Local that Works spotlights innovative and replicable content, engagement and revenue initiatives at public radio and TV stations and nonprofit and digital news organizations in the U.S. LTW includes an annual contest and a database (below). LTW produces webinars that offer insights into projects and organizations that are reshaping local civic journalism.
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Every weekday morning, Interlochen Public Radio (IPR) presents Kids Commute, an interactive exploration of classical music centered around weekly themes (such as mermaids, opera and elephants) that are designed to educate and entertain the youngest listeners. Kids Commute also explores ballets, their stories, and the music that goes along with them. This interactive radio experience delivers strategies for early childhood artistic development that can be easily replicated in a variety of genres.
This unique project offered the region’s storytellers the platform needed to disseminate their films to a new audience through broadcast distribution of their finished films. The initiative served filmmakers from the Keys to the Treasure Coast with an audience reach of over 6.3 million, deepening the understanding of ourselves and our neighbors.
The Million Minute Challenge was an initiative to get people of all ages and backgrounds in Lehigh Valley reading. We asked our community to come together to read 1,000,000 minutes in March 2020, Reading Awareness Month, and what resulted was a fun, engaging, exciting, audience-captivating event that surpassed its goals and put reading at the center.
Instead of focusing on ourselves for Giving Tuesday, we chose to celebrate other local nonprofits. People nominated their favorite local nonprofits and then we awarded $1000 in underwriting to randomly selected winners.
KPBS launched the “Explore” program in 2012 as an experiment to grow the station’s library of local programs while cultivating new, young and diverse talent. Every two years, KPBS opens a community-wide call for content ideas and offers seed funding to create local TV shows, web series and podcasts. The producers retain ownership of their project and are responsible for raising the extra funds needed to stay afloat. The program has spawned four podcasts and more than a dozen TV and web series.
Spurred by the voice of a community member, Capital Public Radio created the region’s first Tiny Desk concert, showcasing multiple local entrants who entered this year’s national contest and highlighting numerous others with promotional and follow-up blog content at capradio.org.
Insider Louisville created a database of local civic leaders to measure their community impact. Each individual was given a civic engagement score. Criteria included but was not limited to nonprofit board participation, founding a company, charity support, elected to office, networking group membership and media exposure. Insider Louisville published a report to honor the top 100 ranked civic leaders in a report: “Insider Louisville’s Top 100: Change-makers and groundbreakers.”
The KVIE Art Auction is an annual, live-televised fundraising event. Over 250 pieces of artwork are donated by artists throughout the greater Sacramento region, curated from hundreds of submissions. Local artists receive print, on-air and web recognition and several report gaining commissions as a result of the exposure.
The LPB Louisiana Young Hero Awards annually honors students in grades 7-12 who excel in the classroom, serve their local communities and demonstrate great personal courage in overcoming adversity.
Classical IPR’s Kids Commute
Our mission is to inspire love and appreciation for classical music among young people by providing history, context, and insights into composers and their work. Every week, we ask our young listeners a trivia question related to the current theme. Those who answer correctly receive a Kids Commute Prize Pack. We also encourage them to participate in the Kids Commute Story Challenge to create artwork or a story inspired by a specific piece of music. We then pick our favorites and bring them to life in a dramatic reading voiced by Interlochen Arts Academy theatre students.
Kids Commute educates and inspires our audience by not only connecting them to the mainstays of classical music, but also introducing them to what’s new and relevant in classical music. Our “Pop! Goes the Classical Week” highlighted classical arrangements of pop songs by modern classical ensembles and interviews with renowned musicians and composers.
Many of our young listeners are learning to play a musical instrument themselves, and we encourage them to record their version of our show’s theme song and send it in. To date, dozens of students have submitted their greetings, artwork, and stories, and the program features them regularly. Through these efforts, we are creating a generation of listeners who have the capacity to appreciate music and hear with a more sophisticated ear.
In addition to its weekly broadcast, Kids Commute has hosted popular live concerts in cooperation with Interlochen Arts Academy faculty. For example, the Circus Extravaganza concert featured students from the IAA Theatre Department who, in collaboration with the IAA Wind Ensemble’s performances, depicted clowns portraying how various emotions can be expressed musically.
Kids Commute educates and inspires our audience by connecting them to not only the mainstays of classical music but also introduces them to what's new and relevant in classical music. Many within our audience are learning a musical instrument themselves, and we encourage them to record their version of our show‚ a simple theme song on their instrument. To date, dozens of students have submitted their greetings, artwork and stories, and they are used regularly on the program. Each week kids eagerly await the opportunity to respond to our trivia or Story Challenge. Through these efforts, we are creating a generation of listeners who have the capacity to listen to music with a more sophisticated ear.
Kids Commute Live concerts, regularly engage over 300 kids and parents during each annual public performance. Through these live public performances, we ignite a lifelong passion for the arts through excellence in educational, artistic, and cultural programs that enhance their quality of life through the universal language of the arts.
Kids Commute continues to inspire listener support during our annual fund drives. Kids Commute receives underwriting support from local and national businesses who have identified the Kids Commute audience as a desirable, influential, and active demographic. Underwriting examples include Go-Go Squeeze, the regional network of seven Chase banks, and The Traverse Symphony Orchestra, which are all enhancing their brand and reaching new audiences through the power of Kids Commute.