PBS educates, entertains: Science, technology, math main focuses

COURTESY PHOTO The cast of Sesame Street, a regular program on PBS, poses with Santa Claus during holiday program

When Amarillo got its a public television station in 1988, it was known as KACV-TV.

The station underwent a rebranding recently, dropping the old title and emerging under the name Panhandle PBS.

With a more colorful name and logo, the channel is the only public broadcasting system member station that serves the entire Texas Panhandle.

The station has two channels: Panhandle PBS programming and V-Me, a Spanish channel.

In the morning, the PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) channel offers programs to cater to younger viewers with shows such as Arthur, The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That and Sesame Street.

“The most important thing that PBS stations across the country do is our children’s programming,” said Lynne Groom, development director. “In many cases, for children who don’t have access to preschool, it is a great starting point for them and gets them ready for school.”

Every local PBS station team chooses what to put on the air. When it comes to the younger audience, Panhandle PBS chooses only shows that have educational value.

“The newer ones focus on science, technology, engineering and math,” said Linda Pitner, general manager.

PBS has shows such as Curious George that give examples of math, engineering and science skills for 2- to 5-year-olds and help children think in a more advanced way.

Children aren’t the only demographic PBS aims for. Starting at 7 p.m., shows such as Mr. Selfridge, Austin City Limits, American Masters, Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife and Antiques Roadshow give viewers an entertaining break from the bustle of the day.

The station does not make money like a commercial station does. It is supported in three ways that keep the station on the air.

Panhandle PBS has local support through pledge drives, memberships and donations. Amarillo College owns the station, so PBS receives funds through the institution.

Panhandle PBS also receives money from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, an organization created by Congress to accept federal funds and disperse them to stations across the country.

“We have what are called memberships that allow you certain benefits, like receiving the program in the mail and you get your very own member’s card, ” Pitner said.

The station offers internships to college students which allow them to help with pledge drives. Students also help in the fundraising department. Spots for interns to learn Web production and programming may be available in the future.

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