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WEDU Goes Retro for PBS Nerd Night



What better way to celebrate throwback Thursday then with a night of all things old-school PBS?

On September 25, PBS Nerds from around the Bay—and beyond—visited WEDU’s Hough Family Foundation Studio for Retro Night. Guests and staff were invited to dress as their favorite iconic old-school PBS characters. While some donned full Mister Rogers attire, others sported a bow-tie to honor Bill Nye the Science Guy or a ‘fro to impersonate Bob Ross. Even Lamb Chop made an appearance!

Guests of all ages tested their PBS knowledge by competing for prizes during multiple rounds of trivia, ranging from easy questions like, "What does PBS stand for?" to harder ones like "Name two of the puppets that inhabited Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood." Plus, the evening’s door prize winner took home one year of Bright House cable, phone and internet service. Wine and craft beer, as well as sandwiches and sides were served, thanks to generous donations from local companies, Time for Wine and Inside the Box.

The planning team for this specific event set several goals, including building awareness about the PBS Nerd brand, and increasing social media engagement among our viewers. Before and during Retro Night, local Nerds interacted with us, guessing the icons and showing off their best character impressions on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. View the full gallery here: WEDU Retro PBS Nerd Night.

Some guests even came from out of town, like WXEL-TV’s Creative Services Director Evan Flores. The PBS fan in the photo to the right, Brooke Nelson, a Minnesota resident and loyal viewer of Twin Cities Public Television, happened to be in town for the event as well.

We’ve seen continued growth in social media activity surrounding WEDU PBS Nerd since launching the campaign at Tampa Bay Comic Con in August. The idea came from Promotions and Events Coordinator Bob Beard and his team at Eight, Arizona PBS, who originated the PBS Nerd brand at the first-ever PBS Nerd Walk in 2011.

In addition to social media hype during Retro Night, we also received positive feedback from attendees afterward. In an anonymous survey response, one guest told us that they continued to spread PBS love after the event. “I learned a lot of facts which I then subjected my coworkers to for the following two days,” the attendee said.

Overall, Retro Night was a successful event–we reached all of our goals, gained new members, and met some of our nerdiest fans. A member of our door-to-door canvassing team attended the event and reported, “When we were asking people what brought them out to the event, they all responded that they not only grew up on PBS, but still enjoy it every day, and it is a major part of their lives.” That’s exactly what we wanted to hear. Nerd on, PBS fans!

By Heather Fullenkamp | Interactive Services Specialist | WEDU

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