Cable in the Classroom will receive the biggest consumer
exposure in its 10-year history this month, starting with a national ad in the Sept. 4
edition of TV Guide.
Sponsored by 16 cable networks and five MSOs, the
"Watch Us Learn" ad includes a pull-out schedule of one month's worth of
primetime programming culled from CIC shows, which typically run commercial-free in the
middle of the night.
Cable viewers "will probably be surprised by some of
the gems that will come out in September," CIC managing director Megan Hookey said.
ESPN2, for example, is set to run SportsFigures --
which teaches math and physics concepts through the aid of popular sports heroes -- Sept.
12 at 7:30 p.m. According to ESPN manager of communications Josh Krulewitz, this is the
first time in the series' four-year history that it will run in primetime.
Sunday's episode features New York Yankees shortstop
Derek Jeter discussing how baseball relates to the speed of sound, as well as skateboarder
Tony Hawk, who will explain the physical forces that keep him airborne when he spins in
In addition to the primetime exposure, ESPN attempted to
gain attention for SportsFigures by sending videotapes of the show to 18,000 public
and private high schools across the country at the end of the last school year.
Keeping the CIC program in teachers' minds is an
ongoing effort. And cable operators at the system level do much of that work.
Time Warner Communications' Columbus, Ohio, division
will hold a workshop for local teachers next month to familiarize them with CIC programs
from such networks as C-SPAN, Bravo, A&E Network, Discovery Channel and The History
The event will be tied to the school district's Oct.
15 "In-Service Day," when teachers skip classes to attend workshops.
At the workshop, a Time Warner customer-service
representative will instruct teachers on using a VCR.
"Teachers are still confused by the name, 'Cable
in the Classroom,'" Time Warner Columbus manager of community relations Jean
Arthur said. "They think they need to have cable in the classroom, but they can have
cable at home and tape the shows there."
Time Warner Columbus is reaching out to parents and the
community at large, and not just teachers. This month, as it does every September, the
system's channel guide features CIC on its cover.
The Weather Channel co-sponsored a student photo contest
with Time Warner Communications' Los Angeles division in honor of CIC's 10th
birthday. Entries will be submitted online to help promote Time Warner's Road Runner
high-speed Internet service.
The system plans to deploy Road Runner in schools by the
end of the year, following the residential launch of the service this past July.
The Internet is a good tool to help teachers use CIC more
effectively, according to Time Warner Los Angeles educational-outreach coordinator Gail
Toth. Networks have started to post curriculum guidelines online so teachers no longer
have to request to have them sent by mail or fax.
Courtroom Television Network director of public affairs
Jennifer Randolph called the Internet "a wonderful tool for instant
In southern New Jersey, Suburban Cable plans to recognize
10 area teachers who use cable programming creatively by awarding them new computers for
use in their classrooms.
Suburban plans to use the occasion as a chance to hold a
CIC workshop -- complete with celebratory CIC birthday cake and teacher awards ceremony --
at each school.
The operator holds 50 workshops each year,
education-relations manager Lee Javens said. Eight former teachers work with her as
consultants for the CIC program.
Suburban is getting ready to launch its high-speed Internet
service in schools sometime during this school year, she added.
In support of the CIC anniversary, Disney Channel sent
on-air talent Jeff Corwin to host two local fairs for Suburban -- one in July in
Harrisburg, Pa., and one this past Saturday in Ocean City, N.J. Disney will air two
episodes of Going Wild with Jeff Corwin next Sunday in primetime.
"We tried to take this beyond on-air and into the
communities," Disney Channel vice president of affiliate marketing and sales strategy
Jill Hisey said.
Court TV has geared its Choices and Consequences programming
to middle-school-aged audiences on the advice of a prominent professor of education. The
subject matter might have had less impact on older high-school students, Randolph said.
This Thursday (Sept. 9), the network will air its
"Teen Pranks" and "Daring Your Friends" episodes starting at 7 p.m.
Hookey said the primetime CIC programming gives families an
opportunity to spend time together in a constructive way.
"Cable in the Classroom is a fabulous resource,"
Toth said. "It's truly underutilized by teachers."
To help promote the program, she added, operators should
try to find one sympathetic contact at each school. "They will pass the word
on," she said.