Local broadcasters across the country have stepped up to help students continue their educations from home during the COVID-19 crisis. Television and radio stations are providing additional educational content, answering questions about the pandemic and even helping graduating seniors celebrate their accomplishments.
Circle City Broadcasting is partnering with Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) to produce and broadcast academic lessons for IPS students in grades K–8 five days a week while the school system is closed during the coronavirus pandemic. Lessons air 8-10 a.m. Monday–Friday and cover a variety of subjects, including English, math, reading and social emotional learning. "We're very proud to bring these critical broadcasts to students in our community," said DuJuan McCoy, owner, president, and CEO of Circle City Broadcasting. "While e-learning is fulfilling the educational needs of some students across the state, many families do not have internet access in their homes. Free broadcast television can help to fill the gap for those without access by providing a link to educational opportunities for all students, regardless of income."
WGMT in St. Johnsbury, Vt., is teaming up with local schools to give kids "quests" to do while out of school due to COVID-19. Station owner Bruce James channeled his inner Mr. Rogers and showed kids what a radio station looks like and what it's like to be a DJ to help them with their first quest, which was to become guest DJs and record their own intros. The students’ recordings went live on WGMT on Monday, May 4.
WUAB-TV in Cleveland partnered with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and Cleveland Teachers Union, Local 279, in April to bring students a daily televised virtual classroom. The hour-long program airs Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. and features CMSD’s teachers delivering lessons for local students who may not have access to home computers.
KNOE-TV Monroe, La., is partnering with Monroe City Schools to bring at-home learning and access to educational resources to local students. The daily broadcast schedule includes activities and resources for preschool through sixth grade, with lessons focused on English, math, science and social studies.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has forever impacted our lives,” said KNOE Vice President and General Manager Laura Long. “We are in this together, and that’s why it’s KNOE’s responsibility and mission to step up and help our younger generation get through this unprecedented time by giving every child the access to keep learning.”
WNET New York has expanded its home learning resources with new programming schedules on WLIW21 and WLIW WORLD. The stations now broadcast daily five-hour At Home Learning blocks of programming, drawing on WNET’s PBS archive as well as locally-produced content aimed at keeping students educated and entertained at home during the pandemic.
Washington, D.C.’s WRC-TV launched a weekly half hour show to take questions from kids about the coronavirus pandemic. “News 4 Kids” airs Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5:30 a.m. “Kids want to be heard,” reporter Scott McFarlane says. “They have been getting a lot of instruction about you can’t do this, you can’t do that, but I don’t think kids get to be listened to enough.” Kids can submit questions via Skype, Zoom or Facetime to get answers to pandemic-related questions big and small.
WBUR Boston aired a segment in March highlighting how adults can talk to kids about the coronavirus pandemic in an age-appropriate manner. The show featured Dr. Gene Beresin, executive director of The MGH Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and Larry Berkowitz, a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts and director and co-founder of Riverside Trauma Center.
KSOM-FM is celebrating Southwest Iowa’s graduating seniors with Senior Salutes. Salutes are read on air on KSOM’s morning show and displayed on the station’s website and social media feeds to spotlight students whose graduation celebrations have been canceled.
KIIS-FM hosted a virtual prom on May 1 for high school students in the Los Angeles area whose proms have been canceled. The show featured morning personality Ryan Seacrest and DJs Joe Jonas, Dylan Francis and Loud Luxury and was broadcast live on the station’s YouTube channel.
WVEC Hampton Roads, Va., put out a call for local high school seniors to don their finest prom attire and send their photos to the station to help students with canceled proms celebrate the event. Photos are displayed on air during the station’s Monday, Wednesday and Friday newscasts and in an online gallery on the station’s website.
KQED published a comic to teach kids about the coronavirus in a creative way. The comic is based on interviews with two experts who spoke with NPR’s education reporter Cory Turner about things kids might want to know about the virus.
Your local broadcasters are on the front lines providing critical support to their communities, even as they struggle from a steep decline in advertising revenue. Read more stories about broadcasters’ public service at BroadcastPublicService.org.
More than 2.47 million American jobs depend on broadcasting, and the local broadcast radio and television industry - and the businesses that depend on it - generate $1.17 trillion annually for the nation's economy.