Big Success Getting New Business for the 24/7 PBS KIDS Channel

How much emphasis do you place on your station being nonprofit when you are out prospecting with new clients? If the answer is we don’t, then perhaps it should be a strategy you consider because it has worked well for us.

Coming from a nonprofit background, I have noticed that a common misconception of Public Media is that a lot of client prospects that I meet with don’t realize we are in-fact nonprofit. When I share that our station is offered free over-the-air reaching everyone from the under-served to the affluent, this speaks to one of their pain points.

  • Providing free educational content to their clients (Kids 2-8) while reaching an affluent donor base of possible supporters for their cause.

Upon hearing how PBS KIDS show content starts first with a curriculum and then tests that concept for positive outcomes prior to creating the storyline and characters, I was excited to share the information with my client prospects. To me this truly sets us apart from all other shows in the children’s media space today. Knowing that one of the below four pillars appears in every show’s content, we decided to incorporate this information as part of our strategy in our localized sponsor messaging. We crafted a sponsorship proposal that would benefit the client with a low price point offering high value because we are looking for long term partnerships not just underwriting or one-and-done.


Presenting Sponsor: $10,000

  • Sponsor a campaign around one of our 4 pillars (maximum 4 sponsors per pillar)
    a. Health
    b. Literacy
    c. Social-emotional behavior
  • 30-1-minute interstitial spots will air 4 times a day every day for 1 year (new spots developed every 4 months). These spots will have a sponsor logo and voice over centered on pillar editorial content, not brand specific content
  • Underwriting schedule featuring a :30 branded spot to air on both KCPT 19.1 and KCPT 19.4 (minimum of 5 spots per quarter)
  • Promotion of community events and educational opportunities (bring a PBS KIDS character to one of their events and promote our sponsors at our local events)
  • Sharable with your partners via social media, etc.

In January, we hit the ground running and met with several nonprofit’s agencies in our area as well as for-profit companies. The list included everything from hospitals, clinics, entertainment venues, museums, libraries, engineering companies, and service providers to name a few.

Our goal was to secure 16 total sponsors at $10,000 each for a grand total of $160,000. I’m thrilled to say that to-date, we have signed on 10 nonprofit partners (8 new businesses and 2 are existing accounts) bringing in $100,000 for our new 24/7 Kids channel. While we pitched several corporate companies we did not have any success closing the deal. Perhaps it’s still just a ratings game with them. We still have several asks out and are hopeful to secure 6 more this year.

As the Director of Corporate Relations, I manage and oversee all corporate and nonprofit underwriting/ sponsorships for KCPT 19.1, 19.2, Create and 19.4 as well as have the ability to sell our radio station KTBG and our digital magazine My department consists of me and one sales associate. The two of us also sell production funding for digital and TV specials we create locally—keeping us very busy.

Julie Wallen | Director of Corporate Relations | KCPT