When schools in Wisconsin went virtual in March, Kate Archer Kent, host of Wisconsin Public Radio’s “The Morning Show,” and executive producer Molly Stentz, decided to do some special programming for children. These weekly segments featured guests like writer R. L. Stine, of the popular Goosebumps series, and animal expert Chris Kratt, from the PBS show “Wild Kratts.” “Explorer’s Club” is now launching as a podcast, with 20- to 30-minute episodes on everything from weird animals to gastroegyptology (if you don’t know what that is, you’ll find out). The first five episodes are available now, and new ones are coming soon.
Thanks to the sudden change in school days, Kent felt there was an opportunity to spotlight kids’ interests with authors, scientists and artists who celebrate children’s worlds. “Curious kids yearn to learn about new and fun stuff every day, and we aimed to produce a series that honored a simple but powerful idea: learning through discovery,” said Kent. “I hope young listeners and their families listen to this podcast and think, ‘Hey, the episodes are celebrating the stuff we’re interested in.’” Her own four kids “sat around the kitchen table and flooded me with ideas,” she said.
“The Morning Show” executive producer Molly Stentz was keen to offer a podcast for kids. “Public media has such a great tradition of serving children. We saw a real need right now for more smart and fun programming for kids that’s freely available and easy to access. It’s another way to engage your kids’ curiosity that doesn’t require more screen time.”
“Explorer’s Club” is meant for kids between 5 and 12, but older listeners will enjoy it, too. Guests in the episodes available now include Alie Ward, of the “Ologies” podcast, Doug Peltz, known as “Mystery Doug,” and musicians Andrew Barkan and Polly Hall of the “Earsnacks” podcast. Upcoming episodes draw on names familiar to PBS Kids viewers, including Emily Graslie of “Prehistoric Roadtrip” and several of the child actors from “The Odd Squad,” as well as “I Love My Hair” author Natasha Tarpley.
Listeners can find “Explorer’s Club” at wpr.org/kids or on iTunes, Google Play, and other popular podcast sites.