Some happy pubcasting news: HoustonPBS is the first pubTV station to locally sponsor the Scripps National Spelling Bee, after The Houston Chronicle discontinued its longtime sponsorship. The bee is the third largest in the country with more than 1,000 schools in 42 counties participating. HoustonPBS coordinates the 1,000 school champions into 37 playoff bees and runs the final bee — broadcast live. The first HoustonPBS spelling champ, Aditya Chemudupaty, advanced to the 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee and missed the finals by just one word. He was eliminated May 28 in the sixth round of the semi-finals on ESPN (pictured). The Scripps National Spelling Bee featured a total of 293 spellers representing about 29,000 schools.