Innovation Challenge Apply NowCongratulations to all previous PILOT Innovation Challenge winners and honorees.


Backlight: Iconik, a Backlight product, is a cloud-native solution that gathers and organizes media securely from any storage, providing a central point at which teams can gather, find assets and collaborate using any device. With hassle-free media collaboration and powerful automation features, iconik enables teams to streamline and accelerate editorial workflows.

Hour One: Hour One enables a single person to generate video quickly at low cost and high scale. The solution provides an AI-driven, entirely virtual broadcast video platform, complete with lifelike virtual news anchors and customizable 3D news studios. It includes script- and image-generation features to further remove friction from broadcast news creation.

TSV Analytics: TSV Analytics is an analytical social media management platform designed to make social media content more effective. Designed to help social media managers across all stages of the content creation process, from content ideation to creation to distribution, the platform streamlines and optimizes the social media management process.


Blueprint CRM – Townsquare Media: The Blueprint CRM is a next-generation CRM platform for broadcasters that provides a complete customer relationship management system optimized for ease of use with powerful tools for prospecting, managing relationships and garnering unique insights. The vision for the Blueprint system is to combine the best technology with the unique insights and strategies developed over the past decade building the Townsquare Media business.

Minutes – Michigan Radio: Minutes is a new web-based tool that allows newsrooms to search transcripts of local government meetings, saving time on research and giving reporters the ability to create deeper, more relevant stories for audiences.

Spalk: Spalk’s Virtual Sportscasting Studio allows for remote production of network-quality live sports programming. Spalk will work with faculty and students at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University to produce high-quality, remote commentary and play-by-play to broadcast live sporting events on their channels. This allows local broadcasters to produce COVID-19 safe, low-cost, high-quality content which leads to expanded local sports coverage and new revenue opportunities.


BeamOn – Beam Dynamics: BeamOn is a cloud-based product intelligence platform for broadcast stations. The platform bridges the communication barrier between product owners and manufacturers to help broadcast studios reduce costly downtime on set and extend equipment life cycles.

Reinventing Local TV News: Prioritizing Animation and Graphics – Northeastern University: Researchers at Northeastern have shown that animation and advanced graphics are effective ways to enhance broadcast journalism. Northeastern University’s team provides research data, a roadmap, expertise and ready-to-use templates for animations and graphics.


DeepTalk: A Conversational Agent for Broadcasters: – Michigan State University: NextGen Media Innovation Lab, College of Communication Arts and Sciences; i-PRoBe Lab, Department of Computer Science and Engineering; WKAR Public Media. DeepTalk is a conversational agent, like Siri, that can be trained through deep learning to deliver news in the voice of a local broadcaster.

Jukebot: – University of Minnesota: Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Jukebot is a chatbot API capable of answering simple questions and getting feedback from users for music stations.


Fly Right – Samuel Crane: Software solution that streamlines drone flight registration for media groups and local law enforcement.

Podium – Daniel Lewis: Provides a platform for the public to participate in virtual town halls and crowdsourced interviews.

Zagrut – Mario Dcunha, Parsons School of Design: Zagrut is a news reader app that guides users against prevalent media bias.

AR Stories – Retha Hill, Cronkite School of Journalism, Arizona State University: Provides a cost-effective way to create immersive AR stories quickly and without having to understand code.

I.D.E.A. – Ronald Baez, Yellow Wood Immersive: IDEA is an immersive and interactive 3D mapping tool for use by broadcasters to visualize the effects of weather emergencies.

Lawmaking Live – Rodney Gibbs, The Texas Tribune: Provides live analysis of policy development and makes the law-making process more accessible to consumers.


Next Gen TV Saving Lives One Alert at a Time – Adam Woodlief – UNC-TV: “Next Gen TV: Saving Lives One Alert at a Time” will enable North Carolina’s public safety community to provide timelier responses to emergencies by datacasting technology over broadcast television.

NewsBIN VLOG – Josh Davidsburg – University of Maryland: Combines broadcast journalism and YouTube’s popular first-person vlogging style to create a new format of video journalism.

nēdl – Ayinde Alakoye – nēdl: nēdl allows radio listeners to use speech recognition to eliminate the need to go station-to-station to find specific news, sports, talk and music.

Engagement VR: Transparent Community Interaction- Hans Meyer – E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University:  Engagement VR offers a simple solution for newsrooms to create virtual tours of less covered parts of their viewing areas to help audiences understand the role journalists play in community building.

Immersive Storytelling & an Ethic of Care – Kathleen Ryan & Elizabeth Skewes – University of Colorado Boulder: This project experiments with digital storytelling platforms and determines if interactive, augmented reality and virtual reality storytelling can help develop an “ethic of care” in viewers. The case study features three to six female photographers whose projects deal with the environmental impacts of oil and gas extraction.

LiveWorks – Edwin Rogers and William Steele – VRVideo: LiveWorks is a chat application that provides live 360-degree video streams that allow for multiple camera feeds and graphics to be sent to Next Gen TV enabled Smart TV’s.


In Your ShoesRobinne Burrell and Trina DasGupta- Redflight Mobile Innovation: In Your Shoes is an immersive storytelling platform that utilizes virtual reality to document the lives of multiple people involved in a single situation or issue.

History GoJordan Sales, Elise Hackney, Alberta Lin, Eric Asencio, Mike Le, Claire Lohn- Texas A&M University: History GO is an application that connects to user’s current location and utilizes augmented reality to display relevant facts, pictures and videos about the area.

The News CallChandra Clark- The University of Alabama: The News Call is a DVR-type phone service that calls the user at a pre-determined time with pre-programmed customized news.