We believe that greater Kansas City is a stronger place when our citizens know about their home town and the things that make it unique—-when we share an understanding of where we’ve been and can come together to respectfully discuss where we are going — to share some pride. In an era of declining local coverage by newspapers and commercial television and an absence of locally generated Internet content, how should the people of Kansas City gain the understanding they need — to connect with others and contribute to the civic, cultural and economic life of their region.
KCPT has begun to bridge this gap by reinventing our local content services. The first phase of this process has been to greatly expand the number of local programs and specials that now includes: Imagine KC, Check Please, Generation XL, Weathering the Financial Storm, Meet the Past, Week in Review, Ruckus and The Local Show. This expansion in local coverage is being made possible by hard work and increasing efficiencies at KCPT—a necessity driven by steep cuts in public and corporate funding and a 60% reduction in staff over a decade ago.
Our city continues to advance — the unveiling of the Kauffman Center, Google’s decision to launch “superband” in our city, the Chamber’s roll out of The Big 5, and the 60-foot “dendroid” that recently took root at the Nelson. KCPT has been right there, taking our 800,000 weekly viewers inside these and the many other local developments with the thoughtful and constructive approach that only public television provides.
We are engaged in important, content-generating partnerships with an array of civic groups including: The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, The Kansas City Public Library, The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, The Kansas City Area Development Council, The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, BlueCross/BlueShield of Kansas City, The Greater Kansas City Health Care Foundation and the Mid America Regional Council. The civic leadership sees KCPT as an essential community asset with unique and powerful assets available to serve our community.
We are not resting on our success. We envision an even richer, “next-generation public television service” better connecting with people on their terms – with even more local content produced for and delivered across social media platforms, and supplemented by engaging and informative social media content. The primary aim of Phase II is to derive greater community value from the quality KPCT content that is now being regularly created. We will use a variety of strategies to harness new social media tools to connect constituency groups to KCPT content relating to their efforts. We will also add value to KCPT video content by stimulating user generated content. These new forms of engagement will enhance KCPT’s value to the community by increasing usage.
The other transformational aim is to provide more constructive content to the region. This will come in many forms including “town hall” conversations on location about topics that are important to our region. Some examples include a regional arts strategy, the future of urban education, and the role of philanthropy in our community. KCPT’s new mobile studio is already being pushed into service for these duties but the station needs to add resources to staff it and to fund ongoing technical upgrades.
At this juncture, the KCPT leadership team is in the final stages of framing this phase II vision and detailing out the resources that will be required to achieve it. As we move toward the implementation stage in our planning, the team is first consulting with a small group of dedicated supporters for their input on the plan. We intend to have an updated and detailed plan in place by early December.
More will come as our plans turn into action. KCPT is excited about becoming the “center stage” of our community.