Big changes recently happened to Tampa Bay’s public broadcasting stations. WUSF-TV ceased its programming in mid-October, and WEDU PBS began airing essentially all of the programming previously seen on WUSF. With these changes, WEDU becomes the sole PBS provider for West Central Florida, covering a 16-county area.
WEDU PBS has reached children in homes, schools and libraries throughout the Tampa Bay area for many years. Nationally, PBS programming is available for free for all viewers and serves as America’s largest classroom. PBS children’s programming reaches more kids ages 2-5, more Hispanic mothers with young children, and more children from low-income and Hispanic families than any other kids’ television network.
Now WEDU PBS is offering even more robust resources for the community, including a new 24/7 channel of children’s programming, PBS KIDS. This new channel makes it easy for children to watch their favorite series like “Arthur,” “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” and “Sesame Street” during primetime and after-school hours. WEDU has also added a live stream of the PBS KIDS channel online for even greater access.
WEDU PBS is using this new channel to help prepare local children for the possibilities ahead as they grow into successful, vibrant members of our community -- a core aspect of WEDU PBS’s mission for the past 60 years. Along with the new PBS KIDS channel, parents and teachers now have access to more than 130,000 resources including educational videos, games and lesson plans that educators can use for free in their classrooms.
These initiatives help children learn to read, write and think critically. It makes a difference: students outperformed national assessment norms by 10 percent on average when these resources were integrated into existing curriculum.
In addition, WEDU PBS opened the Phyllis L. Ensign Library Corners with educational books, DVDs and other materials in four area libraries, with more to come. Plus, programs like the Cyberchase Step It Up Challenge encourage students to think about math and fitness in new ways.
But learning doesn’t stop after childhood. WEDU PBS
has also added Create® TV, often called the “do-it-yourself” channel, to its lineup. Create® TV
includes series and specials on topics like cooking, home improvement, and arts and crafts that inspire viewers to try something new while learning more about the world around them.
With these new channels, and the addition of popular programs like “Doc Martin” and “Father Brown,” WEDU becomes one of the first stations in the country offering six channels.
These changes are more efficient for supporters, too: Individual and corporate supporters are no longer forced to choose between WEDU and WUSF in supporting public television. Operations are more fiscally responsible as well, meaning that member and donor dollars are even better spent on the resources and services that support education and strengthen our communities.
For more information about additional services offered by WEDU Studios, visit the station online
Susan Howarth is President and CEO of WEDU, the public broadcasting station that’s served West Central Florida for the past 60 years. WEDU PBS is one of the oldest arts and culture and educational institutions in the Tampa Bay area.