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April 23, 2017

PILOT Announces 2017 Innovation Challenge Question

-- Application deadline is September 22, 2017 --

LAS VEGAS-- The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), through its PILOT program, today announced the second annual PILOT Innovation Challenge question. The PILOT Innovation Challenge recognizes creative ideas that leverage technological advances in the production, distribution and display of engaging content. The program also provides support to the winners for development.

This year’s challenge question is “What is an unconventional way broadcasters and other local media could serve communities?”

Applicants are required to submit a title, descriptions of their proposed concept, illustration and a simple business case explaining the concept’s viability. The submission must address the challenge question and will be evaluated for its creativity, value proposition it holds for both broadcasters and consumers, in addition to its viability.

This is the first of two challenges to be conducted over the next two years focused on uncovering local projects that serve the needs of communities. As previously announced, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is investing $200,000 to support these two challenges as part of the PILOT initiative, which advances broadcast technologies and cultivates new media opportunities.

"The goal of the PILOT Innovation Challenge is to identify and develop creative ideas that help broadcasters better serve their respective communities,” said PILOT Executive Director John Clark. “We’re looking forward to partnering with Knight Foundation to promote innovation in broadcasting.”

NAB and PILOT officially opened the call for entries during the Digital Futures Exchange at the 2017 NAB Show, the largest media and entertainment convention encompassing the convergence of media, entertainment and technology, held April 22-27 in Las Vegas.

Projects will be evaluated by a panel of judges from various groups, including local broadcasters, academics, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and other media-related entities. In addition, NAB and PILOT will use the challenge to build a network of broadcast news innovators who will provide guidance, support and industry exposure to winners of the challenge as they build and test prototypes. NAB will announce the winners of the 2017 PILOT Innovation Challenge in the fall during NAB Futures conference in Palo Alto, California, held November 12-14.

“Television and radio have an essential role to play in informing communities in the digital age,” said Karen Rundlet, Knight Foundation program officer for journalism. “Through this year’s PILOT Innovation Challenge, we hope to discover projects that truly deliver news, high quality journalism and civic information to local audiences.”

Support for this program is part of Knight’s efforts to promote digital transformation and innovation in journalism to meet local information needs.

The winners of last year’s Innovation Challenge were announced at the NAB Futures conference in Pebble Beach, California on October 31, 2016.

About NAB
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

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

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit

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