includes all hotel accommodations, all entry fees, private coach transportation and most meals. Parts of the tour will be guided and paced, while other stops will start with a brief orientation followed by free time to explore at one’s leisure. Click here for more information.

The Brandywine Valley Gardens tour starts with a welcome dinner Sunday, Oct. 11. Monday features a visit to Longwood Gardens, a 350-acre former duPont estate with a variety of garden spaces, walking trails, temporary art installations and water displays set to music.

The duPont family are almost a secondary theme of this garden tour as the original owners of many of the estates on the tour, including Winterthur—also a well-known museum of American decorative arts museum. Nemours Mansion and Gardens, another former duPont estate, was originally built by Alfred I. duPont for Alicia, his second wife. A stop here kicks off the second day of the tour. “It is like somebody just picked up an old French estate and just dropped it outside of Philadelphia,” Marden said of Nemours. “The gardens are very formal; they’re immaculately kept.”

One of the gardens that excites Marden the most is Bartram’s Garden, a 45-acre National Historic Landmark that was the home of the father of American horticulture. John Bartram (1699-1777), a Pennsylvania Quaker and self-taught horticulturalist, who was appointed “Royal Botanist” by King George III. Bartram also associated with Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

Marden is also pleased to offer travelers sneak peeks at private gardens in the Philadelphia area, using his many professional contacts to gain access. He expects these visits will inspire his fellow travelers, much in the way garden visits on “Volunteer Gardener” are meant to inspire viewers. “It’s the same thing, we get to take you to places that you otherwise might not be able to see,” Marden said.

For more information about “Brandywine Valley Gardens with Volunteer Gardener,” click here.

NPT’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ Sign-Off Videos Go Back to the 1980s

Back in the day, TV stations signed on every morning and signed off every night, often accompanied by scenes of their respective regions or an American flag waving n the breeze. In the 1980s, when we were known as WDCN, we invited local high school choirs to sing patriotic songs which we recorded and aired at the beginning and end of each day.

Glencliff Chamber Choir

We recently received a phone call from one of those choir members asking if we still had that footage. That sent us scurrying into our archives. Can you believe we found one of these reels?

Follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter to see the videos on “Throwback” Thursdays. Maybe you’ll recognize old friends or even spot yourself among the choristers.

Brooks Fund History Project Documentary Airs on NPT

A Secret Only God Knows, a documentary produced to mark the 20th anniversary of the Brooks Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, premieres Thursday, June 25, at 9:30 p.m. on NPT.

The 30-minute documentary grew out of the Brooks Fund History Project, a multimedia documentation of the lives and experiences of Middle Tennessee’s LGBT community. To that end, a series of interviews were filmed between 2009 and 2012 and are now available for viewing in an archive housed in the Nashville Public Library’s Special Collections department. Transcripts of those interviews and nearly 800 photographs, letters and other memorabilia donated by the participants are also found in the archive.

In A Secret Only God Knows, interviewees discuss coming of age in an era when homosexuality and transgender issues were not discussed. “We just didn’t talk about it,” is a common refrain in the pieces. “We’re talking about people who, at the time we started interviewing, were at least 70 years old,” said local documentarian Deidre Duker, “so imagine all of the changes that they have witnessed with regard to civil rights or openness around homosexuality or transgender.” Duker, along with producer Phil Bell, conducted the interviews.



Each participant was born before 1940 and lived in the Middle Tennessee area for at least 10 years prior to 1970. This criteria was chosen in part because of the Stonewall riots of summer 1969. “Stonewall, when we looked at historical dates, was a real pivotal moment in the United States because it was the first time a group of people challenged the status quo with regard to police and what were frequent raids on gay bars,” Duker said. Also, given that the 1960s was a decade of numerous social changes, 1970 was seen as an appropriate demarcation of “before” and “after.”

The importance of preserving oral histories has been underscored by the deaths of two of the documentary’s participants. Other interviewees are now in their 80s and early 90s. “We felt like we were racing against the clock in a lot of ways,” Duker said.

A Secret Only God Knows will also air on NPT2 Monday, June 29, at 9:30 p.m., and Tuesday, June 30, at 2:30 p.m.


Known Audio Issues For Some Charter Cable Subscribers

We have received calls from some Charter Cable subscribers who are hearing no audio or Spanish on certain NPT programs, starting about two weeks ago. It appears to be a problem with certain Charter Cable boxes. We have contacted Charter Cable Technical Support, and they recommend the following procedure to reset the audio on the affected boxes.


1>     On your Charter remote, press MENU twice to go to AUDIO SETUP

2>     Under AUDIO SETUP, go to AUDIO DEFAULT.

3>     This should indicate ENGLISH. Cycle through the selections to wind up on ENGLISH.

4>     Exit the MENU.


You should now be monitoring the main audio channel on NPT’s broadcast.

Natchez Trace Parkway Documentary Premieres This Month

It’s road trip season and we’ve got a documentary that will have ready to grab your keys and head out on a driving adventure.

Natchez Trace Parkway: Traces Through Time, a new documentary by Chris Wheeler (Civil War: The Untold Story), blends history and natural splendor in a 30-minute exploration of the roadway. Amy Grant narrates.

The documentary premieres Thursday, June 18, at 9:30 p.m. on NPT and will also be shown at 9:30 a.m. Monday, June 22, and 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, on NPT2.



Double-arched bridge on the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Natchez Trace Parkway opens on a stretch of road cutting through silhouetted stands of trees as it curves toward a haloed sun in an orange sky. Images of natural beauty are found throughout the film; there are waterfalls and creeks, overhead views of forests and winding ribbons of motorway.

Those aerial shots were expensive, but well worth it, Wheeler said, because they provide an unusual perspective of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Wheeler and his colleagues also wanted to present the roadway in different seasons, particularly in spring and autumn.

“One of the things I love about the Trace – and we say it in the film – is it really is like a park that’s over 400 miles long,” Wheeler said by phone from his home state of Colorado. Specifically, this national park is 440 miles long and runs through Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Four ecosystems and eight major watersheds are found within its path. “There are no billboards, you don’t see very many power lines; you really are kind of in this cocoon, Wheeler said. “That makes you feel like you’re getting away…It is sort of time travel in a way.”

The Natchez Trace Parkway roughly follows the path of the original route used by the Kaintucks, 19th-century traders from the Ohio River Valley. Reenactments in the documentary depict the Kaintucks and Native Americans who created landmarks such as the Pharr Mounds. Modern-day Native Americans discuss the significance of the mounds in the film.

While Wheeler found those aspects of the story fascinating, for him the most dramatic episode concerned the death of Meriwether Lewis. “Like most, for me the story of Meriwether Lewis ends when he returns from the trip to the Pacific,” Wheeler said. “It was fascinating to see the next chapter of his life and it’s a chapter that ends in tragedy and mystery.”

Wheeler’s company, Great Divide Pictures, has made 29 films for the National Park Service and though Wheeler still doesn’t have a National Park passport, he enjoys visiting the parks. “It’s a real privilege to go out and try to capture the beauty of our national parks and to tell their story,” he said.

The Natchez Trace Parkway: Traces Through Time will be distributed to public television stations via NETA and will also be shown at the park’s main visitor’s center in Tupelo, Miss.

Come Along on an Appraisal Day In-Home Visit

You’ve probably heard us talking about Appraisal Day for a while now. The event is coming up Saturday, June 20, at the Factory at Franklin and you still have an opportunity to register to have up to three or up to six items appraised by regional experts.

AppraisalDay sq

We are also offering a special opportunity to have an appraiser come to your home to evaluate more of your collection. What’s that like? Read on to find out what happened when appraiser Sarah Campbell Drury of Case Antiques spent an April morning visiting the home of NPT viewer Keith Merrill.

Among the items Drury considered were wall clocks from Europe, silver, books and several pieces – among them brass trays – Merrill’s grandfather had brought from India during his time there during World War II. One of the first things that caught Drury’s eye was a charming early-19th-century drop leaf table. Examining the underside of the table, Drury noticed several notches and scrapes and explained that these were “sewing bird” scars made by clamps used to hold fabric in place, remainders from the table’s original use as a quilting table. Merrill had found another use for the table; he’d used it as a desk at the start of his real estate career.

In the dining room, Drury found what she considered to be the most exciting piece in the house: a small oil portrait of a seated man dressed religious garb and holding a letter. Unable to pry the picture from its frame without risking damage, Drury snapped a few photos to aid her in further research of the painting. Her investigations have since lead her to believe the painting may be a rare 18th-century portrait of a leader of a Belgian abbey.

“Sometimes researching certain items is like falling down the rabbit hole – one door just opens to another, then another, and another,” Drury said in a follow-up email. She now suggests Merrill continue researching the picture by consulting a specialist in 18th-century Flemish portraits. But, were Case Antiques to auction the painting based on what Drury knows and surmises about it at this point, she estimates setting a pre-auction value of $800 to $1,200.

Two in-home appraisal visits will be offered during our evening pledge programming Monday, June 1.

Babe Ruth Baseball

Babe Ruth Baseball

Treasures have also been found during the Appraisal Day event. Last year’s high-value items included a first-edition of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (valued at a minimum of $10,000); a 1930s baseball signed by Babe Ruth (appraised at $20,000); and a vintage 8-carat Harry Winston diamond ring (valued at $250,000). Talk to me, Harry Winston, tell me all about it!

Appraisers expected to attend this year’s Appraisal Day include John Case, Case Antiques Inc., Auctions & Appraisals (Knoxville); Charlie Clements, Clements Antiques (Chattanooga); Chas Clements, Clements Antiques (Chattanooga); Mike Cotter, Yeoman’s in the Fork (Leipers Fork); Berenice Denton, Berenice Denton Estate Sales & Appraisals (Nashville); Sarah Campbell Drury, Case Antiques Inc., Auctions & Appraisals (Nashville); Carrie Gough, Veritas Fine Art Appraisals & Consulting, LLC (Chicago); George Gruhn, Gruhn Guitars (Nashville); Sam Holden, Pickle Road Appraisers (Nashville); Mike Mouret, Nashville Coin & Currency, Inc. (Nashville); Selma Paul, Selma Paul Appraisal & Liquidations Services (Atlanta); Len De Rohan, Case Antiques Inc. Auctions & Appraisals (Knoxville); S.D. (Robin) Sinclair, Ph.D., Sinclair Appraisals (Nashville); J.T. Thompson, Lotz House (Franklin); Mike Walton, Walton’s Antique Jewelry (Franklin).

For more information about Appraisal Day, including acceptable items and ticketing options, please click here.

Summer Concerts with NPT!

Nashville Public Television has your tickets to some of the hottest concerts in Nashville this summer. First, we have a great on-air lineup of music programs. Then, with your generous donation during our June Membership Campaign, we’ll send you two tickets to one of the shows below.

Enjoy the music and thank you for supporting Nashville Public Television.


summer concerts 2015


Sunday, May 31, at 7 p.m. Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson performs the band’s classics and a selection of new songs in Brian Wilson and Friends: A Soundstage Special. See Brian Wilson June 27 at the Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater (formerly The Woods at Fontanel).

Wednesday, June 3, at 7 p.m. Jackie Evancho teams with Cheyenne Jackson to perform classical pieces, sacred songs, Broadway tunes and pop songs in Jackie Evancho Awakening – Live in Concert. See Jackie Evancho June 17 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Wednesday, June 3, at 8:30 p.m. In The Texas Tenors – You Should Dream, the trio brings their cowboy charm to the Phoenix Symphony for country, folk, opera and Broadway tunes. See The Texas Tenors July 2 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Thursday, June 4, at 7 p.m. Gospel legends The Fairfield Four are joined by The McCrary Sisters and guests across several musical genres in Rock My Soul. The performers include Amos Lee, Lee Ann Womack, Van Hunt and Lucinda Williams and was recorded at Nashville’s Downtown Presbyterian Church during the Americana Music Festival last fall. See The Fairfield Four and The McCrary Sisters July 10 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Friday, June 5, at 7 p.m. Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent, the “rock stars of bluegrass” are joined by their 10-piece band and a full orchestra for a mix of original material, Statler Brothers covers and patriotic songs in Dailey & Vincent-Alive! See Dailey and Vincent July 16 at the Ryman Auditorium.

Monday, June 8, at 8 p.m. Filmed during the Canadian rocker’s current world tour, Great Performances: Bryan Adams in Concert includes hits like “Cuts Like a Knife” and “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You.” See Bryan Adams June 25 at the Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater.

Tuesday, June 9, at 7 p.m. Australian Pink Floyd Show: Eclipsed by the Moon was filmed during the tribute band’s 2013 German tour. See Australian Pink Floyd 7:30 p.m. Aug. 22 at the new Ascend Amphitheater downtown.

Tuesday, June 9, at 8:30 p.m. Lindsey Stirling Live from London is a lively mix of dance and modern classical music performed by the young electric violinist. See Lindsey Stirling June 23 at the Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater.

Clarksville Teens in 2015 National Memorial Day Concert

There will be quite a few special moments during this year’s National Memorial Day Concert, which will air live on NPT Sunday, May 24, at 7 p.m. with an encore presentation immediately following at 8:30 p.m.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and is also the 10th year actors Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise have co-hosted the concert (it’s also the concert’s 26th year on PBS). For Middle Tennesseans there’s another special element to the 2015 concert: Two Clarksville teenagers will be among the honored guests, part of a segment wherein letters from servicemen and servicewomen and/or their families are read by celebrities.

Cameron (17) and Bayleigh (15) Dostie live in Clarksville with their mother, Stephanie Dostie. Cameron will graduate from Ft. Campbell High School in June; Bayleigh is also a student there.

Bayleigh and Cameron Dostie

Bayleigh and Cameron Dostie

The Dostie teens are Gold Star children whose father, U.S. Army SFC Shawn Dostie, was killed 10 years ago while serving in Iraq. Their story focuses on memories of their father before he went to war, and then how everything changed when just after Christmas “two men in uniform” came to their house. Bayleigh Dostie’s words will be read by actress Stefanie Scott (Insidious: Chapter 3; Jem and the Holograms).

This won’t be the Dostie family’s first time watching the National Memorial Day Concert in person; they’ve previously attended as participants in TAPS – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. “It can be a very emotional experience, it can be overwhelming,” Mrs. Dostie said of the concert.

The Dosties’ involvement with this year comes through filmmaker Mitty Griffis Mirrer, who interviewed Bayleigh for the 2012 documentary Gold Star Children. Mirrer worked to get Gold Star children featured in the letters segment, going before a special committee to get approval. Once that happened, Bayleigh and others participated in phone interviews in which they were asked to share stories and memories of their parents, according to Mrs. Dostie. Then, six weeks ago, Mrs. Dostie received a call asking if both Bayleigh and Cameron could participate.

In addition to Mantegna and Sinise, this year’s concert will include appearances by Gen. Colin L. Powell USA (Ret.); seven-time Grammy Award-winner Gloria Estefan; actor Laurence Fishburne; “The Voice” season five winner Tessanne Chin; classical crossover artist Katherine Jenkins; and renowned tenor Russell Watson in performance with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Jack Everly.

As viewers enjoy this year’s concert, Mrs. Dostie wants them to remember that her children are just two of many Gold Star children. “There are so many other children out there,” Dostie said. “These children are still serving every day. These kids continue to carry this burden.”

‘Call the Midwife’ Recap: Season 4 Episode 8

For the fourth season in a row, we are honored to have the faculty of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing back to guest blog for us each Monday morning about the previous night’s episode of Call the Midwife, airing Sundays on NPT and PBS Stations nationwide at 7 p.m. CDT through May 17. Check in every Monday morning for historical and contemporary context on the show along with some fun discussion. SPOILER ALERT: Be aware that some posts may contain spoilers.


Violet (Annabelle Apsion), Chummy (Miranda) and Marlene Dooley (Rosie Sansom)

Violet (Annabelle Apsion), Chummy (Miranda) and Marlene Dooley (Rosie Sansom)


By Bethany Domzal Sanders

Bethany SandersAs is fitting for the season finale, this episode of Call the Midwife focused on beginnings and ends. In some ways, birth symbolizes both. On one hand, there is a new role for the mother and of course new life for the baby. On the other hand, birth is the end of the work of labor and the culmination of the 40 weeks of pregnancy. In the case of a first baby, it is also the end of autonomy for the parents. We often hear the expression “when one door closes another one opens” and birth certainly embodies that. This episode also saw relationships joyously beginning and tragically ending (and I certainly shed more than one tear). What struck me the most, though, is that we continue to see the evolution of ideas about labor and birth throughout the Call the Midwife series.

The idea that fathers should be present and involved in the labor and birth process gained traction in the 1950s. Dr. Lamaze introduced childbirth classes, relaxation, breathing techniques and emotional support from the father in France in 1951 and these ideas quickly spread. Previously, men had been excluded from the female-centric birth culture unless presiding in the role as the physician. Often delegated to boiling water or waiting outside the delivery room, men were not thought to contribute to labor or birth. With the popularity of Dr. Lamaze’s ideas, though, men began to be seen as crucial support. As Nurse Franklin said, “June needs at least one person who truly understands her and that person happens to be the father of her child.” Although some cultures still consider birth a female-only event, now most women expect their partners or husbands to be present for the labor and birth. I’ve attended many births where the father took an active hands-on role, at times even assisting in receiving the baby at birth.

Another newer idea entering the scene in the early 1960s was that nausea and vomiting in pregnancy was treatable. Hyperemesis gravidarum – extreme nausea and vomiting, accompanied by weight loss and dehydration – was recently publically acknowledged when the Duchess of Cambridge was hospitalized with this condition early in both of her pregnancies. Previously this condition was thought to be mostly psychological and many women were told, as was Maureen by rather unhelpful but well-meaning midwives like Sister Evangelina, “Mind over matter and polo mints, that’s what will get you through this.” Hyperemesis gravidarum effects up to 2 percent of all pregnancies and treatment usually consists of rehydration, correction of nutritional deficiencies and medications for nausea and vomiting.

Thalidomide, first introduced in Germany in 1947, quickly grew in popularity as a treatment for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. Soon after it was used in the U.K. and other countries and many women, like Maureen, hailed it as a wonder drug. (Without giving too much away, I have a hunch we will be seeing Maureen again next season.) Thalidomide is no longer used for this purpose, although there are several newer medications that are effective in treating hyperemesis gravidarum.

As we say goodbye to our beloved midwives of Nonnatus House for this season, I can’t help but look expectantly for another season full of changes in the personal lives of many and best of all, more births. Each season is like a pregnancy to me – full of the hope and promise of new life and while it seems so long in the beginning, it ultimately concludes so quickly.

Bethany Domzal Sanders, MSN, CNM, is a member of the Vanderbilt Nurse-Midwives, the clinical practice of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing located at West End Women’s Health Center.