KCPT is in its 51st year of educating and inspiring Kansas City. Your loyal support has helped make it all possible. And for that we are truly grateful.
Your support enables us to deliver the PBS jewels: Masterpiece(TM), NOVA, Nature and FRONTLINE – not to mention children’s educational programs such as Sesame Street, Arthur and WordGirl.
Your support also enables us to share what makes our city great, through local productions like Week in Review, The Local Show, Meet the Past – even putting Kansas City on the national PBS stage this summer with Homecoming, featuring the Kansas City Symphony and our hometown diva, Joyce DiDonato.
Consider for a moment just some of the ways that people all around us are benefiting from KCPT:
• KCPT provides the full public television offering of children’s educational programs, arts, history and fiercely independent journalism to everyone—-regardless of income or age.
• Viewers go out and support our local arts groups after first “meeting” them on KCPT.
• Teachers bring their lessons to life with KCPT’s digital video library and professional development.
• And, each week, more than 700,000 viewers like you embark on journeys that challenge their assumptions and enrich their lives.
PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger talked about public television’s history, mission and its future yesterday at Union Station as part of The Kansas City Chamber’s Insight Kansas City speaker series.
Kerger, who has been at the helm of PBS since 2006, told the Chamber that they actually have a lot in common with PBS in their shared missions for opportunity, serving communities and the exchange of ideas.
“Although the means of connecting with our audience has changed over the years, we remain focused on using media to fulfill our public service mission to help everyone, of every age, from every walk of life reach their full potential,” said Kerger. “Across every platform we’re providing new resources for children to learn and give all American access to the dramas, documentaries, history, news and public affairs and arts programming that expand horizons and open up new vistas.”
PBS President and CEO presented at Union Station on May 2, 2012 as part of the KC Chamber's Insight Kansas City speaker series.
Kerger applauded public television stations across the country for continuing to serve this original, educational mission and talked more specifically about KCPT’s focus on local coverage.
“Right here in Kansas City, KCPT has evolved over the years, growing their reach and impact to serve more Kansas Citians,” said Kerger. “KCPT is positioning itself as a trusted and constructive center stage for the region.”
The future of public television Kerger said will be dependent on innovation in three main areas: connection, content and community engagement.
Beyond the traditional broadcast, PBS and member stations have more opportunity to connect with viewers than ever before through social media, the web and mobile content.
And as Kerger points out, PBS is excelling in these pursuits. This year PBS received nine Webby Award nominations, including nominations for pbs.org, pbskids.org and the PBS iPad App. In addition, PBS has created six web-only series.
“We’ve done a lot of analysis of looking at who is actually watching us online and over 60% of the people watching videos at pbs.org are between the ages of 18 and 49,” said Kerger. “Now in Public Broadcasting we’ve talked for years about how we can create content that connects with a younger audience. I’ve always believed, and I’ve been in this business now for a while, that our content is compelling, it’s just that we don’t always fit people’s busy lives.”
In addition to making existing PBS content accessible at any time and on multiple platforms, Kerger sees opportunities to use new media to test out new shows and formats that aren’t suitable for broadcast, but further PBS’ mission to educate.
Although changing technology has presented a slew of challenges for broadcasters, Kerger sees many exciting opportunities for public broadcasting to provide all Americans with “content of consequence” among hundreds of other channels, whose programming consists on average of about 50% reality television shows.
“In the US, channels that were supposed to replace PBS by offering history drama and arts programming have increasingly turned to reality television,” said Kerger. “We’ve made deep investments in a couple of areas: arts, history, science and news.”
“[Homecoming] is a spectacular piece not only because it focuses on great art, but it is also a spectacular piece because it shows what a community can do when it dreams big,” said Kerger. “And that is the inspirational message that I am so proud that you’re going to bring from Kansas City to every home across this country.”
In addition to touting PBS’ commitment to the arts, Kerger said that PBS’ highest calling is its kids programming.
“No other media company creates this kind of quality kids programming that treats kids as kids and not as mini-consumers,” said Kerger. “We have received more Emmys for children’s programming than all other cable and television networks combined.”
Outlining PBS’ community engagement strategies, Kerger focused heavily its resources for teachers. In 2011, PBS and its member stations launched PBS LearningMedia, which helps teachers and homeschoolers bring technology into the classroom with thousands of free videos and interactive resources available online. In addition PBS is partnering with NASA, the National Archives and the Library of Congress to incorporate their educational resources and make them easily available to teachers.
Kerger concluded her presentation saying that not only does she believe public television will continue to serve its original mission well into the future, but it will also expand its services.
“Our work cannot be replaced or replicated by commercial outlet because we exist to serve the people and not to sell to them. Our bottom line is the number of lives we touch,” said Kerger. “Of all the stations out there we are the only ones charged with this honorable mission and we are the only ones who can put the people’s airwaves to the service of the people.”
An interview with Paula Kerger and KCPT’s President and CEO Kliff Kuehl will air on The Local Show on May 10 at 7:30pm.
I’ve talked a lot lately about our focus on localism and the important role of KCPT in our community; however, in this issue, I want to talk about national content and the importance of those coveted programs so many of you enjoy every week.
I think we can put Downton Abbey at the top of that list. PBS, and its affiliated stations, is proud to bring this exceedingly popular program into your homes. Season two premiered to an average audience of 6.3 million viewers (30% more than the first episode of season one). This is the highest rating for a MASTERPIECE Episode in 17 years. The Daily Beast wrote that Downton has brought PBS to “the cool kid’s table.” I thought we were already pretty cool but we’ll take that as a compliment.
Last year PBS moved NOVA to Wednesday night, creating “the smartest night on television.” This has led to a 47% increase in the national audience, meaning over 700,000 more people are watching during an average minute of NOVA’s programming. NOVA fits right in with KCPT’s mission to “educate and enrich” our community and also helps attract young minds to the sciences.
The Fall PBS Arts Festival reached close to 19 million viewers. In March we wrapped up the taping of Homecoming: The Kansas City Symphony – Joyce DiDonato at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, which will be carried nationally on the PBS Summer Arts Series. What a great coup to have Kansas City included in this national series. The KCPT team was so proud to be part of such an extraordinary production. The program airs throughout the United States on July 20. Don’t miss seeing our city, the beautiful performing arts center, Joyce DiDonato, and the Kansas City Symphony!
PBS is also helping to close the achievement gap. According to a recent national survey commissioned by PBS and conducted by Vera Quest Research, 91% of teachers have access to computers in their classroom, but only one-in-five have the right level of technology. Cost is the single biggest barrier toward using technology in the classroom. That’s why PBS, together with local member stations (including KCPT), recently launched PBS LearningMedia, featuring a robust library with tens of thousands of digital assets, including lesson plans and discussion questions for educators that align with Common Core State Standards. This free media-on- demand service features content from NASA, National Archives and PBS programs all in one place.
A few statistical facts –
More than 58 million videos were streamed on the PBS KIDS Video for iPhone/iPad apps in January 2012.
In any given month in 2011, more than 30% of all video minutes consumed on kids’ sites were on PBSKIDS.org.
In a typical month, close to 123 million people watch their local PBS stations.
On May 2nd, Paula Kerger, CEO of PBS, comes to Kansas City as the Chamber’s guest speaker to talk about the future of public media in a changing America. We are excited to share Paula with Kansas City as another local/national partnership opportunity. We’re also very excited to be working with the Chamber on their Big 5 initiative.
Author Christopher B. Leinberger describes how government policy over the last 60 years – driven by the auto and oil industry – has encouraged suburban sprawl with its strip malls and isolated housing developments. The result: decline of community, urban decay, pollution, and a rise in obesity and asthma. But there’s a new approach (or perhaps it’s an old approach) in which citizens live, work, and play within easy walking distance.
Developer and educator Leinberger is a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and is director of the Graduate Real Estate Program at the University of Michigan.
Make Your Reservation
Christopher B. Leinberger: The Option of Urbanism
April 18, 2012 – Reception: 6pm — Program: 6:30pm
Location: Central Library, Kansas City Public Library, 14 West 10th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105