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September 17, 2019

PILOT Takes New Approach with Innovation Challenge, Calls for Proposals

-- Challenge will fund teams to build a working prototype and present at the 2020 NAB Show --

--Applicants must submit their proposal by October 18 --

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- PILOT, NAB's technology innovation initiative, is accepting submissions for the fourth annual PILOT Innovation Challenge. New this year, the program will provide support to the winners to develop a prototype for PILOT that uses AI to enhance broadcasters’ audience engagement.

The 2019 PILOT Innovation Challenge prompt is: Build an AI character that can have conversations with individual viewers, listeners or consumers. Broadcasters should be able to define and train the character’s personality.

“We’re taking a new approach to this year’s challenge and look forward to the submissions,” said PILOT Executive Director John Clark. “We are intrigued with the concept of a system that allows viewers and listeners to have one-on-one conversations with stations, while providing broadcasters the ability to better serve their communities.”

Funded by PILOT, the 2019 Innovation Challenge winners will build a conversational broadcaster application and backend AI system that radio and TV stations can train with their own desired personalities and unique content.

Individuals, teams, companies, academic institutions and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply. Up to five finalists will be selected by a panel of industry experts and announced by the end of November . Applicants can review the judging criteria on the PILOT website.

Up to $150,000 in funding will be allocated to up to two winners. Winners will also receive relevant mentorship, ongoing feedback during development and a trip to the annual NAB Show, held April 18-22 in Las Vegas to demonstrate their prototype.

The deadline to apply is October 18.

The Innovation Challenge is one in a series of PILOT initiatives that each support a facet of the full innovation cycle, including the ideation, validation and incubation of media and technology-focused ideas. Additional programs include Futures Park, SPROCKIT, and technology and internship grants.

PILOT is a coalition of innovators, educators and advocates dedicated to advancing broadcast technology and cultivating new media opportunities. PILOT propels broadcast television and radio into the future. It provides a platform for innovation, an engine for incubation, a venue for testing new technologies and a forum for broadcaster education. Learn more at

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The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at

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