KPBS soliciting pitches for local TV shows

By Dru Sefton

KPBS in San Diego is again inviting viewers to recommend ideas for its expanding lineup of local programs, after backing two shows from last year’s crop of suggestions.

Su-Mei Yu, right, hosts Savor San Diego, a new series created through KPBS's Explore Local Content Initiative. Yu is the owner and chef of Saffron, a Thai restaurant in the city, and author of three cookbooks on Asian cuisine. (Photo: KPBS)

Su-Mei Yu, right, hosts Savor San Diego, a new series created through KPBS’s Explore Local Content Initiative. Yu is the owner and chef of Saffron, a Thai restaurant in the city, and author of three cookbooks on Asian cuisine. (Photo: KPBS)

Through its Explore Local Content Initiative, KPBS supported development of two of the 52 shows that viewers suggested in 2012 for seed funding: Savor San Diego, a cooking show; and A Growing Passion, about eco-friendly local agriculture and horticulture. Both premiered last month as part of the station’s “Explore San Diego” block from 8 t0 10 p.m. Thursdays.

“It’s our goal to increase the amount of local programming on KPBS-TV, and this seemed like a great way to discover new community producers,” said Nancy Worlie, station spokesperson.

KPBS is looking for programs that are in or near production. It provides producers with $30,000 from an anonymous donor for the shows, and encourages content creators to secure additional support such as corporate funding and grants. Last year’s winners each received $15,000.

So far, the new shows are performing well for KPBS. On June 6, A Growing Passion scored a 1.0 rating in its 8:30 p.m. timeslot, compared with the PBS national average of 0.8; Savor San Diego pulled in a 1.9 at 9:30 p.m., compared with PBS’s 0.8, Worlie said. KPBS hopes to continue the initiative indefinitely, Worlie said.

“We’re extremely proud of the two inaugural KPBS Explore programs. They are well done and capture perfectly what we are aiming to do,” she said.

A station committee reviews submissions and evaluates them on criteria such as how the proposed show would capture a unique sense of place. News, public affairs and children’s programs are not eligible. Proposals for this year are due July 31, with a winner (or two) to be announced in mid-September.

This article was first published in Current, July 8, 2013.
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