Localore is an independent public media production that unfolds over time. With each of the three productions so far, AIR has sought the most gifted independent talent to embed at forward-moving public media stations across the U.S. for up to a year. The first production, Makers Quest 2.0 (MQ2), launched in 2010, followed by Localore 2013–2015 and Localore: Finding America 2015–2017. #LocaloreLive! is the newest initiative, launched in 2018 and providing microgrants to teams focused on bringing innovation to live events.
Our goal is to advance the new, local frontier of public media and carry our service to the far corners of communities large and small. Our teams cultivate community collaborators who work with us across digital/social, broadcast, and “street” or live-event platforms, generating tens of millions of gross impression over time. We aspire to create new innovation capacity for stations that will continue to grow after our yearlong incubation period. Our ultimate goal is to realize the founding vision of a public media that brings enlightenment to all of the people of the United States.
AIR identifies its teams through competitive application processes, whereby we periodically seek out independent talent — media makers as well as educators, artists, social web strategists, developers — to lead the productions. We issue a separate call to radio and television stations that are keen to incubate the work. AIR matches winning talent with these stations and supports the teams as they build out their productions for up to a year. There are now more than 400 Localorians who continue to work in varying capacities in public media and in their communities across the U.S.
AIR’s Localore productions have inspired other stations and independent makers to join us in inventing the public media of tomorrow. Hearken is an exciting and expanding enterprise that grew out of our Localore Curious City, created by Localorian Jennifer Brandel with Chicago Public Media.Todd Melby’s Black Gold Boom was a groundbreaking immersive documentary that put a human face on North Dakota’s oil boom, and Julia Kumari Drapkin’s iSeeChange, marries NASA-data science with and a network of community story-gatherers to provide a new understanding of changes in our climate.
AIR’s publications — Break Form: Making Stories With and For the People, What’s Outside? Public Media 2014, and Spreading the Zing: Reimagining Public Media Through Makers Quest 2.0 — are published reports capturing lessons of each Localore production, as well as detailed quantitative analyses of the impact of each production. These publications are designed to capture best practices, inspire, and to lend encouragement to others committed to public service media. AIR has distributed tens of thousands of copies of these reports to independent talent, funders, community leaders, as well as public media station managers, program directors, and local radio, television, and print journalists across the United States.
Principal funding for Localore comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Wyncote Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and AIR’s growing network of 1,300 producers in 47 states and 30 countries.
AIR producers carry the mission of public service media to every corner of America. With a particular expertise in audio, we hear what is not apparent, seek what may be hidden, and craft stories that reflect a full spectrum of human experience.