Creating A Kid-Friendly Newscast with Stephanie Kelmar
Conversation with Stephanie Kelmar, Founder & Editor, KidNuz Podcast
Creating A Kid-Friendly Newscast
May 8, 2019
1. What is your business?
KidNuz is the first ever, daily news podcast for kids. Each episode is about five minutes long and covers current events, politics, entertainment, sports, science, and each episode features a daily quiz. The stories are long enough to inform but short enough not to bore.
We choose stories that will interest kids without being scary or alarming. Our target audience is kids age 6-13, but we find that adults enjoy the podcast as well. Our hope is that the podcast will inform kids about the world around them and spark longer conversations with their parents.
KidNuz is a screen-free service so we rely on parents to play it for their kids over breakfast, in the car or anytime. The podcast is available on our KidNuz website, iTunes and every major streaming service.
2. What made you decide to start your business and/or switch careers?
One day I was sitting in the car with a friend who had a son the same age as mine, and both boys were starting to become curious about the news. We were lamenting the fact that the newspapers and radio broadcast we enjoyed weren’t appropriate for children. That was the beginning of the idea. News, in general, focuses a lot on death and dying. We wanted our kids and others to learn about the world around them in a way that wouldn’t scare them or make them anxious. There are so many interesting things going on in the world that we can expose our kids to that are age-appropriate.
My three partners and I are all Emmy Winning journalists and even more importantly, we are all moms. Without them— Rosemarie, Tori, and Kim—KidNuz would never have gotten off the ground. Writing and recording the podcast is essentially a 24-hour process. We are always following the news and looking for interesting stories to include. Luckily, we can do our work remotely, so we can be pretty flexible in spending time with our kids.
3. Was there one moment that gave you the confidence that this was a good idea?
Yes. It was the day I first introduced the concept to Rosemarie. She has great instincts, and she agreed it was a great idea the moment I told her about it. With podcasts exploding in popularity, creating the first ever, daily news podcast for kids seemed like a winning idea.
4. Were your family and friends helpful or obstacles in launching your business? How so?
I get a lot of support from both family and friends. My husband works in marketing and is tech savvy, so he’s been a great resource when I have questions.
My kids were the motivating factor, so they have been my built-in audience from the start. When I am choosing stories or looking over scripts, I always think about whether they’re appropriate for them. And for the most part, I can work on KidNuz while my kids are at school, so I can still give them the attention they need later in the day.
5. Was outside funding/cost a challenge to getting your business off the ground?
Since our podcast is the first of its kind, we thought it was important to develop the product first and then focus on building an audience.
Our startup costs, since we are dealing with ideas and information, have been really minimal. Building our website was the biggest expenditure while our biggest investment has been our time and effort.
6. Who did you speak to for support as you were working on the idea/launch?
We live in Silicon Valley, so there are a lot of talented and successful people all around us. We also have lots of friends with children in our target audience. We are really lucky to be surrounded by creative people who give us feedback on the content as well as good business and legal advice. As we continue to grow, I know this kind of support will be instrumental to our company’s success.
7. What are some successes you have had with your business that make you proud?
My son recently told me about a discussion that took place in his classroom. A group of 6th graders decided that they wanted to start a school newspaper. When the teacher opened up the floor for ideas of what to put in it many kids starting referencing “KidNuz.” The teacher wasn’t sure what it was, but the kids were well aware of the podcast, and I could tell it made my son proud.
8. What are some of your current challenges?
We put out an excellent product day after day, and our biggest challenge is getting the word out. We are thrilled with our endorsements from Parents Magazine and various local school superintendents and educators.
9. Have there been positive or negative impacts on your family and work/life balance once your business was off the ground?
As a mom to a 9 and 11-year-old, I still feel guilty during those times I need to step away from them to take care of something related to KidNuz. But I feel lucky that I’m working on something that they both love and understand.
10. What are your hopes for your business for the next five years?
We would love for everyone to discover and listen to KidNuz. I am hearing from more and more teachers who play KidNuz for their students, and we are currently speaking with educators about formally incorporating KidNuz into their classrooms.
We also have plans to introduce a news podcast for teens, where we can introduce more complexity and slightly more mature topics.
We are also looking into incorporating video onto our websites. We know that both kids and teens spend a lot of time online, often too much. We feel that if kids and teens are going to spend their free time online, why not give them something that’s both educational and entertaining?
Conversation Date: August 30, 2018