Kansas City PBS’ new “Picture This” community engagement initiative aims to make public media more accessible for all through expanded coverage, a renewed support of local journalism and a renovation of its historic headquarters at 125 E. 31st Street in Kansas City, MO. This initiative is fueled by private funders and donations from the community the public media organization proudly serves.
“Since we first went on the air, Kansas City PBS has relied upon the support of our generous community to bring civic affairs, the arts, education and history to life on our channels,” said Kliff Kuehl, President and CEO of Kansas City PBS. “As we look to expand and further the impact of public media, we’re asking our neighbors to picture this: public media that lifts our community, provokes constructive dialogue and informs us all while leading us to action.”
The renovation of Kansas City PBS’ station, helmed by local architecture firm El Dorado, will be a $12.5 million investment in midtown redevelopment. The renovations include an updated building and technology within and will create a space that allows the creativity and expertise of Kansas City PBS, 90.9 The Bridge and Flatland’s talented teams to shine. Innovation will be fostered through modern floor plans and equipment, sparked by collaborative spaces inside and out that will provide an inspiring backdrop to contemplate projects and entertain ideas. This re-envisioned space will also allow the station to invite the public in for panel discussions, concerts and screenings, offering a hub for the community to experience the valuable services that Kansas City PBS provides first hand.
The “Picture This” campaign will also support Kansas City PBS’ continued excellence in content across all platforms. It will expand services through a content excellence fund providing support for new and emerging talent in the Kansas City area and fostering the growth of local film production and journalism in the process. Investment in this work will allow KCPBS to convene important conversations, support local journalism and engage emerging filmmakers. “Picture This” asks the community to imagine a future where they have a stake in the public media that serves them, where they help tell the stories of our past, examine the issues of our present and look toward solutions for our future.
Kansas City PBS has served the metro area for more than 50 years providing a valuable public service through the delivery of quality programming, educational services and serving as a convener of civic affairs conversations. As the landscape of public media has evolved, Kansas City PBS has evolved with it, adding additional services and advancing technology to meet audiences where they are with the programming they want.
“Kansas City PBS’ local programs highlight the strengths of our community while not shying away from the challenges that are keeping us from reaching our full potential,” said Kuehl. “We don’t do this alone. We harness collective resources through our partnerships with civic, business and nonprofit organizations.”
“Our focus has always been on stories that matter,” said Kuehl. “These stories are created only with the support of the community. This is truly public service media. As we move forward, we’re asking you to picture more: more coverage on the issues that affect us all, more moving stories of triumph, a wider window into our history and more programming for our children, inspiring them to be life-long learners.”
Kansas City PBS serves over 800,000 people each month with local content garnering over 1.75 million impressions. Nationally, PBS and its member stations are recognized No. 1 in public trust (Marketing & Research Resources, Inc. Jan. 2019), vastly outperforming commercial cable TV, broadcast TV, digital platforms and newspapers.
“This campaign has been well-planned since the beginning,” said Mollie Hale Carter, chair of Kansas City PBS’ “Picture This” campaign committee. “Now that we have all experienced a time that reminds us of the importance of community and the need for understanding of our region and the world, this work is an exciting example of what is possible when we come together. I am so proud to be a part of KCPBS’s journey.”
“Kansas City PBS has served the metro area for over 60 years, bringing civic affairs, the arts and education right into our living rooms,” said J. Randall Vance President & Chief Operating Officer of Sunderland Foundation. “The promise of a more expansive and accessible public media in Kansas City is not only aligned with our own heritage, values and mission – but it will create a more engaged, informed and vibrant community.”
The “Picture This” campaign has received community philanthropic investment of nearly $13M. Major supporters include The Sunderland Foundation, Mollie Hale Carter, Marlese and Robert Gourley, Francis Family Foundation, Hall Family Foundation and Mike and Marlys Haverty. A special thank you to Enterprise Bank and Trust, who have invested in the initiative and helped Kansas City PBS receive an allocation of New Markets Tax Credits.
For more information, visit Kansas City PBS’ “Picture This” website.