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!

85 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.

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.

Valley PBS Local Learning


In partnership with Fresno Unified School District, the 3rd largest in the state of California and a district with 90% economically disadvantaged and diverse students living below the poverty line without equal access to online learning, Valley PBS created an on-air program from 8am – 9am each day that targets Literacy Lessons for K, 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders and is taught by FUSD teachers. Students have been able to learn and review fundamentals over-the-air, streaming on Facebook Live daily and on the website since June and lessons are translated into Spanish and Hmong as well; the program has just been extended until December 18th and expanded to include Pre-K and T-K lessons.


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.

Battling Opioids (2019 Finalist)

Pennsylvania Public Media

Seven Pennsylvania Public Media stations (WHYY, WITF, WLVT/PBS39, WPSU, WQED, WQLN, and WVIA) developed a collaborative programming and online media effort focused on the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania with the goals of increasing awareness, reducing stigma, and helping affected people find treatment. This state-wide project included long-form documentaries, online features, educational interstitials, and strong social media support. Battling Opioids helped to direct more than 23,000 calls to the state helpline since the project started by highlighting the phone number at every touchpoint. Read Current’s coverage of this project.

Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America


Over 40.6 million Americans are living below the poverty line, including 13.3 million children. Chasing the Dream’s reporting, part of WLIW’s program called “Metro Focus,” the problems of economic and structural inequities informed by issues of race, age and class, and looks at solutions – what has worked and is working — to bring people out of poverty in the greater NYC area.

Future Jobs: Growing Our Region’s Workforce


Future Jobs explores the employment careers/opportunities that are trending now and in the near future. Future Jobs helps job-seekers to discover new, promising career options as they start their job search, and raises awareness about the regional workforce development efforts already underway in the Pittsburgh region. Through documentaries, shareable digital shorts,, this multiplatform project delivers life-impacting information to the public—especially middle school students and teachers, targeting them at the right time of their lives.

Homework Hotline


Homework Hotline is a live science and math program that helps students with homework questions, and showcases the projects that young scientists are working on. Teachers on Homework Hotline excel at explaining difficult math problems in real time to students, including those who may be too shy to ask questions in the classroom. Homework Hotline also trains local college and high school students in television production.

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.