My Top Five: Centerpiece Covers

As any true UNC-TV viewer knows, Centerpiece is our monthly programming guide. You probably have a subscription if you’ve been a donor for any measurable amount of time. Aside from TV listings, you can get insight into shows, station events and much more. The magazine has been produced since the early 1980s and its hundreds of covers have featured artwork, photos and promotional shots of PBS stars, local personalities, fan-favorite shows and an assorted grab bag of public broadcasting notables. The folks who write and edit Centerpiece work hard and always struggle to come up with the perfect cover to present our shows and services to you, the home audience.

And thus I took it upon myself to look back at the 400+ individual covers and pick MY TOP FIVE. Based purely on what caught my eye or made me smile or had pleasant memories associated. Keep in mind, your opinion could differ and this list represents no one else’s opinion but my own.



5) June 1993 – CLIVE JAMES’ FAME IN THE 20th CENTURY. I barely remember the series but I like seeing Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp get the Warhol treatment. Continue reading


Hey, It’s Photo Friday!

What’s the story, Wishbone?

One of the neat things about working in a public broadcasting station is that so many people have plush toys of our PBS Kids characters. The folks in our Kids & Education Department have a ton of them. This little guy is everyone’s favorite cultured canine – Wishbone, from the 1990s series of the same name. The bookish barker was a Jack Russell Terrier who brought classic tales to life with an amiable attitude and a well-read wit. Anyone who grew up watching Wishbone’s tails – er, tales will no doubt have fond memories of this adorable doggie.

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My Top Five: Dogs

It’s now the Year of the Dog according to Chinese astrology and there have been loads of loyal canine companions on shows UNC-TV has broadcast over the decades. From Wellard on EastEnders to Barkley on Sesame Street, these memorable mutts have dug holes in our hearts and buried bones in our souls (if you’ll forgive the very disturbing and messy metaphor). But which pooches are my personal faves? I thought about it and came up with MY TOP FIVE DOGS from PBS shows and other public television fare we’ve aired here at UNC-TV.

5) MARTHA (Martha Speaks) Wagstaff City’s most vocal canine gained her power of human speech when she was fed alphabet soup and it went to her brain instead of her stomach. Not the most scientific of origins but it’s a dandy comedic premise for a kids show. Continue reading

Hey, It’s Photo Friday!

As you may have gathered, I’m a big fan of Wishbone – the little dog with the big imagination. It was a cool show with a great premise (bring classic books to a young audience) and an ultra-cute canine star. So you can understand my surprise to stumble upon this promotional Wishbone stand-up in a co-worker’s cubicle.

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The display probably dates back to the early days of the show (mid-90s) but I’ve no idea as to its actual origins. I could ask but I don’t want to tip my hand if the cardboard doggie happens to go walkies.

My Top Five: Kids Show Theme Songs

Since the beginning, kids shows have been a staple of PBS programming. If you grew up watching them, you know full well how catchy the theme songs to most kids shows are. And these are theme songs that still resonate decades after you watched them as a kid. That’s why I put together MY TOP FIVE in the following category: Kids Show Theme Songs.

5. The Electric Company – “HEY, YOU GUYS!!!!” I’m talking about the 1970s version here (nothing against the newer one). It’s groovy and poppy and so energetic (befitting, of course, its source).

4. Wishbone – He’s the little dog with the big imagination and he’s got a great theme. What’s the story? The story is I’ll find myself singing this cute, catchy ditty without prompting.

3. Bill Nye The Science Guy – If you know that science rules, you’ve probably caught the Science Guy in action back in the 90s. That electropop theme almost seems like a dance remix of another theme, which is pretty cool. And though it hasn’t been necessary yet, I am ever ready to chant “Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill!” at the drop of a hat. Continue reading