While most TV Web sites hesitate to target kids online, WFTC-TV's Kim Tregilgas spends her days devising strategies to reach more kids.
Concerns about online pornography and kids' privacy make some parents wary of the Net.
But Ms. Tregilgas, director of research and new media for the Fox Broadcasting affiliate in Minneapolis, believes in confronting the "porn perception" head-on.
Her station's home page offers a link from the Fox 29 Kids Club to the Federal Communications Commission's Children's Programming Guidelines.
"This was very deliberate," said Ms. Tregilgas, who joined WFTC in March 1996 after a three-year stint in sales at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis. "We are always trying to give kids tips on safety, and this is an example of that. We also take inappropriate comments out of our guest book."
Once inside the Kids Club area, users can play games, enter contests or submit "Fridge Art"--free-form drawings of the type you see on the walls outside third-grade classrooms. These drawings are either snail-mailed to the station and then scanned onto the site or e-mailed by the kids themselves.
Although there's a link to Fox Broadcasting's Fox Kids site, much of the locally produced kid-themed content doesn't directly relate to TV programming.
"We hope [the site] grows a life of its own," said Ms. Tregilgas, who plans to introduce a site-promotion spot on the Saturday morning kids schedule some time this month.
The revised site has only been up since late March, but Ms. Tregilgas is actively seeking school-related marketing opportunities, as well as content partners that will help the Kids Club grow.
"Our feeling is that kids are very sophisticated, so that only providing [static] games or print-out sheets may not be very sophisticated," she said. "We want to go out and find some partners to help us provide better games, more activity and more interactive, visual fun stuff."
Copyright May 1997, Crain Communications Inc.