Tag Archives: Florida Public Media

Weinstein Named Winner of Public Media Innovation Award

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – July 27, 2021

WFSU’s Tasha Weinstein was named the 2021 winner of the Janyth Righter Innovation Award by the board of Florida Public Media during the group’s July annual meeting. 

The award is given to a staff member at one of the organization’s 24 public radio and television stations for their entrepreneurial and innovative leadership. 

Weinstein is the Public Media Education and Engagement Manager at WFSU-TV/FM in Tallahassee. She was selected for her innovative response to delivering engaging educational content to educators and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Florida Public Media is delighted to honor Tasha Weinstein with this year’s award,”  said Patrick Yack, Executive Director of Florida Public Media. “She brings enthusiasm, passion, and a strong commitment to her job, to WFSU and most importantly – to the parents, students, and teachers of the Big Bend area.” 

Tasha Weinstein – WFSU-FM/TV

“She works tirelessly to tie the ongoing important work of PBS and WFSU to the Tallahassee community. Tasha is a nationally recognized leader in education, and we are fortunate to have her part of our public media family.”

A signature program for WFSU is the Summer Challenge, a program aimed at preventing summer learning loss in children. Weinstein produced a one-hour broadcast special around the theme of Mountains, Hills & Mounds that took children to various sites in the area to learn about the region’s geology. She linked the content to digital resources and worked with partner organizations to build on this theme. 

Weinstein is also credited with leading an effort to tie the PBS KIDS program Molly of Denali to the Muscogee people of Florida. She and her education team created a “virtual” museum that provided a wealth of resources and information about Native American people, their culture, history, and stories.

Pivoting this project from an in person “pop-up” museum to a virtual one allowed WFSU to reach more people with this project and she developed a workshop model for educators to better understand how to use this resource.

“Tasha is a dynamo who has taken the WFSU Education Program to new heights,” said Kim Kelling, WFSU Director of Content & Community Partners. 

“Everything she approaches is done with the mindset of how we can be more effective in reaching underserved children and families. With a pandemic impacting in person work for the past 16 months, Tasha has been instrumental in rethinking how we do our work and how we can engage the community. She has worked across all of our departments at WFSU to achieve that goal.”

Established in 2017, the award is named in honor of Janyth Righter, the former executive director of Florida Public Media and a pioneer in public broadcasting in Florida. 

Past winners include:

Jeff Huffman – WUFT-TV/FM. Gainesville/Ocala. 2017.

Catherine Hiles – WUCF-TV. Orlando. 2018.

Brent Burton – WSRE-TV. Pensacola. 2019.

Penelope Douglas. WPBT-TV. Miami. 2020.

WFSU TV/FM broadcasts throughout Florida panhandle and south Georgia. Florida Public Media is a professional association made up of the NPR and PBS stations in Florida. 

Hoffman Elected FPM Chair; Puorro At-Large Officer

ST. PETERSBURG, Fl. – July 27, 2021

The association of public media elected Phil Hoffman, Executive Director WUCF-TV/FM (Orlando), as its new chair during the group’s annual board meeting this month.

The board also added Chris Puorro, station manager of WQCS-FM (Ft. Pierce) as its At-Large member of the Executive Committee. 

“It’s an honor to be asked to serve Florida Public Media,” Hoffman said.

Phil Hoffman, Executive Director of WUCF TV/FM in Orlando, takes the helm of Florida Public Media.

“Public media plays a critically important role in bringing our local communities important information…whether it’s educational content for children, thoughtful programs from Ken Burns, Nova and Nature, or highly trusted reporting from some of the country’s best reporters. Public media has always had a mission to serve all people with great content. FPM enables Florida stations to do that well.” 

“I’m thankful to my colleagues across the state for choosing me to be a part of the executive team at Florida Public Media,” Puorro said. 

“We look forward to continuing the public media collaborations that have provided our listeners and viewers with a wide array of content, and helped to keep them safe and informed during challenges.”

The board also elected these others officers:

Chris Puorro, Station Manager, WQCS-FM.

– Vice Chair: David Mullins, General Manager, WUSF-FM/TV (Tallahassee)

– Treasurer: Amy Shumaker, Associate General Manager – Content, WGCU-FM/TV (Ft. Myers/Naples)

– Secretary: Paul Grove, President and CEO, WEDU-TV (Tampa/St. Petersburg) 

– Immediate Past Chair: Randy Wright, Executive Director, WUFT-FM/TV(Gainesville/Ocala)

Florida Public Media (FPM) is the organization of 24 public radio and public television stations in the state. The stations broadcast programming by NPR and PBS, and a wide range of news, public affairs, and music programs. 

TV members provide the main distribution of The Florida Channel, and radio members serve as the backbone of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN). FPREN is headquartered at WUFT on the campus of The University of Florida in Gainesville. 

FPM is the state’s leader in educational programming and emergency communications.

Florida Public Media Names 2021 Champions

Florida’s association of public broadcasters recognized four members of the legislature for their important roles in supporting public broadcasting this past session. 

WQCS General Manager Chris Puorro, Rep. Randy Fine, WFIT General Manager Terri Wright

Winners of the 2021 Florida Public Media Champion Award include:

  • Senator Doug Broxson (Pensacola)
  • Senator Audrey Gibson (Jacksonville)
  • Representative Randy Fine (Palm Bay)
  • Representative Jay Trumbull (Panama City)

“On behalf of my colleagues in public media across the great state of Florida, I’m proud to congratulate the four recipients of the Florida Public Media Champion Award for 2021,” said Randy Wright, General Manager of WUFT in Gainesville-Ocala and chair of the organization.

“Senators Broxson and Gibson, and Representatives Fine and Trumbull, played significant parts in highlighting the extraordinary public safety and educational roles public media play in Florida.”

“We’re proud to recognize them for their valuable contributions to the communities we all serve,” Wright said.

Florida Public Media represents 24 public radio and television stations throughout the state.

The annual award is given to honor those who have championed support for public broadcasting in the legislature.

It is inscribed with a quote by the legendary Fred Rogers: “Anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me.”

Past winners have included:

  • Senator Rob Bradley (Orange Park)
  • Senator Manny Diaz (Hialeah Gardens)
  • Senator Kathleen Passidomo (Naples)
  • Senator Kelli Stargel (Lakeland)
  • Representative Travis Cummings (Orange Park)
  • Representative Heather Fitzenhagen (Ft. Myers)
  • Representative Jake Raburn (Valrico)
  • Representative Josie Tomkow (Auburndale)
  • Representative Susan Valdes (Tampa) 

Florida Broadcasters Name WUSF News The 2020 Radio Station Of The Year

WUSF News was named radio Station of the Year by the Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists for its journalism produced during 2020.

The team also collected six other first place awards (General Assignment, General Assignment (Long), Education (Single), Health Reporting (Single), Political, Government, Election Reporting (Single), and Political, Government, Election Reporting (Station) in the contest that includes commercial and public media broadcasters from across Florida.

Other Florida public radio stations won numerous first place awards, including:

WLRN – Miami. Continuing Coverage, Team Coverage, Series (Light), Series (Franchise), Feature Reporting (Cultural & Historical), Investigative Reporting, Individual Achievement (Writing), Individual Achievement and (Digital Journalist).

WGCU – Ft. Myers/Naples. Feature Reporting (Hard), Sports Reporting, and Traffic Reporting.

WMFE – Orlando. Digital Programming, Public Affairs, and Health Reporting (Series).

WFSU – Tallahassee. Environmental Reporting (Series), and Use of Sound.

WUFT – Gainesville/Ocala. Feature Reporting (Light).

Research shows kids benefit from watching PBS Kids’ Molly of Denali

Tallahassee, FL. April 12, 2021 — Education Development Center (EDC) and SRI International (SRI) announce the release of their new research Mahsi’choo for the Info! Molly of Denali Teaches Children about Informational Text.*

Molly of Denali is an award-winning animated series, produced by GBH Boston that airs on PBS stations throughout Florida. It follows the adventures of curious and resourceful 10-year-old Molly Mabray, an Alaska Native girl who lives in the fictional village of Qyah, Alaska. Recently renewed for a second season, it is the first nationally distributed children’s series to feature a Native American lead character. 

Molly of Denali involves Alaska Native voices in all aspects of the production, both on screen and behind the scenes. Informational text, the underlying literacy curriculum, is integrated into the series’ episodes, games, app, website, and assets for educators, families, and kids. Informational text—oral, written, or visual text designed to inform—is essential to navigating daily life, and it includes activities such as reading a map, critically engaging with websites, and posing questions to an expert.

Two separate rigorous studies found that children from low-income households who were given Molly of Denali videos, digital games, and activities were better able to solve problems using informational text. Most children have access to stories and other narrative texts but little to no access to informational text. Yet informational text is a fundamental part of literacy. Comprehending informational text paves the way for future learning, particularly in social studies and the sciences, and success in life. 

“In a year where children have been forced to learn through screen time, there has been a great deal of debate on what is good programming and bad programming,” said Tasha Weinstein, education and engagement manager at WFSU in Tallahassee. 

“Knowing what is quality content is really important and we now know that screen time can work when you have effective programming.”

WFSU has organized “Molly of Denali”-inspired workshops in its viewing area and collaborated with the Muskogee Tribe to create a virtual museum that links the Muskogee with the native Americans of Alaska. 

Ten families were selected, and each week included a different area of study, including maps, traditions, biographies and animals. Kelling said she was thrilled to take the proven content of the TV program and put it to use in the community through the virtual museums. 

To see the virtual museums visit, https://wfsu.org/education/molly-of-denali-virtual-museum/. For more information on the study, visit edc.org/infotext. For more information about WFSU visit, https://wfsu.org/television/

Key Findings

Two nine-week studies included 263 first-grade children from low-income households across the country. The study team randomly assigned each child to receive either a tablet loaded with Molly of Denali resources (treatment condition) or a tablet that blocked access to Molly of Denali resources (control condition).

  • Problem-solving: Access to Molly of Denali digital resources improved first-grade children’s ability to use informational text to solve problems, for example, choosing the right book or website to answer a question or using an index to find a topic in the book.
  • High return for minimal time investment: Children benefited from the Molly of Denali resources after using them for only about one hour per week, on average, over nine weeks—similar to the time that children might access educational media at home. Many educational programs require more time or engagement before learning benefits are seen. 
  • More screen time = more learning: Children who used Molly of Denali resources for longer periods showed greater learning benefits. Findings demonstrate that more exposure to high-quality educational content results in greater learning gains.
  • The power of replication: The second study was a replication of the first study, adding further evidence of the impact of the Molly of Denali resources. Although replication is a critical part of the scientific process, few findings in education research are confirmed by conducting the same study a second time.

Molly of Denali has received much critical acclaim, including a Peabody Award, a Television Critics Award and a Kidscreen Award, and has a television reach of over 42 million peopleand over 450K users on PBS KIDS digital platforms each month.2 Now Molly of Denali also has the backing of two studies that demonstrate children’s learning.

The studies were commissioned as part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS Ready To Learn Initiative, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The Ready To Learn Initiative brings educational television and digital media resources to children ages 2–8 and aims to promote early science and literacy learning. 

The studies, conducted during the pandemic, pioneered innovations in remote data collection with families across the nation, providing evidence that research remains possible when in-person visits are not an option. The Molly of Denali content also provided a free resource to help develop children’s literacy skills to families experiencing pandemic-related disruptions in schooling.

“Never before has there been a study of children’s media supporting young children’s use of informational text to solve problems,” said Shelley Pasnik, EDC senior vice president and principal investigator of the joint EDC-SRI research team. “That we were able to see positive results not once but twice during a year of great educational turmoil makes the case for providing all families with quality early learning opportunities.”

“This research shows the power of well-designed educational media,” said Joy Lorenzo Kennedy, EDC’s lead author. “Not only does Molly of Denali have an engaging storyline and compelling cast of characters, it also embeds informational text in ways that improves children’s learning outcomes.”

Claire Christensen, lead author for SRI, added, “This research comes at a critical time when parents and educators are searching for guidance about how best to support children’s learning when they can’t be in the classroom.”

This study is one of a series of Ready To Learn Initiative studies demonstrating the impact of educational media on children’s learning. The full report is available online at edc.org/infotext

About EDC
Education Development Center (EDC) is a global nonprofit that advances lasting solutions to improve education, promote health, and expand economic opportunity. Since 1958, it has been a leader in designing, implementing, and evaluating powerful and innovative programs in more than 80 countries around the world. 

About SRI International
SRI International is an independent, nonprofit research center that works with clients to take the most advanced R&D from the laboratory to the marketplace. For more than 70 years, SRI has led the discovery and design of groundbreaking products, technologies, and industries—from Siri and online banking to medical ultrasound, cancer treatments, and much more.

About MOLLY OF DENALI 

Molly of Denali is co-produced by GBH and its animation partner, Atomic Cartoons, in association with CBC Kids. Funding for Molly of Denali™ is provided by a Ready To Learn Grant from the U.S. Department of Education; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American People; and by public television viewers. Additional funding made possible with the participation of the Province of British Columbia Production Services Tax Credit. Corporate funding provided by the T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan and Target. Alaska Native collaborators: Adeline P. Raboff, Dewey Kk’ołeyo Hoffman, Luke Titus, Princess Daazhraii Johnson  and Rochelle Adams. Language Advisors: Adeline P. Raboff, Lance X’unei Twitchell, Lorraine David, Marie Meade and Marjorie Tahbone. Informational text advisor: Nell K. Duke, University of Michigan.

About the Ready To Learn Initiative
The Ready To Learn initiative is a cooperative agreement funded and managed by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE). It supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted to preschool and early elementary school children and their families. Its general goal is to promote early learning and school readiness, with a particular interest in reaching children living in low-income households. In addition to creating television and other media products, the program supports activities intended to promote national distribution of the programming, effective educational uses of the programming, community-based outreach, and research on educational effectiveness.

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Contact:
Patrick Yack. pyack@nullfloridapublicmedia.org

1Nielsen NPOWER L+7, 7/15/2019–7/12/2020, 50% unif, 1+ mins., P2+, K2-11
2Google Analytics, January 2020–December 2020

The contents of Molly of Denali were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. The project is funded by a Ready To Learn grant (PR/AWARD No. U295A150003, CFDA No. 84.295A) provided by the Department of Education to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


* Mahsi’choo (Mah-see-cho): “Thank You” in Gwich’in.

WMFE’s Erika Pulley-Hayes Honored as a “Woman on the Move” by ONYX Magazine.

For the sixth consecutive year, ONYX Magazine and its sponsors will acknowledge  Florida’s most influential Black women in business, education, government, media, and nonprofit.

Erika Pulley-Hayes. WMFE-FM. Orlando.

We recognize these women for their tireless efforts in their professions and communities and we are honored to name them among a group of phenomenal women.

Women on the Move celebrates trailblazers who have served to make a difference in their communities, and Erika Pulley-Hayes, President and CEO of WMFE-FM in Orlando, has been recognized among this group.

The full list of honorees can be found here.

WJCT-TV is now JAX PBS

The world is constantly changing and reshaping the way we deliver information. The programs that currently air on WJCT-TV are now available on platforms beyond the broadcast television channel, and its new name reflects this new multi-platform environment.

WJCT-TV has rebranded as Jax PBS, as of February 24, 2021.

As WJCT Public Media continues to move toward production and distribution of its services across a wide range of digital technologies, its brands are also evolving to reflect this new media landscape.

For more than 60 years, the WJCT-TV call letters signaled to the Northeast Florida community that we are your trusted source for the very best in education, entertainment and television news programming. Although we’ve got a new name and fresh look, we continue to connect with audiences with the same mission to educate, involve and inspire!

Florida Public Media Launches Series Exploring Impact of COVID-19 on Florida Students

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of life for nearly everyone, but it’s been especially difficult for those who were already at a disadvantage.

In this statewide project – Class of COVID-19 – journalists explore the high costs of the pandemic for children and young adults who faced some of the greatest obstacles to success in school well before COVID-19 upended public education.

The series of stories and interactive multimedia content will appear at CLASSOFCOVID.ORG

The pandemic has been hard on nearly everyone, but it’s worse for those who were already at a disadvantage. Without urgent solutions, COVID-19’s toll could be catastrophic for Florida’s most vulnerable students.

In Tampa, migrant education advocates are worried about nearly 300 students — children of farmworkers — who “haven’t quite surfaced anywhere” in the last year.

In Tallahassee, Brady Wilson’s hard-won ability to speak in complex sentences devolved to two- or three-word phrases after schools closed last spring. The 18-year-old has Potocki-Shaffer syndrome, which causes developmental delays.

In Fort Lauderdale, a Broward County Public Schools social worker knows she has to “hit the pavement … and knock on those doors” to find the nearly 800 kids who haven’t logged on or shown up for in-person schooling in months.

These are some of Florida’s most vulnerable students, for whom COVID-19 has been not only a profoundly disruptive health crisis but also an educational catastrophe.

In this statewide project, journalists explore the high costs of the pandemic for children and young adults who faced some of the greatest obstacles to success in school well before COVID-19 upended public education.

“This uniquely comprehensive look at how the pandemic has exacerbated educational inequity in Florida comes at a critical time,” said Jessica BakemanWLRN-FM’s education reporter, who edited the project.

Jessica Bakeman – WLRN (Miami)

“Our series will inform the conversation about solutions to some of our state’s most pressing problems during the Legislature’s first law making session since COVID-19 has transformed the lives of Floridians.

“‘Class of COVID-19’ also assesses the educational damage of the pandemic near the one-year anniversary of widespread school closures.”

The radio-side of the project will kick off with a magazine-style narrative radio program, airing statewide.

Later in February, public television stations around the state will carry an hour-long special featuring news reports and conversations with policymakers

Throughout the month, tune into public affairs programs to hear local voices join the conversation. The Florida Roundup a live statewide show hosted by Tom Hudson and Melissa Ross on Friday afternoons, will feature the journalists behind “Class of COVID-19,” allowing listeners to call in with questions of their own.

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