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June 7, 2021

PILOT Opening Application Window for 2021 Innovation Challenge

-- Challenge winners will showcase working prototype at 2021 NAB Show in Las Vegas --

-- Proposal deadline set for 5 p.m. ET on July 9 --

Washington, D.C. -- PILOT, NAB's technology innovation initiative, will be accepting submissions for the PILOT Innovation Challenge through 5 p.m. ET on July 9. The program will provide mentorship and promotion to winning proposals, along with an opportunity to demonstrate their products at NAB Show in Las Vegas, October 9-13, 2021. 

This year’s challenge is seeking startups and growing companies providing solutions to some of the key challenges and opportunities facing broadcasters over the next two to three years. The challenge is specifically seeking products or prototypes that are focused on the following areas:

  • Edge technologies that drive new revenue opportunities for broadcasters, such as through geo-targeted content, location-based advertising, accurate audience measurement and augmented experiences;
  • Technologies that enhance broadcast journalism to help viewers and listeners get more from their most trusted source of local news, including tools to better aggregate and verify crowd-sourced news reports, enhancements to news-gathering technologies such as drones, or avatar news anchors to deliver personalized updates on a myriad of topics; and
  • In-vehicle technologies that deliver more value out of broadcasting, including technologies that enhance the in-car experience for radio listeners, as well as technologies that harness the mobile reception capabilities of the NextGen TV standard to deliver even more rich data services or back-seat entertainment. 

“The Innovation Challenge offers a platform for developing technologies that will help broadcasters better serve their audience, while providing emerging companies a showcase for their cutting-edge products,” said PILOT Executive Director John Clark. “We are excited for this year’s program to explore the ideas and innovations that will open up new revenue streams, strengthen local journalism and enrich broadcasting’s relationship with the car.”

Individuals, teams, companies, academic institutions and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply subject to the Challenge’s official rules of participation. Up to 10 finalists will be selected by a panel of industry experts by early August, with up to three winning proposals being notified by September 1. Participants can review the judging criteria on the PILOT website.

Three winners will be selected to receive relevant mentorship, feedback, numerous opportunities to engage with broadcasters and a trip to the annual NAB Show, held October 9-13, 2021 in Las Vegas. They will be provided exhibit space in the “Startup Loft” to demonstrate their prototype to potential customers, investors and partners.

The deadline to apply is July 9 at 5 p.m. ET.


PILOT 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 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


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