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For immediate release:
December 19, 2011

Jessica Clark               
Email: jessica@AIRmedia.org

AIR Opens a New Public Media Frontier
Producers, stations seize opportunity to fill niche left by local commercial media.

Boston: This month, the Association of Independents in Radio, Inc. (AIR) made its first round of selections for Localore, its new national competition to challenge public media producers and stations to accelerate innovation and expand service to a wider public. Hundreds of producers and stations responded to this fall’s call for proposals. Ten winners will be announced on January 20, 2012.

Localore is a $2 million initiative produced by Boston-based AIR. More than $1 million in funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will support producer-led innovation teams at local stations for up to one year. The Localore teams are tasked with bringing their ingenuity to blend digital and broadcast technology, and invent new forms of journalism that will appeal beyond public broadcasting’s traditional core audience. The push for localism comes at a time when commercial station owners in the U.S. continue to divest their investment in local talent and stations.

In an extraordinary display of the breadth and diversity of the industry, 61 stations across the nation (see map) — from Native American reservations to state-wide networks to major market radio and television outlets — produced and loaded their media “profile” to the Localore Station Runway, demonstrating their readiness to take up the challenge to experiment with new approaches to news and narrative. AIR is working with its network nationwide to spread the word about Localore via Facebook and Twitter, and by embedding the Runway on various websites and blogs. AIR’s goal is to send a strong message about ambitions for the project and the industry’s commitment to growth and transformation.

“This is a hopeful time. Public media has an unprecedented opportunity to bring our best resources to filling critical gaps left by commercial media in local markets. It’s ripe for the taking,” said AIR Executive Director Sue Schardt. “Our Localore producers and stations — all of us invested in the future — have an important role to play in helping guide and shape a fresh direction, planting seeds for a new, 21st-century public media.”

Localore has drawn keen interest from both inside and outside of public broadcasting. Since the site launched on September 15, it has attracted more than 5,800 unique visitors and spurred a rush of creative proposals from both independent and station-based journalists, game designers, documentary filmmakers, and multimedia producers.

Over the past five years, AIR has emerged as a force for identifying, cultivating, and deploying talent to drive change across the industry. The 10 teams ultimately selected will become an integral part of AIR’s “new network” of innovators, advancing objectives initially laid out in 2008 with Makers Quest 2.0 (MQ2), the first in a series of AIR initiatives designed tap producers to reinvent public media. In March, AIR will invite finalist teams to Boston for a Public Media Lab, where they’ll have the chance to meet with pioneers in multiplatform news production and technology development.

AIR is a vibrant, tightly networked association of producers, journalists, hackers, technicians, media entrepreneurs, and sound artists. Founded in 1988, AIR has emerged as force for identifying, cultivating, and deploying talent to accelerate public media innovation and expand service to more citizens across the U.S. AIR’s membership now spans 46 states and 14 countries worldwide including leading stations, 501c3’s, organizations and networks including APM, BBC, NPR, PRI, PRX, Transom, and the Third Coast International Audio Festival. In addition to CPB, financial support for Localore comes from the MacArthur Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. 


Embed the Station Runway on your site or blog: http://airmediaworks.org/share-love