PBS, Daniel Tiger, and Economic Accessibility


I want to start this post with a few thoughts about PBS. The Public Broadcasting Service is older than me. A lot older than me. It’s always been there as far as I’m concerned. Growing up, we only had 3-4 channels depending on the weather. PBS was the only channel that produced children’s programming during the day. Sesame Street. Reading Rainbow. The Inside Story with Slim Goodbody. Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Bill Nye the Science Guy. Ghostwriter. Lamb Chop’s Play-Along. These were the shows I grew up with.

Many of my friend were lucky enough to have cable television and of course, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network opened up new worlds of entertainment for them. But we all had PBS.

Here are a few stats about PBS programming and it’s broad accessibility:

Over the course of a year, 82% of all U.S. television households – and 200 million people – watch PBS. The demographic breakdown of PBS’ full-day audience reflects the overall U.S. population with respect to race/ethnicity, education and income. (Nielsen NPower, 9/21/2015-9/18/2016)

68% of all kids age two to eight watched PBS during the 2015-16 season. (Nielsen NPower, 9/21/2015-9/18/2016)

PBS stations reach more kids age two to five, more moms with young children and more children from low-income and Hispanic families than any other kids TV network. (Nielsen NPower, 9/21/15-9/18/16, L+7 M-Su 6A-6A TP reach. K2-5, LOHw/C<6, K2-11w/Inc<$20K. PBS, DSNY, NICK, DSNYJr, NICKJr., SPRT, TOON & DISCFam)

Consider how PBS words their own mission in programming: Every day, PBS and 350 member stations fulfill our essential mission to the American public, providing trusted programming that is uniquely different from commercial broadcasting, treating its audience as citizens, not simply consumers. Perhaps the most beautiful aspect of PBS is that even as the popularity of their programming grows, their commitment to ensuring the worlds of music, theater, dance and art remain available to all Americans. Sesame Street isn’t just for kids whose parents can afford cable at $85/month and grass-fed, free range hot pockets. PBS is for everyone. PBS believes that every child deserves the same opportunity to learn.

As I’ve grown up, most of the shows I watched earlier are now off the air, but a few remain (I’m looking at you Big Bird). Even now, their programming enlightens, awakens, and educates me. Sherlock. Nova. Downton Abbey. Great Performances. The Great British Baking Show.

My son loves PBS Kids programming. Clifford the Big Red Dog. Thomas and Friends. Daniel Tiger. Word World. Sid the Science Kid. These shows aren’t just entertaining for him. They teach him incredibly valuable lessons. Daniel Tiger has given him words for how he feels. Sid the Science Kid gave us the idea for nature walks around our neighborhood. Word World is teaching my 3 year old to spell and read. What?!

So you can imagine my excitement when I heard that Daniel Tiger, the singing cat himself, was coming to Knoxville for a live show! Seriously?! Three tickets to that show and I would be #momoftheyear. So you can also imagine my equal shock when I looked at the ticket prices. Tickets range from $82 (balcony) to $348 (orchestra center) each. WHAT. THE. WHAT.

Disney On Ice tickets start at $14 and cap at $65! DISNEY IS LESS EXPENSIVE THAN DANIEL TIGER? Seriously, can we just remember what PBS and Daniel Tiger and accessibility is all about? Can you at least throw a mama a Groupon?



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