The PILOT Innovation Challenge sought ideas that would help local radio and TV broadcasters engage their communities with next generation content. The News Call, a DVR like service for radio news, won third place.
Chandra Clark is a self-confessed news junkie. “My obsession with watching and listening to all news forms includes staying up to date on the devices used to get the news to consumers,” she said.
“The biggest downtime that I can’t get local news is when I’m in the car on a morning or evening commute or on a long road trip with my family. I can barely locate a two-minute headline on local radio news, and most of the time it isn’t enough to keep me informed or to understand the story.”
Chandra’s appetite for news is what led her to the creation of The News Call. The News Call works similarly to the way a DVR works for television. “You could pre-program the news you want to hear, when you want to hear it.” Chandra said that you could then use the bluetooth available in your car to “hit one button and start listening to your preferred choice of news, sports and weather from any news outlet in the world.”
She explained, “I think that bluetooth technology for cellphones and through our cars is another way we can get news on the go through a radio system. The idea came to me when we would travel out west and north for two weeks, and we could never get our local news when we were traveling.”
Chandra has spent her career in broadcast journalism, starting at the age of 16 as a volunteer for a local television station. She has since worked as a senior producer for the ABC affiliate in Birmingham and a freelance producer. Chandra is now an assistant professor at The University of Alabama, teaching introductory and advanced broadcast news, producing, performance and media marketing.
After the Challenge, Chandra hopes to take her project further. “My hope would be to find an investor or a partner that would help me develop this idea,” she said. “As a news professor and freelance producer, I can really see this working.”