Give Now  »

Indiana Public Media | WFIU Public Radio - NPR | WTIU Public Television - PBS

6 shows to celebrate mom with WTIU PBS Passport!

Welcome to “Handpicked by Heather: Mother’s Day Edition.” Today, I’m thinking about my mom, who introduced me to PBS programming at an early age, and, as a result, is probably the reason why I am a part of the WTIU membership team today!

Last weekend, we celebrated an early Mother’s Day with my mom at her home in Richmond. After a game of Scrabble and a walk to the neighborhood Dairy Queen, my son Jesse helped set up his grandma with one of her Mother’s Day gifts—the gift of PBS Passport! Now she can watch her favorite shows whenever and wherever she wants. Seems our PBS experience has come full circle! And while the program line-ups may have changed since my childhood, the range and quality of shows are as good as ever. Read on to find out which programs I’m recommending as I celebrate my own mom—and all moms—with PBS Passport.

Happy Streaming!

Heather Kogge, Development Coordinator, WTIU/WFIU

Call the Midwife Baby Buggies

Call the Midwife

Our tribute to moms begins with stories of the joy and pain of what might well be considered the defining act of motherhood—the bringing of babies into the world. And this mixture of emotion is exactly what Call the Midwife delivers. I just started watching recently, and I’m loving every tender moment of it! Especially fun for me is that fact that the current season is set in 1968—the year my mom gave birth to me. From the fashions to the social changes, it’s fascinating to see how the midwives, nuns, and families of Poplars react to the moments of such a turbulent time. Only the current season is available with Passport right now; not to worry, though, if you are like me and haven’t been watching from the beginning. Each season stands alone, and you can enjoy every episode of Season 12 with your WTIU PBS Passport member benefit!


All Creatures_Mrs Hall

All Creatures Great and Small

If you’ve read my previous Passport picks, you know by now that All Creatures Great & Small is one of my very favorite series. The show is filled with kind and lovely characters, but perhaps none so gracious as Mrs. Hall. A mother figure to Siegfried, Tristan, James, and Helen, Mrs. Hall is also the actual mother of Edward, her estranged son, who we finally meet in the very poignant and powerful episode 5 of Season Three. That episode left me in tears—an emotional mixture of both heartbreak and hope for Edward and his mother. But it also left me craving shortbread. (If you’ve seen the episode, you understand). Fortunately for us, Mrs. Hall has shared her shortbread recipe with Bethany Heald, the show’s food stylist, who has shared it with the rest of us! I recommend serving it with a cup of Earl Grey, just as Mrs. Hall does! 


Norah Jones on Austin City Limits

Austin City Limits

It’s so interesting to ponder how early life experiences, even fleeting ones, can shape the person you become as an adult. When I was very small, my mom took guitar lessons, learning songs like Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee” and Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” So, instead of traditional lullabies, I would drift off to sleep while Mom practiced her guitar, singing those classic songs to me. Today, my musical tastes are firmly rooted in that early exposure to roots music. Long after Mom dropped her guitar lessons, I’m still a huge fan of what is now referred to as Americana, exemplified by legendary performers like Emmylou Harris and John Prine and amazing young artists like Billy Strings and Molly Tuttle. Austin City Limits, the longest running music series in TV history, has showcased such talented musicians since 1974. Tune in to ACL and explore captivating performances like the one pictured here of another musical mom—Norah Jones—with your WTIU PBS Passport benefit!


Life in Bloom flowers and vegetables

J Schwanke's Life in Bloom

Even more than her love of music, I associate a passion for flowers with my mom. Over the years, she has devoted countless hours to cultivating breathtaking blooms. And it’s understandable why; research suggests that the brain releases dopamine when we harvest flowers or food from the garden. In other words, gardening makes us happy! Another fun fact: according to the Society of American Florists, 64% of Mother’s Day gifts are flowers. But if you’ve purchased a bouquet lately, you know that flowers are not inexpensive. Instead of buying flowers, you could do like my mom—grow your own cutting garden and fill all your vases at a fraction of the cost the florist charges. For tips and inspiration, tune in to the Arrangements from the Garden episode of J Schwanke’s Life in Bloom  and get blooming with your WTIU PBS Passport!


Finding Your Roots_Cyndi Lauper

Finding Your Roots

When we were teens, my friend Barb and I planned a camping trip to Tennessee for spring break. My mother, who felt our plan was not the best idea at the time, suggested another kind of girls’ trip. Barb’s mother offered a similar distraction, and we quickly scuttled our camping plans. Instead, I spent hours in the Watseka, Illinois, library, helping my mom piece together scraps of our family’s story from the local archives. We also visited an elderly cousin at her century-old farmhouse where she shared her ancestral memories with us. (Sadly, she died shortly after our visit, and that stately home was burned to the ground by arsonists). My interest in genealogy stems from that trip and finds an outlet today in watching guests of Finding Your Roots take their own family journeys. Hear the stories of mothers like Cyndi Lauper, Carol Burnett, and Nancy Pelosi  (and their mothers—and their mother’s mothers, and, well, you get the idea) with your WTIU PBS Passport benefit.


Sleeping baby

Poetry in America

Circling back to birth and babies (because who doesn’t love babies?!), is this moving episode of Poetry in America. Powerful poems combine with commentary from strong women to explore what it means to be a mother (and what it means to not be a man). Sharon Olds’s “The Language of the Brag” and Bernadette Mayer’s “The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters” are exuberant, boisterous tributes to motherhood. Both poets join host Elisa New along with an actor, a writer, an activist, an obstetrician, and the co-founders of the non-profit organization Our Bodies Ourselves to explore the miracle—and mess—of creating new life. Meet these remarkable women and celebrate the poetry of motherhood with your WTIU PBS Passport member benefit!