Kids’ Time

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My name is Kyle Mackie (and my name is Maeve) and we’re the hosts of KidsTime on cfru-fm in Guelph. Kids’ Time is a volunteer-run, community-minded radio program that features great music and stories for children and their families. Kids’ Time has been on the air since 2003.

We’re glad to be a part of this panel and this conference, and most importantly, we’re glad to be HERE. We started out our journey yesterday morning at the Guelph train station, and it was a great day to travel. After changing trains in Toronto, Maeve started to say she felt dizzy and well, we were barfing in Oshawa, Coburg, Belleville, Napanee…Luckily we have some good friends we can stay with in Kingston! We caught the train this morning and we’re here.

So, what does this have to do with our talk. The answer is a lot. When we’re dealing with kids, we need to be flexible and accommodating, we need to have a backup, and it doesn’t hurt to have a barf bag or 2 at the ready.

How do we make the station accessible for kids? Step one: ask them. Maeve what do you like to do on KidsTime.
– picking themes, picking music and books, pushing buttons, drawing at the extra desk in the station, having guests (friends and musicians), and hanging out with my dad

Practical things we can do.

Make the station physically family-friendly.
– kids need to be comfortable, bright, secure, friendly and clean
– set up the board so that a host could sit with 2 kids on their laps
– make the equipment usable for kids
– adjustable chairs
– keep the cables tidy and off the floor

Make programming family and kid friendly.
– actively recruit programming for different age groups
– actively recruit backups and fillins. I know we’re all busy, but families are really busy and it shouldn’t be a struggle if the programmer needs to miss a show.

Give it a community focus
– strengthen local music and culture
– give families access to their local governments and information about their communities
– help diverse communities get on the air

Make the events family and kid friendly.
– sponsor events in the community – libraries, concerts, storytellers, festivals
– plan station events, meetings, etc. at times that are convenient for families. 5pm meetings are difficult!
– have some events that cater to parents with young families. these folks are sometimes desperate for some adult conversation and entertainment, but if the station events start at 10pm, it’s difficult to arrange babysitting, and it’s difficult to get up the next morning!

Have fun and don’t be afraid to learn.

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