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KPBS Explore

The KPBS Local Content Initiative

Our Goal

KPBS endeavors to reflect the diversity of San Diego across all our media platforms: radio, television, online, and mobile. We want our audiences to be treated to high quality local programs that provide a genuine sense of place. The goal of KPBS Explore is to grow our library of local programs. We want to add to our impressive collection like Ken Kramer’s About San Diego, San Diego’s Historic Places and Savor San Diego.

We want to work with local producers to bring their ideas to life. Content creators are invited to send their ideas for a series or documentary that highlight unique and exciting people, places, and activities in our region. A KPBS committee will review all submissions and select one or two that will receive funding for the production process to prepare the program for release in May 2015.

Applications Are Now Closed

The application period closed at midnight on July 31, 2014.

Introductory Video

Please take the time to watch our video that explains the project in further detail.

What We're Looking For


"KPBS Explore" submissions will be judged on a number of criteria including:

"Explorer Spirit"

Your program idea must embody an "Explorer Spirit." Public media gives people from all walks of life an opportunity to explore new worlds, discover new ideas and broaden their horizons. Our programs are a passage to exploration. Conversely, the KPBS audience expects to be engaged on a high level about concepts important to their lives. Whether it's our award-winning children's programming such as Sesame Street and Curious George; our notable public affairs programs like Morning Edition and The PBS Newshour; or in-depth science programs including NOVA, Nature, and Radio Lab; they all share a spirit of exploration.

The KPBS audience embodies the following characteristics that you should keep in mind when producing your project:

  • They are open to new experiences.
  • They celebrate the joy of discovery.
  • They are authentic.
  • They appreciate attention to detail and high quality of craft.
  • They are fiercely independent in mind and spirit.
  • They embrace a range of individual positions and experiences.
  • They follow their own path.
  • They are innovative and pioneering, highly experimental and willing to take risks.
  • They are honest and grounded in integrity.

A Sense of Place

Secondly, the program must be uniquely local. A sense of place comes from many things: language, food, culture, music, travel, geography, heritage, education, art, science, hobbies, passions, media, etc. How will you define it? Terms like "unique" and "local" should not mean super-narrow focus for a small audience, so remember to be inclusive. Successful submissions will appeal to a wide audience.

Local programs on KPBS help connect our community in a way that national programs cannot. When you watch an episode of San Diego's Historic Places on KPBS TV for example, you share an experience with thousands of other viewers that helps create meaning in your life. When you listen to Midday Edition on KPBS Radio, you feel connected with other listeners through your concern about issues that affect our community. Programs produced by KPBS give our audience a communal sense of place in San Diego, and are also some of the most popular programs we air.

Good Story-Telling

Lastly, remember that we are in the story-telling business and that a good story must be told well. Not every idea deserves to be made into a program. Whether it is the writing, lighting, host, framing, editing or mixing, the selected project will be one that deserves to be on KPBS TV, radio and web. We have high standards, and so should you.


Funding for content projects can come from multiple sources. In addition to the seed money being offered by KPBS, you should explore corporate funding, grants and even your own bank account. Regardless of your sources of funding, we require that you submit a budget with your application. It would also be very helpful for you to have a letter of interest from any organization that has showing interest in your project.

Many corporations are willing to support projects like yours that match their core business. It is essential, however, that you retain editorial and creative control. Do not take funds from nor make commitments to a company that expects editorial control of your project. Corporate sponsors that are willing to stay out of your way will benefit immensely by being associated with your work and with public media/KPBS.

Grants are another source of funding for projects like these because many NPOs and Foundations look for ways to advance their mission. As with corporate sponsors, it is essential that you retain editorial and creative control. Please include information on these grant opportunities in your application.

If you are self-funding and/or have a rich uncle who is bankrolling your project, be prepared to account for those funds in your budget. We pay close attention to the source of all funding because we expect transparency on your part.


We are looking for programs or a series of programs in three basic categories: Lifestyle, Community, and "Big Picture." We are not looking for news or public affairs programs to replicate the award-winning activities of the KPBS Newsroom. Nor are we looking for children's programming.

  • Lifestyle: These programs encompass cooking, art, outdoor activities, travel, crafts, hobbies and other various activities that reflect a personal identity. They celebrate local life and regional ambiance.

  • Community: These programs tell the stories of people who have dedicated their lives to community solutions. These shows will endeavor to change behavior around a social issue.

  • "Big Picture": Like the name suggests, this category seeks programs that focus on large issues, usually ones that have an emotional resonance. They could focus on history, natural assets and other things that celebrate our collective regional achievements.