Celebrating Rad Women: Writer Jodie Arnold launches WisWomen TV series
Local writer Jodie Arnold has funneled her desire to promote driven and successful women into a structured television series called WisWomen, which will air on Valley Media Works (Spectrum cable channel 993) in early September. The idea – which was planted by Heather Rigby of Valley Media Works – has been churning in Arnold’s mind since April. Arnold has written an array of poems, plays, blogs, and creative non-fiction pieces for a variety of publications. She is also the co-host of a weekly podcast called Tell Me Something Weird, she draws comics for Fanboy, she has hosted “Rad American Women: A-Z” readings at the Volume One Gallery, and she has even dabbled in politics. WisWomen, however, will be Arnold’s first stab at television.
“I hope this show never ends, honestly, and why would it? We are forever creating more amazing women in this state and I feel lucky to hopefully get the chance to meet a lot of them.” – Jodie Arnold, creator of WisWomen
“I want this to be a positive show, celebrating and highlighting women doing rad things,” Arnold said. “Maybe it’s everyday things. Maybe it’s unique and extraordinary. In any case, I want to do a show that’s not only positive, but educational and inspiring.”
Arnold, Rigby, and Rigby’s husband, Aaron, were the primary brainstormers for the show, but a plethora of others assisted in the show’s creation. Together, the team hashed out what WisWomen would be: its focus, its format, its length, etc. The actual act of transforming an idea into a full-fledged television show was more challenging than Arnold anticipated, but the overall process went smoothly because of her hard-working collaborators.
“We all brought open minds to the table and the willingness to the the idea of the show grow somewhat organically,” Arnold said.
The show itself will be pre-recorded – most often filmed in the Valley Media Works studio in Banbury Place – and interview-style. It will be 15 minutes of casual and conversational discussion between Arnold and a featured influential woman. Arnold said the interview-style was chosen due to her overall curious personality and desire to directly chat with others about what makes them happy. The first season will include eight episodes, with a new episode every two weeks. Topics of discussion will vary, and the women being interviewed won’t fit any particular mold. Interviewees will range from local celebrities who are well-known for their community contributions to those “flying under the radar” and doing awesome things without much acknowledgement.
“One week we might be chatting about foster parenting and the next what it’s like to be the director of the campus library system here in Eau Claire,” Arnold said. “I really want to highlight issues of all kinds, include those that maybe haven’t been addressed prominently. ... I just want to talk about amazing women, regardless of their status or name recognition.”
The first four interviewees, Arnold said, are drag performer Miss Dee-Lovely, City Council members Kate Beaton and Emily Anderson, and library director Jill Markgraf. As of right now, the selected women are strictly local. However, Arnold plans to expand the WisWomen reach – with the help of sponsorships – statewide. Arnold hopes for the show to go from being her “passion project” to becoming a more “formal job,” and would love for it to eventually air weekly.
“I hope this show never ends, honestly, and why would it?” Arnold said. “We are forever creating more amazing women in this state and I feel lucky to hopefully get the chance to meet a lot of them.”
All in all, Arnold is excited for what’s to come. WisWomen will air on Spectrum channel 993 and on YouTube. Details about where and when WisWomen can be watched and other show-related updates can be found on the WisWomen Facebook page.