Monday, May 7, 2018

Milwaukee PBS Great TV Auction 2018

The Milwaukee PBS Great TV Auction celebrated fifty years with dramatic format changes.

It's too bad such a big anniversary was marked in such a negative fashion.

Rather than being on the air for nine straight days, the auction was live on TV for only three days the last weekend of April and then again three days the first weekend of May. The auction continued online when it was off the air.

For the first time, every item was offered online. That may be a more effective way to raise funds and that is the point of the event. However, the live televised portion of the auction lost all momentum. It was a dull and unnecessary reading of items that already had bids. There was no three minute warning before a board would close, no last minute call to win an item.

The atmosphere of the televised auction was totally lacking in excitement and fun. There were no table captains. For the most part, there were no tables. It was nothing like past years. The studio phone bank was so sparse. It looked more like a pledge drive rather than the Great TV Auction, with just a few volunteers taking bids. The "Steal of the Night" was barely noticeable. Zero excitement. Zero charm.

Even the auction's final moments ended with a fizzle. It was no way to recognize fifty years of a tremendously successful fundraiser for Milwaukee public television.

The online auction format raises funds for Milwaukee PBS but it isn't an event. There's no personality and no community. It's just stuff.

The auction was always a fun event to watch. The 2018 version wasn't fun. It was pointless.

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