Local Content and Service Report

2023 Community Report

Mission Overview

Iowa PBS educates, informs, enriches and inspires Iowans.

Iowa PBS is Iowa’s statewide public television network, producing more than a thousand hours of free, original media and educational content each year. We tell the stories of our state and of our people. Our award-winning team of producers, educators, artists, journalists and public media experts create a broad spectrum of rich and entertaining programming and services that respond to the changing needs and priorities of the diverse communities we serve.

Our mission is not just about the content we make, but for whom we make it. Iowa PBS cultivates lasting relationships by actively engaging our many audiences in a manner that aligns with their interests and exceeds their expectations. We work to enrich the lives of Iowans: our viewers, our neighbors, our partners and collaborators.

Our annual goals and objectives are motivated by four strategic priorities:

  • Who we are: the best, comprehensive, statewide educational media organization serving Iowa with an empowered, engaged team and a thriving work culture.
  • What we do: provide enrichment and entertainment opportunities for everyone, either through Iowa curriculum-aligned educational resources that inform, enlighten and engage students or through exceptional national and local programs that inform, enrich and inspire.
  • How we do it: by innovating and expanding the Iowa PBS multi-platform media and services enterprise to embrace the variety of technologies, platforms and formats available to today’s audiences.
  • Why we matter: we strive to engage our audiences through quality interactions that result in stronger relationships, increased awareness of and connection to our educational content and positive impacts on their outlooks, their experiences and their futures.
"This is just to let you know how much I depend on and enjoy Iowa PBS. Thank you for such great programming.” - Jacquelyn Medin, January 2023


Iowa is at the heart of Iowa PBS. We offer Iowans a partner in their quest for community and lifelong learning by engaging people of all ages with trusted services and programming that both educate and inspire. A statewide hub for public policy and a platform for civic and civil discourse, we provide news and information with historical perspective that enhances the lives of Iowans from all backgrounds, all generations, and all walks of life. We are committed to delivering high-quality and innovative media and services that create insight, fulfillment, and growth while offering companionship, comfort, and entertainment. Iowa PBS provides the lens through which Iowans may better see their world.


Iowa PBS enriches lives.

Strategic Planning

Iowa PBS is an autonomous agency under the umbrella of the Iowa Department of Education. The Iowa Public Broadcasting Board, the broadcast licensee, governs Iowa PBS and sets broad programming objectives and policy guidelines. At the Board’s direction, Iowa PBS has undergone a strategic planning process designed to set strategic priorities and define impact areas helpful to our success.

Strategic planning began in November 2022 with leadership team and staff-driven strategy meetings, followed by research and review to determine critical issues and opportunities, and ultimately priorities setting to establish and align annual goals.

Iowa PBS is moving forward with set annual goals, timelines and success measures to keep our work focused and accountable, allowing us to meet our viewers’, members’ and funders’ expectations.

“I watch PBS all of the time. Love series they show. And have learned so much about history. I never learned anything from high school in my history class.” — Lauri Gee, February 2023

Broadcast and Online Programming Overview

In support of our mission, Iowa PBS broadcast/streamed 96 hours of quality educational content each and every day of 2023. More than 570 broadcast hours were devoted to locally produced programs over the reporting period. Nearly half (44%) of the households in our viewing area* watched Iowa PBS via our broadcasts each month. Our 24/7 service is provided via four unique programming channels – Iowa PBS (.1), Iowa PBS KIDS (.2), Iowa PBS WORLD (.3) and Iowa PBS Create (.4). Our studios in Johnston, Iowa distribute our programming to our statewide network, including: Channel 11, Des Moines; Channel 12, Iowa City; Channel 21, Fort Dodge; Channel 24, Mason City; Channel 27, Sioux City; Channel 32, Waterloo; Channel 32, Council Bluffs; Channel 36, Davenport; and Channel 36, Red Oak.

Iowa PBS viewers today rely on us to provide ‘on demand’ options that allow them to watch where they want and when they want. We continue to broaden our online offerings to meet Iowans expanding interests and preferences, reaching them on YouTube (5.7 million video views), Facebook (108,000 followers) and the PBS App (2.72 million streams for 2023). Iowa PBS’s social media engagement surpassed one million over the last reporting period. Our website visits surpassed 3.2 million!

* Nielsen Data and TRAC Media measured between July 2022 and June 2023 for KDIN

Programming for Children and Families

“I just want to say I appreciate the information you share on city government in a way children can understand it. It is very important that young people learn about how to get involved and how things work. Thank you for all you do in educating our future generations through your programming.” — Nick Murrow, Mayor of Mitchellville and father of a 4-year-old girl, January 2023

As the steadfast ally of parents and caregivers, Iowa PBS educational content is produced in close consultation with educators and child development experts to achieve specific curriculum objectives. Iowa PBS combines the programs and services of the PBS KIDS brand with local programming to serve Iowa’s children. Iowa PBS takes very seriously its responsibility to provide child-focused and violence-free children’s programs that promote the joy of learning – not products for advertisers.

Iowa PBS Education continues to develop and deliver on strategies to assist students, educators and parents succeed in life. Iowa families enjoyed the unique opportunities to interact with our online educational services during 2023. We served more than four million users online, (across multiple platforms) including pbskids.org, PBS KIDS OTT apps, PBS KIDS Video apps and PBS KIDS Games app. Broadcasts of Iowa PBS’s children’s programs remain a significant value to Iowa families. Nearly a third (31.60 percent ) of the households in our viewing area watched our KIDS programming blocks on our primary .1 channel each month, as measured by Nielsen Data and TRAC Media between July 2022 and June 2023 for KDIN. Children the same age also watched our Iowa PBS KIDS .2 channel (an additional 7.66%) which is devoted entirely to educational children’s programming. Both Iowa PBS .1 and Iowa PBS KIDS .2 are live streamed 24 hours a day and 7 days a week on iowapbs.org.

“The program was wonderful and an insightful new look at the broad ranging career of Meredith Willson and the impact he had on the world of music in America and abroad. I have watched past documentaries on this subject and thought I knew this story pretty well. But I was wrong… I could go on but you probably understand how I feel about the significance of Iowa PBS committing resources to present an updated version about Meredith Wilson. Thanks again for your research and preservation of this important piece of Iowa history.” — Bill Sherman, April 2023

Producing content about who we are, where we live and what it means to be an Iowan is the most important thing we do at Iowa PBS. There is nowhere else where Iowans can turn to see programs that showcase the talent, spirit and beauty of our state, and where public policy is not just discussed, but explained. Iowa PBS is able to cover the entire state with its digital mobile production unit. The unit has allowed us to provide remote HD coverage of the Iowa State Fair, operas, high school championship sports, live concerts and more.

Here is the list of new production projects in 2023:

  • All-State Music Festival 2023 showcased Iowa’s finest high school musicians and vocalists gathered at Hilton Coliseum in Ames to perform with the All-State bands, choirs and orchestras. The programs include performances from two thousand top high school musicians.
  • Christmas with Wartburg has inspired audiences for more than 75 years. The program features the talents of nearly 400 students from the Wartburg Choir, Castle Singers, and Wind Ensemble, The Ritterchor, St. Elizabeth Chorale, Kammerstreicher, Kantorei, and Handbell Choir. A one-of-a-kind experience that fills the heart and starts the Advent and Christmas season.
  • Citizen Diplomacy is a documentary profiling Iowans who have been a source for bridging the diplomatic gap between nations for decades. Strong ties between the Soviet Union, Japan and China all started with a handshake that led to greater understanding between people of different nations.
  • College Wrestling highlights pulled from our video archives over the past two years offer iconic coverage of college wrestling, showcasing the intense battles on the mat from the late 1970s to the early 2010s. This collection highlights legendary programs like the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and other powerhouse wrestling programs.
  • Condition of the Guard 2023 provided a live broadcast and stream from the Iowa State Capitol as Major General Ben Corell, Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, delivered the annual Condition of the Guard address to a joint session of the Iowa Legislature.
  • Condition of the State 2023 provided a live broadcast and stream from the Iowa State Capitol of Governor Kim Reynolds’ Condition of the State address to the Iowa Legislature.
  • Crafts from the Past introduces hobbies from decades past, offering a primer to various techniques by experienced Iowa makers. Whether it be hobbies from childhood, crafts we associate with a parent or grandparent, or hands-on skills long forgotten, there is a fascination with reprising lost techniques as we explore new pastimes.
  • Des Moines Metro Opera Presents Carmen dives into a twisting tale of romance, intrigue and obsession. First performed in 1875 and featuring some of the most recognizable operatic arias, Carmen is considered to be one of the world’s most popular and beloved operas.
  • Fair 2023 Host Bill Riley showcases the best Iowa State Fair sights and sounds, including live coverage of the Fair Parade, a livestream of the Queen Coronation, and six hour long highlights shows featuring contests, unique stories, food, animals, music and more. Iowa PBS's Iowa State Fair coverage brings the sights and sounds of the fair home.
  • FIND Iowa is a theme-based, standards-aligned virtual learning experience showcasing the science and history of Iowa and addressing critical gaps in resources. The project encourages students grades 2-5 to investigate the state through immersive and interactive resources. Students can virtually explore Iowa through 360° video and images, interactive maps and three-dimensional artifact models.
  • Gardening with Steil season 3, hosted by Aaron Steil, assistant director at Reiman Gardens in Ames, shares gardening trends while nurturing an understanding of how humans interact with nature. Learn about heirloom tomato varieties, visit a home garden beautifully executed using mostly perennials and travel to a houseplant specialty store for a lesson on plant parenting.
  • Historic Buildings of Iowa: Mason City and Clear Lake explores the art and architecture of Mason City and Clear Lake through Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie school style, one of the premier art museums of the Midwest and sites dedicated to some of the most acclaimed musicians of the 20th century.
  • Iconic Iowa mirrored Iconic America by examining Iowa’s most iconic symbols, objects and places through photo submissions from community members. The photos were developed into a physical and online exhibit, which included video interviews with Iowans from diverse backgrounds sharing their perspectives on American and Iowan symbols.
  • Inauguration 2023 provided a live broadcast and livestream of Governor Kim Reynolds as she was sworn in for her second full term in office during a formal inauguration ceremony at the Iowa Events Center.
  • In Their Words season 2 is an ongoing series of digital-first, person-first accounts that explore a spectrum of youth achievement. Through leadership, innovation, hard work and dedication, there is much to applaud when it comes to our next generation. Young Iowans lift their voices about exceptional things in their schools, communities and beyond, celebrating their successes and sharing their journeys.
  • Iowa High School Theatre Awards Showcase 2023 featured students from across Iowa sharing highlights from their productions and receiving honors for their performances and technical and creative work. They work with a guest music director and choreographer to give the best performances of their young lives.
  • Iowa Life uncovers the diverse tapestry of Iowa's people, cultures and stories. Through compelling interviews, scenic visuals, and authentic storytelling, each episode explores the extraordinary lives of individuals who call Iowa home.
  • Iowa Miss Amazing is a digital short that explores the powerful story behind Iowa Miss Amazing and journeys behind the scenes at the 2023 pageant. Miss Amazing is a national organization that promotes confidence-building activities and empowerment for girls and women with disabilities.
  • Iowa Pathways is an online learning environment for grades 5-12 that challenges students to create their own story of Iowa history as they explore the people, places, events and ideas of our state. Students choose topics that interest them, build research questions and examine relationships among Iowa concepts—past to present.
  • Iowa PBS Sports showcased the outstanding accomplishments of Iowa high school athletes by televising and streaming their championship volleyball, softball, soccer and basketball games. Iowa PBS is the home for Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Championships.
  • Iowa Press season 50 engaged the best local journalists to interview experts, political and other newsworthy figures while exploring issues of state and national interest. Host Kay Henderson, moderates Iowa’s only statewide public affairs television program featuring politicians, political reporters, academics and guests.
  • Iowa Science Phenomena is a growing collection of science phenomena resources created, curated and collected by Iowa educators for use in the classroom. The collection emphasizes the identification and publication of Iowa-specific phenomena, particularly those that represent locally-relevant or unique concepts. The standards-aligned resources and teaching guides are developed to help you implement phenomena-based and place-based teaching practices in your classroom.
  • Iowa State Dance Team Championships 2023 was a two-hour highlights program showcasing all of the winning routines from the approximately 2,500 top young dancers who competed in what is considered to be one of the nation's largest and most prestigious events.
  • Iowa's Wild Weather: Storms examined the impact, history and science of storms in Iowa. While severe storms are a part of life in Iowa, the pattern and severity of these storms have been increasing over the past decades. Discover the role climate change plays on these intensifying storms, and how people living in the path of cataclysmic events remain resilient.
  • Market to Market season 48, the weekly journal of rural America served public television viewers in rural America, helping them navigate the $1 trillion agricultural economy. Worldwide political tensions and the potential for a yield curbing drought further emphasized the importance of the information provided each week.
  • Market to Market Classroom connects curriculum with stories about the science, technology, culture, and the business of agriculture from the nation's longest-running agribusiness television program. These educational resources challenge students to explore the connections among science, technology and agriculture; and to imagine a new scientific, technical, or engineering innovation to solve a specific problem.
  • Meredith Willson: America’s Music Man followed the career of the musician, conductor, composer and Iowa's champion on Broadway. He composed symphonies, led orchestras and scored Hollywood films for the likes of Charlie Chaplin. He wrote popular songs performed by Sinatra and The Beatles and became a household name in the golden age of radio.
  • MtoM Podcast is another weekly production of the Market to Market team that offers a behind the scenes look at the show’s production, stories and interviews about and with those in agriculture and other topics of interest. With over 800 episodes, new content is posted each Tuesday.
  • Our Great State Fair explored the history of Iowa's biggest event — the annual showcase of our state's best in agriculture, industry, entertainment and achievement. The story begins in 1854 as an experimental agricultural exposition in Fairfield and continues into the 21st century as an annual statewide celebration in Des Moines.
  • Ready for School initiative provided access to high-quality educational media resources including online games, instructional materials and educational activities that help children increase their school readiness and success. Educational specialists work with educators, parents, childcare providers and local partners in selected Iowa communities to implement STEM and literacy-based activities for children 2 through 5 years old.
  • Sioux City Symphony and the Legendary John Osborn presents the international operatic tenor and Sioux City native performing with the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra. The program showcased some of John Osborn’s “greatest hits” and featured his wife, the renowned soprano Lynette Tapia, along with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews.
  • State of the Judiciary 2023 offered a livestream as Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Christensen delivered the annual State of the Judiciary address to a joint session of the Iowa Legislature.
  • The Film Lounge season 7 celebrated the work of Iowa filmmakers and the region’s vibrant film communities while exploring film as an art form. The annual series features short form documentaries, wistful art films, thrilling dramas, experimental, narrative and animated films as well as behind-the-scenes features on film culture across the state.
  • USS Iowa is a historical documentary on the legendary battleship built to defend America during WWII. The USS Iowa has lived many lives throughout its existence. This symbol of naval power is intertwined with the stories of those who served through campaigns of triumph and tragedy.
  • Wander and Wonder is a digital video campaign encouraging students grades PreK-3 to be curious, observant and eager to learn. Videos demonstrate activities related to STEM learning with interactive, seasonal activities, crafts and projects families can do at home. From homemade slime to pancake science, and backyard fun to fun crafts, young explorers can imagine and plan their own adventures.
  • Woodsmith Shop season 17 is an information-packed presentation of woodworking furniture projects, along with the tips and techniques to build them in 17 seasons. Roundtable discussions explore a range of woodworking topics to help woodworkers set up and enjoy spending time in their shops.
  • World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony 2023, founded by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Iowan Norman Borlaug, gathers hunger fighters from across the globe to honor award-winning achievements with remembrance, pageantry, international music and a celebration of agricultural breakthroughs.
  • Yankee Doodle Pops 2023 presented the Des Moines Symphony’s 29th Annual Yankee Doodle Pops concerts at the Iowa State Capitol in a statewide broadcast for all Iowans to enjoy. Music Director and Conductor Joseph Giunta and the Des Moines Symphony musicians performed time-honored patriotic favorites, including the 1812 Overture and Stars and Stripes Forever.

Award-Winning Production

Iowa PBS was honored with two national Public Media Awards from the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) during the 55th Annual Public Media Awards Gala. Iowa PBS took home awards in the following categories:

  • Content — Military Chronicles category for USS Iowa. This one-hour documentary follows a legendary battleship built to defend America during World War II, which has lived many lives throughout its existence. This symbol of naval power is intertwined with the stories of those who served through campaigns of triumph and tragedy.
  • Content — Short Form category for Iowa Miss Amazing. This digital short explores the powerful story behind Iowa Miss Amazing and journeys behind the scenes at the 2023 pageant. Miss Amazing is a national organization that promotes confidence-building activities and empowerment for girls and women with disabilities.

The PMAs are a national honor for public television's finest work in community engagement, content, education, marketing/communications, independent productions and overall excellence. Iowa PBS was named a finalist in seven categories overall during the two year reporting period. NETA is a professional association that provides leadership, general audience content, educational services, professional development and trusted financial management services to individual public media licensees, their affinity groups and public media as a whole.

Iowa PBS was named a PMA finalist in two additional categories: Overall Excellence in Education for the Iowa PBS Education team, and in Short Form for In Their Words: Metal Artist.

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences — Upper Midwest Chapter honored Iowa PBS with three regional Emmy® Awards in 2023. Awards went to:

  • Meredith Willson: America’s Music Man in the Documentary — Cultural category
  • USS Iowa in the Military — Short or Long Form Content category
  • Sioux City Symphony and the Legendary John Osborn in the Entertainment — Long Form Content category

A former Iowa PBS Mentorship Program participant, Abrianna Hilson, received the Upper Midwest Emmy® Foundation’s Crystal Pillar for her work in student video production. Hilson was recognized in 2023 for her video, “My PBS Mentorship” in the High School — Nonfiction category. The Crystal Pillar recognizes outstanding achievement in student production. Hilson was a student at North High School in Des Moines. She was involved in the 2022 Iowa PBS Mentorship Program.

Educational Resources Overview

"We've partnered with Iowa PBS. We first started with the STEAM trailer... during our Spring break activities while the kids were out of school. The value it brings to our community is, A - It provides accessibility for all people. B - We see a lot of faces we wouldn't ordinarily see during the school year, which has been really great to bring people together around a table of STEM activities." — Rachel Lawson, Youth Services Librarian, Winterset Public Library, August 2023

Iowa PBS Education provides families and educators and students with content-rich, age appropriate resources and media to create welcomed learning opportunities. Our team uses trusted multimedia resources to support instructors and students. Our resources are a curation of assets from PBS, local Iowa content produced in close consultation with educators and child development experts to achieve specific curriculum objectives, and contributions from our educational partners. Our multimedia resources range in age appropriateness from pre-K through the 12th grade, and address all subject areas.

Iowa PBS Education believes that the research-based programs we provide engage children and enhance their learning. In addition to our high-quality educational media, we offer resources to those teaching young children, on-air and online resources to local school districts, home learning support by program collections grouped by grade and educational themes so parents and kids can learn together.

Our education team engaged with over 5,500 childcare kids throughout 2023, and served nearly 5,500 educators with presentations and conference/event activities and exhibits.

Iowa PBS participated in the Iowa 4-H Reporters program again, taking place in early August. A cohort of 4-H high school students were invited to a training workshop where they received instruction from Iowa PBS professionals in script writing, audio recording, interviewing and video editing basics. The one-day camp provided an opportunity for students with an interest in media and communications to learn more about the industry and produce video content during the Iowa State Fair. After a training session on the Iowa State Fair fairgrounds, the 4-H Reporters spent a day helping Iowa PBS cover the Fair.

"The STEAM Bundles were a great value to our library. They allowed us to really see some things that were essential to our community that we didn't realize before as we watched the children play and interact with each other... We are very grateful that Iowa PBS has these types of resources that we can trust and we are able to borrow to supplement the things that we have in our library and to allow parents to see what is available outside of our community." — Tara Turner, Woodward Public Library, September 2023

PBS LearningMedia

PBS LearningMedia offers teachers more than 100,000 videos, images, interactives, lesson plans and articles drawn from critically acclaimed PBS programs. Productivity tools enable deeper engagement with content. Every resource created showcases the subject, grade level and alignment to national and Common Core standards, and is presented within the hierarchies of commonly taught topical areas.

For Educators

PBS LearningMedia offers teachers more than 100,000 videos, images, interactives, lesson plans and articles drawn from critically acclaimed PBS programs. Productivity tools enable deeper engagement with content. Every resource created showcases the subject, grade level and alignment to national and Common Core standards, and is presented within the hierarchies of commonly taught topical areas.

For Students

PBS LearningMedia invites students to take control of their own learning. It offers a teacher-managed environment that allows students of any age to create their own learning experiences by engaging directly with innovative, curriculum-targeted content. Students can create storyboards to demonstrate their mastery of curriculum concepts, bring their digital projects to life through video, images and text. Self-paced lessons allow students to pause, ask questions and interact with content at their own pace.

Professional Development

Iowa PBS Education team works with educators and families to identify the best free resources to meet their needs. The team also supports STEM festivals, literacy nights, family nights and more by providing STEAM activity sessions or booths. Educators can explore an area of interest or meet professional development requirements in a supportive online environment. Our team engaged directly with nearly 5,500 educators over the past year, providing presentations and conference/event activities and exhibits.

Early Childhood Resources Birth to Age 8

Iowa PBS’s Early Childhood site provides information and resources supporting the development of young children. With articles addressing children’s development and support for those caring for young children, we provide access to high-quality educational media resources to those caring for and teaching young children, as well as training to support the use of those resources.

"Thank you all for your hard work and caring enough to give your best!!! We Love Iowa PBS!!!!!!!" — Anne Marie DeVries, January 2023

Ready for School

Iowa PBS’s commitment to early childhood education continues with the expansion of its Ready for School initiative. Ready for School has been deployed in 200 Iowa communities prior to this year. Our eleventh year of Ready for School is focused on giving all children equal opportunity to succeed with access to high-quality educational media resources including online games, instructional materials and educational activities that help children increase their school readiness and success. The 2023-2024 Ready for School communities are associated with the following community school districts:

  • Exira-Elk Horn-Kimballton
  • CAM Schools
  • Griswold Community Schools
  • Riverside
  • Allamakee
  • Central
  • Clayton Ridge
  • Dunkerton
  • Eastern Allamakee
  • Vinton-Shellsburg

Ready to Learn

Iowa PBS is one of 19 Ready To Learn grant awardees selected to participate in an innovative model of community engagement supporting early literacy and critical thinking skills. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS selected Iowa PBS’s proposal to develop a Learning Neighborhood program in Perry, Iowa, centered on an innovative model of community engagement, extending the reach and impact of Ready To Learn-funded PBS KIDS early learning resources to a local community. This effort is part of a five-year grant awarded to CPB and PBS through the U.S. Department of Education’s Ready To Learn Initiative to develop new, multi-platform media and engagement tools that introduce children to career and workforce options and help them build everyday literacy skills. As a grant recipient, Iowa PBS will lead a collaborative effort with the Perry Area Chamber of Commerce and P.A.C.E.S. Before and After School Program to foster a culture of learning for Perry children and their families.. The Perry Learning Neighborhood project will emphasize financial literacy, agriculture and farming, and how other careers serve the community.

School-Age Resources

Collections of multimedia activities based on particular themes target math, technology, social and emotional learning, engineering and much more. These out-of-school programs deepen children’s understanding of content using combinations of online games, video segments, mobile content and hands-on activities:

  • Iowa Land and Sky developed classroom lessons with a team of veteran Iowa science teachers. The lessons are anchored in engaging, question-provoking environmental phenomena and provide authentic, Iowa-based approaches for middle school science classrooms. The project’s educational resources help students explore.
  • Mission US engages students in the study of transformational moments in American history. Developed for use in middle and high school classrooms, each mission consists of an interactive game and a set of curriculum materials that are aligned to national standards and feature document-based activities. The Educator’s Guide includes primary source documents that show the broader social, political and economic context of events.
  • PBS LearningMedia provides a central destination for educators to access current and relevant content from more than 200 respected public media partners. Here are three examples based on PBS broadcast programs:
    • American Experience provides more than 1,500 features from more than 110 American Experience websites — including timelines, primary sources, teacher’s guides, maps, galleries, interactives, video and more — to find history, civics and other social studies resources for classroom use.
    • Nature Online is the award-winning web companion to the broadcast series and is spearheading Nature’s distribution to new media platforms. Visitors can stream full episodes of Nature programs, watch behind-the-scenes video exclusives with filmmakers and producers, view program excerpts and find fun interactives and online features.
    • NOVA produces an extensive list of resources and original content—including short-form videos, science and education blogs. NOVA Next, an award-winning digital publication features in-depth articles and commentaries from some of the most respected journalists, scientists and engineers; and NOVA Labs, a groundbreaking digital platform where citizen scientists can actively participate in the scientific process. In the classroom, NOVA Education tailors digital resources for STEM educators and offers a free educator library aligned to teaching standards.
“Spending time with your kids is the best part of summer. PBS Education is a great help in choosing a road trip, or weekend vacation.” — Catherine Anne Gartzke, 2022

STEM & STEAM Learning

Science knowledge, technology skills, engineering design, art creativity and mathematical reasoning are the cornerstone of modern scientific approaches, and Iowa PBS is helping to build Iowa’s future scientists, engineers, and artists to further grow opportunities for both our community and our state. From STEAM kits that go out into our communities to online, interactive, Iowa place-based virtual field trips, we offer resources and engagement opportunities for students of all ages and skill levels.

Iowa PBS Education has a custom designed trailer full of interactive, hands-on STEAM-based activities sparking curiosity in children. The STEAM trailer travels throughout the state, visiting libraries, childcare centers and schools.It is available to schools and libraries for extended stays, allowing them to be used for classes and program events. When the trailer is booked, we share packaged STEAM activity bundles provided on loan at no cost to the organization. Our education staff is also available for STEAM events with an interactive STEM booth that includes activities such as Discovering Senses, Ecosystems, Stargazing and Ooblick.

"What I like about the Iowa PBS Education STEAM bundles is that you can add them to programs or use them as their own program. It's great to get hands on and something that the kids can work with... It's nice to have the option to borrow them for free. Kids can use them to get those STEM skills that they might not have in other places." — Sheila Olson, Altoona Public Library, September 2023

Community Outreach Overview

Iowa PBS serves Iowans beyond its broadcast as a community resource for quality television programs, educational services, civil and civic engagement with outreach projects and involvement in the community. We strive to ensure a position of public trust and equity across today’s multi-platform landscape by developing a strategic engagement plan that builds upon the network’s position as a thought leader and convener in early childhood education, public policy and arts and culture. In 2023, Iowa PBS hosted 364 virtual and in-person events.

Total Iowans reached: 84,850

Iowa PBS at the Iowa State Fair

Our biggest engagement event each year, the Iowa State Fair parade through downtown Des Moines and our exhibit at the fairgrounds allow us to promote our Fair programming (also our most watched programming) as well as conduct educational outreach to people of all ages.In 2023 we featured our FIND Iowa project in our booth, including giveaways and fun for the whole family.

Latino Heritage Festival

Iowa PBS participated in this Des Moines festival, which provides the public with a family-oriented event filled with learning through music, dance, food, children’s activities, arts and cultural exhibits from various Central and South American countries. We promoted our related programming and distributed Spanish language activities for children.

4-H Reporters Camp

High-school students that are involved with Iowa 4-H and have an interest in media and communications may attend this one-day camp to learn more about the broadcast industry. The training workshop provides students instruction from Iowa PBS professionals and broadcast partners in everything from script writing, to audio recording, interviewing and video editing. The student reporters then use these new skills during the Iowa State Fair to capture stories for the Iowa 4-H reporting team.

High School Mentorship Program

Iowa PBS’s High School Mentorship Program broadens opportunities for minority and female high school students in Iowa. Students are able to observe and gain hands-on experience in all aspects of media journalism including videography, lighting and set design, video editing, graphic design, web production and storytelling.

Two Des Moines area students, Grace Fisher from Waukee Northwest High School and Harper Egge from Roosevelt High School, participated in the 2023 Mentorship Program. During their time in the program they shadowed the production, graphics, promotions and emerging media departments to find out more about careers in media production. Part of their mentorship experience included creating a 4- to 6-minute feature short about what they learned from the program.

Special Events and Speeches

Iowa PBS hosts events, often in partnership with community organizations, to premiere upcoming programs and engage viewers in dialogue surrounding the topics of significance to Iowans. Iowa PBS’s Executive Director, communications and production staff are available to virtually and actually travel the state telling the story of Iowa PBS, and explaining why public television in Iowa matters more today than ever before. Local civic or service groups that have regular keynote or educational programs can schedule a presentation in any of Iowa’s 99 counties.

“We implemented the STEAM Activities into our Makerspace Curriculum for one week, setting up stations for kids to rotate through every 10 minutes and engage in the top three stations that interest them - building structures, drawing, puzzles, engineering, practicing fine motor skills, etc. Kids loved it!” — Erin Nanke, Panorama Community Schools, 2023


Iowa PBS aims to leverage our noncommercial, public-service mission to multiply our impact for the communities we serve and for the state. During FY2023, Iowa PBS continued our focus on creating and providing locally-produced and locally-focused, enlightening and entertaining programming and educational content that appeals to our audiences. We met or exceeded our performance targets in 14 of our 17 strategic goals for 2023. The network’s plans for the future promise opportunities to better serve the educational, informational and inspirational needs of Iowans. Our future focus on meeting viewers where they are – on the air, online, or on the ground – will increase the value of our services to the citizens of Iowa.