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Bento Nation: WYCC Explores Bento

Nicole Rohr, WYCC
By: Jen Carter, PBS Digital

In last week's Bento Nation Series we talked to Beau Waldrop, Web Communications Specialist at KACV, who reflected on his work building the Texas Graduate initiative site. Today we continue sharing stations' Bento experiences as we feature Nicole Rohr (@rohrrr), Interactive Content Editor/Producer for WYCC PBS Chicago. WYCC is the first station to launch a Bento site using the new responsive Explorer theme.

1. You attended the first Bento Implementation Training (B.I.T.). Why did you attend?
A main goal of ours at WYCC PBS Chicago was to enhance our digital presence. To us, this meant more active social media sites, including social media as a part of our in-house productions, and a fresh, new look that better aligned us with the PBS brand and mission. We started with a new look on-air, revising promos and lower thirds, then slowly moved to online. Launching our Bento site feels like the last piece of the interactive puzzle. It will still be changing and evolving as we move forward, but we have a sophisticated online presence now, thanks to Bento, that we can be proud of.

2. What are your thoughts on the product now? Has this changed from when you first started working on it?
When I first started working in Bento, I was not using the Explorer theme. I had built out about half of the site when we decided to switch to Explorer, as that most closely matched the “Be More” campaign. I had to wave goodbye to the work I had done and start over using Explorer, but we couldn’t be happier with the decision and the result. The integration of Merlin and the mobile-friendly viewing are both huge for us and help us get our name out to a wider audience.

WYCC's New Bento Site
3. Could you speak to what your site migration and launch process has been like?
... All in all, it took us about three months (including the content lost in the migration to Explorer) from start to finish to build out the site and launch. I’m amazed by Bento’s responsiveness, love that every one of our social media sites is accessible on our home page, and that we are finally able to add other users and content creators to our workflow. We are a small station taking big steps on the Interwebs, thanks to PBS SPI!

4. Is your station undertaking any major initiatives in the coming months? Are you planning to use Bento to enhance any of those initiatives? If so, how? If not, why?
We have a new live music show called Musicology: Live from Old Town School of Folk Music. It premieres April 19 at 9 p.m., and I definitely envision us using Bento in an interesting way to feature the musicians from the show.

5. If you could give only one piece of advice to stations thinking of a site migration what would it be?
Be patient! Beginning with any new CMS takes time – a lot of trial and error. Rely on your viewers, users, and other staff members to give you feedback as sometimes you’re not seeing something the way others do...

6. If you had to describe Bento in 140 characters what would you say?
Makes learning cool again, which is the whole reason I fell in love with PBS. 

7. Any additional information you’d like to share?
A big shout out to my supervisor, Creative Services Director Cesar Rodriguez, to Motion Graphics Artist Marina Muzychenko, and to Broadcast Network Administrator James Skupien for being my teammates on this launch!

Bento Nation is an on-going series that features pub media stations and the many ways they are using Bento to meet their digital needs. 

 If you wish to use Bento for your site, please visit bento.pbs.org for more information.