3 On Your Side

Podcasts becoming trendy for kids

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The latest buzz in kids’ entertainment has young tech junkies taking time away from their TV’s and video games so they can listen up!  Podcasts are becoming trendy with tikes and teens alike.  But, not just any digital radio show.  No; these are designed specifically for young, inquiring minds. 

Daru Oda is thrilled she’s discovered a new way for her children to spend their time.  She says, “I just am so much happier now that there’s podcasts, that option.”

And, a guilt-free option, according to Oda. “I think it's better than them sitting spaced out watching TV. With the podcast, they're learning something.”

In the past few years, the number of children’s podcasts has exploded, with more than 125 mainstream shows for preschoolers to teens, focusing on everything from science to history, yoga and meditation, even original series or stories.

Although 5-year-old Mika listens to different ones, she has her favorites.  Mika says, “Remy’s place is my favorite podcast because there’s real people talking and there’s lots of music.”

Andrew Barkan is the producer of the popular podcast “EarSnacks,” and co-founder of the advocacy group “Kids Listen”  He says podcasts are great for kids because they tap into the imagination.  Barkan says, “Audio only gives you part of the puzzle and it's your job as a listener to fill in the rest of the puzzle.”

Research has long debated radio versus television when it comes to sparking imagination in children.  But, Barkan says, a “Kids Listen” survey leaves little doubt podcasts are engaging and social. 

While kids love the content, Barkan’s Partner Polly Hall says adults play a role too. 

“Find something that your child really likes,” says Hall.  “Their age bracket plays a huge role in what works for them.”

Mika still likes regular books but says podcasts at bedtime can do the trick too. “It sometimes makes me sleep.”

Keep in mind, some children’s podcasts are free, some offer subscriptions, other have ads.  The “Kids Listen” advocacy group says each parent must decide what works best for them.

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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

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Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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