Teamwork During Tough Times

Image of David SolomonIn March 2020, like thousands of media organizations, WQED found itself facing a major challenge. How would we continue delivering quality content to our viewers amid a pandemic? Masks, social distancing, and sanitizers were the new normal. Add to that, the many uncertainties involving the infectious nature of COVID-19.

Just days into the crisis came a call to deliver a series of robotics video classes to high school students. The deadline was “yesterday.” Our building was closed. Our editing facilities were shut down. Our camera people had not yet ventured into the public. Still, The Robot Doctor was born.

The WQED team rallied, collaborating with the Pittsburgh-based technology firm, RobotWits. There could be no boardroom planning meetings. No on location filming. No sharing information while passing in the WQED hallways. No gathering in the edit room to jointly critique and enhance the videos.

Videographer Frank Caloiero virtually coached our host Dr. Jonathan Butzke on how to shoot his own video lessons as Dr. Butzke stood in front of a makeshift green screen in one of his bedrooms. Scripts and re-writes flew back and forth via email and phone conversations. Using home equipment, design manager Paula Zetter, with support from Ryne DeCaprio provided a beautifully creative graphics treatment. Beth Dolinar did voice over work – recorded on a phone in her acoustically-friendly car. Amy Grove jumped hurdles to edit each episode without the “comforts” of WQED’s editing suite technology, supported by Ash Warren, Aidan McGarvey and Anne Casper – with stunning results.

The list of many others who supported this project is a long one. But nobody is looking for credit. Our common goal was to get robotics lessons into the homes of students, many of whom do not have the luxury of internet service. Now in distribution throughout Pennsylvania, The Robot Doctor is an important lesson in teamwork during the toughest of times. It remains a remarkable memory for me – of our collaboration with RobotWits, and the talent and goodwill of my WQED colleagues.

David Solomon
Vice President, Production & Programming

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, WQED's Local Production team faced significant challenges in producing, shooting and editing new video content. But creative, resourceful and inventive qualities peaked. The staff's remarkable output surged into new areas, including significant inroads in high-quality "learning at home" education videos and fresh approaches to COVID-19 coverage.

Stay Home Content

Stay Home FYI

Stay Home FYI

A series of informational videos focusing on more serious issues related to the pandemic.

Stay Home with WQED’s Staff

Beth Dolinar plays piano

Our staff shares a series of tips and fun as people shelter at home.

Stay Home: Pets Edition

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Comfort, laughs and good advice as our pets get us through the pandemic.

Stay Home Producer Picks

Our content creators reflect on favorite WQED programs that viewers might enjoy.

Stay Home Family Style

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WQED Education is your classroom at home, even in the kitchen.

Nature Breaks

One-minute videos in beautiful outdoor settings inspire viewers to venture out safely or admire nature while staying inside.

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Education Content

SOS (Support Our Schools)

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K-12 teachers bring math, English, social studies, and science lessons into homes in this educational video series.

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The Robot Doctor

Lessons in math and robotics for high school students with Dr. Jonathan Butzke.

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Cartoon Academy with Joe Wos

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Acclaimed cartoonist Joe Wos takes students through the creative steps of drawing cartoon characters in this educational video series.

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Teachable Moments

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Local teachers create video lessons showing students how to create educational projects at home.

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iQ smartparent

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This educational series provides information for parents raising children during the digital age.

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Image of Rachel Carson

Young people reflect on the women who have inspired them – politically, socially, educationally, and in their career hopes.

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Societal Concerns & Public Affairs Content

A Critical Connection

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Teens, parents, and educators and the mental health disconnect that can have dire consequences.


Battling Opioids: A Project of Pennsylvania PBS

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WQED contributed feature stories to this collaborative project of all seven Pennsylvania PBS stations.

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Battling Opioids: Stories of Hope

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This 30-minute documentary focuses on opioids issues in Western Pennsylvania.

Campaign U

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Informational digital series on the 2020 campaign and election.

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Childhood Lost: The Adultification of African American Girls

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Examines why Black girls are treated more harshly than their White counterparts, resulting in lifelong inequity and a direct link to the school-to-prison pipeline.


Future Jobs

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WQED explores workforce development in the region in a major multiplatform initiative.

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A Matter of Trust

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Examines mistrust and reluctance related to the COVID-19 vaccine in Pittsburgh’s African American community.

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Starved: Our Food Insecurity Crisis

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The region’s food insecurity problem, its causes and efforts to bring nutritious food to those who need it.


The Air That We Breathe 

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Explores present-day pollution sources and those working for change in the Pittsburgh region.



Voices Logo

Digital series focused on racism, inequity and disparities in Pittsburgh, and those working for change.


History and Profiles

A Determined Voice

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Profile of respected television journalist and radio personality, Lynne Hayes-Freeland.


An Unlikely Refuge

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Pittsburgh connections to a little-known story of Jews who found refuge in Shanghai during the Holocaust.


August Wilson Park

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A rundown Hill District park is transformed into a nature sanctuary that serves the needs of its neighbors.


Behind Enemy Lines

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97-year-old Wally King reflects on his unforgettable World War II experiences.


Black Horizons: From the Archives

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Rediscovering lost interviews from WQED’s iconic minority affairs series.


Emma Writt: Suffragist Pioneer

Emma Writt

One of Pittsburgh earliest African American suffragists and her role in the voters’ rights movement.


Family Portrait

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Fred Kenderson reflects on his remarkable career, during which he became one of Pittsburgh's first corporate photographers.



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Pittsburgh photographer Mikael Owunna whose work is driven by his identity as a queer Nigerian.


Out of the Woods

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Takes viewers to historic sites including Fort Ligonier, Fort Necessity, Fort Pitt, Bushy Run Battlefield, Braddock’s Battlefield, and historic Hanna’s Town.


Roots Run Deep

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A unique exhibit explores how contemporary Black hairstyles are tied to tradition.


The Longwell House

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Efforts to restore a landmark building into the new home for Monongahela’s historical society.


Arts, Entertainment, Culture, Lifestyle Content

A Green Christmas 

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Wreath-making on a family farm from trees they’ve planted by the thousands.


Aviary Artist

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“Valentino,” the painting sloth has brushed his way into the hearts of visitors at the Pittsburgh Aviary.


Family Tree 

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Four generations of a Pennsylvania family have become a world-wide distributor of top-quality woods.


Filmmakers Corner

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Local filmmakers, whose productions sometimes do not get the exposure they deserve, find a home on WQED.

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Home Spun

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Stramba Alpaca Farm and Fiber Mill processes its own farm grown products.


Just a Minute

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60 second videos on the region’s trends, forward-thinking projects, vibrant technology and unique creativity.


Pittsburgh Circus

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A little-known troupe of circus performers is captivating local audiences.


Pittsburgh Eats

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WQED travels through the region to find why Pittsburgh is one of the nation’s top foodie destinations.


Wondrous Wildlife

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A fascinating exhibit in Pittsburgh of National Geographic photography.


WQED Sessions

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Digital series showcasing Pittsburgh’s vibrant and eclectic music scene.


WQED Holiday Sessions

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Pittsburgh area musicians perform holiday favorites in this 30-minute special.


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