By Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist Published Jan 09, 2014 at 4:56 PM

The longest running show in the history of Milwaukee Public Television premieres its 30th season tonight.

"Outdoor Wisconsin" with host Dan Small will air at 9 p.m., featuring a women's ice fishing adventure on Lake Winnebago. Small will demonstrate how to still hunt for deer, and he will take a look back to 1988 when legendary bow hunter Art LaHa shared an important lesson about ravens and deer.

When I chatted with Small earlier today, we talked about the extremes he has seen in working on the program for three decades.

"We’ve been out there in the below zero temperatures like we’ve seen here this week, and we were out there in the 90s in mid-summer," he said.

"We traveled from Walworth County to Douglas County … we were not in every county, but we’ve seen pretty much all of them."

In my journalism career at different parts in the state, I’ve gone out to my fair share of outdoor activities and wrote about the people, places and things to do there. But for Small, and the TV show, he has to cover it a bit differently.

"I went dog sledding, and I’ve done quite a bit of cross-country skiing," Small said. "But I have to go out there and try to at least do it at least a couple of times."

He combined the activities in a run of skijoring, which is skiing while being pulled by a dog. I guess I’ve always considered it an achievement to be able to work a beat for a long time telling stories. But it is a different perspective when you have to actually participate.

"When we put this show together in 1984, we thought we’d get a good couple of years out of it and then run out of story ideas. There’s so many more things we can go out there and tell," he said.

"Outdoor Wisconsin" consistently ranks in the Top 20 of all public television programs seen in the Milwaukee area, Milwaukee Public Television reported in a release.  The show’s popularity is due, in part, to its diverse subject matter, including topics such as hunting, fishing, conservation, camping, biking, wildlife observation, safety, habitat management, endangered species, pollution abatement and conservation. 

"It’s been a great ride," Small said.

"But it’s not over yet. We’ve explored most corners of Wisconsin, enjoyed a great variety of outdoor activities and met hundreds of interesting people, but there are still places we haven’t been to, more adventures to try and more people to meet. We’re excited about launching our 30th season, and we hope our viewers are eager to join us."

The shows run on Milwaukee Public Television on 10.1 and 36.2 at 9 p.m. on Thursdays. They also repeat on the same channels at 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings.

Beyond the "Outdoors Wisconsin" program, Small is pretty busy working on other projects. He does a website, blog, and Outdoors Radio with Dan Small on 11 different stations, with an airing at 6 a.m. on Saturday mornings on WISN-AM 1130 here in Milwaukee.

Small will be at the Milwaukee Boat Show from Jan. 17 to 23 at the Expo Center on the State Fair Park grounds in West Allis, and you can hear radio streams of his show online at,,  or Outdoors Radio is also streamed twice daily at

Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist

Media is bombarding us everywhere.

Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.

The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.