Arkansas PBS’s ‘Arkansas Week’ celebrates 40 years on air


Six-minute montage celebrates public affairs program’s anniversary; Sen. Boozman joins to discuss Farm Bill

CONWAY, Ark. (Arkansas PBS) — “Arkansas Week,” the weekly news analysis program by Arkansas PBS, will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a six-minute montage of vintage clips of “Arkansas Week” over the decades, along with recollections of several regularly scheduled panelists, on Friday, Feb. 17, at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 19, at 10 a.m., and streaming at

Among those featured in the 40th anniversary segment are Tom Grimes, Ernie Dumas, Gwen Moritz and Rex Nelson.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman is scheduled to join the program this week to discuss the Farm Bill. There will also be discussions on other top issues in the state government.

“Since our first edition, ‘Arkansas Week’ has delivered to its audience a consistent diet of substance,” veteran journalist Steve Barnes, who has hosted “Arkansas Week” since 1988, said. “Our focus, always, has been the matters that matter.

“To address those questions, to analyze the problems and assay the possible solutions, we have brought to our table the journalists who have covered them firsthand, along with the academics and scientists and physicians who address them from their perspectives. Experts in Arkansas commerce, too, and education. If it is of concern to Arkansas, then it’s of concern to us, and we bring it to the ‘Arkansas Week’ table.”

The idea for the program was originated by Tom Grimes, who served as an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1983 when “Arkansas Week” was created. Grimes, who had just produced a Little Rock cable TV news program, says he thought he could do the same at Arkansas PBS (then known as AETN).

“I drove to Conway to see AETN’s administrator, Fred Schmutz,” Grimes said. “He bought the idea and the broadcast started.”

“Arkansas Week” began a run of 40 years that has seen journalists, newsmakers, seven U.S. Senators, 18 U.S. Representatives and numerous members of the Arkansas House and Senate.

Grimes hosted “Arkansas Week” until leaving the state in August 1983 to work on his doctorate at Indiana University. He now serves as a journalism professor at Texas State University. The program continued to air with various hosts, including Clarence Cash, Thedford Collins and Scott Charton, until Barnes took over in 1988.

The Arkansas PBS Engage Blog features a Q&A with Grimes on what it was like to produce a weekly public affairs television program in 1983, and Steve Barnes reflecting on 40 years of “Arkansas Week.”

Much of the full interviews with Tom Grimes, Steve Barnes, Ernie Dumas, Gwen Moritz and Rex Nelson will be available on YouTube.

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), KETS (Forrest City) and KETS (Gaither).