Arkansas PBS earns record 21 Mid-America Emmy nominations


CONWAY, Ark. (Arkansas PBS) — Arkansas PBS has earned a record 21 regional Emmy Award nominations from the Mid-America Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) for original, local productions, as well as community service impact. Winners will be announced Saturday, Oct. 29. Nominated productions may be viewed at

“At Arkansas PBS, we keep our audience at the center of everything we do,” CEO Courtney Pledger said. “Our statewide, hyperlocal focus offered us a stellar year of local storytelling opportunities, rich in unique perspectives and creativity.

“To have our work recognized with 21 Mid-America Emmy nominations, including one for impact in community service for the second year in row, is a new level of achievement for the network. We are inspired daily by the amazing people in our Arkansas community to serve them in more and more ways and to tell more of their distinctive stories.”

For the second consecutive year, Arkansas PBS has been nominated for impact in Community Service. Arkansas PBS intentionally creates content and experiences that make Arkansas lives better – by pinpointing the current struggles and issues communities face – and offering education, information and resources while also celebrating the good throughout the state. In the past year, the majority of the network’s community service centered around providing learning experiences for students most at risk for falling behind in school/rural communities and personal health and safety struggles plaguing Arkansas families.

Arkansas PBS original productions receiving multiple nominations included:

AR PBS Sports

AR PBS Sports, the home for high school state championships in Arkansas, recognizes the vital role high school activities play in the education and development of young adults, while connecting families statewide by featuring hometown athletes competing in the biggest games of the season. Under contract with the Arkansas Activities Association, Arkansas PBS broadcasts high school championship activities for football, basketball, baseball and softball for classifications 1A-7A. In addition to creating viewing opportunities for those who may not be able to attend the games, AR PBS Sports enables talented young athletes to connect with college recruiters and possible scholarships.

  • “Pippen’s Court” – Sports Story – Short Form Content. From the small town of Hamburg, Arkansas, to the University of Central Arkansas and, ultimately, the NBA, Scottie Pippen journeyed to become regarded as one of the greatest basketball players who's ever lived. In 2021, UCA renamed the basketball court in his honor. Produced by Terrell Case.
  • “Speaking Volumes: Lexi Jarret” – Human Interest – Short Form Content. Inspired by her time with EAST Initiative, 10th-grader Lexi Jarrett has been building up sports broadcasting for years at Cross County High School, near Wynne, Arkansas. Jarrett pursued a course in media, served as the Thunderbirds’ first female commentator and led a team of students to livestream football games, produce podcasts and more — all while showing resilience through personal trials with Tourette Syndrome. Produced by Charles Eric White and Terrell Case.

“7 Days: The Opioid Crisis in Arkansas”

This intimate film illustrates the human toll of the current opioid crisis in the Arkansas, sharing deeply personal stories from Arkansans who have suffered from addiction and documenting the continued fight to address the issues surrounding opioid use, misuse and addiction. "7 Days," produced in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education, features medical professionals and leaders from the Arkansas Office of Drug Director, the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Little Rock Office, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

  • “7 Days: The Opioid Crisis in Arkansas” – Documentary – Cultural. Produced and directed by Nathan Willis. Executive produced by Courtney Pledger and Sajni Kumpuris.
  • Nathan Willis, “7 Days: The Opioid Crisis in Arkansas” – Director – Short Form or Long Form Content.

“Blueberry’s Clubhouse”

This original pre-K-2 children's program features Blueberry, a curious puppet guide, and her friends at Camp Onomatopoeia participating in fun, engaging and insightful summer activities across The Natural State.

  • “Blueberry’s Clubhouse: Family Day Dilemma” – Informational/Instructional – Long Form Content. Blueberry is so excited to meet new friends at Family Day at camp. However, she gets confused when only Max’s mom shows up. With help from her parents and all of her camp friends, Blueberry will learn that families come in all shapes and sizes. Produced by Charles Eric White, Terrell Case, Corey Womack and Cathy Jo Burks.
  • “Blueberry’s Clubhouse: Oral Histories” – Education/Schools – Short Form Content. In this virtual field trip, kids learn about “Passing it on!” with the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. When people think about history, they often think of books. This segment teaches that things that happened in the past have actually been passed down through storytelling, as well as how to ask questions to build an oral history. Produced by Charles Eric White and Terrell Case.
  • Corey Womack, “Blueberry’s Clubhouse: Carol’s Fearful Phobia” – Writer – Long Form Content. In this episode Camp Counselor Carol is afraid of going to the doctor, while Blueberry is afraid of getting carried away by a kite. In order to ease Carol’s mind the campers learn about germs and good health from partner organizations around the state – but it is only when Blueberry speaks with her aunt Gooseberry that she learns that fear is something we all deal with our entire lives.
  • Collin Buchanan, “Blueberry’s Clubhouse” – Musical Composition/Arrangement.

“Exploring Arkansas From Above”

From rock formations and unique landmarks to stunning waterfalls and magnificent waterways – Arkansas isn’t called The Natural State for nothing! This film showcases Arkansas from a bird’s-eye perspective with visits to favorite locations, landmarks and natural wonders through four seasons of stunning beauty, all shot from a cinematic drone.

  • “Exploring Arkansas From Above” – Lifestyle – Long Form Content. Produced by Chuck Dovish, Terrell Case and Tracy Prince.
  • Terrell Case, “Exploring Arkansas From Above” – Director – Short Form or Long Form Content.
  • Terrell Case, “Exploring Arkansas From Above” – Photographer – Short Form or Long Form Content.
  • Tracy Prince, “Exploring Arkansas From Above” – Audio – Live or Post Production.
  • Tracy Prince, “Exploring Arkansas From Above: Winter” – Musical Composition/Arrangement.

“Rise and Shine”

This extensive educational program was designed to boost summer learning and help K-5 students retain academic learning targets. The six-week program – featuring lessons led by Arkansas teachers to reinforce learning in key subjects including literacy, math, science and social studies – was produced in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education.

  • “Rise and Shine” – Promotion – Program – Image Promotion or Promotional Campaign. Produced by Greg Mobley, Kabrelyn Brie Boyce and Dazz Murry.
  • Greg Mobley, “Rise and Shine” – Graphic Arts – Motion Graphics and Visual Effects.
  • Dazz Murry, Kabrelyn Brie Boyce, “Rise and Shine” theme song – Musical Composition/Arrangement.

Arkansas PBS also received the following nominations:

  • “To the Stars and Back” – Human Interest – Long Form Content. In December 2020, the students from Nettleton STEAM Intermediate School in Nettleton, Arkansas, shared a downlink conversation with the astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The event included opening remarks from both Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and former President Bill Clinton. Arkansas PBS livestreamed the conversation to local, national and international audiences, developing the story into a broadcast documentary as well as a professional development course for Arkansas teachers on the creation of nimble, STEM curriculum. Produced by Corey Womack.
  • “COVID-19 Awareness” – Public Service Announcement – Single Spot or Campaign. This multipronged campaign was designed and executed to be a hyperlocal, highly personal “friends and neighbors” effort to combat COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and vaccine reluctance. It featured intimate and confessional video storytelling by people who have been negatively and profoundly affected by the coronavirus, and plain-spoken, fact-based information by healthcare professionals. Produced by Nathan Willis, Sajni Kumpuris, Bryan Frazer and Casey Sanders.
  • Kat Robinson, “Arkansas Dairy Bars: Neat Eats & Cool Treats” – Program Host/Moderator. A popular mid-century sight all across America, dairy bars thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic. The nature of dairy bars – restaurants where customers generally order ice cream and burgers through a window – boosted business in a time of limited indoor dining options. Kat Robinson – Arkansas food historian, author, travel writer and enthusiastic foodie – visited dairy bars in every corner of the state to compile a culinary tour guide in this documentary.
  • Steve Lee, Joshua Moore, Vocabulary with Mr. Steve, The Music Man – Musical Composition/Arrangement. Joining the PBS tradition of kids’ songs that teach and delight, the Arkansas PBS team imagined a hip persona inspired by Nashville kids’ musician Steve Lee, aka “Mr. Steve, The Music Man.”

About NATAS Mid-America chapter

The NATAS Mid-America chapter, which includes television markets primarily in Arkansas, Illinois and Missouri, was chartered in 1962 and began honoring outstanding achievement in this region with local Emmy awards in 1976. The organization’s mission is to encourage excellence in the television community.

About Arkansas PBS

Arkansas PBS, Arkansas’s only statewide public media network, empowers learners of all ages by educating, informing, entertaining and inspiring communities. Arkansas PBS serves as a daily and essential resource for Arkansans by creating, sharing, celebrating and driving conversation around Arkansas stories and classic, trusted PBS programs through multiple digital platforms, including livestreaming at, on-demand services and YouTube TV, and the distinct channels Arkansas PBS, Arkansas PBS Create, Arkansas PBS KIDS, Arkansas PBS WORLD and Arkansas PBS AIRS on SAP. Members with Arkansas PBS Passport have extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming. Arkansas PBS depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at Arkansas PBS is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), KETZ (El Dorado), KETS (Lee Mountain) and KETS (Forrest City).