Arkansas PBS: Arkansas’s Media Home

For 55 years, Arkansas PBS has been committed to enhancing lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people of all ages and all walks of life. As the only statewide public media outlet, Arkansas PBS has played a vital role in educating, informing, engaging and inspiring audiences in every corner of the state. 

Until 2020, Arkansas PBS was known as AETN – the Arkansas Educational Television Network. Building on its rich history, the statewide public media network changed its name with a renewed commitment to put Arkansas and Arkansas stories first. The new brand allows audiences to more easily identify and connect with Arkansas PBS on all platforms and access daily and essential educational resources, news, entertainment and community conversations. 

Above all else, the network values excellence, innovation and collaboration – delivering compelling local productions alongside classic, trusted PBS programs. Arkansas PBS is well known for its original local programming including “Exploring Arkansas” and “Blueberry’s Clubhouse,” as well as in-depth public affairs programming such as “Arkansas Week,” “Arkansans Ask” and “Elections: Arkansas PBS Debates.” Most recently, the network released “Arkansas Dairy Bars: Neat Eats & Cool Treats,” a travelogue visiting dairy bars throughout the state, and “Urban Forge,” an inside look at a blacksmith shop in Mountain View, and how a small, dedicated group of artisans continue to carry on this ancient tradition. Perhaps the most anticipated production of the year, “Exploring Arkansas From Above” (featuring spectacular drone footage of the Natural State) is slated for a December premiere. 

Set for a December premiere, "Exploring Arkansas From Above" features spectacular drone footage of the Natural State across all four seasons. 

Arkansas PBS is an investment in the education, culture and future of Arkansas. The network’s children’s programming serves as Arkansas’s preschool to those who cannot afford quality preschool. It provides the highest quality professional development for educators, giving them the tools to help children succeed in school and in life. Arkansas PBS keeps Arkansans safe as the backbone of the statewide emergency alert system. It provides a forum for conversations about a wide range of topics important to Arkansans, and as Arkansas’s storyteller, brings to light the people and experiences that make Arkansas a remarkable place to live.  

Arkansans can connect with Arkansas PBS through livestreaming, on-demand services and YouTube, and the distinct television channels Arkansas PBS, Arkansas PBS Create, Arkansas PBS KIDS, Arkansas PBS WORLD and Arkansas PBS AIRS (Arkansas Information Reading Services for the Blind). Arkansas PBS is in the midst of a five-transmitter signal expansion to increase its television broadcast coverage from 76% of the state to 99.5% by mid-2022, enabling the network to serve even more individuals and families across Arkansas. 

Hosted by Steve Barnes, “Arkansas Week” is Arkansas PBS’s weekly news and public affairs program. 

Arkansas PBS is grateful for operational support from the State of Arkansas and depends on the generosity of Arkansas businesses, foundations and individuals to continue offering quality programming. Over 25,000 individual members/viewers of Arkansas PBS provide the largest private source of contributed revenue. A large portion of this funding is obtained through four on-air membership drives each year in March, June, August and December. Special programming during these campaigns includes music, arts, event opportunities and more. 

Businesses and organizations benefit from the underwriting recognition they receive as sponsors of Arkansas PBS programs. Individual, business and foundation support helps Arkansas PBS to create local, original productions and provide national programs to viewers. 

One of the most notable member benefits is Arkansas PBS Passport, an extensive on-demand library of public television programming, available to those who donate $60 or more annually. Sustaining members who give $5 monthly also receive Arkansas PBS Passport – making it the best value in on-demand streaming services. 

Arkansas PBS’s monthly “Good Roots” series focuses on agriculture and rural community life topics. 

In addition to its rich content on air and online, Arkansas PBS produces a number of in-person events including Family Day, Toad Suck Daze activities, screenings of program premieres, and assorted family literacy, community education and outreach activities across the state. Additionally, Arkansas PBS curates various activities including virtual YouTube and Facebook Live events and exclusive member events providing behind-the-scenes experiences of upcoming PBS programs. 

Anyone interested in learning more about the network and contributing to educational growth in the state is invited to become a volunteer or participate in its internship program. Arkansas PBS offers a variety of volunteer opportunities from answering phones during pledge drives to administrative and event support staff. More information is available at myarkansaspbsfoundation.org/volunteer. Internships are also available for college students and early career professionals. More information is available by contacting internships@myarkansaspbs.org. 

IMPACT BY THE NUMBERS 

  1. Arkansas PBS is Arkansas’s largest classroom, offering 40 hours per week of children’s programming on its main channel and 24/7 children’s programming on its PBS KIDS channel. 
  2. Each year, 70,000 educators receive free, online professional development from Arkansas PBS. 
  3. Arkansas PBS received 12 national awards in 2020, including three regional Emmy Awards and nine national Public Media Awards. 
  4. Arkansas PBS Passport streaming service offers 400-plus hours of local video on demand and 1,500-plus episodes of popular PBS shows. 
  5. AR-CAN (Arkansas Citizens Access Network) livestreams state government events and meetings and serves as an important educational tool, allowing students to see their government at work. 
  6. For 18 years, PBS has been ranked No.1 in public trust for news and public affairs. (M&RR survey Jan. 2021) 

This article originally appeared in the September 2021 issue of the North Metro Business Journal.