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Paul Kiser

Reno, Nevada PBS affiliate, KNPB is cutting almost a third of its dedicated children’s programming and all of its dedicated after-school shows that target school-aged children. Effective next week all PBS Kids shows on KNPB will end at 12:30 PM, cutting 2.5 hours from its current 9 hours of children’s programming. The programming cuts will put KNPB third from the bottom of 30 western United States PBS stations in total hours of daily children’s programs  and the only PBS affiliate without after-school programming.

Kurt Mische, President and CEO of KNPB, denied that the station is cutting ‘all’ programming for school-aged children, and noted that programs like NOVA, Nature, American Experience, and Great Performances “are of great benefit…and interest…to school age children.” Those programs along with the Antique Roadshow will now air once a week at 5:00 PM after PBS News Hour and The Charlie Rose Show, which will fill the after-school time slots at 3:00 PM and 4:00 PM.   

Mische indicated that the programming changes are being initiated to attract donors and money, which school-age children are not providing to the non-profit organization.  He explained,  

“Making our changes will allow us to serve a larger audience of viewers…and donors…who not only watch but help to financially support our important service.”

Another PBS affiliate recognizes the issue, but has different philosophy regarding programming for school-age children. Ron Pisaneschi, the Director of Content for the PBS affiliate in Boise, Idaho (Idaho PTV) said that there is more programming competition for the attention of school-age children because of commercial children’s television on the cable channels, but added, “even though the audience is small, we want to serve them.” 

Hours of Daily Children's Programming of 30 Western US PBS Stations

Programs cut from KNPB’s schedule are The Electric Company for 6-10 year-olds, Cyberchase for 8-11 year-olds, Super Why! for 3-6 year-olds, WordWorld for pre-schoolers, and a second daily airing of Arthur for 4-8 year-olds. KNPB already had cut Fetch! for 6-10 year-olds earlier this year. The only two PBS stations with fewer hours of children programs are Rohnert Park and San Mateo, California. Both are in the San Francisco area market where PBS affiliate KQED has 19.5 hours of children’s programming in addition to a 24-hour PBS Kids channel. San Mateo PBS affiliate KCSM has only one hour of daily children’s programming; however, KCSM is currently up for sale and accepting bids until February 14, 2012.

Ironically, Mische’s attitude about the value of children’s programming to KNPB and to the State of Nevada was more supportive last year when he stated,

KNPB is proud to be a leader in education. At a time when education in Nevada garners its share of negative publicity, KNPB is taking action to impact education and life-long learning. We broadcast 52 hours per week of award winning, high quality, and trusted children’s programs that delight and teach youngsters.

KNPB 2010 Annual Report

The children’s shows, including all after-school shows will be cut effective January 2, 2012.

A version of this article first published as
PBS Station To Cut After-School Programming To Attract Donors

on Technorati.com

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