PRI adds variety to program slate with acquisition of Live Wire

Public Radio International is adding the Portland, Ore.–based variety show Live Wire to its programming lineup, the distributor announced Monday. Live Wire, which bills itself as “radio variety for the ADD generation,” is independently produced and currently airs on 48 stations nationwide. PRI will take over distribution of the weekly show beginning July 1, the same day it ends distribution of its widest carried program, This American Life. “Since we started the show we were hoping to gain the attention of a national distributor,” said Robyn Tenenbaum, Live Wire co-creator and e.p. The program launched in 2004 and shops itself to stations with the help of digital distribution tools from Public Radio Exchange. Though representatives from NPR and American Public Media were “aware of us” and NPR programming VP Eric Nuzum attended a taping, PRI was the first distributor to make an offer, Tenenbaum said.

Ira Flatow portrays himself in a scene with The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon Cooper, played by Jim Parsons. The episode debuted Dec. 5 on CBS. (Photo: Michael Yarish/Warner Bros. Entertainment)

Flatow finds more traction for ‘Science Friday’ in PRI distribution

After two decades as a weekly NPR program, the 22-year-old Science Friday is preparing to shake things up. With its move to Public Radio International distribution on Jan. 1, the talk show has ambitious plans to put its content into wider distribution through collaborations with PRI series such as The World and The Takeaway as well as with the PBS science program Nova. WGBH in Boston, which acquired PRI in 2012, is involved in production of all three major series, opening new cross-platform distribution and branding opportunities. A new educational specialist is working to turn more of Science Friday’s content into curricular materials, and PRI is exploring ways to offer its programming through PBS Learning Media, the online resource providing free media and lesson plans to K–12 educators.

New PRI.org highlights network’s focus on global news

Public Radio International has revamped its website to absorb the web presence of PRI’s The World, reflecting the network’s aim to develop a higher profile in international news. The new site gives greater prominence to international news from The World and other PRI programs. The World “is increasingly, for us, a journalism brand,” said Michael Skoler, PRI’s v.p. of interactive media. Previously, The World had its own website at TheWorld.org. It now redirects to PRI.org. PRI has combined the previously separate staff and resources for the two sites.