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John Merrow, the former education correspondent for National Public Radio and the "McNeil-Lehrer Newshour" on the Public Broadcasting Service, is adding another education program at his new television outlet, The Learning Channel.

Mr. Merrow, who last spring began a monthly half-hour newsmagazine show called "Learning Matters", on the cable channel is launching a call-in program this week.

"Learning Matters: LIVE" debuts Sept. 19 from 8:30 to 9:30 P.M. Eastern time. The premiere show is scheduled to feature Keith B. Geiger, president of the National Education Association; Ann Lynch, president of the National pta; and John Chubb, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-author of the book Politics, Markets and America's Schools.

The toll-free numbers for viewer participation in the program are (800) 368-5781 and (800) 368-5782.

The call-in show will be preceded by this month's installment of "Learning Matters," at 8 P.M. Eastern time.

The Learning Channel will air the 90-minute combination of the two education programs on the third Wednesday of every month.

The National Basketball Association is joining with the National Broadcasting Company, Turner Network Television, and the Nickelodeon cable-television network for a television special early next year aimed at encouraging students to stay in school.

The one-hour special will air simultaneously on Feb. 9 on NBC, TNT, and Nickelodeon as part of the nba's "Stay in School, It's Your Best Move" campaign. The special will air live from Charlotte, N.C., site of the 1991 nba All-Star Game.

The program includes an incentive plan for students in Charlotte-area middle schools, who will be able to attend an All-Star event if they maintain a perfect attendance record from the beginning of the school year through Jan. 16.

Public-service announcements featuring First Lady Barbara Bush promoting reading are airing on several broadcast and cable networks. The spots are part of the kidsnet TV and Books Campaign. Kidsnet is an education clearinghouse for children's television and radio programming.

"When a good TV show makes you want to find out more, find it in a book," Mrs. Bush advises viewers in the spots. "TV and books work together to really take you places."

The campaign is being funded by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The grant will also support a series of national training workshops on visual literacy for educators and parents.--mw

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