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News and Public Affairs Programming

Being an election year, 1970 marked the MPT’s first foray into public policy programming when series such as Voters Ask and The Primary Question aired with the aim of engaging Maryland voters and candidates in dialogue. The first weekly public affairs series, Maryland Newsrap (1975-1987), was followed by State Circle (1982-present), which provides weekly coverage of the General Assembly and state government. Its producers include guests with different viewpoints for engaging debates, and this Emmy®-award winning series continues to the present day.

In 1983, MPT debuted Working Women (1983-1985), the first broadcast series to address the issue, exploring the idea that the roles of wife, mother, and professional could be successfully balanced. Early guests included notable working women such as Beverly Sills, Maya Angelou, and Meryl Streep. In 1992, To The Contrary became the first news-analysis series featuring an all-women panel. Well-respected journalist Bonnie Erbé hosted the weekly roundtable discussion and debate on current national and international issues. The series received accolades and multiple awards for its innovative approach to TV news.

Newsnight Maryland premiered in 1997 as MPT’s response to viewers’ growing displeasure with the sensationalism of commercial newscasts, offering a 30-minute, in-depth alternative on Monday nights. More recently, a 2010 production, For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots turned out to be MPT’s most-played single program throughout the country. Between 2010 and 2014, the documentary aired more than 7,300 times and had more than 94 percent U.S. channel coverage. Today, a trio of programs(Direct Connection, Your Money & Business, and State Circle) are the hub of MPT’s public affairs offerings, with mayoral and gubernatorial debates, inaugurations, and state-of-the-state addresses punctuating year-round coverage.

State Circle,
Gov. Schaefer’s first term in office, 1987

Maryland Newsrap,
Lefty Driesell’s departure from UMD, 1986

To the Contrary,
California Civil Rights initiative, 1996

Weeknight Alive!,
Series highlights, 1987

Programming & Artifacts

Working Women 1983

"Working Women" featured on 1983 program guide

State Circle 1982

"State Circle" featured on 1982 program guide. Left to right: Donna Martin, Jeffrey Cole and host Ron Canada

Newsnight Maryland

"Newsnight Maryland" hosts Camilla Carr and Bob Althage, circa 1988