PBS Kids

PBS Kids
Logo (2013-present)
Owner PBS
Country United States
Introduced July 11, 1994 (July 11, 1994)
Website pbskids.org

PBS Kids is the brand for most of the children's programming aired by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the United States. Some public television children's programs are not produced by PBS member stations or transmitted by PBS which is produced by independent public television distributors such as American Public Television are not labeled as "PBS Kids" programming, and it is mainly a programming block branding.

PBS Kids is also the name of a separate network which has had two iterations in the age of digital television; one which existed between 1999 and 2005, and the current version which was launched in January 2017.


PTV block

The framework for PBS Kids was established as part of PBS's "Ready to Learn" initiative, a project intended to facilitate access of early childhood educational programming to underprivileged children.[1] On July 11, 1994, PBS repackaged their existing children's educational programming as a new block called "PTV".[2][3] In addition to scheduled educational programming, PTV also incorporated interstitial content such as "The P-Pals", which featured animated characters shaped like PBS logos delivering educational content from their fictional world, "PTV Park". These interstitial shorts were aimed at younger children.[2] Older children were targeted with live action and music video interstitials.[2]

Several of the interstitial shorts, along with some of the station identification sequences that were shown during the block, continued to be used by some PBS member stations after PTV aired for the last time on September 5, 1999.

PBS Kids

On September 6, 1999, PBS launched the PBS Kids brand in several areas including its daytime Ready to Learn Service, PBS Online web pages for kids, and a home video label. Children's programming on the PBS network was then given unified branding. Along with the block of programming on PBS, PBS Kids lent its name to a separate television network, which launched on the same date[4] and was targeted to children from 4 to 7 years old. The PBS Kids Channel ran for six years.[5]

On September 30, 2000, the Bookworm Bunch programming block was introduced as PBS Kids' Saturday morning block.[6] PBS Kids Go!, a programming block targeting older children, was launched in October 2004.[7]

Block and local channels

The network was shut down on September 26, 2005, in favor of a new commercial cable and satellite joint venture channel, PBS Kids Sprout, which was developed in partnership with two producers and Comcast[8] (who later bought full control of the network via NBCUniversal).[9] PBS gave licensees an option to sign on Sprout promoters while most of the other half programmed their own children's channel.[8] PBS offered a replacement early school-aged kids network based on the block PBS Kids Go! by April 2006 to be launched in October 2006,[7] but was cancelled before launch.[8]

On May 8, 2013, PBS Kids programming was added to the Roku streaming player.[10] As of October 7, 2013, to coincide with the debut of Peg + Cat, PBS Kids received another graphic redesign and the PBS Kids Go! block and branding were dropped.[11]

PBS Kids network was relaunched on January 16, 2017 with a live stream of the channel on the PBS Kids website and video app; no changes were made to the main PBS Kids block. The block is counter programmed from the network, thus the same show would not be shown at the same time on the network and block.[12][13][14]

Programming blocks

  • PTV (July 11, 1994–September 5, 1999)
  • PBS Kids (September 6, 1999–present)
  • The Game (1996–September 6, 1999) – afternoon programming block aimed at children aged 6 to 8.
  • PBS Kids Bookworm Bunch (September 30, 2000–October 11, 2004) – a Saturday morning block consisting of six animated series produced by Nelvana Limited.[6]
  • PBS Kids Go! (October 11, 2004–October 7, 2013) – an afternoon programming block aimed at children aged 6 to 8.[7][11]
  • PBS Kids Preschool Block (September 4, 2006–October 7, 2013)


PBS Kids
Type Digital broadcast TV network (children's programming)
Country United States
Availability Nationwide (via OTA digital television)
Founded February 23, 2016 (2016-02-23)
Headquarters Arlington, Virginia
Broadcast area
United States
Owner Public Broadcasting Service
Launch date
January 16, 2017 (2017-01-16)
Picture format
480i (SDTV)
(some affiliates transmit PBS Kids programming in 720p 16:9)
Affiliates List of affiliates
Official website

PBS Kids is an American digital broadcast and online television network operated by the Public Broadcasting Service. The network features a broad mix of live-action and animated children's programs distributed to PBS by independent companies and select member stations, which are designed for improving the early literacy, math, and social-emotional skills of young children ages 2 to 11.[15] Some PBS member stations, such as WETA-TV in Washington, D.C. maintain their own locally programmed PBS Kids feed, that is independent from the nationally sourced feed.

Network history

On September 6, 1999, PBS launched the PBS Kids Channel in several markets, in conjunction with the introduction of the PBS Kids brand to provide a unified branding for the service's children's programming offerings. The channel was launched on 33 PBS member stations: 19 of which offered PBS Kids Channel as a cable-only service, nine which carried the channel on their digital broadcast signals in standard-definition, and three which carried simulcasts of the channel on their analog signals. Of the initial 27 affiliates, sixteen of them planned to begin carrying PBS Kids Channel during the fall of 1999, with eleven additional stations choosing to debut it that winter.[4]

FCC requirements mandated satellite providers to set aside 4% of their available channel space for noncommercial educational and informational programming. With these providers limited to offering one such service per programmer, PBS had put forth PBS Kids as a prospective channel to fulfill this mandate. However, El Segundo, California-based satellite provider DirecTV, which became the primary funding source for the channel, indicated that it would begin carrying the PBS Kids Channel outside of that mandate in early November 1999.[16]

In the aftermath of DirecTV's decision not to renew its funding agreement with the channel, which ended in the third quarter of 2005,[5] PBS decided to shut down the network on September 26 of that year. PBS Kids Channel was effectively supplanted on that date by PBS Kids Sprout, an advertiser-supported cable and satellite channel that PBS developed in a joint venture with HiT Entertainment, Sesame Workshop and Comcast. PBS gave licensees an option to sign on Sprout promoters, giving them cross-promotional and monetary benefits in exchange for giving up the ability to carry a competing preschool-targeted channel. 80 stations, making up about half of the member stations participants, signed up to be promoters; most of the remaining stations opted to develop independent children's programming services featuring programs distributed by PBS and through outside distributors such as American Public Television to fill space on digital subchannels that formerly served as PBS Kids Channel members. Many of the member stations that launched children's-focused subchannel or cable-only services reduced the amount of sourced programming from PBS Kids carried on their primary channel to a few hours of their weekday daytime schedules, in order to program more adult-targeted fare during the afternoon.[8]

PBS relaunched children's network, PBS Kids, on January 16, 2017.[14] Structured as a multi-platform service, it was made available for distribution to digital subchannels of participating PBS member stations, initially launching on 73 member stations (counting those operated as subregional PBS member networks), with an additional 34 agreeing to begin carrying the network at a later date. A live stream of the channel was also added to the PBS Kids website and video app upon the channel's debut, which will eventually allow viewers to toggle from the program being aired to a related educational game extending the interactivity introduced by Sesame Street. The network is counterprogrammed from the PBS Kids block, so that the same program would not be shown on either simultaneously. PBS Kids 24/7 mainly features double-runs of existing series on PBS Kids' schedule (including some not carried on the primary channels of certain member stations); as such, no additional programs had to be acquired to help fill the channel's schedule.[12] On April 21, 2017, the network launched "PBS Kids Family Night," a weekly block on Friday evenings (with encore airings on Saturday and Sunday evenings) that showcase themed programming, premieres or special "movie-length" episodes of new and existing PBS Kids children's programs.[15][14][12][17]


City of license/
StationChannelOperatorAffiliation tenure
(original network)
Local channel[18]Affiliation date
revived network)[19]
BirminghamWBIQ10.2Alabama Public TelevisionJanuary 16, 2017
Mount CheahaWCIQ7.2
AnchorageKAKM7.4Alaska Public TelecommunicationsTBD
FairbanksKUAC-TV9.8University of Alaska Fairbanks
ArkadelphiaKETG9.3Arkansas Educational Television NetworkJanuary 16, 2017
El DoradoKETZ12.3
Little RockKETS2.3
Mountain ViewKEMV6.3
PhoenixKAET8.4Arizona State UniversityJanuary 16, 2017
TucsonKUAT-TV6.2Arizona Public Media2003-20052005-2017
EurekaKEET13.5Redwood Empire Public Television, Inc.January 16, 2017
FresnoKVPT18.2Valley Public Television, Inc.
Huntington Beach
(serves Los Angeles)
KOCE-TV[20]50.5KOCE FoundationJanuary 16, 2017
Los AngelesKLCS58.2Los Angeles Unified School District2004-present
SacramentoKVIE6.4KVIE, Inc.January 16, 2017
San DiegoKPBS15.4San Diego State University
San Jose
(San Francisco)
KQEH and KQED54.4 and 9.4Northern California Public Broadcasting[8][21]August 1, 2003-January 15, 2017January 16, 2017
(serves the Monterey Bay area)
DenverKRMA-TV6.2Rocky Mountain PBSTBD
Grand JunctionKRMJ18.2
Steamboat SpringsKRMZ24.2
BridgeportWEDW49.4LocusPoint NetworksTBD
New HavenWEDY65.4
HartfordWEDH24.4Connecticut Public Television
(serves eastern Connecticut, including New London)
WashingtonWETA-TV26.3Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association2007–[8]present
WHUT-TV32.2Howard UniversityJanuary 16, 2017
Fort MyersWGCU30.5Florida Gulf Coast UniversityJanuary 16, 2017
JacksonvilleWJCT7.5WJCT, Inc.
MiamiWPBT2.4 South Florida PBS
West Palm BeachWXEL-TV42.3
OrlandoWUCF-TV24.3University of Central Florida
Panama CityWFSG56.4 Florida State University
PensacolaWSRE23.4Pensacola Junior CollegeTBD
Tampa-St. Petersburg WEDU3.2Florida West Coast Public Broadcasting, Inc.TBD
WEDQ16.2University of South FloridaCurrently
Atlanta Public SchoolsSeptember 6, 1999-2005
WGTV8.4Georgia Public BroadcastingJanuary 16, 2017
(serves Valdosta and Brunswick)
HonoluluKHET11.2Hawaii Public TelevisionCurrent
Wailuku (serves Maui)KMEB10.2
BoiseKAID4.5Idaho State Department of EducationFebruary 1, 2018
Coeur D'Alene
(part of the Spokane, Washington market)
Twin FallsKIPT13.5
CarbondaleWSIU-TV8.5 Southern Illinois University TBD
ChicagoWTTW11.4Window to the World Communications January 16, 2017
Peoria[23]WTVP47.2Illinois Valley Public Telecommunications Corporation
WILL-TV12.2University of IllinoisJanuary 16, 2017
BloomingtonWTIU30.4Indiana University.3
(12:00-6:00 p.m.)
TIU Family (ended January 30, 2017)
January 30, 2017
Fort WayneWFWA39.2Fort Wayne Public TelevisionJanuary 16, 2017
IndianapolisWFYI20.2Metropolitan Indianapolis Public BroadcastingTBD
South BendWNIT34.3Michiana Public Broadcasting
(serves Southwestern Indiana including Evansville and Terre Haute)
WVUT22.3Vincennes UniversityJanuary 16, 2017
Council BluffsKBIN-TV32.4Iowa Public Televisioncurrent (all .2)
IPTV Learn (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.)
Des MoinesKDIN-TV11.4
Fort DodgeKTIN21.4
Iowa CityKIIN12.4
Mason CityKYIN24.4
Red OakKHIN36.4
Sioux CityKSIN-TV27.4
ColbyKWKS19.2Smoky Hills Public TelevisionJanuary 16, 2017
Dodge CityKDCK21.2
TopekaKTWU11.2Washburn UniversityCurrent
AshlandWKAS25.4Kentucky Authority for Educational TelevisionJanuary 16, 2017
Bowling GreenWKGB-TV53.4
AlexandriaKLPA-TV25.2 Louisiana Educational Television Authority January 16, 2017
Baton RougeWLPB-TV27.2
Lake CharlesKLTL-TV24.2
New OrleansWYES-TV12.4Greater New Orleans Educational Television FoundationTBD
ShreveportKLTS-TV24.2Louisiana Educational Television AuthorityJanuary 16, 2017
BostonWGBX-TV[25]44.4 WGBH Educational FoundationJanuary 16, 2017
AnnapolisWMPT22.3Maryland Public TelevisionMPT Select
(daytime hours only)[8]
January 16, 2017
AugustaWCBB10.4Maine Public Broadcasting January 16, 2017
Presque IsleWMEM-TV10.4
AlpenaWCML6.2 Central Michigan University January 16, 2017
Mount Pleasant
(part of the Bay City/Saginaw/Midland market)
FlintWCMZ-TV28.2January 16, 2017-April 23, 2018[27]
Bad Axe
(serves Saginaw and Bay City)
WDCQ-TV19.4Delta CollegeCurrent
DetroitWTVS56.2Detroit Educational Television FoundationJanuary 16, 2017
East LansingWKAR-TV23.4Michigan State UniversityJanuary 16, 2017
Grand RapidsWGVU-TV35.5Grand Valley State UniversityTBD
MarquetteWNMU13.2Northern Michigan UniversityJanuary 16, 2017
AppletonKWCM-TV10.5West Central Minnesota Educational TelevisionTBD
BemidjiKAWE9.3Northern Minnesota Public TelevisionJanuary 16, 2017
CrookstonKCGE-DT16.4Prairie Public Television
St. PaulKTCA-TV2.4Twin Cities PBS
WorthingtonKSMN20.5West Central Minnesota Educational TelevisionTBD
BiloxiWMAH-TV19.2Mississippi Public BroadcastingJanuary 16, 2017
Mississippi StateWMAB-TV2.2
JoplinKOZJ26.2Missouri State UniversityJanuary 16, 2017
Kansas CityKCPT19.4Public TV 19, Inc.
SedaliaKMOS-TV6.4University of Central Missouri
St. LouisKETC9.2St. Louis Regional Public Media, Inc.
BillingsKBGS-TV16.2Montana State UniversityJanuary 16, 2017
AllianceKTNE-TV13.4Nebraska Educational TelecommunicationsMarch 1, 2017
North PlatteKPNE-TV9.4
Las VegasKLVX10.3Clark County School DistrictJanuary 16, 2017
RenoKNPB5.3Channel 5 Public Broadcasting
(New York City)
WNET13.2Educational Broadcasting CorporationJanuary 16, 2017
AlbuquerqueKNME-TV5.2University of New MexicoJanuary 16, 2017
BinghamtonWSKG-TV46.6 WSKG Public Telecommunications Council[28]February 1, 2017
CorningWSKA30.6February 1, 2017
BuffaloWNED-TV17.3Western New York Public Broadcasting AssociationTBD
NorwoodWNPI-DT18.4St. Lawrence Valley Educational TV Council, Inc.January 16, 2017
PlattsburghWCFE-TV57.3Mountain Lake Public Telecommunications Council
RochesterWXXI-TV21.4WXXI Public Broadcasting CouncilFebruary 2017
WMHT17.4WMHT Educational TelecommunicationsJanuary 16, 2017
SyracuseWCNY-TV24.4Public Broadcasting Council of Central New York
AshevilleWUNF-TV33.2University of North CarolinaJanuary 16, 2017
Chapel HillWUNC-TV4.2
Roanoke RapidsWUNP-TV36.3
BismarckKBME-TV3.4Prairie Public TelevisionJanuary 16, 2017
Devils LakeKMDE25.4
AthensOU Telecomm. Centercable-onlyOhio University[22]September 6, 1999–present
(mornings and weekends)
Bowling GreenWBGU-TV27.2Bowling Green State UniversityCurrent
ClevelandWVIZ25.5IdeastreamJanuary 16, 2017
ColumbusWOSU-TV34.4 WOSU Public Media TBD
DaytonWPTD16.5 Public Media Connect January 16, 2017
OxfordWPTO14.3January 16, 2017
ToledoWGTE-TV30.2Public Broadcasting Foundation of Northwest OhioJanuary 16, 2017
CheyenneKWET12.4Oklahoma Educational Television Authority[8]
  • .4 (2006-2009)
  • OETA OKLA .2
  • (daytime: 2009-2013)
  • .4 (2013-2017)
January 16, 2017
Oklahoma CityKETA-TV13.4
Oklahoma City and TulsaOETA Kidscable2009-2013
BendKOAB-TV11.3Oregon Public BroadcastingJanuary 16, 2017
La GrandeKTVR13.3
ClearfieldWPSU-TV3.4Penn State Public Media January 16, 2017
Philadelphia WHYY12.3WHYY Inc.
Pittsburgh WQED13.5WQED Multimedia
ScrantonWVIA-TV44.2Northeast Pennsylvania Educational Television Association
FajardoWMTJ40.2Ana G. Méndez University SystemCurrentJanuary 16, 2017
AllendaleWEBA-TV14.4South Carolina Educational TelevisionTBD
Rock HillWNSC-TV30.4
AberdeenKDSD-TV16.4South Dakota Public BroadcastingJanuary 16, 2017
Eagle ButteKPSD-TV13.4
Rapid CityKBHE-TV9.4
Sioux FallsKCSD-TV23.4
ChattanoogaWTCI45.3Greater Chattanooga Public TelevisionJanuary 2017
CookevilleWCTE22.4Upper Cumberland Broadcast CouncilTBD
KnoxvilleWKOP-TV15.2East Tennessee PBSJanuary 16, 2017
WLJT-DT11.2West Tennessee Public Television Council, Inc.
MemphisWKNO10.3Mid-South Public Communications Foundation
NashvilleWNPT-TV8.3Nashville Public Television, Inc.2017-presentJune 30, 2017
SneedvilleWETP-TV2.2East Tennessee PBSJanuary 16, 2017
AmarilloKACV-TV2.2Amarillo CollegeTBD
AustinKLRU18.4Capital of Texas Public Telecommunications CouncilJanuary 16, 2017
KNCT46.2Central Texas College
College StationKAMU-TV12.3Texas A&M University
DallasKERA-TV13.2North Texas Public Broadcasting
HoustonKUHT8.3University of Houston
LubbockKTTZ-TV5.3Texas Tech University
San AntonioKLRN9.3Alamo Public Telecommunications CouncilApril 1, 2017[29]
Salt Lake CityKUED7.3University of UtahMarch 7, 2017
St. GeorgeKUEW18.3
Hampton-NorfolkWHRO-TV15.3Hampton Roads Educational Telecommunications AssociationJanuary 16, 2017
RoanokeWBRA-TV15.3Blue Ridge PBS
Charlotte AmalieWTJX-TV12.2Virgin Islands Public Broadcasting SystemJanuary 16, 2017
BurlingtonWETK33.4Vermont PBSJanuary 16, 2017
St. JohnsburyWVTB20.4
SeattleKCTS-TV9.2Cascade Public MediaTBD
SpokaneKSPS-TV7.4KSPS Public TelevisionSeptember 2017
(April 1, 2017 on cable)
Green BayWPNE-TV38.4Wisconsin Public TelevisionJanuary 16, 2017
La CrosseWHLA-TV31.4
Park FallsWLEF-TV36.4
MilwaukeeWMVS10.3Milwaukee Area Technical College
GrandviewWSWP-TV9.3West Virginia Public BroadcastingJanuary 16, 2017
CasperKPTW6.3Central Wyoming CollegeTBD


  1. Chozick, Amy (January 1, 2012). "PBS Takes On the Premium Channels". NYTimes.com. The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on July 16, 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2015. PBS Kids ... was originally created for underprivileged young viewers who lacked access to early-childhood education.
  2. 1 2 3 Bedford, Karen Everhart (June 6, 1994). "Goal for Ready to Learn: engage kids and parents". current.org/. Current.org. Archived from the original on February 24, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  3. Pierce, Charles P. (January 22, 1995). "Building a Better Fun Factory : For Years, PBS Had a Monopoly on Quality Children's Programming. Now It's Being Challenged by Brash Upstart Nickelodeon, Which May Prove a Bigger Threat Than a Republican Congress Ever Will". The Los Angeles Times. p. 7. Archived from the original on June 9, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  4. 1 2 Karen Everhart Bedford (August 30, 1999). "Multi-purpose PBS Kids takes flight next week". Current.org. Archived from the original on December 16, 1999. Retrieved December 9, 2010.
  5. 1 2 Everhart, Karen (July 17, 2006). "PBS Kids Go! channel: plan is no-go for now". Current. Current Publishing Committee. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  6. 1 2 Everhart Bedford, Karen (July 31, 2000). "Better Saturday competition seen for the kids audience". Current. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  7. 1 2 3 Egner, Jeremy (April 3, 2006). "World and Go! streams flow into PBS plans". Current. Archived from the original on April 25, 2016. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Katy June-Friesen (January 12, 2009). "Many stations packaging their own kids' channels". Current. Archived from the original on January 23, 2016. Retrieved December 9, 2010.
  9. Singel, Ryan (December 3, 2009). "Comcast Buys NBC, Clouding Online TV's Future". Retrieved December 9, 2010.
  10. Moskovciak, Matthew (May 8, 2013). "Roku's PBS, PBS Kids channels go live, stream full episodes". CNet. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  11. 1 2 "PBS Kids Go! goes bye-bye as colorful branding revamp rolls out to stations". Current.org. 2013-08-07. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
  12. 1 2 3 "PBS KIDS widens access with 24/7 channel offerings". Kidscreen. 2016-02-23. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
  13. Koblin, John (February 22, 2016). "PBS Is Creating a Channel Exclusively for Children". New York Times. p. B3. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  14. 1 2 3 "PBS Chief Paula Kerger Talks 'Sesame Street' Changes, Spectrum Auction". Variety. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  15. 1 2 Perez, Sarah (January 16, 2017). "PBS KIDS debuts a new channel and live TV service, available via web and mobile". TechCrunch. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  16. Behrens, Steve; Bedford, Karen Everhart (December 13, 1999). "DirecTV okays channels from PBS and ITVS". Current. American University School of Communication. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  17. John Koblin (February 22, 2016). "PBS Is Creating a Channel Exclusively for Children". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  18. "Stations for Network - PBS Kids Local". RabbitEars.Info. Retrieved February 11, 2017.
  19. "Stations for Network - PBS Kids 24/7". RabbitEars.Info. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  20. Newman, Deirdre (January 16, 2017). "PBS Starts Kids Channel Streaming". Orange County Business Journal. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  21. Barney, Chuck (January 15, 2017). "PBS Kids: New 24/7 children's channel". Mercury News. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  22. 1 2 Karen Everhart Bedford (August 30, 1999). "Multi-purpose PBS Kids takes flight next week". Current.org. Archived from the original on December 16, 1999. Retrieved December 9, 2010.
  23. Sefton, Dru (January 18, 2017). "Peoria station marks debut of PBS Kids channel with party". Current. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  24. Dru Sefton (January 15, 2017). "Launch of PBS Kids streaming channel reshapes multicast lineups". Current. American University School of Communication. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  25. Peery, Lexi (January 13, 2017). "WGBH to launch a 24-hour channel devoted to kids". The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  26. Kellyfirst1=Ray (January 13, 2017). "WGBY-TV, Channel 57, making PBS Kids a 24/7 offering". The Republican. MassLive Media. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  27. Acosta, Roberto (April 22, 2018). "Flint public television station to go off the air Monday". Flint Journal. MLive Media Group. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  28. "PBS KIDS 24/7 comes to WSKG TV Wednesday, Feb. 1". WSKG Public Media. January 12, 2017. Retrieved February 11, 2017.
  29. Kehoe, Katrina (March 6, 2017). "KLRN launches 24/7 PBS KIDS Channel". KLRN.org. Alamo Public Telecommunications Council. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
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