With that in mind, Kerger made sure she rolled out mundane programming announcements early in her preamble. Additionally, she gave a heartfelt tribute to Gwen Ifill who passed away last year. Ifill was a mainstay and respected elder of the most respected news program on broadcast, “The PBS News Hour”. MLK day will see the launch of the first ever PBS Kids 24/7 channel; an over-the-air channel that will bring constant access to informative, entertaining, child-oriented content to 90% percent of the households in America. The launch includes live streaming through pbskids.org and the PBS Kids Video APP. This roll out will also include an interactive gaming feature with an educational slant. Kerger pointed to recent surveys that indicate parents trust PBS – more than any other network – with their kid’s impressionable brains.
On the drama front, the ‘Masterpiece’ series “Sherlock” has proven itself a franchise player throughout four seasons across multiple platforms and trending upward. Additionally, civil war drama “Mercy Street” returns for a second season, and period piece “Victoria” kicks off it’s eight part run Sunday night.
Kerger went on to discuss the metrics or funding and what’s at stake for PBS:
So we work very hard, particularly our stations at the local level, in talking to legislators about the importance of federal funding, because it enables our content to be accessible to everyone in this country, and it particularly is critical in parts of the country where citizens may not have access to information other ways, and particularly as we look at what I just announced with the children’s channel, that we care a lot about making sure that our content connects to families, and particularly to kids who are most at risk, and many of those are watching us over the air, and many of them really rely on the services we provide that is made possible by the federal appropriation.”
Politicians have rattled their sabers in the direction of Public Broadcasting before. Particularly when truth and facts seem to support a progressive agenda. It’s obvious that Kerger and PBS know what’s at risk and are taking proactive steps to protect their funding:
“And so as we’ve looked at this change, and change always presents a lot of uncertainty, and in this case, more uncertainty. We are spending time talking to as many people as we can, but particularly legislators, both sides of the aisle, the Senate and the House, to make sure that they understand the role that we play in civic discourse in this country, but also the role that we play in helping to reach those with content that we think will make a difference in their lives. So stay tuned. I’m sure that I’ll be talking to some of you over the course of these next months as we see how this begins to play out. And in the meantime, we will be spending time and particular stations will be spending a lot of time talking to their legislators, as they wrestle with difficult decisions, to try to help them understand the consequence of any reduction in federal funding to public broadcasting.”
Kerger discussed private funding and journalism: