New Channel Brings PBS KIDS to Idaho Around the Clock

In February, Idaho Public Television officially launches its fifth broadcast channel — and this one is packed full of educational programs for kids, airing all day and night.

The Idaho PBS KIDS Channel is made possible thanks to our founding sponsors who support around-the-clock educational programming: CapEd Credit Union, Albertsons, IDeal – Idaho College Savings Program, and High Five! powered by Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation.

The new channel will be available for free to viewers who receive IdahoPTV’s over-the-air signal. On Feb. 1, viewers may need to “rescan” their television or digital receiver to add the new channel. Instructions for rescanning can be found here.


In addition to broadcasting over the air, the Idaho PBS KIDS Channel will be carried by many cable TV providers. The channel is already streaming live on the IdahoPTV website, and may be viewed through the PBS KIDS Video app on tablets, smartphones, and streaming devices such as Apple TV and Roku.

The live stream experience offers an integrated games feature, enabling children to toggle between a PBS KIDS show and an activity that extends learning — all in one seamless digital experience. The live stream and games feature is grounded in research demonstrating that measurable gains in learning are achieved when children engage with both video and games. The games align with the learning goals of each TV series.

The lineup of programs on the new channel includes favorites such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Wild Kratts, Ready Jet Go!, and Splash and Bubbles. It also includes PBS KIDS favorites not currently available on IdahoPTV: Fetch With Ruff Ruffman, Cyberchase, Peep & the Big Wide World, WordWorld and others.

The channel will also be home to the newest PBS KIDS creation, Pinkalicious & Peterrific, when it premieres on Feb. 19. Based on the book series by Victoria Kann, this new series encourages children ages 3-5 to engage in the creative arts and self-expression, covering areas such as music, dance and visual arts.

This new animated series follows the adventures of Pinkalicious and her brother, Peter. Pinkalicious imagines creative possibilities everywhere she looks. She is an artist at heart, and like most creative people, she sees the world differently from others. She knows what she likes, and she’s not afraid to express herself — though she sometimes needs help from her brother, Peter, and her neighborhood friends. Each episode will feature two 11-minute animated stories, a live-action segment, and an original song.

Pinkalicious & Peterrific

Paula Kerger, president and CEO of the Public Broadcasting Service, announced the launch of the new channel during a visit to Boise in September. Speaking at a luncheon for sponsors of IdahoPTV programming, Kerger said, “At the very core of public broadcasting’s work is an unwavering commitment to education, and that begins with our nation’s youngest learners. Today, PBS KIDS reaches more children ages 2 to 5, more kids in low-income homes, and more moms with young children than any other children’s TV network. For every child we reach, we know there are so many more who could benefit if they had free access to our proven educational content. The Idaho PBS KIDS Channel will benefit all families, especially the nearly 70 percent of children across Idaho who are not enrolled in preschool.”

That figure comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2017 Kids Count Data Book, which ranks Idaho last in the nation for the number of toddlers enrolled in preschool — with 69 percent not enrolled, compared with the national average of 53 percent.

Expanding free access to educational PBS KIDS programming is the latest commitment PBS and IdahoPTV have made at the national and state levels to equip parents and teachers with educational resources.

For the 2011-2012 academic year, PBS launched PBS LearningMedia, a digital media platform that delivers classroom-ready, high-quality content tied to curriculum standards, produced by PBS member stations across the country, including IdahoPTV. Read more about PBS LearningMedia here.

In 2016, IdahoPTV created an education specialist position to engage children in communities throughout Idaho. Cindy Lunte, who filled that position, was recently honored with the 2017 Special Services to Libraries award by the Idaho Library Association for her outreach to rural libraries, which includes science experiments, art activities, and creative story time programs featuring PBS KIDS characters.

Students in Weiser create animated stories using PBS KIDS ScratchJr. (photo: Jim Hadley)
Students in Weiser create animated stories using PBS KIDS ScratchJr. (photo: Jim Hadley)

Later in 2016, an anonymous foundation granted funds to PBS to create the Teacher Community Program, which provides support and resources to rural schoolteachers. Idaho was selected as one of five pilot locations, and in 2017, schoolteacher Kari Wardle joined IdahoPTV as Teacher Ambassador. Wardle works with both educators and students, giving teachers strategies and resources with which to incorporate technology into the classroom, and leading coding camps and technology-based activities for students. Wardle recently spent time during Computer Science Education Week teaching nearly 220 students in Weiser to create interactive stories using the programming language PBS KIDS ScratchJr.

Walmart Foundation Supports IdahoPTV Education Programs

Local Walmart employees presented the Friends of Idaho Public Television with a check for $31,000 as part of the Walmart Foundation‘s “Season of Giving” campaign.

The event recognized the community engagement efforts of three nonprofit organizations — Boise Art Museum and the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights, in addition to IdahoPTV — with a total of $90,000 to support educational endeavors.

Local Walmart employees representing the Walmart Foundation awarded the Friends of IdahoPTV, Boise Art Museum, and Wassmuth Center for Human Rights a combined total of $90,000 for educational programs.
Local Walmart employees representing the Walmart Foundation awarded the Friends of IdahoPTV, Boise Art Museum, and Wassmuth Center for Human Rights a combined total of $90,000 for educational programs. (Photo: Kevin Rank)

The award to IdahoPTV will support the production of Science Trek, a web-based series of science videos for students; STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education; a young writers and illustrators contest; and an annual overnight science camp.

“I cannot express my thanks enough to the Walmart Foundation and Walmart’s employees for their support of Science Trek and our outreach efforts,” said producer Joan Cartan-Hansen. “Science Trek’s mission is to inspire Idaho’s elementary-age students about the wonders of science and support our state’s educators and parents with quality educational materials. This grant helps fund the Science Trek camp at the Idaho Museum of Natural History at Idaho State University and many of our other educational outreach efforts. These can only happen because of wonderful partners like Walmart!”

During the presentation, Tory Nichols, Walmart’s market manager for the Treasure Valley, explained how the grant winners were determined. “Walmart has a state giving council that determines the recipients of roughly $250,000 a year,” he said. “The council is made up of a broad selection of hourly Walmart associates and leaders from across the state. They take grant applications and then decide where we’re going to contribute our state giving money. This is in addition to the giving budget that each individual store has to help schools, churches, and nonprofits within their local community.”

Earlier in the year, the Walmart Foundation granted awards totaling $141,000 to four Idaho nonprofits in support of mobile food banks and other charitable meal projects as part of their “Fighting Hunger” campaign. Throughout 2017, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have granted more than $5.4 million in funds and in-kind contributions to Idaho nonprofits, according to a statement from the Walmart Foundation.


Boise Author Samantha Silva Featured on a Holiday ‘Dialogue’

It’s one of his most beloved tales, but was written in a hurry and under duress.Dialogue

On a holiday Dialogue premiering Friday, Dec. 22, host Marcia Franklin talks with Boise writer Samantha Silva about A Christmas Carol, penned by Charles Dickens in 1843. In her debut novel, Mr. Dickens and His Carol, Silva melds fact with fiction to imagine how Dickens came up with the plot for his now-classic story.

Dialogue: “Mr Dickens and His Carol” airs Friday, Dec. 22, at 7:30 PM on Idaho Public Television. The interview repeats Sunday, Dec. 24, at 5/4 PM MT/PT. It will also be available for streaming at

Of Silva’s work, Pulitzer Prize-winner and Boise resident Anthony Doerr says, “It’s as foggy and haunted and redemptive as the original; it’s all heart, and I read it in a couple of ebullient, Christmassy gulps.”

Author Samantha Silva (photo: Glenn Landberg)
Author Samantha Silva (photo: Glenn Landberg)

Silva talks with Franklin about what drew her to Dickens, how she researched her book, why she thinks A Christmas Carol crystallizes Dickens’ ethos, and why the story is still relevant.

A graduate of Boise State University and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Silva is a screenwriter who has sold projects to Paramount, Universal, New Line Cinema, and TNT. A film version of her short story, “The Big Burn,” won the One Potato Short Screenplay Competition at the 2017 Sun Valley Film Festival and will be released in 2018. Silva will also be writing another novel.

‘Friends of IdahoPTV’ Earns Coveted 4-Star Rating From Charity Navigator

The Friends of Idaho Public Television‘s strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a 4-star (highest) rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. This is the first time the Friends of IdahoPTV has earned this top distinction.


Since 2002, using objective analysis, Charity Navigator has awarded only the most fiscally responsible organizations a 4-star rating. In 2011, Charity Navigator added 17 metrics, focused on governance and ethical practices as well as measures of openness, to its ratings methodology. These Accountability & Transparency metrics, which account for 50 percent of a charity’s overall rating, reveal which charities operate in accordance with industry best practices and whether they are open with their donors and stakeholders. In 2016, they upgraded their methodology for rating each charity’s financial health.

“The Friends of Idaho Public Television’s exceptional 4-star rating sets it apart from its peers and demonstrates its trustworthiness to the public,” says Michael Thatcher, president and CEO of Charity Navigator. “Only a quarter of charities rated by Charity Navigator receive the distinction. Based on its 4-star rating, people can trust that their donations are going to a financially responsible and ethical charity when they decide to support Idaho Public Television.”

“It’s important our donors trust that we’re using their donations wisely to accomplish our mission of harnessing the power of public media to encourage lifelong learning, connect Idaho’s communities, and enrich the lives of all Idahoans,” says Jenifer Johnson, IdahoPTV’s development director. “Our 4-star Charity Navigator rating demonstrates to our supporters our good governance and financial accountability.”

About Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator is the largest charity evaluator in America. The organization helps guide intelligent giving by evaluating the financial health, accountability and transparency of more than 8,000 charities. Charity Navigator accepts no advertising or donations from the organizations it evaluates, ensuring unbiased evaluations, nor does it charge the public for this trusted data.

IdahoPTV Leads ‘Hour of Code’ Activities in Weiser

On Dec. 5, IdahoPTV Teacher Ambassador Kari Wardle taught students in Weiser the basics of coding using a fun, interactive programming language called PBS KIDS ScratchJr. The program allows users to create animated adventures starring PBS KIDS characters by snapping together graphical blocks that command characters to move, jump, talk, and interact with their environment.

Two students from Pioneer Primary School in Weiser learn to create animated stories using the PBS KIDS ScratchJr app. IdahoPTV Teacher Ambassador Kari Wardle led "Hour of Code" workshops for Weiser second- and third-graders on Dec. 5
Two students from Pioneer Primary School in Weiser learn to create animated stories using the PBS KIDS ScratchJr app. IdahoPTV Teacher Ambassador Kari Wardle led “Hour of Code” workshops for Weiser second- and third-graders on Dec. 5.

The hourlong workshops were part of a global campaign called Hour of Code. During Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 4-10), the organization challenged educators around the world to offer coding sessions to as many students as possible. Wardle led workshops all day at Weiser’s Pioneer Primary School and stayed to offer workshops that evening during the school’s parent night. Altogether, Wardle taught an hour of coding to nearly 220 students and parents.

“It was my pleasure to spend an entire day teaching coding to second- and third-graders at Pioneer Primary School,” Wardle says. “I have a passion for computer education for young children! The thrill of seeing the students’ minds work and their faces light up when their character does what they programmed it to do is what makes it worth it! I am thankful to Sally Bovia from the Northwest Council for Computer Education (NCCE) for organizing this amazing event and inviting me to be a part of it. The staff at Pioneer Primary were gracious and so supportive!”

During Computer Science Education Week, students of all ages throughout the Weiser School District had opportunities to learn hours of coding in a variety of programming languages. Weiser High School hosted students from Annex Charter School in nearby Malheur County, where together the students learned EarSketch (a free app that lets students learn coding through music) and Python programming languages. They also learned how coding and problem-solving work together in the field of robotics. has free, one-hour tutorials available for anyone who wants to learn the basics of more than 45 coding languages. Visit for more information.

Following an "Hour of Code" workshop, students in Weiser sent Wardle a thank-you card adorned with PBS KIDS characters Peg + Cat.
Following an “Hour of Code” workshop, students in Weiser sent Wardle a thank-you card adorned with PBS KIDS characters Peg + Cat.

‘Victoria’ Season 2 Premieres in Free Screenings Around Idaho

Idaho Public Television invites the public to attend a free screening of the first hour of the Season 2 premiere episode of Victoria on Masterpiece. Screenings will be held at three locations around Idaho:

Victoria Screening press release.png

Treasure Valley – Village Cinema, Meridian

January 8, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.


Pocatello – ISU Pond Student Union Bengal Theater

January 9, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.


Hayden (ages 21+) – Hayden Discount Cinema

January 10, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.


The events are free, but registration is required at


About Victoria, Season 2 on Masterpiece

Jenna Coleman returns for a new season as the young queen who wants it all — romance, power, an heir, and personal freedom — on Victoria, Season 2, airing in seven episodes that begin airing Jan. 14, 2018, on Masterpiece on Idaho Public Television.

Season 2 finds Victoria adapting to motherhood after the birth of her first child, a daughter (to the disappointment of many). Meanwhile, the disaster of the Anglo-Afghan War unfolds abroad, and the catastrophic Irish potato famine begins to wreak havoc. In other foreign affairs, a royal state visit to France is in the offing.

Most intriguing to Prince Albert is the budding Industrial Revolution, which is now sweeping England. There is Charles Babbage’s mechanical calculator, a collaborative project with the bewitching Ada Lovelace, daughter of the scandalous Lord Byron. Then there is William Fothergill Cooke’s miraculous electrical telegraph, not to mention Marc Isambard Brunel’s daring—and dangerous—Thames Tunnel.

Tom Hughes stars as the queen’s smoldering consort, Prince Albert. Also returning from last season are Rufus Sewell as Lord Melbourne, Victoria’s first prime minister and intimate friend; Nell Hudson as Nancy Skerrett, newly promoted to the queen’s chief dresser, whose secrets are yet to be revealed; and Ferdinand Kingsley as Charles Francatelli, the royal chef whose love for Nancy was spurned at the end of Season 1.

Joining the cast in the new season is legendary actress Dame Diana Rigg, who plays the Duchess of Buccleuch, the court’s new Mistress of the Robes — a fount of old-fashioned good sense for the queen, who is now in the throes of motherhood.

Discover Endangered Species in New ‘Science Trek’ Video Shorts

Idaho Public Television’s original series Science Trek visits Zoo Boise and introduces plants and animals that are in danger of going extinct — in other parts of the world and in Idaho — in a series of digital shorts on endangered species released in December.

Each month, Science Trek explores a subject with short videos available on the Science Trek website, on a Facebook page for parents and teachers, on YouTube, and on PBS LearningMedia, a free media site for preK-12 educators.

The following digital shorts are available on these platforms in December:

Endangered SpeciesEndangered Species: Endangered Species Basics – One in four mammals, one in eight birds, one third of all amphibians, and 70 percent of the world’s known plants are in danger of extinction. Find out more about endangered species and visit some of the endangered animals at Zoo Boise.

Endangered Species: Q&A – Zoo Boise acting director Liz Littman answers students’ questions about endangered species.

Endangered Species: Idaho’s Endangered Species – Idaho has 16 species on the threatened or endangered species list. Learn what they are.

Endangered Species: Saved Species – Learn some success stories in the battle to save endangered species.

Endangered Species: Extinct Animals – More than a thousand plants and animals have disappeared from the earth in the past 500 years. Find out about some of the more famous extinct animals.

Endangered Species: Endangered Plants – Mammals aren’t the only species currently on the endangered list. We are losing lots of plants too, some in Idaho.


About Science Trek

Science Trek continues its 19th season with a new digital content focus. Instead of producing new 30-minute broadcast shows, Joan Cartan-Hansen and the Science Trek team will deliver more online-first content.

“Each month, we explore a scientific subject with digital shorts available on the Science Trek website, on a new Facebook page for parents and teachers, on YouTube, and on PBS Learning Media, a free, online media-on-demand service developed for preK-12 educators,” says Cartan-Hansen. The Science Trek team is even experimenting with 360-degree immersive video production.

Cartan-Hansen says in addition to the video, each month’s topic will have facts, links, reading lists, lesson plans, games and other educational support material all available on the website. The Science Trek website has more than 90 different scientific topics with video and supporting educational material all correlated to Idaho’s science standards and the Common Core science standards.

Science Trek is made possible through funding from Idaho National Laboratory.