Here it is…
As of October 1, 2008 Signing Time is no longer on public television anywhere in the country.
I think that statement just needed to hang out there in the world for a minute.
So did that one.
We have been flooded with phone calls and emails from you, our Signing Time Families. The stations have called us too, because many of them do not want to lose our show, they know the difference it is making for their viewers and it is a pretty darn popular show.
So, the question you all have is, “Why?”
If the fans love it and the stations love it, why would we pull it? I don’t know how to answer that without total honesty, a little squirming and dispelling some myths.
But, I believe that the truth will set you free, so here is the truth, squirming and all.
Children’s Television 101:
1. We do not get paid to be on television.
2. We are not paid to make the shows. We pay to produce these shows.
3. To maintain a fresh and successful program we need to produce new shows on a regular basis. Ideally a new season each year. That’s approximately a 1.5 million dollar commitment annually.
4. When I say “we” I mean my sister, Emilie and I.
5. We had hoped to find a corporate sponsor or foundation who understands what we are doing and believes in our mission and would partner with us. To date we have not found that partner. (Yes we have gone after grants as well)
6. A children’s show on public TV cannot advertise a product nor can we direct viewers to an internet site where our products can be purchased. As parents, that is one of the things we love about public television.
Many viewers have no idea that there are DVDs, Music CDs, flash cards, t-shirts and books available to purchase. We could not direct them to www.signingtime.com (where we sell our products) we could only send them to www.signingtimekids.com (where we do not sell our products)
7. We do sell enough Signing Time products to maintain our staff of 8 people, fulfill orders, keep the lights on, etc. We do not sell enough product to fund 13 new episodes annually.
Here’s the bottom line, for the past three years, Emilie and I gave Signing Time to viewers for free on public television. We made that choice because we felt that doing so would have an incredible impact on families across the country. We hoped it would get into homes and in front of children who needed it. We believe in communication for ALL children of ALL abilities. That is what we care about. We also believed that through this national exposure we would find a sponsor.
The truth is that there is no way for two sisters to continue pulling this off without a partnership… or by robbing a bank and sorry guys and girls I am not going to rob a bank. At this point it would be financially irresponsible for us to commit to another year and even worse to consider bank robbing, I mean how would you explain THAT to your kids?
I still believe a like-minded organization or corporation will partner with us in our efforts and that Signing Time will be back on TV. I know the difference we are making in the world and how important that difference is. You know it too or you wouldn’t be reading this.
1. Well if you saw Signing Time on public TV, you can sit down and write a note to your station and thank them for airing us. Share with them the difference that it made in your life. See, unlike the shows in the PBS Kids Block that MUST air in a specific order at a certain time, your station was not forced to air Signing Time, it was a choice they made, to share us with you. Over 70% of the public television stations chose to air us! Not too shabby for a couple of sisters in Utah.
2. Make a request to your local libraries, early intervention programs, lending libraries, schools and other organizations to add the Signing Time Library to their offerings.
3. Purchase Signing Time products and tell others who miss seeing us on TV that EVERYTHING (Music CDs, flash cards, t-shirts, board books, of course EVERY single DVD) is available on www.signingtime.com
4. Keep telling your friends, family members and complete strangers the benefits of signing with children and how Signing Time has helped this parenting revolution.
5. As far as a sponsor, think about the people you know and the people they know. The right fit is out there. It is just a matter of finding them and them finding us. You may be the one who makes that connection. We need strong leads, not just a bunch of great ideas. If you feel that you or someone you personally know can make a difference, please have them get in touch with us.
I know there is strength in numbers. Let’s all put our thinking caps on! I can’t wait to announce that Signing Time is back and better than ever!
Honestly, the partnership we have had is a partnership with you, our Signing Time customers. Each time you purchase our products, you are letting us know that you appreciate what we are doing and that you want more.
From my family to yours, thank you for your incredible, continuing partnership!
~Rachel, Aaron, Leah and Lucy Coleman