For a few years in the 90’s I worked on staff at KQED-TV, and then continued as a freelancer in various capacities until around 2005. I still keep in touch (my live-work studio is only a few blocks away from the station!) and am always thrilled when my independent documentary projects are accepted for broadcast. Channel 9 is currently airing the fourth season of my Emmy-nominated series of nature shorts “Bay Nature on the Air.” I consider my dealings with one of the most-watched public TV stations in the PBS system among the most important of my business relationships as a producer. So I guess I can’t claim to be impartial when writing about their programs and projects.
But by any measure, from its early beginnings in 1954, San Francisco’s primary public TV station has been on the forefront of providing media for education. In the 90’s Milton Chen founded the predecessor of the current Education Department at KQED, before he moved on to George Lucas’ Edutopia. Right now there are many educational resources at the KQED website proper, in addition to what we’ll see they are doing with PBS LearningMedia. So for all these reasons it was really a treat to return to the TV station to meet and chat with Robin Mencher, Director of Education and Media Learning, about indie producers, media in education, and KQED.
Stan Marvin, Program Manager
Rohnert Park, CA
What is KRCB?
As PBS describes us, we are an overlap station with KQED, they are the primary and we are secondary in the marketplace. We are a PBS member station, not the actual PDP which means Program Differentiation Plan station, which means we must delay our programming by a minimum of eight days, the NPS programming (it gets kind of complicated with all the alphabet soup). But we also only take a percentage of the national programming, not all of it, as KQED will take all of it. So that we fill in with, because we don’t have to take the entire boat load of PBS programming, we therefore have a lot more room in our schedule for independent films and programming that come to us from other sources like APT or NETA or independent filmmakers like yourself.
Nancy Dobbs, General Manager
Rohnert Park, CA
How did the idea for a curriculum for “Rebels with a Cause” come about?
[Independent producer ] Nancy Kelly’s general approach in documentaries is that having an educational curriculum produced and available really magnifies the impact of the production. That it moves the material into a sort of a different environment than just sitting on your couch and watching a television program. We were from the beginning when we started doing the screenings for Rebels, the issue came up repeatedly, virtually every single screening: “This needs to get in our schools. Our kids need to know these stories. Our kids need to know how this kind of thing happens in our country.”