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KPBS Explore Local Content Project Call For Submissions

KPBS is proud to announce the launch of the 2018 KPBS Explore Local Content Project with applications being accepted beginning Friday, December 1, 2017 through January 8, 2018.

In a very successful 2016-2017 season, the project yielded two podcasts, one digital series and four television documentaries. Now in its 2018 season, the project continues to solicit content ideas for both television and digital with a strong emphasis on podcasting. New this year is a revamped selection process.

Submission and Selection Process

All applications are evaluated 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 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.

ROUND ONE: Request for Ideas (RFI)
Submissions accepted 12/1/17 - 1/8/18

Applicants will submit their ideas for consideration. Ideas that best meet the selection criteria will advance to Round Two and have the opportunity to submit a full proposal. Idea submissions should include:

  • Working Title

  • Project Format

  • Program Description

  • Project Genre

ROUND ONE ENDED as of Monday, 1/8/18. RFI Applications will no longer be accepted for consideration.

ROUND TWO: Request for Proposals (RFP) 1/15-2/2/18

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.

ROUND THREE: Pilot Process 4/16-7/6/18

In the third and final round, a small group of projects will receive a stipend ($500 to $1,500 based on scale) 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.
Each idea will be rated using the following rubric:

  • Executability

  • Explorer Spirit

  • Sense of Place

  • Elements of Craft

  • Elements of Diversity

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.

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?
Podcast, Web Series, TV Series, Feature Documentary

How do I apply?
To apply, submit your idea through this form.

When is the deadline to apply?
January 8, 2018

How will my idea be judged?
Finalists will be selected on the completeness of their proof of concept, originality, craft and executability.

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 merit.

If I have questions about the submission process, who can I contact for more info?
Jodi Cilley | Founder and President, Film Consortium San Diego
619-269-0961 /

When will project finalists be selected?
July 16, 2018

How much seed money will be given?
Up to $20,000 total will be awarded to 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 Explore is our content initiative launched in 2012 as a way to create more local programming. 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.

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. Programs or series chosen for the KPBS Explore project must meet aesthetic sensibilities that align with the Public Media Code of Integrity and that treat subjects and audiences with respect. The goal of the project is to grow the quality and quantity of local content supported, funded and distributed by KPBS.


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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.

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

Animal RnR
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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.

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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.