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 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!

29 results found.

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.

A Parent’s Guide to Public Schools (2019 Finalist)

Voice of San Diego

A Parent’s Guide to Public Schools is a free “consumer report” tool, distributed to 50,000 families to aid parents in making decisions about their childrens’ education. The Guide, produced in English and Spanish, provides an overview of every local public school’s performance in easy-to-read charts, with answers to basic questions about public school options. VOSD works UC San Diego to analyze the school performance data and with the San Diego Workforce Partnership to cover topics like vocational training. Read Current’s coverage of this project.

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.

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.

KIDS Clubhouse Adventures

Iowa Public Television

Launched in 2016, KIDS Clubhouse Adventures (KCA) is a multimedia learning experience that engages Iowa children ages three through nine and inspires them to go outside and play, use their imagination, read good books and eat healthy foods. KCA includes a series of locally-hosted 30-minute TV shows, a platform that allows viewers to tell their own stories, and a “Reading Road Trip,” a community outreach initiative that promotes summer reading and libraries year-round.

PBS39 Kids Summer Series/TeleBear’s Summer Jam


The PBS39 Kids Summer Series featured free educational activities for children including music, stories and crafts at PBS39’s studios during June and July 2019. TeleBear’s Summer Jam, part of the longstanding annual, regional Musikfest, was an extension of the series and featured free performances with nationally-acclaimed ‘Kindie’ musicians (independent artists who perform for children).

Promise of Paradise: Back to the Land Oral Histories of Mendocino County

KZYX Mendocino County Public Broadcasting

“Promise of Paradise” is a sense of place interview series, launched in June 2018 at KZYX, with members of the “Back to the Earth” movement and their children about their lives and experiences of 20th century homesteaders who arrived in Mendocino County, California, as college-educated hippies were streaming away from the cities to rural areas to re-learn ancient homesteading skills and to reject the cultural norms of post-World War II America.

Special Needs Resource Library


The Vegas PBS Special Needs Resource Library is a free-loan educational media library for Nevada citizens with special needs. Hearing- and visually-impaired residents can check out media with closed captions or descriptive voice-overs. Vegas PBS offers structured play groups for children with special needs ages two to four and their caregivers, conducted in an accessible children’s area within the library. The station provides educational games and activities that parents, teachers and other professionals find vital for teaching children with unique learning challenges.

Be My Neighbor Week

WFYI Public Media
Joint Licensee
Gail Strong

Be My Neighbor Day invites families to participate in volunteer activities that aid neighbors in need. WFYI was well into planning its Be My Neighbor Day, slated for April 25, when the pandemic grabbed hold in Indiana. With grant support, we partnered with the Indianapolis Public Library, PNC Bank, Child Care Answers and the Indiana chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, anticipating that we’d see 1,200 children.

The event would’ve had live music, Daniel Tiger and other PBS characters. Children would’ve been able to make coloring books, draw bookmarks and participate in many other activities. Library staff and volunteers would’ve helped children pick books, provided information about the resources at the library and assisted families in signing up for library cards. Finally, children would’ve interacted with the helpers in their communities through other activities, such as meeting pediatric residents (and getting a prescription for reading). The Indianapolis Fire Department, Immigrant Welcome Center, Mom’s Helpline and more would’ve been on hand, too.

Then the pandemic forced us to reimagine how we’d deliver Be My Neighbor Day’s message of kindness.

Now, we’re honoring our partners and finding ways to reach more children and their families at a time when being neighborly and caring matters so much. Instead of having a one-day event, we’re doing Be My Neighbor Week starting Aug. 24. Our community engagement team enlisted volunteers to help assemble and deliver Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood gift bags – each including a Daniel Tiger book, Be My Neighbor Day t-shirt, Daniel Tiger stickers, a toy, coloring sheets, game charts and suggested activities for being neighborly. Volunteers also wrote note cards to encourage children to be neighborly and included them in the bags. We used grant funds to buy more Daniel Tiger books from a local nonprofit bookstore. And we curated Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood episodes and created a Bingo game to align with them.

We worked with community partners Early Learning Indiana and Child Care Answers to distribute the books to the children of essential workers and families in ministries and day homes. All WFYI staff with children under 6 years old also received bags.

Be My Neighbor Day is a day of service, though, and we didn’t want to lose that in the pandemic pivot. WFYI volunteers are delivering gift bags to Early Learning Indiana centers, as well as ministries and day homes. They made and continue to make blankets for cats and dogs at Indy Humane and twin-sized blankets for a local domestic violence shelter. Staff and volunteers contributed lip balm to gift to children at Riley Children’s Hospital. We also implemented a digital and on-air marketing campaign to encourage families to participate in volunteer activities. Those who send stories or photos will be entered into a drawing for Daniel Tiger baskets.

All of this precludes and leads into a separately planned Mr. Rogers pledge weekend.

This initiative was grant supported. It didn’t generate additional revenue.

WFYI volunteers each made 20 note cards encouraging children to be neighborly for inclusion in 900 gift bags. Our work with Early Learning Indiana helped us distribute 650 of those bags to the children of essential workers. We hope the children and their families will do the suggested activities included in the gift bags and that our ideas will serve as springboard for more, enabling and empowering children and families to be the helpers in their communities during these unprecedented times.