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.

Online resource PBS LearningMedia registers more than 1 million users

PBS LearningMedia, a digital classroom resource for K–12 educators, topped more than 1 million registered users this month. Operated through a partnership of PBS and the WGBH Educational Foundation, the website offers more than 30,000 pieces of content to its users. The site is also rolling out a new premium tier with enhanced features; that service is now distributed statewide in Kentucky, New York and South Carolina. As part of its ongoing effort to promote classroom use of digital technology and build its user base, PBS LearningMedia launched “Get Your Tech On,” offering free access to its webinars and how-to guides through Nov. 1.

Sequestration cuts now figure into APM’s Budget Hero online game

American Public Media has updated its popular online game Budget Hero to reflect the ongoing battle over sequestration cuts in Congress. This fifth version, backed by funding from CPB, also includes updated cost projections for federal spending in 2014 and new policy options to overhaul immigration policy, expand states’ Medicaid programs and reverse the effects of sequester cutbacks on defense and non-defense spending. The original game came out in 2008. Budget Hero currently gets some 40,000 plays a month, according to Linda Fantin, who heads APM’s Public Insight Network and oversees development of the game. The game has been played more than 1.7 million times, according to Diane Tucker, director of the Wilson Center’s Serious Games Initiative and APM’s partner.

Second American Graduate Day to raise dropout awareness nationwide

The second American Graduate Day, a live multiplatform “call to action” event focusing attention on high-school graduation rates, hits public TV airwaves Sept. 28. The broadcast from the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in New York City will air from noon to 7 p.m. Eastern as part of the CPB-backed initiative American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen. Major partner organizations Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, City Year, Horizons National and United Way will participate, along with nearly 30 other national partners, 14 local organizations and celebrity guests involved in education and youth-intervention programs.

The program will air as 14 half-hour segments, each of which will accommodate local cutaways for stations to insert locally produced live or pretaped seven-minute segments on organizations that provide support to at-risk students, families and schools in their communities. Viewers and online users at AmericanGraduate.org can connect with their local pubTV stations and community organizations.