WQED in the Time of Covid. “Rising to the Occasion” Community Impact Report


The guiding star of the report is our community. Without their belief and support, WQED would not have the resolve, the stamina, to go the distance. Everything we did, at warp speed, was to respond to the needs of our community during this difficult time. They told us they wanted the facts, as only public media can deliver; they desperately needed educational content but also craved a respite from the stress of the day.

WQED has been here for 67 years and knows a thing or two about pivoting and doing it at a breakneck pace during incredibly trying times. This time, it is much different. None of us have experienced anything of this magnitude, where an economic and health crisis combine. There is no playbook.

Innovation, ingenuity, and adaptability in honoring old things in new ways and creating new things in the time-honored traditions expected of us is a balancing act. We realize that WQED is more relevant now than ever before. Whether we are launching new digital shorts, curating new educational content, or giving a voice to the performing arts who are on an extended intermission – we are continually reminded of the strong presence and influence that WQED holds in our community. This is an obligation and charge that our WQED staff and Board does not take lightly.
Continued community support combined with fiscal vigilance ensured that our services were not interrupted but expanded.

“Stay Home with WQED” was a quick rebrand that we introduced early in the pandemic as we were all on lockdown, schools were closed, and movement was severely limited. People were staying home more and inviting us into their homes, so we immediately responded to their needs with additional education content, a series of relaxing online vignettes, and soothing classical music.

The school closures presented new challenges for children, caregivers, and educators alike. Still, WQED was there to offer an at-home learning response for all children and youth in and around Pittsburgh. We quickly amplified our services, both on the air and online, turning every home into a classroom. Through compelling age-appropriate educational programming, multimedia toolkits, and community collaborations, WQED programs ensure that “anytime is learning time.”

WQED created this multimedia impact report as an account of our rapid and seamless response to the needs of the community. The stories in this report are the voices of our colleagues, who share their experiences of life under Covid.