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December 14, 2016

NAB to Expand Innovation Challenges Focused on Local Broadcast News with $200,000 from Knight Foundation

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) today announced two innovation challenges will be conducted over the next two years focused on uncovering broadcast news projects that serve the needs of local communities. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is investing $200,000 to support the challenges as part of the PILOT initiative, which advances broadcast technologies and cultivates new media opportunities.

Local broadcasters play a vital role in their communities, delivering news, emergency information and entertainment that viewers and listeners rely on to stay informed and make decisions. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center poll, a majority of U.S. adults often get their news from broadcasters, more than from other platforms. However, young adults are moving to alternative platforms, particularly online, for their news and information, reflecting a change in news consumption habits.

To adapt and meet the information needs of local communities, broadcast news leaders are looking for new ideas. To this end, NAB will officially launch the call for entries for the 2017 PILOT Innovation Challenge at NAB Show, the largest media and entertainment convention in the world, held April 22-27, 2017 in Las Vegas. Participants are encouraged to submit innovative project ideas for local broadcasters. Entries will be accepted through summer 2017.

Projects will be evaluated by a panel of judges from various groups, including local broadcasters, academics, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and other media-related entities. In addition, NAB will use the challenge to build a network of broadcast news innovators and will provide guidance, support and industry exposure to winners of the challenge as they build and test prototypes. NAB will announce the winners of the 2017 PILOT Innovation Challenge in the fall.

“Broadcasters play an important role in helping to close the local news and information gap brought on by the digital disruption of journalism. At the same time in order to stay relevant and better serve the information needs of local communities, broadcasters must evolve and innovate. With the National Association of Broadcasters’ leadership, we hope to uncover ideas to advance this goal, and create a stronger network of broadcast news innovators who care about local issues,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism.

“Local broadcasters serve their communities in a variety of ways, and the landscape continues to evolve. Our goal is to inspire and support new ideas for local broadcasters serving those communities. We’re delighted to have Knight Foundation’s support in continuing to push the industry forward with new perspectives, ideas and innovations,” said John Clark, PILOT executive director.

Support for these projects is part of Knight's efforts to promote digital transformation and innovation in journalism to meet local information needs. Knight has made many investments in this area, including the establishment of the Knight-Temple Table Stakes Project, which brings together respected news organizations to act as testing grounds for new mobile and digital practices.

About NAB
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at

PILOT, formerly NAB Labs, is a coalition of innovators, educators and advocates dedicated to advancing broadcast technology and cultivating new media opportunities. PILOT propels broadcast television and radio into the future. It provides a platform for innovation, an engine for incubation, a venue for testing new technologies and a forum for broadcaster education. Learn more at

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit

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