The SPI Files: Nicki Granata Bosch, WNET

by Amy Baroch, Station Products and Innovation

Over the past few weeks, we have introduced you to our new Station Advisory Council (SAC) members. In this final installment of the SAC SPI series, we introduce you to Nicki Granata Bosch of WNET. We sat down with Nicki to learn more about her and her work with Kids Interactive and Kids Club THIRTEEN.

Who are you and what do you do at THIRTEEN?
I am Nicki Granata Bosch, and I'm the Director of Kids Interactive and Kids Club THIRTEEN. There are two halves to my job - half of me runs the Kids Thirteen web presence and has a hand in all Kids Interactive projects that are station specific. The other half of me (the bigger half) runs our new Kids and Family Membership - Kids Club THIRTEEN. As director of the club, I seek out new local partnerships, I run all membership efforts, oversee all online and on-air promotions, and manage all of our partner events (one per month). I have to say, my job totally rocks.

How long have you been with Kids Interactive & Kids Club THIRTEEN?
About three years.

Before THIRTEEN, what did you do?
I've been in kids interactive media for a loooooong time. I have been super lucky in the jobs that I've had - I've worked for some of the best including Simon & Schuster Interactive & Macmillan Digital (back in the time of the educational CD-ROM hey-day), Sesame Workshop and Scholastic Entertainment (Clifford, Maya & Miguel, I Spy, Magic School Bus, and more).

If you didn't work in public media, what would you be doing?
I'd most likely be an event planner focusing on kids events. I adore planning a party and jump on any opportunity to do so. Seriously - if I catch wind that any of my friends are looking to plan a party, I'm all over them with ideas, including themes, d├ęcor, menus, activities, and favors. It's a sickness really. I also like to write. I have several half written novels and screen plays collecting virtual dust on my computer. Maybe one day when my kids are all out of the house and fending for themselves I'll be able to get back to my writing. I have four kids, ages 3 - 16, and a new baby on the way, so I don't think I'll be holding my breath on that one...

Explain Kids Club THIRTEEN in Twitter-style, 140 characters or less.
Kids Club THIRTEEN is...a family community of PBS KIDS fans and kid-friendly culture seekers.

We are excited to have a representative on our SAC that offers a perspective into what's happening with local kids programming and initiatives. One of the things we are most impressed with is the success of THIRTEEN's Kids Club. Can you tell us a little bit more about it?
When I started at Thirteen, I was very surprised to learn that WNET did not offer a Kids/Family Membership. Not only because of the popularity of our kids programming block and the strong network of local partners the station has, but also because our tri-state area has SO MUCH to offer, it seemed like a no-brainer. I did some research on other station kids clubs around the county to see how they operated and what benefits they provided their members. While most of them offered similar premiums - birthday cards, plush toys or goodie bags, perhaps birthday mentions on air, as well as local discounts. None of them really seemed to be connecting the dots from the programming their kids audience loved, to their own local community and offerings. And that's how we decided to be different.

If we could work with local partners AND PBS Kids Producers to make the themes and concepts of kids favorite shows come to life in their own backyards AND expose families to the wealth of fun learning experiences NYC has to offer, it could be an amazing win-win-win-win situation.
  • It's a win for our partners, as we can help expose them to new audiences and promote their family offerings all year long;
  • it's a win for PBS producers, as we can promote their programs and engage kids first hand in all the great content they are creating;
  • it's a win for WNET because we are gaining a new member base of young families, and are out there in the community meeting our viewers and engaging them in content we air;
  • and best of all, it's a win for local families who once a month (or more!) have a date with their favorite PBS characters to explore new places and have cool educational experiences for free or at a discount.
Yesterday we got a note from one of our smaller partners, The Stickley Museum in New Jersey. We recently partnered on an event during their holiday open house this past December. They wanted us to know that they had suffered a difficult year financially and lost a lot of money due to closures for renovations and a bad storm last October that left their power out for over a week, but thanks to the promotion they received from Kids Club THIRTEEN and the large crowd we brought in on the day of our event, they were able to benefit financially at a most critical time. It was very rewarding to see the impact Kids Club THIRTEEN had for this small, but amazing local institution.

You wrote a children's book called Bedtime Ballyhoo - how did that come about?
Haha. How nice of you to point this out. : ) Actually, I wrote this story for my son (who is now 16), when he was little because he always had an excuse for not going to bed when he was supposed to. It was another one of my projects that collected virtual dust in my computer. Then a few years ago, my brother-in-law, who runs a ballet studio, mentioned that he needed a good story with lots of characters to put on as a Spring Gala with his dancers, but he wanted something new and fresh. I printed out my story for him and he thought it was perfect for what he wanted to do. He asked "can you get this published by May so we can have it to sell at the Gala?" It was December, so clearly, it was not going to happen through the "submit to the slush pile" route. So I found a wonderful illustrator to work with and self-published it. Not a lucrative venture to say the least, but tons of fun and a great learning experience.

As one of the newest members of our Station Advisory Council, what do you hope to see PBS Interactive accomplish this year?
Now that I'm on the station side of things, and actually out in the community representing our content on a regular basis, I'm very excited about the possibilities for increasing community engagement and getting kids off their computers and digging into learning in new ways. There are so many opportunities for children and families to take what they love and learn from our on-air and online content, and explore it further and more personally in their own backyards.

The grant project Planet GO! is a fabulous first step. I'm looking forward to more innovative ideas like this to help stations and their audiences get more out of the amazing content PBS has on offer.

What do you see as the future for public media and how does Kids Interactive & Kids Club THIRTEEN fit into that vision?
I think public media will continue to serve the needs of communities, but I hope we will see more and more public media entities partnering with each other, sharing content, technologies and best practices. Kids Club THIRTEEN was, from its inception, designed as a membership model to be shared and replicated throughout the system. It can be scaled up or scaled back, but the core ideas and how we create our partnerships and events can work in any market. We're now testing out a similar membership model for adults that is an online only membership, ties to a local on-air production, and offers regularly scheduled events as one of the benefits. In as much as the future of public media will grow on all digital platforms, I see it also connecting and engaging people away from computers and devices.

And - just for fun - a few quick-fire questions:
iPhone or Android? iPhone
Dogs or cats? Both. I'm an equal opportunity pet owner.
Blog platform of choice? Since I'm not blogging, I don't have one. But if I were going to start, I'd go WordPress. All the cool kids are using it.
Elmo or Grover? Neither. Oscar the Grouch. I know him personally and he's my kind of guy. Gruff on the outside, a softie on the inside.
I am currently listening to...The new Black Keys album (El Camino). Don't like it as much as their older stuff though. And I'm anxiously awaiting the solo album from Jack White. I love everything he does.
I am currently reading... The Hunger Games series. I need to read them all before I see the movie.
I'm currently watching (TV, film, etc)...I'm hooked on The Voice now. I used to be an American Idol fan, but it's no fun without Simon. I'm a huge Dexter fan - can't wait until next season. And I'm counting the days until the new seasons of Mad Men and Game of Thrones! Though, I have to say, my real guilty pleasure is Ghost Hunters on SyFy. My husband makes fun of me every week, but I just have to watch it. I love a good ghost story, and some of the stuff that happens on that show really makes you wonder (although my husband will tease "there's nothing to wonder about, they had an intern add that voice/footstep/loud bang/shadow figure, etc. to the footage in post!"). What a party pooper!
Most overused phrase: None. I'm an equal opportunity overused phrase user.

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