Independent Producer's Guide

Criteria for Programs
How does an Independent Producer work with WSKG?
More Information


Criteria for Programs

This guide is designed to assist you in understanding some of the criteria on which WSKG reviews local programming. It is helpful if you have answered most, if not all, of these criteria in advance of presenting your project idea or completed program to WSKG.

WSKG’s Production and programming priorities:

  • Local or New York State stories (bonus with a national interest)
  • Education and Life-Long Learning
  • Arts and Entertainment
  • Health and Fitness
  • Science and Agriculture
  • Diversity and Social Issues

WSKG places special emphasis on project ideas that relate to the WSKG viewing region of Upstate New York, its land, history and people.

WSKG’s criteria for evaluating proposals:

  • Does the program fit within and further WSKG’s Mission?
  • Is there a need for this type of program?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • What is the value to funders?
  • Are there similar projects under development already in the system?
  • Is there a potential national PBS interest for this production?
  • Does the program have primetime potential?
  • Where applicable, what is the quality of on-air creative talent, writer, and director associated with the project?
  • Does the project have added benefits that go beyond the broadcast:
  • Outreach potential
  • Cross-platform ideas
  • Educational/Instructional Companion Materials
  • Video or Book sales
  • Pledge Potential


How does an Independent Producer work with WSKG?

Submissions for broadcast on WSKG Radio must be of an aural quality comparable to other programming heard on WSKG Radio. Ideally, submissions are in .wav format or sent on a CD. Programs must be of standard broadcast length (28 to 29 minutes, 58 to 59 minutes).

WSKG staff will make every effort to evaluate and respond to independent submissions within 6 to 8 weeks. At all times, WSKG Radio programmers reserve sole discretion to accept or reject independent submissions based on the criteria listed above, availability of broadcast time and timeliness of the content.

The content must fall within WSKG Radio’s current format and be in line with WSKG’s mission and vision to provide arts, culture, news and information of value to our community. Content must be original, properly licensed or fall under the definition of “fair use”. News and pubic affairs content must adhere to the standards presented in the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.

Submissions for broadcast on WSKG TV should be sent to the Director of Television Operations along with a synopsis, key personnel biographies, a complete list of funding sources and any additional materials you feel may assist in the assessment of the program for potential broadcast. All programs must be of broadcast quality and will be evaluated by station engineers. Acceptable formats are DVC-Pro, DV and Beta SP. WSKG recognizes that a variety of video technologies are now available to producers. In the event a producer has a question about an acceptable format, we encourage them to contact us before beginning work on the production. Standard lengths of 26:46, 56:46, 1:26:46 or 1:56:46 are preferable. WSKG generally makes an in-house dub of the program for air and returns the original tape to the producer.

All films will be screened and a response given to the producer within 6 to 8 weeks. If a program is accepted for broadcast on WSKG TV, a license agreement will be negotiated with the Independent Producer.

In most cases, due to our limited resources, WSKG TV does not purchase programs from Independent Producers. In consideration for presenting your program to a statewide audience, we request ‘Standard’ broadcast rights. These grant
WSKG the right to broadcast the program for four releases over a period of three years from the first date of broadcast. Other broadcast rights may be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. In some rare cases, WSKG will offer a modest fee for broadcast rights. As copyright holder, the Independent Producer remains solely responsible for clearing any and all rights for WSKG TV broadcast of the program.

In the event WSKG TV schedules a statewide broadcast of your program, there is potential for sale of home video and other program-related ancillary products to viewers. This will require the Independent Producer to create a Product Offer within the credits of the program according to standard PBS guidelines (which will be clarified before completion of the license agreement). Generally, WSKG does not share in these revenues.

To meet the print deadline for the WSKG monthly program guide and to allow adequate time for promotion of programs, the broadcast schedule is locked six to eight weeks in advance. Generally, licensed programs are first aired between six months to one year after the execution of the license agreement. WSKG may contact the producer once the program has been scheduled. Producers are always welcome to contact WSKG Director of Programming to inquire about the status of their programs.

WSKG solicits community submissions for various online activities throughout the year. Content and quality guidelines vary per project. Please visit our Facebook page for information on our current projects.


More Information

While our technical and human resources are limited, WSKG is always interested to hear about a program idea you may have. We encourage Independent Producers to contact WSKG with projects in development or projects already in production, but in need of assistance for completion.

WSKG can often provide advice on fundraising, technical considerations, methods of distribution and a variety of other helpful tips on the process of bringing a project to air. An Independent Producer may request a Letter of Support from WSKG (more info below). Sometimes a program in development can become a co-production opportunity with WSKG. As a co-producer, the station shares responsibility for fundraising, production services, copyright and editorial content. Stations cannot make outright grants of funds for productions. A co-production relationship between a station and an independent producer requires a contractual agreement. Independent Producers are welcome to contact the station with their project in development or already in production.

WSKG will consider writing letters in support of selected independent projects. These letters expressing WSKG’s interest in the project, knowledge of the producer, and intention to broadcast the program upon completion, can be helpful to the Independent Producer in the search for funding sources. Generally the Director of Programming will review the proposal, treatment, and any other materials provided. A letter will be issued to the producer, assuming a favorable evaluation of the subject matter, potential interest for the WSKG’s audience and a judgment that the producer is capable of completing the program.