Media RFP Issued By Corporation for Public Broadcasting

2021-03-21 by Jim Crickell
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The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (“CPB”) seeks an entity or individual (“Strategic Advisor”) to assist CPB and the public media system in their efforts to support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in public media’s children’s content, with a focus on DEI in creative and production teams. The Strategic Advisor will assist CPB in the development of a position statement on DEI in children’s content, that will position DEI as an essential pillar for public media’s children’s content service and will provide a framework for communicating about CPB’s actions to support DEI in children’s content. The Strategic Advisor will also assist CPB in the development of a strategy to broaden and support the talent pool for public media’s children’s content, which may include new ideas for engaging diverse emerging content creators, writers, and producers, ideas for partnerships or new initiatives to support DEI in CPB-funded children’s content productions, and introductions to key industry talent. The Strategic Advisor will also assist CPB in developing metrics to evaluate the success of CPB’s actions to support DEI in public media’s children’s content service, and will advise CPB on how best to communicate the impact of this work to partners and stakeholders.

Background:

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is a private, not-for-profit, non-governmental corporation authorized by Congress in 1967 through amendments to the Communications Act of 1934. CPB promotes non-commercial public telecommunications services (television, radio, online, and digital) for the American people. CPB also provides financial support and a variety of services to more than 1,500 locally managed and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. Such support helps guarantee universal access to public broadcasting’s educational services and programming and ensures that stations can exchange program materials through a national system of interconnection.

The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 gave CPB the particular responsibility to encourage the development of content that involves creative risk and that addresses the needs of unserved and underserved audiences, especially children and minorities. For more than 50 years, public media has provided highly valued and trusted educational content to American children, for free over the air, commercial free, online, and across new platforms. CPB provides essential support for public media’s children’s service, primarily through PBS KIDS, which serves children ages 2-8. CPB has long supported PBS KIDS’ leadership in the children’s digital media space through grants emphasizing innovation and diversity. In addition to supporting PBS KIDS directly, CPB provides grants to individual producers for the creation of content for broadcast, digital, and emerging platforms. CPB supports content that is innovative, reflects the diversity of its audience, and responds to the nation’s leading educational needs and priorities. CPB is committed to supporting public media content that is relevant in the lives of all Americans who are diverse in terms of race, heritage, geography, economic levels, thought, and opinion. In 2009, CPB created a strategic framework to guide our commitment and resources to approach innovation and diversity as critical components of the same equation encompassing content, professional development, engagement and inclusion at all levels of public radio and television, examples of which can be seen at cpb.org/diverseaudiences. In 2016, CPB engaged a Strategic Advisor for Diversity in Children’s Content Production, to conduct an analysis of the current children’s media production landscape as it pertains to diversity and produce a series of recommendations. The reports that resulted from this Strategic Advisor’s work will be provided to the successful applicant. Since the time of the previous advisor’s work, CPB has provided funding to individual series in support of DEI, and now wants to build on these efforts in a broader, more systemic way.

CPB made a long-term commitment to diversity and innovation, and we believe that they are linked and essential to ensuring public media’s relevancy with new diverse generations. The stories we have told, the filmmakers we have funded, have reflected that commitment. We want to deepen that commitment and do more in a manner consistent with our mission. This project is a continuation of that work. CPB has been working with a firm to assist it on a broader scope with its DEI work, including participating in discussions with CPB staff and discussions with key public media stakeholders, laying the foundation to develop best practices and measurements of their success, in diversity, equity and inclusion. The selected Strategic Advisor must be able to work collaboratively with this consultant to support CPB’s DEI efforts, at CPB’s direction. For more information, see www.cpb.org.

Scope of Work:

A. Specifically, Strategic Advisor will provide the following services or other similar services during the initial 12-month period.

• Assist CPB in the development and communication of a position statement on DEI in children’s content, that will position DEI as an essential pillar for public media’s children’s content service, and provide a framework for CPB’s actions to support DEI in children’s content. The position statement will focus on children’s content overall (including broadcast, digital, and content on emerging platforms), and will focus on supporting DEI in creative and production teams, with the goal of ensuring a relevant and responsive children’s media service for the public media system.

• Assist CPB in the development, adoption, and implementation of a strategy to broaden and support the talent pool for public media’s children’s content, which may include new ideas for engaging diverse emerging content creators, writers, and producers, as well as ideas for partnerships or new initiatives to support DEI in CPB-funded children’s content productions.

• Assist CPB in developing metrics to evaluate the success of CPB’s actions to support DEI in children’s content, and provide advice on how to best communicate the impact of this work to partners and stakeholders.

• Make connections/introductions with key talent or other personnel that have not previously produced children’s content for public media.

• Meet regularly with CPB staff (likely to include monthly calls) and provide verbal and written reports, advice, and analysis relevant to DEI in public media and the children’s content industry. These services may be in the form of written reports or e-mail communications or via meetings and information communications, as directed by CPB depending on CPB’s needs at the time. Communications will be virtual until in-person meetings may be held safely.

• Provide a monthly report and invoice to CPB that summarizes project activities that took place during the preceding month, and includes, as appropriate, information on industry trends and other relevant information.

• As requested, assist in other related tasks, which may include evaluating proposals for funding or assessing DEI plans in specific productions or proposals being considered by CPB.

B. During the renewal terms and as requested by CPB, Strategic Advisor will provide CPB with counsel regarding CPB’s support for public media’s work in DEI, which may include the following and other related work:

§ Assist CPB in its communications regarding the position statement on DEI in children’s content, including communications with current and potential partners and stakeholders in public media’s children’s content service.

§ Provide guidance to CPB as CPB adopts and implements a strategy to broaden the talent pool for public media’s children’s content (see section A above). The Strategic Advisor will also help CPB assess the success of these actions and assist CPB with adjustments to the strategy as needed.

§ Continue to make connections/introductions with key talent or other personnel that have not previously produced children’s content for distribution on public media platforms.

§ Meet regularly with CPB staff (likely to include monthly calls) and provide verbal and written reports, advice, and analysis relevant to DEI in public media and the children’s content industry. These services may be in the form of written reports or e-mail communications or via meetings and information communications, as directed by CPB depending on CPB’s needs at the time.

§ Provide a monthly report and invoice to CPB that summarizes project activities that took place during the preceding month, and includes, as appropriate, information on industry trends and other relevant information.

Due Date:

March 29

Address:

Sarah Bean, Senior Director, Education Innovation at sbean@cpb.org     

Relevant agencies to consider include Magrino PR and W20 Group.