To celebrate Women’s History Month, Austin PBS put together amazing programming to highlight women in the month of March.
By Cy White, photos courtesy of Austin PBS
Women’s History Month has come and gone. However, the legacy of some of history’s most incredible women lives on. Every day is a moment in women’s history. Austin PBS created programming all last month to educate people on the importance of uplifting the women in our lives. More than that, they created space for other women to learn where they come from. Embrace their past to step into a brighter future. VP of Communications and Development Susannah Winslow and production team lead Sara Robertson answered some questions about the programming and important women in their lives.
Hi, I’m Susannah Winslow the vice president of communications and development at Austin PBS. I’m a native Texan that went to high school here in Austin. I returned 15 years ago after a few years in Dallas and then New York City. I’m a PBS KID through and through, now raising my own PBS KID.
One woman who has influenced and inspired me as a woman in public media is Julia Child. Beyond her ability to cook, I admire her tenacity, her sense of adventure and the authenticity she brought to her shows. In my position, I have the opportunity to appear on camera during our fundraising drives. I often remind myself to be as true to myself on camera as she was.
I’m Sara Robertson, and I’m in charge of the production team at Austin PBS. I’ve lived in Austin since 1999 and am an active parent, partner and volunteer. On many weekends you’ll find me on a family bike ride and, when the weather is warm, swimming in a lake or pool.
It’s hard to believe, but I started working at Austin PBS more than 16 years ago. I’ve had several roles over the years and have seen the station grow and change, much like our city. This next year will be an exciting one for Austin PBS with the long-awaited opening of our state-of-the art studios at ACC Highland.
Why is this programming important?
SW: PBS’s mission is to serve the American public with programming and services of the highest quality. Using media to educate, inspire, entertain and express a diversity of perspectives. The programming offered on Austin PBS in honor of Women’s History Month does just that—elevating female voices that may not have been heard before and sharing stories about women and their impact on the world. Discovery plays an important role when it comes to the programming we air. We hope Central Texans will learn something new and feel empowered to take what they learn about these women and use it to change their lives, their community or even the world.
SR: As a community-licensed television station, we are essentially “owned” by our community. So to me, that means we must represent the people who live here and the issues important in their lives. To know the community, that involves a lot of listening and asking for feedback. We want to hear what you want because this is your station, after all.
Can you give us a hint about what other programming Austin PBS has in mind to continue to uplift and educate the Austin community?
SW: Earth Day is around the corner. We have some powerful programs that explore how our planet is changing and celebrate those working to preserve its vast beauty for generations to come.
SR: Starting this spring, our community journalism team Decibel will start a year-long focus on the community of Pflugerville. As we did with Del Valle, we’re looking forward to getting out and meeting the community and telling their stories. I’ve also gotten a preview of some of the stories Linda Lehmusvirta is working on for Central Texas Gardener. I’ll just say, get ready to be inspired to be outside!
What was the process of choosing the women Austin PBS is highlighting for Women’s History Month?
SW: Choosing programs to air is kind of like creating a collage. We have programming that’s available to us through PBS national, other educational and public television distributors as well as local producers and filmmakers. PBS member stations are a unique reflection of the local community they serve. So we get to make creative decisions about which programs will most resonate with our Central Texas viewers. For example, Austin PBS will air Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins on Monday, March 28 at 9 p.m. It’s a documentary film about Texas opinion journalist and liberal columnist Molly Ivins. With Texas roots, and more specifically Austin roots, to her name, we’re excited to share her story with our viewers.
SR: For me, the film Citizens At Last perfectly captures the spirit of Women’s History Month. The documentary chronicles the crucial role of Texas suffragists and their contributions to gain women the right to vote. Directed by Nancy Schesari, it was brought to the screen by a very talented, primarily female crew based here in Austin. If you miss the broadcast you can watch it online.