“I kind of believed the show would succeed, but at the same time, it was a pretty big responsibility so I really wasn’t sure,” O’Connell says of the early “Kids Corner” days.
A quarter-century later, “Kids Corner” is America’s longest running radio call-in show for children, serving hundreds of thousands of youngsters throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region and beyond.
To celebrate its 25th anniversary, WXPN is hosting a Kids Corner Music Festival on Sunday, Feb. 17, at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St.
The celebration will feature live music by The Not-Its and Big Bang Boom. Kid journalists will be able to ask O’Connell questions about the show at a special kids' press conference.
O’Connell says part of her appeal is that she talks to her young audience members as peers rather than as an authority figure, relating to them in ways they appreciate.
“I think it’s more that I’m more their age, than they’re my age,” she says. “I’m very lucky that I never really completely grew out of being about an 11-year-old girl in a lot of ways.”
Most of her listeners are 6-13 year olds, but the show also has a popular following among adults, including some who grew up with the show and now enjoy listening with their children.
During the hour-long program, listeners can call in to comment about the day’s topic or, on Science Thursdays, pose a question to Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at The Franklin Institute.
O’Connell says the callers enjoy sharing information with other kids.
“For Halloween, a lot of kids were calling in with safety tips, like, ‘Wear something bright.’ ‘Don’t go into someone’s house,’” O’Connell says. “We think it’s standard advice, but it’s always worth repeating.”
To get more information about music festival tickets, visit the Kids Corner website.