New Episode, Digital Components Available for ‘What If…’

For Immediate Release

New Episode, Digital Components Available for ‘What If…’

LINCOLN, Neb. (Dec. 16, 2021) – When knowledge, curiosity, guesswork and original questions clash, sometimes the result is a good idea. A new episode of the television series “What If…” premieres at 7:30 p.m. CT, Thursday, Jan. 6 on Nebraska Public Media.

“What If…” is an exploration of innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship and discovery. Producer and host Mike Tobias tells stories about clever concepts and diverse characters, while pulling back the curtain on the television production process.

This new 30-minute episode features four new stories:

-- Scientists identifying missing service members in a lab at Offutt Air Force Base near Bellevue.

-- A Central Community College student who “grew” a canoe from mycelium, the vegetative body of a fungus that forms mushrooms.

-- An Omaha entrepreneur using sensors to collect shopper data for some of the world’s biggest companies.

-- An Aurora-based company whose Grain Weevil robots could keep farmers safe from grain bin dangers.

An online educational component, “Innovator Insights,” is available in the PBS LearningMedia library at These short videos are designed for high school and college students to drive the next generation of young innovators, big thinkers and risk takers. The collection of 25 videos are available in English and Spanish subtitles, along with resources for teachers.

“What If…” also showcases original music submitted for use in the project by a wide range of Nebraska composers.

For more information about all the aspects of the program, visit

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MEDIA CONTACTS: Cameron Risher, 402-470-6312; Sandi Karstens, 402-470-6578

About Nebraska Public Media

Nebraska Public Media has been dedicated to connecting Nebraskans through news, sports, education, and entertainment for nearly 70 years. Providing global news and compelling stories from PBS and NPR, Nebraska Public Media also produces award-winning original content. Its programs and services reach 1 million people each month across the state on television, radio, online and mobile platforms. Visit for more information.

Mike Tobias in a canoe "grown" from mycelium
What If... host Mike Tobias in a canoe "grown" from mycelium, the vegetative body of a fungus that forms mushrooms.
Grain Weevil
Grain Weevil robot