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
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
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
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
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
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:
http://www.pbs.org/stationfinder/index.html and find the
contact information for your local PBS station.
Call your station and ask for the Station
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.
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!