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KPBS Explore

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Public Announcement

KPBS is proud to announce we’ve selected 11 projects to move to the piloting phase for the 2017 KPBS Explore Program Pitch Competition. After receiving 180 proposals for locally focused web series, podcasts, documentaries, films and tv shows, 21 projects were selected to pitch to their idea to the Explore Program Selection Committee. Out of those, 11 projects were chosen to move on to the piloting phase. Subjects include a feature documentary about the Eastern African refugee experience, a short documentary about housekeepers who cross into San Diego to work every day, a podcast about San Diego’s scientists and a feature documentary about underprivileged San Diego kids competing in a Soap Box Derby competition.

These 11 projects will be given seed funding to complete a proof of concept or pilot version of their project. Once complete, these pilots will compete for additional seed funding.

About The Project

KPBS Explore is our content initiative launched in 2012 as a way to create more local programming. We solicit ideas through a proposal process and select one or more projects that will be on one of the KPBS platforms. We want to collaborate with local producers with ideas for programs and series that increase our sense of place, reflect our diverse and dynamic community and allow audiences to connect over shared experiences.

Public Media is known for high quality content that engages, inspires, entertains and educates. Programs or series chosen for the KPBS Explore project must meet aesthetic sensibilities that align with these core values of Public Media and that treat subjects and audiences with respect.

The goal of the Explore program is to grow the quality and quantity of local content supported, funded and distributed by KPBS. The 2016-2017 version of the Explore Pitch Competition will diversify the types of projects and number of projects that will receive support and funding. This year’s Explore Program will be divided into two rounds of funding.

The Pitch Competition launches on Friday, October 21, 2016 and remains open until Sunday, November 27, 2016.

Selection Process

All applications are considered through a rigorous committee selection process, at the end of which the most promising ideas are chosen for funding. KPBS provides seed money to the producer who best demonstrates 1) an innovative idea that aligns with the RFP; 2) a grasp of how to create content using public media sensibilities; 3) a track record of executing content projects on deadline; and 4) a realistic budget and plan for raising the remaining production funds.

Explorer Spirit: How will your project embody the "Explorer Spirit"? Public media invites audiences from all walks of life to explore new worlds, discover new ideas and broaden their horizons. We are inclusive, diverse and respectful of our audience. Our audience is smart, connected and idealistic. How will your project engage them?

Sense of Place: How will you establish a sense of place in your project? We are looking for content that is uniquely local, that tells a story or shared experience about our community. A sense of place comes from many things: language, food, culture, music, travel, geography, heritage, education, art, science, hobbies, passions, media, etc.

The Initial Submissions will be reviewed by a committee sub-group who will select finalists in each category for the Pitch Competition. The KPBS Explore Committee will review each Pitch and will determine our Round 1 winners. The KPBS Explore Committee will review each proof of concept and determine the Finalists to receive additional seed money to produce their project in whole.

The Committee rates each idea on an established rubric that includes:

  • Executability

  • Explorer Spirit

  • Sense of Place

  • Elements of Craft

  • Elements of Diversity

  • Audience Potential

Call For Submissions

ROUND 1 - Up to $15,000

8-10 selected projects

(KPBS’ sole discretion, distributed by scale)

Description: Round 1 will consist of 8-10 projects that meet criteria for KPBS Explore on topics important to KPBS. These selected producers will be offered seed money to create a proof of concept video, recording, interview, pilot, trailer or scene from their proposed project.


  • Podcast- (pilot episode, up to $500 to produce)

  • Web Series- (Pilot episode, up to $1,000 to produce)

  • TV Series Pilot- (Trailer,Segment or scene, up to $1,500 to produce)

  • Feature Documentary- (trailer, short documentary, or short version of longer documentary (up to $1,000 to produce)

  • Feature Narrative- (Trailer, scene or short film version, up to $1,500 to produce)

ROUND 2 - Up to $20,000

1-3 selected projects

(KPBS’ sole discretion, distributed by scale)

Description: Round 2 will consist of selecting 1-3 projects from those produced in Round 1. These selected producers will be offered an additional budget to complete or partially subsidize the completion of their proposed project. Finalists will be selected on the completeness of their proof of concept, originality, craft and executability.

Deadline for Pitch Competition Submissions is Sunday, November 27.


When you submit your proposal, please provide the following program information:

  • Working Title

  • Project Format

  • Program Description

  • Project Genre

  • Project Timeline Plan

  • Project Funding Plan

  • Professional Biography

  • Honors and Awards

  • Samples of Work

  • Social Media Links

Please also think about how your project embodies the "Explorer Spirit" and what sets your project apart from anyone else's.

You Know You’re a Local Content Creator When…

1. You Love San Diego
Maybe your family moved here generations ago or you relocated here and plan to never move back - either way you have strong attachments to our fair city.

2. Passion for Creative Storytelling
You have a question that you want to answer. You are moved by great stories and have a passion to create dynamic digital and audio spaces for transformative sharing and listening.

3. Appreciation for Community Diversity
You are inspired and captivated by the multiplicity of perspectives and everyday lived experiences out there – your curiosity for what’s happening in your community fuel your work.

4. Commitment to Public Media Values
You value the importance of editorial integrity in the media marketplace, producing high quality content that is relevant to the communities that local public stations serve.

5. You Nerd Out over High Quality Content
You know what a RED Camera is, know how to shoot with one or -- gasp -- maybe even have one in your videographer’s arsenal. You appreciate great lighting and a good script delivered well. Not only are you irritated when you see footage of a flag waving backwards, you know how you would have done it differently.

6. You Enjoy Creating Lists (No, seriously.)

OK, then. Explore is for you.


“A A Growing Passion: Explore "green" San Diego from water-wise gardens to green roofs; learn about environmental sustainability around the community and at home.

“Savor Savor San Diego: Cook your way around San Diego with Su-Mei Yu and hear fascinating culinary stories from our vibrant food community.

“SnapShot” SnapShot: Explore the people and places that make San Diego unique. Each episode features renowned local photographer Tim Mantoani on assignment.

Animal RnR: A documentary series about imperiled wild animals in San Diego County and the people who give them a second chance.

“Kings Kings of the Craft: Explore the booming craft beer industry in San Diego and the community behind it. With more than one hundred establishments in the county dedicating themselves to this art form San Diego is becoming a mecca for this industry.


“Incoming” Incoming: Podcast stories of the true men and women of America's military, their lives outside of combat and the struggle to transition back into the public.

Other Local Content Initiatives

“Crossing Crossing South: Cross south in this travel show to Tijuana and other towns and cities of Baja California with bilingual travel companion and host, Jorge Meraz.

“San San Diego Historical Places: An Emmy-nominated and award-winning documentary series that explores the history of San Diego and all its historical places.

“Film Film Indiego: An adventurism-tourism style show that explores San Diego's budding film community.

“Kramer’s Kramer’s About San Diego: A collection of stories about the people of San Diego County and the places they have to share.

“KPBS KPBS | EXPLORE San Diego: A selection of engaging, local documentaries from storytellers around San Diego.