WKAR to launch free 24/7 multiplatform PBS Kids services

Jan 5, 2017

EAST LANSING, Mich. --- On Jan. 16, WKAR Public Media will launch new, free, localized 24/7children’s services – WKAR’s latest initiative to support early learning in the community.

WKAR will broadcast PBS KIDS shows 24 hours a day on an additional television channel calledWKAR PBS KIDS, making it easy for local children to watch their favorite series during primetime andafter-school hours when viewing among families is high.

Viewers will also be able to watch the WKAR-branded live stream through pbskids.org and on thePBS KIDS Video App, which is available on a variety of mobile devices and tablets.

“WKAR has been an integral part of the community for years, delivering content and services thatparents trust and that move the needle in early learning,” said Susi Elkins, WKAR general managerand interim director of broadcasting at Michigan State University. “We are excited to build on the workwe do every day for local families by adding these new 24/7 services to our offerings, ensuring ourproven educational content is accessible anytime and anywhere to all kids – especially those whoneed it the most.”

With the launch of the PBS KIDS 24/7 broadcast and live stream, WKAR will also introduce WKARFamily, a new initiative focused on offering and creating educational programming and media forMichigan families that is free, accessible and available across all platforms.

WKAR Family will bring together the new PBS Kids 24/7 multi-platform services, long-running WKAReducation services programs such as “Ready to Learn” and additional WKAR- and MSU-drivenprojects.

Currently in production as part of WKAR Family is a series of video shorts featuring tips andtakeaways for parents and caregivers on topics such as literacy, social emotional development andscience, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts. The videos are produced in partnershipwith MSU colleges of Education and Social Sciences, MSU Extension and other researchers at MSU,with the goal of distributing in Michigan’s capital region, Detroit and across the nation.

More than 20 videos in the series will be available at launch and are being shared with Detroit PublicTelevision for broadcast on the new Detroit PBS Kids channel.

MSU, WKAR and DPTV have been working closely since a partnership was announced in January2016, and DPTV will also launch PBS KIDS 24/7 in its market. As part of the relationship, MSUExtension educators and staff members are creating user experiences that engage children and theircaregivers, thereby extending the educational value of PBS programming.

“Our team has done a great job of creating activities and lessons that caregivers can do withchildren,” said Jeff Dwyer, director of MSU Extension. “That helps drive the programming messageshome by helping them jump off the screen and right into real-life situations — whether that’s inchildcare settings or in their own home.”

The public is invited to WKAR PBS Kids Day, which will be 12:30-3:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at WKAR TVstudios on the MSU campus. During the open house, The Cat in the Hat and other PBS favorites willbe available for photos. At 1:30 p.m., MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, Sparty and other specialguests will officially launch WKAR Family and present a special sneak peek at the new WKAR PBSKids 24/7 channel. 

MEDIA COMMUNICATIONS * Communications and Brand Strategy * Michigan State University * 408 W. Circle Drive,Room 403 * East Lansing, MI * 48824

Contact: Bill Richards, WKAR: (517) 432-0013, BillR@wkar.org; Kristen Parker, Media Communications: (517) 353-8942, cell (517) 980-0709, kristen.parker@cabs.msu.edu