It takes a particular kind of producer to accept the challenge we've laid out with Localore. As we reviewed the first round of proposals with our Selection Committee, a profile began to emerge. Localore applicants are primarily young, independent journalist focused on reinvention, for whom public media is one of a number of areas of professional focus.
With Localore, AIR has not simply asked independent producers to submit their best idea. We asked them to submit their best idea for a project that can also create new modes of public engagement, and expand R&D capacity at a local public radio or TV station. We’ve asked them to do place-based work—projects that tease out what is unique about a given community and the people who live there. We’ve asked that their projects somehow invite new communities to engage with public media as well as invite people to engage with public media in new ways. AIR is also looking for producers who are willing and able to move to another part of the country if we think a station is a better match for their project. Add to that the fact that we've challenged radio producers to consider working with television stations, film and television producers to consider working with radio stations, and have invited in journalists and technologists to boot.
It was soon apparent that Localore was looking for a very specific “breed” of producer—one that can perhaps best be described as a “skilled adaptor.” This new breed are those who are willing to make sacrifices: to move away from their homes, and to make something and leave it behind when they’re done. AIR sought and ultimately received 130 proposals from such skilled adaptors—talented, forward-leaning producers who are looking to lead in an evolving 21st century public media environment, but also bring skills and experience from other industry sectors.
A few more interesting stats:
- Radio producers dominate, comprising 52% of the Localore talent pool. 57% consider themselves to be a radio or television journalist or a documentarian.
- The largest cohort is under 30 (31%) with less than 5 years working professionally in public media. 51% are under the age of 40.
- Only 25% cite public media as a their exclusive focus. Another 6% never worked in public media, or did at one time but don't any longer.
- Nearly half of all producers (48%) say they are "focusing on reinvention."
- There are 4 organizations cited as most strongly "supporting or enhancing" their work (2.5+ on a scale of 5): #1 Local radio station, #2 AIR, #3 NPR, and #4 Third Coast Festival.
- Among all applicants, 24% self-identified as minorities: 7% Asian American; 9% African American; 5% Hispanic American; 1.5% Native American; 1.5% Other.
From this promising pool, we selected 27 producers to match with stations. These producer-station teams will be hard at work over the holidays, crafting a second-round proposal. By January 20, we'll narrow the group down once more to the 10 producer-station teams that will lead us into the next phase of public media. Stay tuned.