Local that Works

Local that Works is an annual contest that spotlights innovative and replicable content, engagement and revenue initiatives at public radio and TV stations, and nonprofit news organizations in the U.S.

Explore the curated LTW database of 350+ projects. Entries from the 2020 contest will be added to this database this fall.

Tips on using the database: If viewing this on a computer, all projects are listed in the left column. Click on a project name and its longer profile will appear in the right column. If viewing on mobile, clicking on a project name will load the full listing on your screen.

You can filter your results by selecting a tag or multiple tags in the categories drop down menu and clicking on search. If you want to change, broaden or narrow the results, make sure to uncheck categories for subsequent searches.

To see previous Local that Works contest winners, finalists and semi-finalists, click on green, purple or orange tags and our judges’ favorite projects will show up in the left column.

Get inspired!

80 results found.

Hip-Hop U: The First Wave Scholars

PBS Wisconsin

PBS Wisconsin shares the voices and talents of students of color involved in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s First Wave Scholarship program in the documentary “Hip-Hop U: The First Wave Scholars.” By addressing local disparities in accessibility, representation, and education, we help Wisconsin educators be better prepared to implement culturally relevant pedagogy in their classrooms.

The Learning Space

Maine Public

“The Learning Space” is an educational program created by Maine Public in partnership with the Maine Department of Education and Educate Maine. It is geared toward students in grades 3-5 and their teachers, and is intended to help bridge the gap for students without reliable internet access during COVID-19. It aired on Maine Public’s primary television channel and reached more than 180,000 people per episode, or roughly 90 classrooms.

CareerExplore Northwest


CareerExplore Northwest is an educational initiative created by KSPS PBS as a workforce development solution for our viewing region. Far beyond a typical job search website, it helps students and adults discover viable career paths by providing behind-the-scenes videos and easily accessible answers to questions about in-demand jobs in the Spokane region and what it takes to get them.


Twin Cities PBS/KTCA

Twin Cities PBS (TPT)’s groundbreaking multi-platform arts program, ART IS, elevates renowned Minnesota artists of color who pick three up-and-coming artists – across any genre – and develop a series of media and public events. Over a 9-month period, TPT and artists co-create powerful short digital films that provide context and visibility for the artists’ work, enhanced by a series of public events in TPT’s studios that engage local audiences in new ways and help sustain and evolve our vibrant local artistic community.

Classical 91.5 Presents

WXXI Public Broadcasting - Classical 91.5

WXXI’s “Classical 91.5 Presents” is an annual film series that exemplifies the power of music to enhance a story’s narrative. Each year Classical 91.5 presents a series of four films that are related to classical music in some way. Each film session includes film-related live music in The Little Theatre Café in Rochester and a lively panel discussion with WXXI hosts, as they explore the significance and unique use of music in each film.

Deep Dive

WMEA Maine Public

Maine Public’s Deep Dive is a space for complex, in-depth, high impact reporting. The first edition focused on childcare issues in the state, and utilized the entire 18-member news team to create web, radio and TV stories. Maine Calling, the local talk show, broadcast two editions that opened and closed the series. The station developed a communications plan to inform the audience, politicians and other stakeholders. The capstone moment was a public event at Portland Public Library where reporters discussed their work and took questions from the public.

Eye on the Arts

WYIN / Lakeshore Public Media

“Eye on the Arts” is a half hour TV series that showcases a diverse range of local artists, artistic organizations, events and stories, demonstrating the power of arts in people’s lives. The series draws attention to regional artists and cultural programs across the entire Chicagoland area, including many of Northwest Indiana’s under-served populations, people who often feel that the arts are inaccessible. “Eye on the Arts” also retains a radio presence through weekly segments on Lakeshore Public Radio.

Hip-Hop U: The First Wave Scholars

PBS Wisconsin
Public TV
Kira Story

Minority youth in Wisconsin and elsewhere face immense barriers to success in education and, in particular, music education. Noticing both a challenge and an opportunity in our service area, PBS Wisconsin embarked on a multifaceted collaboration to address issues of accessibility and representation in our state.

Through its Young Performers Initiative (YPI), PBS Wisconsin celebrates young people in the arts across the state and works with partners to support and advance music education. PBS Wisconsin realized that YPI could and should play a larger role in efforts to engage underserved youth in music education.

We reached out to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s First Wave Scholars program, which provides students who excel in hip-hop, dance, song, spoken word, and/or other urban art forms with a four-year full tuition scholarship. We wanted to collaborate with First Wave to develop new educational opportunities for students and educators, and to create a documentary to share First Wave with our viewing audience.

In 2016-17, PBS Wisconsin sponsored 78 music educators to attend First Wave’s annual Hip-Hop in the Heartland conference. We also gathered data to help us understand disconnects in music programming. We knew some educators were already doing inclusion work well and this group helped us create video content to demonstrate how others could successfully incorporate similar culturally relevant frameworks in their own classrooms.

Over the course of 2017, PBS Wisconsin documented the personal stories and performances of First Wave participants and featured them in “Hip-Hop U: The First Wave Scholars.” We first shared this documentary with our broadcast audience of 500,000 weekly viewers on Sept. 24, 2018, and believe it helped give Wisconsinites a starting point for conversations about equality, diversity, and social change during a time of increased racial tensions in our country.

In the years since, the partnership has continued to expand and deepen. PBS Wisconsin has both hired and helped produce work by former students.

Additionally, we have sponsored 78 educators to attend UW’s Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives’ annual conference. Each of these educators interacts with up to 100 different students per week, depending on the number of classes they teach. Many of their students come from underserved communities and diverse populations who may not otherwise have the opportunity to interact with a teacher practicing culturally responsive pedagogy in the classroom.