We Are BACK!

Just two years ago I announced that Signing Time had gone off the air.
In 2008, my sister Emilie and I did not renew our contract to keep Signing Time on public television because:
We didn’t have a sponsor
We didn’t have a grant
We couldn’t come up with the production capital (a million bucks per 13 episodes) to keep cranking out episodes of Signing Time.

The real bummer was that stations and fans were still requesting the show. You just love us, don’t you;)

Not much has changed, we still don’t have a sponsor and we still don’t have a grant and we’re still paying off that loan AND we still have public television stations asking us if they can air Signing Time. At every single outreach event I have had over the past two years, no matter where I am singing and signing, someone asks when we are coming back to public television.

And so…

(drum roll please)

Turn on your TVs folks because beginning October 4, 2010 (THAT’s TODAY) we have given your public television stations the right to air Signing Time for the next two years!! I think we should all stand up and do The Diaper Dance!

The shows have been remastered and our Presenting Station is Vegas PBS. Please swing by and show them some LOVE!

What this means: Well it means that over the next two years your stations CAN choose to air Signing Time, it does not mean that they WILL choose to air it.

If you really want to express your desire to see Signing Time then do what you would naturally do. And I KNOW what you naturally do because I work at Two Little Hands Productions. Every day at Two Little Hands Productions we get the most amazing, tear-jerking stories that are totally unsolicited. EVERY DAY we get them… beautiful, amazing, touching stories. Your stories.

DOs
Send your photos and send YOUR story to your local station. Share what Signing Time has done for you and what you see it would contribute to your community if it was available in your area on public television.

DON’Ts
I DO NOT recommend that you put together a “Get Signing Time on the Air Campaign.” I really don’t. First of all, it is just a bother to the stations and it looks so fake and orchestrated. Even if it’s not fake, when it is orchestrated it looks fake. So, please don’t do that.

And finally… If your station is already airing Signing Time, be sure to thank them!

I don’t know about you but I’m going to do The Diaper Dance again, just because I can!!

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

Signing Time is No Longer on Public TV

Ok,

so…

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.

Now what?
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!

Thank YOU!
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