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John McGivern's New TV Show Travels To Main Streets Across The Upper Midwest

John McGivern's Main Streets YouTube
A screenshot from the introduction video to John McGivern's new show Main Streets.

After nine seasons, Milwaukee PBS decided it would not renew local travel show Around the Corner with John McGivern. The show brought host John McGivern across Wisconsin to explore the history of the state through neighborhoods.

Now, McGivern, along with Around the Corner producer Lois Maurer, are putting together a new show called John McGivern’s Main Streets. While the new production will have a similar feel to Around the Corner, it is not meant to be the same show.

For starters, Main Streets is going beyond the borders of Wisconsin.

Welcome To John McGivern's Main Streets

“There are six states that are involved in this show. It’s going to be Wisconsin, first and foremost of course; Minnesota; Iowa; Illinois; Indiana and Michigan,” says Maurer.

Along with the expanded territory, the show will have a new format that starts and ends with a community’s Main Street. Reoccurring guests from Around the Corner like historian John Gurda and John’s brother will not be involved with Main Streets.

“We’re changing up the format, we’re covering things in a different way,” says McGivern. “We can really go out there and create something that has a feeling of celebration, which is what we really thought we accomplished, celebrating community. We can still keep that but to do it in a different format.”

Maurer says that while not every town or city has a street named "Main," they all have a main street where community members come together.

“We were in towns where we were like, 'Oh we’re on Main Street,' we turn around, 'Oh I guess it’s called Water here, I guess it’s called Front Street here,' but they all have that same sense of, this is where the community comes to gather,” she says. “The heartbeat of a community seems to be loudest on its Main Street.”

Growing up on the east side of Milwaukee, McGivern says his Main Street was Oakland Avenue between Locust Street and Linnwood Avenue.

McGivern says he would deliver the afternoon edition of the Milwaukee Journal to the business owners on that block who were immigrants from all different parts of Europe and he says they taught him about the different cultures they came from.

“That was kind of the springboard for what we’re going to do,” he says.

Joy is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
From 2020 to 2021, Jack was WUWM's digital intern and then digital producer.