Content Submission

Welcome to the Iowa PBS submission page, where you can find information about submitting television programs to our statewide network and digital content to our internet platforms.

We are a PBS member station, so we support the mission and values of public television. We abide by PBS principles and guidelines, so please become familiar with producing for PBS, especially its Editorial Standards and Practices, Funding Standards and Practices and Production Guidelines. We also abide by FCC rules and regulations pertaining to non-commercial educational television stations.

Since our primary audience is the people of Iowa, submissions are evaluated in part on their relevance to local viewers – stories that have a compelling appeal to Iowans and/or tell distinctly Iowa stories. We recommend you become familiar with the local content on Iowa PBS’s various distribution channels. We deliver local content through four broadcast channels, the websites and, the on-demand services PBS Video App and PBS Passport, and various social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Producers can submit completed video content or written proposals for potential projects. Please be aware that Iowa PBS receives numerous submissions throughout the year, so it sometimes takes a lengthy period of time for submissions to be evaluated. Also, we often request revisions to submissions to make certain they will comply with PBS guidelines, FCC rules and regulations, broadcast standards (both technical and thematic), internet platform compatibility, principles surrounding story clarity and accuracy, and viewer expectations.

Please note that Iowa PBS does not pay licensing fees or provide grants for content submitted by independent filmmakers, nor does our development team at Friends of Iowa PBS raise funds for independent projects. Fundraising is the responsibility of the producers. All fundraising efforts must comply with public television standards and practices.

We value the work of independent filmmakers, and while we don’t pay licensing fees we offer exposure to state and national distribution channels and, in some cases, provide finishing services for video content (e.g. color correction, audio mix). For other resources, new filmmakers will find useful information at Produce Iowa, including a list of state and national arts organizations that provide grants. Experienced filmmakers who are familiar with PBS guidelines may be selected to receive a Letter of Support or considered for the possibility of a Co-Production Agreement or Presenting Station Agreement. More information about our Letter of Support, Co-Production Agreement and Presenting Station Agreement may be found here. For additional information about our commitment to our community of local filmmakers, please see our FAQ.

To submit video content or a written proposal, please review the Iowa PBS Submission Guidelines.





By submitting video content or a written proposal to Iowa PBS, you agree to the terms and conditions in this Submission Release Notification.



Whether in the form of video content or written proposal, all submissions are required to include the submission materials noted below. Please send all submission materials to Submissions will be reviewed in the order received. A link to a posting (e.g. Vimeo, private or unlisted YouTube) is preferred for video content submissions. The preferred file format for written proposals is .doc or .pdf.

Submission materials must include the following information:



Summarize the subject matter and storyline in one page or less.


Provide demographic information about the intended audience with supporting research. Describe the thematic goals of the project – either a community need (i.e. creating awareness of a timely and relevant issue and/or imparting important information to the public about a particular issue, etc.) or an Iowa PBS content need (i.e. a gap in the relevant topics presented on any one or more of our platforms). If possible, provide examples of local or national content the submission bears similarity to or compliments.


Please identify key participants in the project. This includes producers, directors, writers, performers, videographers and editors – people who significantly contribute to the character of the content. Identify other projects in which the key participants have been involved and any awards they may have won. We strongly recommend that productions involve experienced video-storytelling professionals.  


If submitting a written proposal, provide a schedule for all stages of development, including fundraising, pre-production, production, and post-production. Be sure to clearly indicate when the project is expected to be completed, or if it’s a series proposal, when all episodes will be completed. If the project is already underway, explain its current status and plans for completion.


Provide an itemized list of costs for all phases of project development. Include salaries, production costs, post-production costs, talent, rights acquisition, travel expenses, insurance, rentals, etc..


Identify the length of the project. Standard lengths for broadcast are one-hour (56:46) and half-hour (26:46); other platforms, such as web and social media, accept content of varying lengths. For series or series proposals, include the number and length of all episodes.


For video content submissions, list funders in order of contributions, from largest contributor to smallest, and the amounts contributed. Include funders you are planning to contact and anticipated amounts. Please describe any relationship between any of the funders and the project's subject matter and/or the project's key participants (e.g. Does anyone from a funders’ organization appear on camera? Are any scenes shot on a funder’s location? Are any commercial products or services identified? Are any of the project’s key participants current or past employees of any of the funders or subjects of the content?).

For written proposals, list funders you are planning to contact and please describe any relationship between any of the funders and the project's subject matter and/or the project's key participants.



If your video content is accepted by Iowa PBS, please be advised that delivered content must comply with the following:

CLOSED CAPTIONING is required for all productions on all platforms and must conform to FCC rules and regulations. Before video content can be approved for Iowa PBS’s broadcast and/or online platforms, the producer must submit a Letter of Compliance from the party providing closed captioning stating that the provider complies with FCC rules and regulations.

CLEARANCES must be documented in writing. This includes appropriate releases for individuals appearing on screen, and releases for intellectual property, such as music, photos, artwork and/or footage acquired from outside sources.

E&O INSURANCE (errors and omissions) is required for all accepted video content. Producers must submit a Certificate of Insurance or a copy of the Declaration Page from the insurance policy. Iowa PBS must be named as an additional insured. Coverage amounts are required to be $1,000,000 per occurrence and $3,000,000 in annual aggregate.


If video content is accepted, producers will be asked to provide a minimum of the following:

  • Short description (2-3 sentences)
  • Long description (2-3 paragraphs)
  • Minimum of three (3) high-resolution images cleared for promotional use on all platforms
  • Promotional videos – one (1) 30-second and one (1) 15-second – that meet broadcast specifications and include at least 5 seconds at the end to accommodate Iowa PBS tags (e.g., “Airing next month!”)

If accepted, video content is required to be delivered per Iowa PBS’s Technical Operating Specifications.



Submission Release Notification


By submitting any video content and/or written proposals to Iowa PBS, you, the submitter (“Submitter”) hereby agrees to the following terms and conditions which constitute a release (the “Release”). The submission, including without limitation all documents, ideas, correspondence, media, recordings, works, and any other materials provided with the submission, if any, are collectively referred to herein as the “Materials.” Submitter understands and agrees that by submitting Materials to Iowa PBS, the Submitter agrees to the terms and conditions in this Release. All references herein to Iowa PBS shall include Iowa PBS’s directors, officers, agents, employees, consultants, contractors, lessees, licensees, successors and assigns. Submitter agrees to this Release on behalf of itself and all other persons or entities that may claim an interest in the Materials (Submitter and all such other persons or entities are collectively referred to herein as the “Submission Owners”).

For good and valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged, Submitter hereby agrees, represents, warrants and covenants as follows:

1. Submitter acknowledges that submission of the Materials, and previous or subsequent discussions between Submitter and Iowa PBS about the Materials, does not create any confidential or fiduciary relationship between Iowa PBS, on the one hand, and Submitter or the Submission Owners, on the other hand. Submitter understands and agrees that Iowa PBS does not undertake to consider the Materials in confidence. Submitter acknowledges that Iowa PBS may disclose the Materials to various employees, and possibly even to individuals or entities outside Iowa PBS’s employ or control, for any reason, including, without limitation, to comply with applicable laws and regulations (such as Iowa Code chapter 22); or to determine the Materials’ suitability for Iowa PBS’s program services or other distribution.

2. Submitter acknowledges and agrees, on behalf of itself and the Submission Owners, that Iowa PBS has made no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees with respect to the Materials except with respect to ownership as set forth in Section 4 herein, and has provided no assurances about the process utilized by Iowa PBS with respect to selection of submissions for inclusion in its program services or other distribution. Any submission to Iowa PBS is made with the understanding that Iowa PBS shall give the Materials such consideration as it merits in Iowa PBS’s sole and final judgment, and Iowa PBS is under no obligation whatsoever to use the Materials. Iowa PBS is under no obligation to release to Submitter or the Submission Owners any details of Iowa PBS’s actions in connection with the Materials or any information regarding Iowa PBS’s activities in the field to which the Materials pertain. In the event Iowa PBS does provide any comments or feedback, Submitter and the Submission Owners shall take, share and rely on such comments or feedback at their own risk and expense. Submitter and the Submission Owners waive any and all claims they may have against Iowa PBS for reimbursement of costs, expenses, liabilities or damages arising from acts or omissions taken in reliance on the submission or Iowa PBS’s comments or feedback, whether such claims may be based on theories of contract, implied contract, tort, statute or other legal theories. Submitter acknowledges that Iowa PBS’s receipt and consideration of the Materials does not in any way constitute an expressed or implied endorsement or approval by Iowa PBS of the content of the Materials or any opinion expressed therein. Submitter acknowledges that neither submission of the Materials nor any contact from or discussion with Iowa PBS conveys any right to Submitter or the Submission Owners to use Iowa PBS’s name, logo or other trademarks for any reason or in any manner.

3. Submitter acknowledges that Iowa PBS receives hundreds of submissions and often receives similar or identical material or ideas from independent sources, and/or independently conceives or develops similar or identical material or ideas through its employees and staff. Consideration of the Materials is not an admission by Iowa PBS of the novelty, propriety or originality of the Materials. Iowa PBS shall not be obligated to further consider the Materials or to negotiate with or enter into an agreement with Submitter pertaining to the Materials. Submitter acknowledges that Iowa PBS has no obligation to accept, reject or otherwise act or cease to act on material that Iowa PBS receives from independent sources, whether or not such sources or materials are related to Submitter or Submitter’s Materials. Furthermore, Submitter shall not hold Iowa PBS liable for third-party submissions containing material similar or identical to the Materials.

4. Without limiting any provisions of Sections 1 and 3 herein, the parties acknowledge that Submitter or the Submission Owners may jointly or severally claim an ownership interest in all or parts of the Materials pursuant to applicable copyright, trademark or other intellectual property law, and no ownership interest is assigned or transferred by or between the parties hereto by virtue of this Release or by submitting the Materials to Iowa PBS. Submitter grants Iowa PBS the right to possess, view, copy and share the Materials for the purpose of determining whether or not to act on the submission.   Notwithstanding anything in this Release to the contrary, Submitter acknowledges and agrees that Iowa PBS may disclose, copy and provide the materials pursuant to applicable laws, rules and regulations.

5. By submitting Materials to Iowa PBS, Submitter hereby represents and warrants that: a) Submitter is either: (i) the sole originator and owner of the Materials, and that no other persons, or entities have any right, title or interest therein or thereto; or (ii) the sole and exclusive authorized representative of the Submission Owners, and no other persons or entities other than those represented by Submitter have any right, title or interest therein or thereto. b) Submission of the Materials and Iowa PBS’s  review and use thereof shall not: (i) violate any personal or property rights of any third party, including without limitation rights of droit moral, privacy, publicity, copyright, trademark, or other intellectual property rights; or (ii) constitute defamation, libel or slander against any third party. c) Iowa PBS shall not owe Submitter, the Submission Owners or any third party any payment or other compensation for receipt and consideration of the Materials. d) The Materials are not subject to any current, anticipated or threatened litigation, arbitration or other dispute or adversarial claims or proceedings. e) Submitter has the full right and authorization to submit the Materials to Iowa PBS upon all of the terms and conditions stated herein.  No persons or entities, other than those represented by the parties signing below or executing a separate but contemporaneous Release with respect to the Materials, have collaborated with Submitter in creating the Materials, nor do any persons or entities other than those represented by the parties signing below have any rights in such Materials inconsistent with Submitter’s agreement hereunder. g) The Materials are being submitted to Iowa PBS voluntarily and without promise or inducement. h) Submission of the Materials neither imposes nor creates any obligation on the part of Iowa PBS to accept the Materials for distribution or exhibition through any medium or platform or to acknowledge the submission of the Materials. i) Submitter has fully read and understands and agrees to this Release.

6. By submitting Materials to Iowa PBS, Submitter hereby releases, acquits and forever discharges Iowa PBS of and from any and all claims, debts, dues, accounts, demands, actions, causes of action, suits, controversies, proceedings, covenants, contacts, agreements, costs, expenses, liabilities, obligations and compensation of any kind whatsoever, in law or in equity, whether known or unknown, anticipated or unanticipated, accrued or hereafter to accrue, under any theory of law, which Submitter or the Submission Owners have or may have against Iowa PBS arising from Iowa PBS’s (or Iowa PBS’s lack of) receipt, possession, use and/or disposal of the Materials now or in the future. Without limiting any other provisions herein, Submitter acknowledges and agrees that, in the event any claims are asserted, or any action or other proceeding are brought or commenced by Submitter or the Submission Owners against Iowa PBS for any violation of the terms set forth herein, the sole remedy that could be awarded to Submitter or the Submission Owners shall be an injunction or other remedy at equity to prevent Iowa PBS from further using the Materials. In no event shall Submitter or the Submission Owners seek monetary damages for any breach of these Release terms or otherwise.

7. Submitter and the Submission Owners agree to indemnify  and hold harmless Iowa PBS from and against any claim, loss, obligation, liability or expense including reasonable attorney’s fees that may be asserted against or incurred by Iowa PBS in connection with the Materials submitted hereunder, any use of such Materials by Iowa PBS or any breach of any representation, covenant or warranty made by Submitter or the Submission Owners hereunder. This indemnity includes without limitation any claims that the Materials violate or infringe any copyright, patent, privacy right, publicity right, trademark, service mark or any other personal property right of any person or entity, or that the contents of the Materials constitute or include defamation of any person or entity.

8. These terms and conditions constitute the entire understanding of Submitter and Iowa PBS relating to the subject matter hereof, as of the date Materials are submitted by the Submitter to Iowa PBS. No other understanding or agreement, written or oral, expressed or implied, exists between Submitter and Iowa PBS with respect to the Materials. The invalidity of any provision hereof shall not affect the remaining provisions. The representations, warranties and indemnities herein shall survive the termination, execution, completion or expiration of this Release.

9. Submitter has retained a copy of the Materials and agrees that Iowa PBS shall not have any obligation to return the submitted copy of the Materials to Submitter and that Iowa PBS shall be under no obligation for any loss or damage to the submitted copy.

10. This Release shall be governed in all respects by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of Iowa, without giving effect to the choice of law principles thereof. Any and all litigation or actions commenced in connection with this Release shall be brought only in Des Moines, Iowa, in Polk County District Court for the State of Iowa, if jurisdiction is proper. However, if jurisdiction is not proper in the Iowa District Court for Polk County, but is proper only in a United States District Court, the matter shall be commenced in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, Central Division. This provision shall not be construed as waiving any immunity to suit or liability, in state or federal court, which may be available to Iowa PBS or the State, including sovereign immunity, governmental immunity, immunity based on the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution of the United States or otherwise.



Iowa PBS’s Technical Operating Specifications


Acceptable File Delivery Formats:

1 – DNxHD 145 SQ
  • File must meet DNx145 file specifications
    • File Container: .MOV (Quicktime movie)
    • File Essence:
      • Video:
        • 1920x1080i
        • 29.97 fps 4:2:2
        • DNxHD  @ 145 Mbps
        • Video levels must be broadcast safe
      • Audio:
        • 2 or 8 channels
        • 24 Bit
        • 48 Khz sampling rate 1152 kbps Bitrate
  • Ancillary data:
    • 436M 708 captions with 608 compatibility bytes.
    • Timecode track: Drop frame timecode
2 - ProRes 422
  • File must meet Apple ProRes 422 file specifications
    • File Container: .MOV (Quicktime movie)
    • File Essence:
      • Video:
        • 1920x1080i
        • 29.97 fps 4:2:2
        • ProRes  @ 147 Mbps
        • Video levels must be broadcast safe
      • Audio:
        • 2 or 8 channels
        • 24 Bit
        • 48 Khz sampling rate 1152 kbps Bitrate
  • Ancillary data:
    • 436M 708 captions with 608 compatibility bytes.
    • Timecode track: Drop frame timecode


3 – 50Mbps MPEG2 OP1A MXF
  • File must meet 50MB MPEG2 OP1A MXF file specifications
    • File Container: .MXF (material exchange format)
    • File Essence:
      • Video:
        • 1920x1080i
        • 29.97 fps 4:2:2
        • MPEG2 50 Mbps
        • Video levels must be broadcast safe
      • Audio:
        • 2 or 8 channels
        • 24 Bit
        • 48 Khz sampling rate 1152 kbps Bitrate
  • Ancillary data:
    • 436M 708 captions with 608 compatibility bytes.
    • Timecode track: Drop frame timecode


Audio Quality
  • The audio mix must be free of audible clipping and other distortions.
  • The audio mix must be free of objectionable noise.
  • True Peak Limit should be -2 dBFS
  • Dialog peaks should be between -8 and -10 dBFS
  • Target Loudness Tolerance should be between -22 and -26 dBFS


(See below diagram for more information)


Audio Tech Specs Diagram


Frequently Asked Questions


How does Iowa PBS support its community of local filmmakers?

Short answer: In every way we possibly can. Though we don’t have the funding to pay licensing fees for locally produced content, we find many other ways to invest in our community of local filmmakers.

Video content accepted by Iowa PBS is often selected to receive a host of Iowa PBS post-production services – color correction, audio mixing, closed captioning, transcoding – to prepare it for broadcast on Iowa PBS’s statewide television network and/or distribution on one of Iowa PBS’s many online platforms. If the topic of the video content is of regional or national interest, Iowa PBS may offer to pursue public television distribution on the filmmaker’s behalf. Statewide exposure on Iowa PBS and national exposure through public television distribution may help local filmmakers fundraise for future projects. We also invest in promotions for the video content we accept. Promotions may take the form of social media postings, broadcast spots and/or paid media.

Iowa PBS does not make money by distributing locally produced content. The return on investment for Iowa PBS in supporting its community of local filmmakers is the additional, high-quality, local content Iowa PBS presents to its viewers and possible future collaborations. Your success is our success!

Over time, a local filmmaker who consistently delivers high-quality video content to Iowa PBS that meets Iowa PBS’s Submission Guidelines, may receive offers to collaborate with Iowa PBS on projects. Collaborations with Iowa PBS can take many forms, all of which offer additional support to local filmmakers, including fundraising opportunities.


How can I find funding for my project?

We highly recommend that you make use of the resources available to you on Produce Iowa’s website. You’ll find information about available grants under “Production Tools +”.  You may also seek funding from one or more individuals or organizations, but please thoroughly review the PBS Funding Standards and Practices and the Underwriting guidelines in the PBS Producer's Handbook before approaching any potential underwriter. Some filmmakers have had success crowdfunding their projects.


Why does Iowa PBS require E&O Insurance?

Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance protects you, the filmmaker, and any additional insureds named in your E&O policy, against claims of invasion of privacy or publicity, libel, slander or other forms of defamation, and infringement of copyright. We trust you to obtain all rights and clearances necessary to distribute your video content, but even the most thorough rights and clearances work does not prevent you from being liable. Iowa PBS cannot accept liability on your behalf.


Who reviews my submission?

Your submission may be reviewed by as many as four (4) people from across Iowa PBS’s Production, Programming, Web and Educational Services departments, depending on the unique aspects of your submission, its intended purpose, compatibility with different platforms of distribution and Iowa PBS’s content needs.


How long does it take Iowa PBS to respond to a submission?

As many as four (4) people at Iowa PBS will need to review your video content or written proposal. And while the review team will strive to fully consider each submission as quickly as possible, the timing of their response really depends on each team member’s individual schedule and the number of submissions they’re processing at the time your submission is received.

Winter seems to be the slowest season all the way around and the best time to seek a response from Iowa PBS within weeks. From spring to fall, however, response times can take several months.

Once you’ve submitted your video content or written proposal you will get confirmation from that it was received and an estimated time for a response. If that estimated time comes and goes and you still haven’t heard from us, please don’t hesitate to follow-up. We don’t mind!


If the video content I submit is accepted, how much time will it take before I see it on Iowa PBS?

Short answer: Roughly 2-6 months if your video content already complies with Iowa PBS’s Submission Guidelines.*

If your video content already complies with Iowa PBS’s Submission Guidelines, it can take 2-6 months or more for it to be scheduled for broadcast on Iowa PBS. Iowa PBS creates its broadcast schedules two (2) months in advance. For example, we finalize our broadcast schedule for May at the end of March; thus the minimum of two (2) months.

We also schedule video content for broadcast when we feel it will be most relevant to our viewers. For example, we may accept video content in September about a brother and sister who train all summer for the upcoming high school wrestling season, but schedule it for broadcast in February, around the time of the State Wrestling Championships.

If your video content already complies with Iowa PBS’s Submission Guidelines and is intended for one of Iowa PBS’s internet platforms of distribution, it can take much less time than the broadcast scheduling process noted above.

*If your video content is accepted but does not meet Iowa PBS’s Submission Guidelines, you’ll be asked to make revisions. The amount of time it will take your video content to be seen on Iowa PBS will also depend on the amount of time you need to make revisions.


What do I do if my submission is rejected?

Please try again! If we turn down your video content or written proposal, we’ll tell you why. Please use that information to guide your next submission and keep submitting! We appreciate the hard work you put into creating video content and want you to succeed.


What rights does Iowa PBS ask for and are those rights negotiable?

We typically ask for non-exclusive rights – we want to add to, not limit, your distribution options! And we ask for unlimited broadcast and internet rights in perpetuity; but yes, we’re negotiable.

We’ve worked with some filmmakers who prefer one form of distribution over another: online rather than broadcast, for example, or vice versa; a limited number of broadcast releases over a limited number of years; etc. and so on. Except in circumstances where our interest in your video content lies in its value to an audience on a specific platform, we will do our best to accommodate.



Letter of Support | Co-Production Agreement | Presenting Station Agreement


Letter of Support

An Iowa PBS official Letter of Support represents Iowa PBS’s interest in your written proposal and confidence in you as a filmmaker. It is typewritten on Iowa PBS letterhead and signed by Iowa PBS’s Director of Programming & Production. A Letter of Support may be presented to potential funders as Iowa PBS’s endorsement of your written proposal; it defines a level of consideration Iowa PBS will give your video content upon submission that should be given serious consideration by potential funders. Only exceptional proposals written by experienced filmmakers receive the acknowledgement of an Iowa PBS official Letter of Support.


Co-Production Agreement

Proposals written by experienced filmmakers who have demonstrated their ability to deliver high-quality video content and meet Iowa PBS’s Submission Guidelines may be considered for a Co-Production Agreement. A Co-Production Agreement combines your skills with Iowa PBS’s resources to produce video content for distribution on Iowa PBS’s broadcast and online platforms. It defines a collaborative arrangement that has many benefits for you as a filmmaker: access to Iowa PBS videographers, drone pilots, editors, marketing and promotions experts, educational consultants, a digital strategist, web development team, and Iowa PBS’s Foundation as a potential fundraising partner. The form and manner of a collaborative arrangement is negotiable and depends on Iowa PBS’s video content needs, your skills as a filmmaker, the needs of the project, and anticipated funding. Though used most often for video content intended for statewide distribution on Iowa PBS’s broadcast and internet platforms, Co-Production Agreements can lead to national public television distribution.


Presenting Station Agreement  

Experienced filmmakers who have a history of successfully producing video content for public television distribution may be interested in a Presenting Station Agreement. A Presenting Station Agreement guarantees national distribution for your video content. Iowa PBS’s role in a Presenting Station Agreement is to provide oversight and consultation throughout the production process, ensuring video content is ready for national distribution to public television stations immediately upon completion. Iowa PBS liaises with distributors, negotiates distribution deals on your behalf, prepares and delivers your video content to meet the distributors’ specifications, and helps the distributor promote your video content to other public television stations. A Presenting Station Agreement requires you to raise all the funds necessary to complete your project and Iowa PBS’s Foundation to administer those funds as the project’s fiscal agent.