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.
226 results found.
Uncuffed is a podcast and radio series made by people incarcerated in California prisons. KALW producers teach them how to record and edit powerful audio stories about life on the inside.
¿Qué Pasa, Midwest? is a bilingual podcast that tells the stories of Latinx in the Midwest. Funded with support from CPB, the podcast facilitates difficult conversations and explores policy issues, such as immigration and the U.S. Census. WNIN reaches out to educational institutions to host listening parties share these stories with students. ¿Qué Pasa, Midwest?
Amplifier is a podcast that shines a light on Charlotte’s local music scene. More than 500 musicians have submitted their songs and shared their experiences. Amplifier launched with 20 episodes in 20 days, and is now a biweekly podcast featuring award-winning jazz singers to emerging pop acts, DIY venue owners to established record producers and beyond. Amplifier was named Charlotte Magazine’s “Best Podcast”, and received a Webby Award for innovation in music/arts podcasting.
Another Round is a community engagement series that allows Boise Public Radio to get outside of the metro region and into areas of southern and central Idaho and eastern Oregon. Three out of four quarterly events take place outside of Boise. In each, the station learns about topics listeners would like to hear covered more on air. Boise Public Radio partners with a local brewery/restaurant/coffee shop and charge $5. Participants get a stainless steel NPR/BSPR logo’s tumbler with a ticket redeemable for one free beer.
On the fourth Monday night of each month, KASU presents “Bluegrass Monday,” a concert series in its 17th year, bringing professional bluegrass musicians to Paragould, Arkansas, for affordable, family-friendly concerts. Admission is always free. KASU feels presenting these concerts not only promotes its radio broadcasts of bluegrass music, but the concerts also help to promote the culture of the region that includes the nearby Ozark Mountains. All concerts are recorded for broadcast on KASU at a later date.
Since 1986, KASU volunteer and local folklorist Dr. Bill Clements has written and hosted programs of regional and international interest. The first collaboration, “Tradition,” is a weekly 30-minute program that teaches listeners about the wide diversity of American traditional music. “ Bill’s two-minute “Calendar Lore,” started in 1990, highlights world cultures by focusing on different areas of folklore such as rituals and beliefs, food culture, and history that are tied to a specific date.
Catalyst Radio is a weekly public affairs program produced by Grand Rapids (MI) Community Media Center. CMC’s Catalyst Radio features interviews with organizations and people working on social change, community support, and media issues. This effort is a partnership between The Rapidian, an online platform for community journalism and WYCE, an independent, community radio station in Grand Rapids.
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.
Classics for Kids, launched at WGUC in 1998, provides an educational and entertaining classical music experience for children. 23 stations now carry the Classics for Kids program; people all over the world use the website materials (570,000 uniques/ 5 million pvs in 2018). The Classics for Kids podcast is CPR’s most listened-to podcast (75,000+ downloads/mo). It provides education materials based on national and state standards, Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences and Critical Thinking skills based on Bloom’s Taxonomy.
The United States locks up over two million people – more than any other country in the world. Most are people of color, and most come from low income backgrounds. They lose freedom of movement, regular contact with their families, voting rights, and access to phones and the internet. Their faces and voices are erased from our media, except as monsters and fictional stereotypes. Uncuffed gives people in prison the power to tell their own stories.
KALW is an NPR member station in San Francisco with a long history of training reporters, storytellers, and audio engineers. Our mission is to bridge the divides in our communities. One way we do that is by training producers from underserved groups. It was a natural step for us to teach people in prison how to be media makers.
KALW began teaching audio journalism to people at San Quentin Prison in 2012 and expanded to Solano State Prison in 2018. We teach students how to interview, record and edit using ProTools software. Participants learn how to do interviews in the style of StoryCorps. They conduct a 40-60 minute interview, and edit it down to a 6-8 minute audio gem.
Last year, we launched a podcast version of the series. In it, the producers have roundtable conversations about the themes brought up in their interviews. We’ve aired more than 90 interviews and stories produced behind bars, and our podcast has over 33,000 downloads.
Uncuffed’s mission is to create emotional, human stories to change the narrative around incarcerated people, and change the criminal justice system. An advisory board of formerly incarcerated people help us stay true to that mission.
The work has been extremely successful. Uncuffed producers have won several awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the San Francisco Press Club. The New York Times called Uncuffed a “moving new show.” We were featured on Ear Hustle, Reveal, Snap Judgment, KQED, The California Report, KCRW, the UK’s National Prison Radio and other outlets. The statewide prison TV system now broadcasts many of our pieces, allowing other prisoners to see people like themselves in a positive light.
In-person classes are cancelled due to the pandemic but we’ve continued mail-in journalism courses. Meanwhile, we’ve used our network and reputation to tell the story of how COVID has ravaged prisons. We made a special episode featuring people writing letters to their loved ones in prison, whom they haven’t been able to visit. Our relationships in the community have improved local coverage of prisons, for KALW, and for our partner outlets.
Uncuffed can be a model for any media outlet with a prison in its area. We’ve already helped similar projects get off the ground, and are willing and able to offer our resources and experience to other groups. In nearly every prison there are arts and educational programs funded by governments and nonprofits. Especially in the current era of prison reform, opportunities to teach in prison are on the rise.
Our listeners are deeply moved by these stories, and often mention that Uncuffed is one of their favorite programs. One listener wrote, “I will do my part: donating, protesting, writing to lawmakers, sharing your story. I will carry your story in my heart and head, allowing it to inspire me, to guide my own actions and to stay in the fight.”
For the participants in the program, this work is life-changing. They learn valuable skills in communications and media, and see themselves as people whose voices matter.
“I feel as if I am finally part of something worth being a part of,” says producer Brian Thames. “I’m a part of humanity who actively foster goodness and empathy in the world.”
Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams, the founders of PRX’s Ear Hustle, were trained in our program. Woods was granted a commutation citing his work on the show. Both men are now employed by PRX, creating a podcast that exposes millions to listeners to the injustices of mass incarceration.
Another past participant, Adnan Khan, says our program gave him his first glimpse of the power of his words. While incarcerated, he created a resentencing bill that set him and others free. Now he runs an advocacy organization and is regularly quoted on prison issues.
KALW helped San Quentin establish a chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists which has launched media careers for several people post-incarceration, and which offers seminars on prison reporting for journalists around our region.
Uncuffed stories also have a profound impact on the interviewees and their families. One man shared his story widely after he paroled. He said it was the key to his community understanding that he had changed, and welcoming him home.
Uncuffed is building momentum. As our audience grows, the opportunities to expand the program and its impact multiply. We hope many other stations follow our model, connecting the public outside to the community inside.
The California Arts Council’s Arts in Corrections program gave KALW $93,400 for the first two years of our program. After demonstrating our program’s success, we were granted a new contract for $693,000 over three years. To date we’ve also received $1,200 by licensing stories to other outlets.http://www.weareuncuffed.org