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June 1, 2015, 12:09 p.m.
LINK: localore.airmedia.org  ➚   |   Posted by: Joseph Lichterman   |   June 1, 2015

LocaloreAIR’s multi-million dollar project that connects public broadcasters with independent producers to try and foster innovation in public media — is today opening applications for individuals wanting to participate in the latest round of the program.

Forty-four public media stations from every corner of the United States applied to host projects. Each submitted a three-minute video explaining why the individuals should want to work at their station and what they hope to accomplish through Localore. Initially, the deadline for stations to apply to the program was May 31, but AIR extended the deadline for stations to apply to become incubators until June 26, the same date individual applications are due.

AIR’s selection committee will ultimately pick 15 stations and individuals to partner together.

Localore Deadlines

This is the third iteration of Localore, and the theme of this round is “Finding America.” Sue Schardt, AIR’s executive director, said the program’s main focus is trying to diversify public media by spotlighting underserved coverage areas and bringing new voices onto the air.

“We’re trying to expand public media to its founding vision as a service to all of America,” she said. “We know the traditional public broadcasting that you and I and most of us understand is Morning Edition and All Things Considered. It’s PBS NewsHour and Marketplace. The tentpoles of broadcast institutions. What we don’t know, and what we won’t know for sometime yet, is what does a new public media look like? For many of these communities, especially with many non-English speaking citizens in this country, it’s not going to be Morning Edition or All Things Considered.”

The public media audience is largely white and affluent. Just look at NPR: 87 percent of its listenership is white and 45 percent of NPR’s audience has household incomes over $100,000.

AIR has secured $3.2 million in funding from from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Ford Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts that will fund the work for the winners at the stations they’re partnered with from November through July 2016.

Past winners include Curious City at WBEZ in Chicago and the Rewire at Twin Cities Public Television in Minnesota.

Previously, Localore focused heavily on digital by working with Zeega. “That kind of investment isn’t very scalable,” Schardt said. “We also have to come to terms with the fact that there is so much technology that we don’t know what to do with, so we want to turn our producers toward existing tools.”

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