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PBS Kids Sprout: An Update
Local Stations Saying No to Commercial Venture

April 12, 2005

We are happy to report that many PBS stations have decided to say “no” to KIDS Sprout. We don’t know the final numbers yet, but of the twenty-four stations we’ve talked to so far, thirteen have decided not to affiliate including WGBH in Boston; WETA in Washington, DC; WYCC in Chicago; KETC in St. Louis; Milwaukee Public Television; GPT in Atlanta; KUHT in Houston; KET in Kentucky; WNED in Buffalo; KCTS in Seattle; OTEA in Oklahoma City; WITF in Harrisburg and TPT in the Twin Cities.

The decision was not an easy one. Several program managers told us that affiliating with Sprout would have provided their stations with much-needed funds, but that they were unwilling to help expose their viewers to more commercial content. In Boston, where CCFCers were particularly active in campaigning against KIDS Sprout, WGBH explained why they will not be affiliating: “We have a local children's digital channel that we operate with the city of Boston and we would not want to jeopardize that channel. We also are not comfortable with undertaking marketing efforts to support a commercial channel.”

We urge you to show your support and appreciation for the stations that turned down KIDS Spout. In addition, in the coming weeks, CCFC will be working with other organizations to lobby Congress for funding for genuinely commercial-free programming for children. Stay tuned!

Save Toddlers . . . From PBS?

April 5, 2005

Next fall, Comcast, PBS, Sesame Workshop and HIT entertainment will introduce PBS KIDS Sprout, a new 24-hour digital cable channel for preschoolers – with commercials.  To make matters worse, local PBS television stations will be forced to decide whether or not they want to be affiliated with the Comcast channel. Stations that choose to affiliate will have to promote PBS KIDS Sprout and waive their rights to broadcast shows for preschool-age children on their new DTV channels.

For the past several years, we’ve watched in dismay as PBS programming for children has become increasingly commercial. Characters from PBS shows sell everything from sugary fruit snacks to diapers.  McDonald’s is a sponsor of Sesame Street.  But targeting preschoolers with round-the-clock commercials while keeping commercial-free programming off the air is a new low.

Just because PBS has abandoned its commitment commercial-free programming for children doesn’t mean your local station has to do so.  KUHT in Houston has already decided not to affiliate.  Stations such as WBGH in Boston are currently undecided about whether or not they will affiliate. 

What you can do:

1.       Go to http://www.pbs.org/stationfinder/index.html and find the contact information for your local PBS station.

2.       Call your station and ask for the Station Manager

3.       Remind your local station of PBS’s mission to provide a commercial-free haven for children.  Urge them not to affiliate with PBS KIDS Sprout.  If you are a contributing member to the station, please let them know.

4.       Forward this message to family and friends

Stations must decide whether to affiliate by Wednesday, April 6 so please call today!

CCFC recognizes that the tremendous financial pressures that PBS is operating under.  In the coming months, we will be working with other organizations to lobby Congress for funding for genuinely commercial-free children’s programming.  In the meantime, it is crucial that we minimize the damage done by this commercial partnership.  Please call today!  


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Copyright 2004 Commercial Free Childhood. All rights reserved