PBS Goes Local With The Award-Winning Kids Series "ZOOM"

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40 PBS Member Stations To Participate in Local/National Initiative

PHILADELPHIA, PA, June 15, 2001 - PBS is moving full speed ahead with plans to localize the award-winning interactive daily kids series ZOOM. Since announcing the ZOOM local/national initiative in October 2000, PBS has selected 40 member stations to participate in the pilot project. Over the coming months, these stations will produce their own weekly segments to air on Fridays within the national broadcast of ZOOM, beginning in January 2002.

The centerpiece of the ZOOM local/national initiative is "ZOOM Into Action," a localized segment, as well as a multimedia campaign that motivates kids to volunteer in their communities. Each pilot station will kick off its own "ZOOM Into Action" campaign extending beyond the localized broadcast segments. The 40 stations will form partnerships with local community groups to create events and activities to get kids excited about volunteering. In addition, the stations' local Web sites will include a special "ZOOM Into Action" section, offering resources on volunteering and honoring kids who volunteer.

Other localized segments will include "WhatZup" where kids answer questions about topical issues in their neighborhoods and the open and close, featuring kids from a station's market. WGBH Boston, which produces ZOOM for PBS, will provide the pilot stations with kits containing guidelines and information to help facilitate the local production process.

"Offering stations the opportunity to insert locally produced segments into ZOOM allows us to leverage our strength as a local and national service, a quality that is unique to PBS," said John F. Wilson, co-chief programming executive, PBS. "This initiative is a way to create real relevance and value at the local level that translates into community support." According to Kate Taylor, executive producer for ZOOM, "We're thrilled to be a pioneer in PBS's local/national initiative. Because of its interactive 'by kids for kids' format, ZOOM already has an ongoing dialogue with its school-aged viewers. By creating localized ZOOM shows, we will be able to take that one step further by giving these kids a chance to feel even more connected to their local stations and communities."

By kids, for kids, ZOOM is a daily, interactive television series and state-of-the-art Web site that challenges five to eleven-year-olds to "turn off the TV and do it." Each half-hour program features a cast of seven everyday kids playing games, performing plays, tackling science experiments, telling stories, reading poetry, solving brainteasers, whipping up recipes and having a good time as they bring to life ideas sent in by viewers from across the country. Kids can also interact with ZOOM via the Web at pbskids.org/ZOOM, at ZOOMzone museum exhibits, and ClubZOOM after school programs nationwide.

ZOOM is produced by WGBH Boston, one of America's preeminent public broadcasting producers and is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and public television viewers.

PBS KIDS® provides a nonviolent, noncommercial daily schedule that extends beyond the TV screen to the Web (pbskids.org), home videos, educational outreach materials and PBS KIDS CHANNEL. The PBS KIDS Ready to Learn Service leverages the television programs with workshops in local communities to help adults boost children's reading and social skills.

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 347 public television stations. Serving nearly 100 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at PBS.org.



Cathy Lehrfeld

Donna Williams

Amy Kunen