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WNED to launch 24/7 PBS Kids channel

Photo from PBS Kids

WNED-TV will launch a new 24-hour PBS Kids channel and live stream Monday, January 30. WBFO Senior Reporter Eileen Buckley says the educational programs will help low-income families across the region who cannot afford to send children to preschool.  

“We’re really excited about launching this new channel,” said Kathyrn Larsen, senior director of Radio and Television Programming at WNED|WBFO

“It’s an opportunity to provide great educational programming that’s also fun and entertaining because it will include all the great PBS Kids series – Sesame Street, Dinosaur Train, Nature Cat, Arthur, Thomas and Friends, the new Jim Henson series that we just premiered, Splash and Bubbles,” Larsen explained.  “So it is all the same programming, it is just more of it and scheduled at a better time.”

The new programming will reach almost all households on channel 17.3, as well as on Time Warner Cable and Verizon Fios.

Fifty-four percent of children across the nation do not attend preschool. Larsen noted this will help provide children living in low-income families, who cannot attend preschool, with a chance to enhance their learning.

“This programming provides an avenue for them to learn those skills that they would have learned in a formalized preschool, but by having them on the air, and also this service comes with live streaming and the kids app, so that they can also if they have a computer they can stream it on their computer, they can go to the app and play those games that expand the lessons learned in the program,” Larsen said. “I’m just so pleased that we are able to do this, because it has always been so frustrating not to cater to that population in the afternoon and evenings when they needed it,” remarked Larsen.   

Research indicates that in low-income homes, children watch nearly three times as much PBS. About 37 percent of their viewing of PBS stations during the weekday. 

Credit PBS Kids

“Studies after studies have shown that children that watch PBS Kids program are better prepared for school and that’s just been a consistent when we first started the PBS Kids back with Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers back in the '70s,” noted Larsen.

The new channel will include a weekly evening series PBS Kids Family Night each Friday at 7 p.m.  It will feature movies, specials or themed programs for families.