American Education Week

November 16, 2011 by kksparks under Audience Engagement, Content, Education, Public Media System

This is American Education Week, a perfect time to shine the spotlight on some of the great work being done nationwide on the American Graduate initiative! Here’s what some public media stations are doing to address the dropout crisis.

Convening Town Halls

Last week The Nine Network kicked off its American Graduate work in St. Louis with a major town hall meeting. The gathering was a huge success with approximately 100 local teachers, an in-depth discussion among panelists and text message polling to gather insights straight from teachers in the audience. Among other press coverage, the PBS NewsHour covered the event and aired an informative segment on it.

This week, a number of stations are hosting or broadcasting their own town halls and summits, including: Detroit Public TVWMHT in Eastern New York, Mississippi Public BroadcastingWGTE in Ohio, and the partners KUVO and Colorado Public Television in Denver. Here is a preview of Colorado’s American Graduate special:

Working with Students

It’s rewarding to see stations making students’ voices a priority in this initiative. Some stations, such as KACV in Amarillo, TX, are working with students to create PSAs. In Chicago, WTTW11 is partnering with a local nonprofit, Free Spirit Media, to make PSAs with students. Here is an example from that project:

How can you find out more?

American Graduate is a public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help local communities across America find solutions to address the dropout crisis. You can stay up-to-date on what’s happening by visiting and following the initiative on Facebook and Twitter, along with the hashtag #AmGrad.

Public radio and public television stations can also find information, tools and resources on how to get involved with American Graduate at

NCME Grantees to Mobilize Communities to Support Students

August 11, 2011 by Cristina Hanson under Education, Public Media System, Public Radio, Television

Nationwide, more than 1 million students drop out of high school every year. If that trend continues, the U.S. will have to deal with more than $3 trillion in lost wages, productivity and taxes over the next decade. Recognizing a need to help students stay on the path to high school graduation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has launched the American Graduate initiative to bring public media together with key community stakeholders to improve student engagement and raise academic achievement.

As part of the American Graduate initiative, NCME recently awarded grants to 41 public television and radio stations to help them engage their communities, catalyze local efforts, and provide critical resources to help kids stay in school. Grantee stations expect to partner with as many as 200 local community organizations, including schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, United Way and other key stakeholders, to promote awareness of the causes and ramifications of the dropout crisis; mobilize community members to support students; and promote pathways to helpful resources in the community.

The grants are supporting stations like Colorado Public Television, which is tackling the disproportionately high dropout rates within the LGBTQ community. Also, WSKG in Binghamton, NY, with the support of the local Kettering Foundation National Issues Forum , is addressing a discouraging 39% graduation rate for its black students. Likewise, Mississippi Public Broadcasting and the Radio Campesina Network in Phoenix, AZ, are planning educational programs, community partnerships, online content, mentorships and other creative solutions to remedy the dropout crisis.

Stay up-to-date on the initiative by “Liking” it on Facebook and following it on Twitter, @Amerigrad. You can read more about American Graduate engagement activities, and locate all the NCME grantees, with the interactive map below.

Note: If you have trouble seeing this map you may need to get the Google Earth plugin for your web browser, click here.


How Stations Can Support Communities in Crisis

May 12, 2011 by Jennifer MacArthur under Creative Practices, Online Engagement, Public Radio, Television

Many of us have been reeling these past few weeks, battered by tornadoes and now floods. This is precisely when public media can step in, and step up. As nimble responders, public media send critical information via our airwaves and also can connect communities with much-needed aid and services. Here are just a few things stations can do to support communities in crisis.

1. Link to available community resources. Mississippi Public Broadcasting has a comprehensive list of Mississippi-area flood relief resources along with details on what to do when being evacuated. Public Media Exchange’s Gulf Watch Consortium, a group of ten public radio and television stations in the Gulf region working together to track the effects of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill, have expanded their scope to include flood, tornado and hurricane resources.

2. Coordinate a drive to collect donations. WWNO in New Orleans is working on one to support residents of towns decimated by tornadoes.

3. Post updates on your station’s Facebook page as current as updates on your broadcast. KUYI Hopi Radio made sure to sync their information on both digital and broadcast channels to keep communities informed during severe flooding last year.

Public media play a vital role before, during and after a crisis. From using our airwaves as news and information providers to connecting the community to relevant service agencies to convening crisis emergency partners and more, public media are helping communities to pick up the pieces and start rebuilding.

Resources from SAFER Webinar

January 20, 2011 by Bryce Kirchoff under Public Radio, Television, Webinar

SAFER (Station Action for Emergency Readiness) is a CPB-funded project of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) and National Public Radio (NPR) that helps public radio and television stations position themselves as ready and reliable sources of information in emergencies.

On Wednesday, January 19 we were joined by Ginny Berson (NFCB) and Gemma Hooley (NPR), who shared information about the SAFER project and explained how it can help stations during a special one-hour webinar. We also heard from Trisha Richter (KPBS) and Jay Woods (MPB), who shared how their stations have approached emergency preparedness through community engagement.

Missed the webinar? Access the archived webinar, PowerPoint slides, and other resources here.