Engaging Local Families: Digital Strategies for ANY station

Written by Jayme Swain, Senior Director, Strategic Growth, PBS Interactive

Cultivate a family audience & donor base and position your station as a source for family experiences beyond TV and online.” –Nicki Granata Bosch, WNET, “Been There, Done That”

PBS KIDS GO! Online Community Manager, Abby Jenkins, hosted an interactive session this year at the PBS Annual Meeting that showcased the amazing reach the CPB funded PBS KIDS GO! Web Development Grants have had over the last three years. The star presenters, all grant recipients, represented a broad spectrum of member stations that are leading the way in developing innovative local interactive experiences for parents and kids. These leaders and innovators were:

JENNIFER STANCIL, Executive Director of Educational Partnerships, WQED
SCOTT WITZKE, Director of Promotions and Marketing, WTIU
TRISHA MOYNIHAN, Director of Internet Services, WFSU
JENNIFER MACARTHUR, National Center for Media Engagement, presented on behalf of grant recipient
NICKI GRANATA BOSCH, Director of Kids Interactive & Kids Club, WNET-Thirteen

The session kicked off with a mobile poll asking attendees to what extent they are engaging local kids and families online. Most votes were for none or minimal, which showed the opportunity that exists for stations to expand their efforts.

The projects presented by each station highlighted the opportunities for developing new community partnerships, engaging local families, growing membership, and collaborating across stations. WQED presented its “iQzoo” mobile app that leverages PBS KIDS GO! video assets to enhance on-site learning at local zoos. WNET presented a venue-based “check in” game for kids that builds on the station’s “Kids Club” and outreach efforts at events around New York City. Both WFSU and WTIU are reaching out to kids in schools and local families through the highly localizable curriculum areas of geography and weather, encouraging their audience to explore their local environment.

Supporting the goals of the grants project, the common threads in all these station initiatives are educational and outreach efforts through effective engagement strategies.

  • support educational and outreach efforts
  • increase station visibility in the community
  • grow audience through effective engagement strategies

After the presentations the audience worked together in small groups to brainstorm how to their own stations can meet the need to create locally relevant educational content for families in a way that supports their station bottom line.

If you missed the session, here’s what you can look forward to! The station projects, designed to be replicable in any community, are launching in September 2011 on Station Remote Control. In the meantime, stations should take advantage of the many interactive tools to support kids’ content available on Station Remote Control.

These tools range from an online submission management tool to the PBS KIDS GO! video module as well as the customizable local games created by member stations.

Contact Tricia George, Production Associate, PBS KIDS, or the SPI Team with any questions about the grants or SRC resources.

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