"Wisconsin Foodie" technically begins its second season on Milwaukee Public TV at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday on Channel 10.
But since last year's 13 episodes had been rerun from the well-produced food series as it ran on commercial TV, it's really a return to new episodes for the series, which began in 2008.
So what you'll be seeing starting Thursday is a show that has refocused with less of a magazine style, and more of a documentary feature style, as the half-hour program travels the state (and the world) to tell stories about local growers, producers and the folks who get that food to us.
A sign of the breadth of stories being told by show creator Arthur Ircink starts with Thursday's debut, which takes us to Guatemala, to trace the source of some of the coffee sold and served at Milwaukee's Alterra chain of coffee shops.
"It's an incredible story of what certain local businesses, like Alterra, do to source the best possible product," Ircink told me.
In episode four, the cameras are at European Homemade Sausage on the city's South Side, watching master sausage maker Frank Jakubczak keep alive an Old World craft.
That session with Jakubczak clearly touched Ircink.
"We're losing a generation of these kinds of craftspeople," he said during a phone conversation, noting that such artisanal food products have skipped a generation.
Ircink was filming in Jakubczak's kitchen when he was offered to taste some of the cooked product. It was a dilemma for him – he'd been a vegetarian for 17 years.
"I did not have the heart to tell him I was a vegetarian. That was the first time I'd eaten meat in 17 years, but I couldn't refuse it."
This season also has an emotional tinge. His wife, Dana Grabovac, is due to give birth in a couple weeks, and he's hoping to get the season's production out of the way before that.
"All of these things are happening at once," he notes.
For the record, the new season of "Wisconsin Foodie" has already premiered in state TV markets outside the state on Wisconsin Public TV affiliates.
On radio: WTMJ-AM (620) has brought in the highest audience share in the country over the past two months – with much of the credit certainly due to the Milwaukee Brewers – according to personal people meter ratings from the Arbitron Co. Radio-Info.com, which compiles the numbers from around the country, notes that WTMJ's 13.2 percent September share of the overall audience, 6 years old and older, is the highest record nationally this year.
- Sirius/XM satellite radio will carry the audio of Rosie O'Donnell's new Oprah Winfrey Network talk show, airing it the day after it premieres on TV. It'll start airing later this month at 9 a.m. and noon on XM Channel 111/Sirius Channel 204. The TV version debuted Monday and airs at 6 p.m.
- WLUM-FM (102.1) has announced plans for its sixth annual holiday concert, "Big Snow Show 6" Dec. 15 at the Rave. You can find details at the Rave's web site.
- Just a reminder that former WTMJ voice turned podcaster Phil Cianciola moved this week to WHBY-AM (1150) up in the Fox Valley from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays. You can listen on-line at the WHBY website.
There are still new shows coming: While NBC has already axed two new shows – "The Playboy Club" and "Free Agents – it still has some new stuff coming. That includes a fairy tale update called "Grimm," which joins the Friday night lineup on Oct. 28 (probably a good weekend for such a show.)
Here's a look at the show:
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.