Palo Alto, Calif. — PILOT, an innovation initiative of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), announced the winners of its second annual PILOT Innovation Challenge yesterday, November 12, at NAB Futures in Palo Alto, California. The PILOT Innovation Challenge recognizes creative ideas that leverage technological advances in the production, distribution and display of engaging content.

Over 150 ideas were submitted to address the challenge question, “What is an unconventional way broadcasters and other local media could serve communities?” A panel of 5 judges from the media, technology and broadcast industries selected the top six winners. Conference attendees determined the placement of the top six winners.

In partnership with Knight Foundation, PILOT increased the size and number of winners in this year’s Innovation Challenge. The first-place winner receives $30,000, second place $25,000 and third place $20,000 with three winners receiving an Innovators Award of $15,000 to assist with prototyping the concepts. Additionally, the top six winners receive expert guidance, access to key broadcast executives and exclusive exposure at NAB Show.

The winners are:

1st Place

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.

2nd Place


Josh Davidsburg – University of Maryland

Combines broadcast journalism and YouTube’s popular first-person vlogging style to create a new format of video journalism.

3rd Place


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.

Innovation Award Winners

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.



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.



Additional information about the 2017 PILOT Innovation Challenge winners is available


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 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