Skip to main content

KPBS Explore

KPBS Explore banner

Supporting Local Content For San Diego

Local Content is at the Heart of KPBS. It increases our sense of place, connects audiences over shared experiences and reflects our diverse community. The KPBS Explore Local Content Project was launched in 2012 as a way to create more local programming for our viewers. Since the project’s inception, we’ve collaborated with over 25 local producers on new ideas for programs that make us think, help us dream, and keep us connected.

Every two years the KPBS Explore Local Content Project sends out a community-wide call for the next big content idea and will pledge seed funding to the most promising proposals.

The 2021 Call for Submissions launches July 1, 2021 and seeks content ideas that are original and unique, reflect the diversity of the San Diego region both in front of and behind the camera and tell the stories that have yet to be told.

Selected proposals will undergo a three-tiered process that will culminate in a final Proof of Concept.

For podcast submissions, KPBS is specifically looking for localized “Life Kit” style shows, or guides to San Diego. For example, a podcast specifically made for people new to San Diego with episodes like “How to find the right neighborhood,” or possibly a local guide for new parents with episodes like “How to connect with other parents with kids the same age” or “How to find the right school.”

KPBS is also looking for local narrative podcasts that tell personal stories of local people, serialized podcasts that take a deep dive into certain aspects of local history or big events that have shaped our region. We strongly believe that great podcasts are designed for very specific audiences, like a podcast for transborder people, or a podcast by and for the local science community, so please provide detailed information about who your podcast is for. And remember, a podcast for everyone is a podcast for no one. We highly suggest listening to this podcast episode and watching this video series before submitting your podcast idea.


Participants will be asked to submit an idea synopsis for a podcast, TV series, documentary or web series that will fit well into KPBS’ current stable of content. Submitted ideas will be reviewed and assessed for uniqueness, originality, sense of place, diversity, audience and potential for use across multiple platforms. Content creators with promising ideas will advance to Round 2.

The 2021 Call for Submissions is accepting ideas through September 1, 2021.

Explore Submission



Advancing content creators will submit a complete proposal that will include a treatment, budget, production deliverables timeline, professional resume, and samples of previous work. To be selected for Round 3, content creators must have past experience in content creation and a proven track record of successfully executing project ideas on time.


In the third and final round, selected projects will receive a stipend to produce a Proof of Concept. This Proof of Concept may take the form of a pilot episode, a program or series trailer, or a scene excerpted from the project. The goal here is to convey the vision and concept, as well as demonstrate the executability of the idea. At the completion of the Proof of Concept production period and after all selected projects have been reviewed, one or more finalists will be selected to receive seed funding.


Selected proposals will be evaluated through a rigorous committee selection process and rated on the following:

Executability: Of primary importance is your ability to execute your project using the funds and timeframe detailed in your proposal. Our committee is comprised of industry professionals who will evaluate your budget and ability to complete your program on time. While the Explore project is fueled by aspirations, it is essential that you can execute your project.

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. How will you tell San Diego’s stories?

Elements of Craft: To the extent possible, you will need to demonstrate your ability in crafting content: i.e. lighting, framing, audio, scripting, editing, etc. Because of the relatively short production schedule, KPBS Explore works best for people who have prior experience in production and can act quickly to solve problems along the way.

Elements of Diversity: How will your project reflect the diversity in our community? Keep in mind that diversity can take many forms, which means that we are looking for your unique perspective.

Seed funding will be provided to the producer who best demonstrates: 1) an innovative idea that aligns with the judging criteria; 2) a firm understanding 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.


What content formats are accepted? All content formats are accepted: Podcast, Web Series, TV Series, Feature Documentary, but we are particularly interested in ideas for Podcasts and TV Series.

How will my idea be judged? Finalists will be selected on the completeness of their proof of concept, originality, craft, executability and how the project fits into the overall KPBS program strategy.

Are points or percentages used within the established evaluation rubric? Do all sections have the same weight? Points are used in the evaluation rubric as a starting place for evaluation. Each project is considered on its individual merits.

Who can I contact for more info on the submission process?

Jodi Cilley | Founder and President, Film Consortium San Diego

619.512.2403 /

How much seed money will be given? Up to $30,000 total will be awarded among project finalists based on scale and at the sole discretion of KPBS.

Where can I learn more about other sources of project funding? Past projects have raised additional funds through corporate or business underwriting, individual donors and crowd-funding campaigns.

More information is available through the links below:

FCC Underwriting and Donor Acknowledgement Guidelines

PBS Funding Standards and Practices

(The PBS document is in PDF format and requires Adobe Acrobat to open. If you do not have it installed, first install Adobe Acrobat Reader.)


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

Theatre Corner Theatre Corner: An interview series dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in the national theatre scene, both on the stage and in the seats.

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

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

Crossing South 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.

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

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

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

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

Kings of the Craft 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.

Reflect logo Re'flect: A fresh and inspiring look at aging successfully. This series that provides insight into the active and engaged world of today's seniors who are living out loud and defying stereotypes associated with aging.

Jordan Loves> Jordan Loves: San Diego is a place like no other. And no one knows this better than Jordan Jacobo, a San Diego native bent on exploring the unseen corners and unknown features of America's Finest City. These hilarious history shorts will leave you wanting more from this charismatic (if not Seinfeldian) host.

Speak Freely logo Permission to Speak Freely: A comedic digital series that seeks to bridge the veteran/civilian divide. Written and performed by actual veterans, this series is designed to challenge veteran stereotypes perpetuated by mass media.


The Parker Edison Project The Parker Edison Project: It's a podcast that zooms way in on what really makes a culture — food, music, style, sex, fashion and more. Join host and co-creator Parker Edison for insightful conversations about creativity and community, all through the lens of Black America.

Incoming logo 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.

My First Day logo My First Day: First days can be exhilarating, terrifying - or a mix of both. They mark the beginning of life’s chapters and define who we ultimately become. My First Day is a new podcast series that explores these important days through people who came to San Diego from elsewhere, and now call it home.

Rad Scientist logo Rad Scientist: San Diego, a hub of discovery, is teeming with scientists who devote their lives to unearthing the secrets of our world. One thing uniting them all is an insatiable curiosity. They study everything from the smallest organisms to the largest cosmic events and their stories are fascinating. They aren’t mad, but they certainly are Rad scientists.