Another Word About Public Television

Those of you who read this blog know that Emilie and I took Signing Time off the air because we do not have a sponsor and we cannot continue funding TV production without one. For those of you who are new to this conversation here is a brief recap of my previous post.

• As of October 2008 Signing Time is no longer on public television.

• Having Signing Time on public television has been a WONDERFUL experience. The stations and our distributor American Public Television have been fantastic to work with. You, the viewers have been loyal and supportive.

• Two Little Hands is not paid to be on public TV, in fact we pay to produce the episodes.

• Most children’s shows that are on public TV have a sponsor–a company or foundation that pays for production. To date Signing Time has not secured a sponsor.

• We simply cannot afford to produce episodes for public television without a sponsor.

• Many of you have asked what you can do to help. If you have a relationship with a business or foundation that you believe would be a great sponsor for Signing Time, share your experience with them and invite them to consider sponsorship.

• We hope to have Signing Time back on television!

As you know from reading my blog or attending outreach events all over the country, public TV stations are our partners. They chose to share Signing Time with their viewers. Our distributor American Public Television and many of the stations are disappointed in losing Signing Time, too. Many have told us that they want Signing Time back on the air. We are so thankful for their support! They have gone the extra mile to support the mission of Signing Time. We hope you support your local public television station and thank them for airing great shows like Signing Time.

If you, or your friends or family members are upset about Signing Time going off the air, please understand that it is not because stations cancelled the show. It is because Signing Time needs a sponsor (or to win the lottery! 😉 If you need to vent, vent here on this blog. If you want to write a letter, write it to an organization that you believe would be an appropriate sponsor for Signing Time on public television.

We love you guys! Thanks for your support of the mission of Signing Time!

Rachel & Emilie

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About Rachel Coleman

The opinions and late night musings published on this blog are Rachel de Azevedo Coleman's alone, and are not ever intended to represent the opinions and sentiments of any organization or product that Rachel is, was, or will be associated with. Rachel Coleman is the creator and Emmy-nominated host of Signing Time!, the children's American Sign Language vocabulary building series. She is also the creator and host of Baby Signing Time, Rachel & the TreeSchoolers, and Rachel & Me. Rachel now serves as the Executive Director of the American Society for Deaf Children, a 501c3 nonprofit established in 1967 by parents of deaf children. ASDC is the American Sign Language organization for families who are raising deaf children. www.deafchildren.org Motivated by her child, Leah's deafness, Rachel has spent the last 18 years creating ASL products to help bridge the communication barrier between hearing and signing communities. In 2006 Rachel founded the Signing Time Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to putting communication in the hands of all children of all abilities. In 2014, the Signing Time Foundation launched a 50-Lesson online ASL curriculum called "Sign It: ASL Made Easy" that is available free-of-charge to families with deaf or hard of hearing children ages 36 months and under. Apply at www.mydeafchild.org. For those who do not qualify to receive Sign It ASL for free, they can find it for purchase at very reasonable rates on www.SignItASL.com. Rachel and her husband, Aaron, live in Salt Lake City Utah. They are parents to Leah who was born profoundly deaf, and is now a senior in college at NTID/RIT in Rochester, NY. They are also parents to Lucy who has spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and recently graduated high school. In 2010 the Colemans were joyfully reunited with Rachel's daughter Laura. Rachel is proud to be Laura's birth mom. Laura was placed for adoption as an infant in 1992 when Rachel was 17 years-old.

30 thoughts on “Another Word About Public Television

  1. I loved Signing Time on PBS. I live in Canada and I picked it up on an American station. Not having it on public tele just forced me to buy both series! Now we can watch “Rachel” as my daughter calls it on command, and over and over and over again. I’ve been spreading the word. Just because it is not on TV doesn’t mean that you aren’t seen. Thanks for all you do! (Oh, and every frog that my daughter Ayla sees is called Hopkins! 🙂 )

  2. We were so sad to see that Signing Time went off the air on PBS. Luckily we have them saved on the DVR.

    I hope that you can find a sponsor soon. I will stay alert for possibilities! Who would be the ideal candidate for a sponsor? Maybe we could join forces to encourage a specific partnership.

    We will also keep giving Signing Time DVDs as Baby gifts! Get them hooked young right?

    Best of luck!

  3. Great recap. You know that when Robert wins the lottery, we will sponsor you for-evah! Or until you can no longer jump into the screen at the beginning 😉

  4. We were lucky enough to be ‘introduced’ to Signing Time through PBS and that is where Cole fell in love with ST. I am sad that others won’t be so lucky! I am also thankful that we can (and have) purchased the DVD’s directly from ST.

    You are ALL awesome and do great work! You make it so easy and FUN to learn sign language! You have very ‘catchy’ tunes that are fun to sing and sign with!

    Thank you for all that you all do! I will keep you on the list to help when I win the lottery….I sure hope it is soon! 😉

  5. All of my kids have watched signing time since BIRTH! they love it and we have learned so much from watching your programing.

    I wonder why you haven’t been picked up on bigger networks? DISNEY…. that baby channel they have on directv, or other networks like that? I have seen other “signing” videos geared towards baby and children and they have NOTHING on you guys! you are the best!

  6. We watched it a few Saturday mornings a LONG time ago. But when my youngest wasn’t speaking at the age of two we chose to order the first series last year. It is the GREATEST and my youngest turned three, two days ago, and is signing and speaking great! Thank you Rachel and Emilee for all you do. My oldest is four and LOVES Signing Time. He said yesterday while watching the video “Oh, Rachel!” after something you did in the video that must have seemed silly to him! I hope you do get a sponsor because as many as I tell about you, T.V. definitely reaches more people than me :).

  7. I wonder if the Signing Time community could focus its efforts on a company and generate enough interest. The big question would be, is there a company that would be a good fit for Signing Time?

  8. Thanks for the recap and the clarifications. The public television stations have been invaluable in making Signing Time “public” and spreading the word through the events they have sponsored, as well as choosing Signing Time to be on their schedules. I hope that the appropriate sponsor is out there so Signing Time can return to public television soon. ASL is a beautifully expressive language that the world benefits from knowing. Thanks to the Signing Time team for keeping your fans up-to-date and informed so that we can be your partners in possibility.

  9. I am very sad that Signing Time is no longer on television. I have a 13 month old son who has profound hearing loss and he loves to watch Singing Time especially baby signing time. He already uses about 15-20 signs and he learned some of them from watching signing time. Whenever he wants to watch signing time he does the sign for baby and points to the TV. I can’t wait until I can afford to get the DVDs! Hope Singing Time! can find a sponsor soon.

  10. I haven’t watched broadcast television in years (but I do have the first series on DVD)…do they still do tele-thons? I bet you could find a bunch of volunteers to man the phones.

    I have to say I love all the fun songs you’ve done. Do you have any of them on iTunes or anything like that? I live in Central America and the cost of shipping a CD is more then the cost of the CD.

  11. {{{{HUGS}}}}

    Hubby said just the other day ” We need to send Rachel a check for Brooks education”. I so badly wish I could. Someday one of us will win the lotto and all the Signing Time children will be happy forever 🙂

  12. Signing time “Colors of the Rainbow” was one of the first things we saw on the little television in our hospital room when we first became new parents. We’ve been hooked ever since! We were super sad to see it go off the air, but we keep occupied with our collection of DVD’s. My son wakes up practically every morning saying “Leah, Leah!” (which sounds like – “eeeya, eeeya”) with his little “L” hand circling at his cheek. Now at 22 months, he knows, what I’m sure is well over a hundred signs. We stopped counting a while ago, as we couldn’t keep track. Today I asked him where the grapes were, and he signed: WHERE (for the first time), GRAPE, accompanied by his verbal version “air, bape.” He can read letters and numbers, and can sign almost all the letters of the alphabet too! I credit this all to signing, and am so thankful that we have the videos to help us along. Little brother is due here in 9 weeks, and we will start signing with him too. I’ll jump on the sponsor assault team if someone is going to start one! 🙂

  13. I reposted your request for sponsors onto my facebook page I had one friend respond who is in the public T.V. business and she is now on our side! I hope this makes some kind of dent into finding sponsors I want to do my part. If there is anything I can do point me in the direction I need to go.
    Thank you.

  14. I just wanted to tell you how much we apprecite all you have done in producing these wonderful programs that have taught us so much!

    We loved having them on TV and purchased a couple from the website. Your family is so inspiring and such a blessing!

  15. I love signing time! My 1 year olds first word was the frog sign. She would sit and watch her favorite froggy. Now at two her signing vocabulary has grown so much,even my husban and I have learned…we never signed before! That’s why we were so disapointed signing time was off the air. Hope to see you on the air soon. I know have a 5 month old and I would love for him to lear from signing time…eventhough his sister tries to teach him.
    Thanks…Sandra

  16. I know this is sort of off-topic in a way, but have you ever thought about making Signing Time available through iTunes?? Or is that something that you have to pay for or share profits with them? Was wondering if it may help cut down on production costs of DVDs for now while waiting for a sponsor?

    Aside from that, I am an Audiologist in Ohio. Before my daughter’s existence, I knew that I planned on teaching my first child ASL to facilitate the learning of language. My 2 year old daughter, Meadow, began watching Signing Time at 10 months. We only allow her to watch one episode every night before bedtime. By watching the show with her and teaching her, we have learned and enjoyed numerous signs as well. I thought my husband would leave it all up to me and he now probably knows more signs than I do! Thank you for your dedication and interest in something so special. We stopped keeping track of Meadow’s new words and signs when she was 16 months old. She turned 2 last week and she has spoken 6-7 word sentences for months. She also knows all her letters and sings the ABCs from watching ABC Signs. It’s amazing! Thank you for making my dream of teaching her ASL turn out to be so simple and entertaining.

  17. Though I’ve never seen ST on public telivision (we’ve got the DVDs) it made me sad to hear that it was no longer being broadcast. Does that mean that no more will be made and released on DVD? Could product sales cover the cost of production? What about just advertizing the product?

    Also, I just wanted to say a huge thank you for signing time. My 17 month old LOVES it and asks for it all the time. She has learned so much – we stopped counting around Christmas when she knew about 50 words/signs but now she knows all the ones on baby signing time and most of the ones in the first series. We’ll be ordering Series II soon 🙂 I also found out this week that she knows all her ABCs, especially if I show her the sign along with the letter. She tries to sign them and always looks perplexed when her hand doesn’t quite do what she wants. She’ll say “y” and look at her hand expectantly, like the sign is supposed to magically be there. So funny!

    Anyways, I hope you do find a sponsor and are able to make more episodes. I give ST credit for the wonderful communication that we have and have told everyone I know about it! You do such an amazing job and have touched the lives and hearts of so many families! Thanks again!

  18. I know that it seems like a disapointment that signing time is no longer on the air, but I actually discovered this series through a different avenue. Our family does not have cable, and I found it through the “Hooked on Baby” series that introduced the basics. I am a special education teacher and taught my 7 year old sign as a baby, but I wanted something for my new born. She is 4 months old and has been watching the signing time DVDs for about 2 months now and although she doesn’t have the motor skills to do the signs yet, she smiles, kicks and lights up when she sees a sign that is familiar to her. I have incorporated the flash cards and my own sign language skills in her every day life and I just can’t wait until she is able to do it on her own! Thank you for this amazing production.

  19. I was so bummed when ST went off the air. My 17 month old twins LOVE watching it. We have about 6 DVD’s so far with more to come I’m sure. They learn signs so quickly. They ask me to watch by signing and saying ‘baby’ and pointing to the tv I guess because ‘Baby Signing Time’ was their first DVD they think all the DVD’s are ‘Baby Signing Time’ It makes understanding them so much easier when they add their signs to the mumbles they speak at this age. When they are upset I just ask them “Do you want to watch Rachel?” and they run signing ‘baby’ all the way to the living room. Thanks for all the hard work. Oh and could you come to West Palm Beach, FL and do a concert with all your fun songs?! We would come twice!!!

  20. Dear Rachel and all signing time team work….
    I discovered you by internet when I was expecting my first son Mateo, I began to read about sign to babies and all the advantages.. and then I import your dvds by amazon to Chile. here noone has already know about this..I was very hopeful about it, and I began to practise with Mateo since he was 6 month… the problen was that we all here in Chile speaks spanish and the DVDs are all in english, so I was doubtful that works Ok, but it WORKS !! and Mateo also learn to speak english too, He began to spoke, and choose if the concept he talk it was easier to speak it in spanish or english.. so now he comunicate with us, with both languages… depends on wich of the language is easier …
    thank you for all that this way of comunication give to families.. to babies, and to us, the parents, that are able to comunicate with the children in a way that I thought it was no posible.. a magic way….

    THANK YOU SO MUCH, for your beautiful, entertaining and educational DVDs and all THE EXCELLENT initiative;
    It´s brought us an amazing oportunity with Mateo.. and we feel that we are so lucky to have such tools…

    we are so grateful,.. and hope you the best,

    Salazar Leonvendagar Family

  21. I never knew about Signing Time being on TV during the years that it was. I only learned about this show about 4 or 5 months ago.

    Has anyone asked Oprah? I bet that you could get her attention to sponsor you.

  22. I mentioned something to your promotions department and I noticed from your blogs that people seem focused on putting Signing Time back on Public Television. I am sure it’s already been considered but perhaps a main stream television station might possibly pick-up the show. It’s already been created and they might even pay Two Hands to air it. I don’t understand why main stream television can’t be educational.
    Just a thought.

  23. Sorry for the repeat I see it has been mentioned to hit the bigger stations. The programing must be harder to get then I realize.

  24. this might be naive – but have you ever approached the National Association for the Deaf to sponsor signing time? They are strong proponents of teaching all children sign and this is a fabulous venue. the other thought i had was, since I work in pediatrics, various Children’s Hospitals, or even perhaps Shriner’s Hospitals, or even March of Dimes or some similar organization that promotes health for special needs kids, or Down’s kids.

    On a personal note, my two girls have been watching signing time and learning sign since they were born and are both fantastic at the signs – often correcting me and my husband (neither child is special needs, we just thought it would be fun for them). I was looking for more signing videos for them to watch and learn from (me too!) but the ones I found were boring, slow, took themselves very very seriously – all in all a huge dud for kids. Your stuff is unbelievable (fun, creative, postive), and I’m sure its the reason why the people at my daughters’ daycare were amazed that both of them could recognize all their letters by age 18 mths, and animals (zoo train) and their sounds, and their colors (favorite things, box of crayons). Pretty impressive, and we owe it to you.

  25. Hi Racheal, we were so disappointed when signing Time went off the air here in Midland, Texas on Sept. 1, 2009. I sure wished I would have found it sooner I didn’t find it until my son was about 18 to 20 months through about 29 months and we didn’t get to record any of the shows and we can’t afford any of your products but I do try to sign a little what I can remember everyday with him and I have a borrowed book from a neighbor “Talk to the Deaf” by Lottie Riekehof but it sure is different than the show to learn the signs. I will see if I can find someone here in Midland who is willing to sponsor your show. I know of one person from my college days that has parents that are deaf and are signers maybe he can spread the word around he was a signer too but only around his parents. Well thanks for the update. Thanks you and Alex and Leah and Lucy and Hopkins are all wonderful teachers and we need you to continue your work on Public television. I will do my best to see what can be done. Thanks, Ginger. We don’t need it we just wanted to learn it for many reasons.

  26. LIKE SO MANY OTHER PARENTS I LOVE SIGNING TIME AS WELL..MY SON LUCAS WHO WILL BE TWO IN DEC..WAS LEARNING EVEN NOW WE DO THE ALPHABET EVERY MORNING DURING BREAKFAST HE’S CATCHING ON I WISH I HAD THE MONEY….BUT I’M SURE WE WILL SEE IT AGAIN ON PBS SOMEONE WILL COME THRU.

  27. I first got several of your DVD’s from the Library and my grandson fell in love with them. I have since bought several, as well as the flash cards. The whole family is learning to sign. My grandson started watching them when he was 5 mos old and he is 1 yr today. When he hears the theme song he comes crawling as fast as he can. He dances to the songs. He signs 15 to 20 words and recognizes double that amount. He actually signed snow the other day when we were having a blizzard. He signs “rain” he hears it in the Eeetsy Weentsy Spider song. His first words were “BALL” , “dog” and “fishies” all he has learned from Signingtime DVD’s. We are also using the song lyrics and subtitles so he is learning to recognize the words when he sees them. Please tell those who can not afford the DVD’s to check them out from a local library. God bless your and your team for all you do. I will keep your sponsor issue in my prayers.

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