Arizona PBS, the public television station based at Arizona State University with more than 1 million viewers, is launching an all-new children’s channel dedicated to providing quality educational programming.
Debuting in January, the new 24/7 channel — Arizona PBS KIDS — will feature an array of programming to help young children master important skills, ranging from reading and basic math and science to problem solving and emotional skills.
The new channel will continue to build off Arizona PBS and ASU’s mission of providing Arizonans with a network of quality teaching and learning resources.
“ASU’s commitment to lifelong learning today takes the form of a continuous digital broadcast that will help spark the curiosity and creativity of Arizona’s children,” ASU President Michael M. Crow said. “This new channel underscores our constant exploration of new uses of technology to enhance learning and our pledge, in our charter, to better the social, economic and overall health of the communities around us.”
Arizona PBS KIDS is the latest addition to the 55-year-old TV station, which has the nation’s seventh-largest public television audience. Arizona PBS reaches 1.9 million households through 80 percent of the state with three channels and a robust online presence.
The new channel will feature innovative, impactful programs designed for children from preschool through early elementary school to develop a strong educational foundation. The channel will broadcast popular programs such as “Arthur,” “Clifford,” “WordGirl,” “Wild Kratts,” “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” and “Sesame Street,” among others.
“Research confirms that PBS KIDS programming helps children build the critical skills they need to succeed in school and life,” said Linda Simensky, vice president of children’s programming at PBS. “Studies show that PBS KIDS resources improve kids’ achievement in important areas, such as literacy and math, and increase parent engagement in their children’s learning. Through the new 24-hour Arizona PBS KIDS channel, children across the state will have anytime access to programs that are proven to move the needle in early education.”
PBS KIDS programming has been a strong component of Arizona PBS, with the station committing more than 10 hours to children’s programs on weekdays. Arizona PBS KIDS will provide additional opportunities for children to view their favorite programs as family activity patterns become less predictable. The 24/7 channel will allow children to watch programs on weeknights and weekend afternoons and evenings, which are popular viewing times according to Nielsen data. It also will feature online streaming and games at azpbs.org/kids.
The new channel will officially begin airing Jan. 16, 2017. To mark the occasion, Arizona PBS is planning a daylong festival for families, featuring interactive games, program screening parties and other educational activities.
Arizona PBS KIDS is the latest initiative since the station became part of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2014. Since then, the station has expanded its weekday news and public affairs lineup and online news presence, with Cronkite News, the student-operated news division of Arizona PBS.
Recently, Arizona PBS co-hosted a nationally televised debate between U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick and U.S. Sen. John McCain. Arizona PBS and the Cronkite School also have commissioned three major polls in the run up to this year’s election.
“Arizona PBS has established a legacy of providing Arizonans of all ages with innovative, valuable content,” said Arizona PBS CEO and Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. “Arizona PBS KIDS will help fill the need for effective, innovative approaches to developing core skills and school readiness in our state.”