WGBH News and Media Relations


December 4, 2014

WGBH, myKaZootv Developing New Musical Education Production for Preschoolers

Jam Hotel mixes live action and animation

BOSTON, Mass. (December 4, 2014) – WGBH Boston, the nation’s leading producer of children’s and educational content for television and the Web, will partner with myKaZootv, the first music video channel for preschool children and their parents, to develop a new musical education series targeted to preschoolers. Jam Hotel, a live-action series with animated characters, will feature original songs and talented artists.

The series will be built around a standards-based musical curriculum that introduces young learners to musical terms and skills, inspires children to actively engage with music and uses music as a tool to support positive development for the whole child.  Education Through Music (www.etmonline.org), a leading non-profit that supplies music teachers and curriculum to partner schools, will serve as curriculum advisors to the producers. Production of an original music video launching the Jam Hotel concept will commence early next year.

“WGBH is excited to partner with myKaZootv and develop a series that gets kids and parents dancing,” said WGBH vice president for children’s and education media Brigid Sullivan. “As fewer and fewer elementary schools offer music education, it is essential that artists and producers step in and fill the gap.”

Jam Hotel comes at a time when musically based children’s productions are largely absent from television. Further, it has been over 10 years since Shari Lewis’s Charlie Horse Music Pizza finished its run on PBS (the public broadcaster’s last series spotlighting a musical curriculum). Since then, there has been a growing awareness among educators that early experiences with music are essential to musical competence and appreciation and vital to a child’s social, emotional and cognitive growth.

“Rick Dobbis and I are thrilled to partner with WGBH to create this exciting music focused show,” said Richard Ellis, co-founder of myKaZootv.  “Building the children’s music category and creating more music education opportunities for young children is our company’s priority.”

The series will be set at a topsy-turvy hotel run by Howlin’ Ralph, a blues magician, and his eight-year-old granddaughter, Jane.  Jam Hotel is a haven for musicians of all types. In each episode, guest musicians will pass through, using their music-making to solve problems and create community. Throughout the episodes, kids watching at home will be invited to “join the Jam” by singing, clapping, drumming, strumming and dancing with the cast.

WGBH, the award-winning producer of public television’s Arthur, Curious George and Zoom, has also produced programs and series for commercial cable channels (Time Warp Trio, Peep and the Big Wide World) and currently has a children’s series in development for streaming distribution on Amazon’s digital video service (Sara Solves It). WGBH’s partner, myKazootv, is an all-inclusive children’s and family television and music entertainment network. The site offers award-winning and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) compliant content targeted to children aged 2 to 8 and their caregivers.

Marisa Wolsky and Kathy Waugh are leading the production for WGBH. Wolsky previously served as executive producer of Design Squad and Peep and the Big Wide World. Waugh was the creative lead and head writer on Peep and the Big Wide World and the CBeebies series Big and Small. The series’ music will be overseen by Rich Dickerson and Jeff Zahn, both veteran composers. Zahn’s credits include serving as music supervisor for Arthur and The Busy World of Richard Scarry. Dickerson worked on the Action Dad, YooHoo and Friends and What’s New, Scooby-Doo? television series.

About WGBH
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web. Television channels include WGBH 2, WGBX 44, and the digital channels World and Create. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH Boston's Local NPR®; 99.5 WCRB; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. Find more information at wgbh.org

About myKaZootv

myKaZootv is the first of its kind streaming channel, populated with appropriate, educational, and fun music videos and short form content; the only place, anywhere, where young children, 2 to 6 years of age, and their parents, can find engaging music programming just for them.  Plus, as a fully interactive website, viewers can choose any video from the library and control the experience. myKazootv distributes its programming to partners online, on cable television, on multiple devices and across a number of other distribution platforms to bring our music to an expanded audience on multiple platforms in both English and Spanish.


WGBH Media Relations

Emily Balk

Catherine Burke