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KPBS Explore

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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 is a collaboration with local producers to grow the quality and quantity of uniquely local content. We are exploring new program ideas that make us think, help us dream, and keep us connected.

Every two years, the KPBS Explore Local Content Project opens a community-wide call for the next big content idea, pledging seed funding to the most promising. The 2020 Call for Submissions launches Thursday August 1, 2019 with ideas being accepted through Tuesday October 1, 2019. The KPBS Explore Local Content Project welcomes entries of all kinds, but we are especially seeking podcasts and television series ideas.

The Submission Window has Closed as of October 1, 2019



Applicants are asked to submit an idea synopsis for a podcast, TV series, documentary or web series that would 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 platforms.  Applicants with promising ideas will be selected to move on to Round 2.

8/1/19 - 10/1/19 | Request for Ideas (RFI) Accepted 

10/14/19 | Selected Producers Notified of Advancement

There will be a free orientation hosted by KPBS on both Aug 27th and 28th.

In this orientation, you will receive an overview of the project, hear from New Media Rights on copyright and fair use laws and have an opportunity to get in-person feedback on your idea from the KPBS Explore Team.


Selected applicants will be asked to submit a complete proposal including: treatment, budget, production plan & timeline, and a professional resume that includes samples of work. Applicants with promising ideas that have successfully demonstrated their ability to execute will move on to Round 3.

10/14/19 - 11/4/19 | Full Proposal Submission Window

11/4/19 | Full Proposals Due

11/15/19 | Selected Producers Notified of Advancement

12/3/19 - 12/4/19 | In-Person Project Pitches

12/20/19 | Selected Producers Notified of Advancement


In the third and final round, a small group of projects will receive a stipend to produce a Proof of Concept, which could include a pilot episode, trailer or scene that demonstrates the vision, concept and executability of the idea. After review of Proof of Concepts, one or more finalists will be selected to receive seed funding to produce full concept.

12/21/19-5/4/20 | Proof of Concept Production Period

5/4/20 | Proof of Concepts Due

5/29/20 | Explore Finalists Notified of Advancement

6/30/21 | Final Projects Due


KPBS seed money will be provided to the producer who best demonstrates: 1) an innovative idea that aligns with the selection 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. Applications are 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.


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.)

About The Project

KPBS is one of the most trusted sources of local news and information in San Diego. KPBS reaches nearly 1 million San Diegans every month with high quality content that engages, inspires, entertains and educates. KPBS Explore was launched back in 2012 as a way to create more local programming for our viewers. Since the project’s inception, we've collaborated with local producers every year on ideas for programs and series that increase our sense of place, reflect our diverse and dynamic community and allow for audiences to connect over shared experiences.


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

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
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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.


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.