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Kids America facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

Kids America was a 90 minute syndicated public radio show for young children. It aired from 1984 through 1987 on weeknights on public radio stations in the United States through American Public Radio, the forerunner of Public Radio International. First produced by WNYC in New York City as Small Things Considered, it won a Peabody award in 1984. In October 1985 the show's name was changed to Kids America. At the time of its 1987 cancellation, the program was carried by 26 stations.


The show was hosted by Kathy O'Connell and Larry Orfaly. Since "Kids America's" cancellation, Host O’Connell continues her career in radio hosting Kids Corner on WXPN in Philadelphia. Each 30 minute segment on Kids America also featured a character or guest. These included:

  • Dr. Rita Book (E.A. “Betsy” Hass)
  • Xeno The Alien (Dan Hagen)
  • Martha’s Mishaps (Martha Dodge)
  • The Duke of Words (Stuart Leigh)
  • Marcy’s Party (Marcy Mankoff)
  • Susan’s Songs (Susan Dias)
  • Mother Nature
  • Al Unctuous

A wide variety of music was also played from rock music to classical music during each half-hour segment. The engineer of the show was David Nolan.


The show was canceled on Christmas Eve 1987 when the Corporation for Public Broadcasting decided to withdraw its funding for the program. At its cancellation, the show drew phone calls from over 6,000 kids per week. One of the difficulties of the show, and children's radio in general in the US, is that radio ratings do not count listeners less than 12 years old. This led to corporate pressure against radio stations deciding to carry Kids America or any other children's radio programming.

The cancellation of Kids America left the United States with no nationally distributed radio programs aimed at kids until the premier of Radio AAHS three years later in 1990.

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