contact us home
Stay current on
emerging issues
Digest relevant
research and writings
Contribute to the
Find out more

In the mid-1980's, while serving on the PRIX JEUNESSE International Advisory Board, James Fellows had the idea to establish a similar organization in the U.S. - an American Children's Television Festival. He took the idea to the Board of the Central Educational Network (CEN), the public broadcasting organization he served as President.

The Board approved, and the first American Children's Television Festival - the Alpha Awards - took place in 1985.

As part of the ceremony, Burr Tillstrom made what turned out to be his last public appearance with his puppets Kukla and Ollie. In his honor, the Festival's awards were renamed The Ollie Awards.

In the mid-1990's, the Festival was restructured to reflect its shift from a single event to a broad array of professional development services. It became the American Center for Children's Television, separated from CEN and built a Board of top children's media executives. In 1999, recognizing the changing ways in which children were using multiple media, the name changed again, to the American Center for Children and Media.

The new name brought an expanded mission - to serve as a professional development and resource center for children's TV and digital media creators and executives. From 1993 through 2005, the Center focused on seminars and briefings, workshops, screenings, advising and consulting.

In 2003, the ACCM moved its headquarters to WTTW, Chicago's public television station. Soon after, due to an accident and subsequent illness, Jim Fellows retired from active involvement in the Center. At a February 2005 meeting, the ACCM Board made Fellows Founder and President Emeritus and named Kleeman President and Acting Chair.

At the same meeting, the Board recommended a period of strategic planning toward a new direction and mission. After several months of study, the Board accepted a proposal that the ACCM become an "Executive Roundtable" for the children's media industry, assembling its leaders to learn more about key issues, seek commonalities that all can support, define best practices, and provide a public voice for industry accomplishments.

James Fellows

Founder and President Emeritus
In addition to the ACCM, Fellows was President of the American Telecommunications Group (successor to CEN), which ceased operations in 2003, and The Hartford Gunn Institute.  He is Chairman of the Publishing Committee for Current, a biweekly publication directed to public broadcasting and educational telecommunications personnel nationwide.
read more

David Kleeman

David Kleeman is President of the American Center for Children and Media, an executive roundtable and professional development hub that promotes exchange of ideas, expertise, and information as a means for building quality.  The Center is leading the children's media industry in developing child-friendly, sustainable solutions to long-standing and emerging issues.
read more