WILL-TV to launch free 24/7 multiplatform PBS KIDS service

December 27, 2016
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PBS The Source

Illinois Public Media is excited to announce the launch of a new, free PBS KIDS 24/7 suite of services. This effort is Illinois Public Media’s latest initiative to support early learning in the local community by providing children and their families with award-winning PBS KIDS programming around the clock, both on television and the web.

Beginning January 16, 2017, WILL-TV will broadcast PBS KIDS shows 24 hours a day on channel 12.2, as well as offer a live stream. This makes it easier for children in central Illinois to watch their favorite series during primetime and other after-school hours, when viewing among families is high.

“Offering this new PBS KIDS 24/7 channel is a vital part of our global vision to enrich the lives of those in our community, not to mention an essential part of our educational mission to help develop the critical skills that enable local children to succeed in both school and life,” said Moss Bresnahan, CEO and president of Illinois Public Media.

Following the initial January launch, the live stream experience expands to offer an integrated games feature, enabling children to toggle between a PBS KIDS show and an activity that extends learning – all in one seamless digital experience. The games will align with the learning goals of each series, deepening children’s involvement and supporting their learning.

“Illinois Public Media, in particular WILL-TV, has been an integral part of the community for years, delivering content and services parents trust and that move the needle in early learning,” said Kimberlie Kranich, director of community content and engagement at Illinois Public Media. “We are excited to build on the work we do every day for central Illinois’ families by adding these new 24/7 services to our offerings, ensuring that our proven educational content is accessible anytime and anywhere to all kids – especially those who need it the most.”

The WILL-TV PBS KIDS 24/7 channel will include popular favorites such as DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD, ODD SQUAD, WILD KRATTS and DINOSAUR TRAIN; PBS KIDS’ newest series SPLASH AND BUBBLES, NATURE CAT and READY JET GO! will also be featured. Families will also be able to watch the 24/7 live stream at will.illinois.edu as well as pbskids.org and on the PBS KIDS Video App, which is available on a variety of mobile devices, and tablets. Soon after launch, the live stream will also be available on over-the-top platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Xbox One and Chromecast.

WILL-TV will broadcast the PBS KIDS 24/7 on channel 12.2, which currently airs WILL World. This new service will be provided in addition the primary WILL-TV channel, which will continue to feature a PBS KIDS day part. The schedule of children’s programming on the primary WILL-TV channel will be different from the 24/7 channel, offering families a variety of options. The full local TV schedule is available at http://will.illinois.edu/tv/schedule.

Furthermore, to accommodate the creation of PBS KIDS 24/7, the decision was made to merge WILL Create and WILL World into one channel. So, also starting January 16, 2017, these two broadcasts will share channel 12.3.

“Here at WILL-TV, we understand that viewers don’t want to miss out on their favorite programming on both the World and Create channels. After looking at our most popular shows, we determined that it would be best to provide Create in the mornings and World in the evenings, with the channel swap at 5 am/pm,” said David Thiel, content director at Illinois Public Media.

WILL Create content—cooking, travel, gardening and home improvement programming—will air from 5AM-5PM. WILL World content—PBS documentaries, news and public affairs programming—will air from 5PM-5AM.