PBS KIDS interactive designer creates with children from southeast Ohio in mind due to his time at WOUB

Published: January 18, 2024 Author: Cheri Russo

When Ocean Eiler graduated from Ohio University in 2002 after studying interactive multimedia and graphic design, the plan was to take a year abroad and then come back to the U.S. and go west.

“My intention was to work as a web master for Franciscans International in Switzerland and then immediately move to California and get a job some place where I could wear shorts and shoot nerf guns,” said Eiler with a laugh. “But when I came back, the Dot.com Bust changed those plans.”

Eiler, who grew up in Athens, started looking for something he could do a little closer to home and found out there was a part-time position available at WOUB in the graphics department.

“I was hired as a digital production assistant at WOUB. I helped with web design,” said Eiler.  “I was already a fan of PBS before I started working at WOUB and was always a fan of NPR as well with WOUB.  So, I understood the value and importance of the work I was doing.”

Eiler spent about a year at WOUB before accepting a job as web master at Pixels and Ink Inc., a graphic and multimedia design studio. After working at a few digital marketing agencies, Eiler started looking for a job that would be more meaningful to him.

“I went to a job fair and a headhunter who was there told me that he had two jobs for me,” said Eiler. “One was a position at XM Radio and the other was at PBS KIDS.”

Eiler started at PBS KIDS in 2008 as a web designer and worked his way up.  He’s now the associate director, design and sound for PBS KIDS Interactive.

“It has been an amazing adventure in crafting your own career. It is a perfect fit for me,” said Eiler. “I’ve always been uber appreciative of my time with WOUB and my time in Athens. As I’m designing things for PBS KIDS, I never forget what I learned in Athens.”

With that unique perspective, Eiler makes sure his designs work in urban and rural areas.

“I know how slow the internet can be. I also know that stations are serving many other audiences in their communities, not just children. So, when I develop things for stations, I figure out how can we make it easy and accessible. I always think of the kid in a library parking lot bogarting the internet. Those are the kids I want to be helping,” said Eiler. “It became even more important with COVID. As I learned about the COVID slump and seeing it in my own daughter, I wanted to craft and create shows and games around that slump to help even it out. I want to make sure I am providing the best experience for both the people with uber fast internet and those without it. I want to make sure both are being serviced equitably.”

About WOUB Public Media

As a member station of both NPR and PBS, WOUB Public Media is a trusted source of news, local content and educational resources that have proven to be worthy of the time, effort and support of our users. WOUB, an experiential-learning unit of the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University, is a non-profit, community-supported multimedia organization which provides online and broadcast services, along with non-broadcast educational services and student professional development. WOUB serves 55 counties throughout southeastern Ohio, western West Virginia and eastern Kentucky with its broadcast signals. WOUB Radio’s FM Network has transmitters in Athens, Chillicothe, Ironton, Zanesville and Cambridge, while WOUB AM serves the immediate Athens area. WOUB TV is made up of seven television channels (WOUB HD, WOUB Classic, WOUB World, WOUB Create, WOUB Ohio, WOUB Kids and WOUB Voicecorps Reading Service) which are broadcast from two transmitters.

Through its support of public service, teaching, research and administrative missions, along with its high-quality local content and programming, WOUB enriches, enhances and expands the lives and horizons of the people in the communities it serves, as well as Ohio University faculty, staff and students.