Mayra Acevedo, Executive Team Member & Senior Journalist at WIPR, writes about their new programming for children on diverse platforms.
Much like other children, youngsters in Puerto Rico are on their way to school early in the morning and out by 2 o’clock. However, very few local radio or TV content tailored to their interests or needs was available. WIPR realized there was a huge opportunity to engage this underserved audience through our diverse platforms.
Our approach was to:
- Improve programming by strategically rearranging existing content
- Introduce short-form content designed for young audiences
- Transform one of our most popular kids’ program, Cuenta Cuentos, into a monthly community engagement program at the neighborhood park
- And use our content as an integral part of an afterschool tutoring project at 35 underperforming island-wide middle schools. The project is known as Taller Cien.
WIPR’s Diverse Platforms
WIPR’s TV programming block for younger audiences runs from 6:00 AM thru 9:AM, while the afterschool slot runs from 3-6 pm weekdays and weekend mornings. Local productions such as La nave de Remi, Te cuento lo que leí, as well as other programs with high-quality production values like Piccolo Mondo and others are included.
During weekday morning hours, WIPR 940 AM broadcasts the first and only locally-produced two-hour radio segment in Puerto Rico dedicated to children: Cuentos Camino a la Escuela. The 2 half-hour stories are designed specifically for elementary and middle school kids and are narrated by professional actors from WIPR’s Radio Drama Workshop.
Listen to one of our Cuentos de Camino a la Escuela.
The stories are followed by Despertar Musical, a musical education program developed as a joint venture with the Puerto Rico Music Conservatory that airs every weekday.
Content produced originally for our traditional platforms (radio and television) is now available around the clock on our digital platforms. It can be accessed anywhere. Animaleando is one of WIPR’s new short-form content, produced with the goal of increasing young audiences’ awareness of the need to protect animals and their environment.
Addressing kids who need extra attention to meet school challenges is one of our youth engagement strategy. Through the sponsorship of the project Taller Cien, WIPR’s content is used to train Spanish Teachers in the use of art to improve academic outcome in underachieving middle schoolers (6th to 8th graders). Nearly 1,500 students in 50 schools had a 15% increase in academic performance after workshops (especially in Spanish language proficiency) and increased school attendance. Teachers and students expressed higher satisfaction and future outcome expectations. Taller Cien is a project developed in partnership with Puerto Rico’s Education Department.
Cuenta Cuentos en el Parque Baldrich (Storytelling at the Park) is our most recent community engagement program. Over 200 kids and their parents visit the community park in Baldrich, San Juan the first Sundays of every month. Artists and host Tere Marichal read stories with the help of community members, fostering the love of storytelling.
Cuenta Cuentos is an outreach initiative that was inspired by one of our newest children’s programs Te Cuento lo que Leí and is aimed at encouraging reading and storytelling. It’s been a favorite tool for elementary school teachers and it’s now a community monthly activity. Cuenta Cuentos led to a weekly two-hour story telling workshop at WIPR facilities. The workshop is free of charge for community members.
WIPR is Puerto Rico’s public broadcasting system and consists of two television stations and two radio stations (940 AM and 91.3 FM).