“The fact is, they’d never done anything like that,” she says. “Most stations are really hermetically sealed. They’re focused on Morning Edition and All Things Considered; those two shows are what the entire [radio] economy is built around. Everything else is window dressing; that’s been the model for 30 years.”
Some of Localore’s projects have found outside funding to continue, from places like independent documentary incubator ITVS and the MacArthur Foundation. Others are being absorbed wholesale by local stations that will continue the work; Curious City, at WBEZ in Chicago, is going to become a regular feature, one Schardt hopes can be adopted by other stations.
One lesson of Localore is that when it comes to technology, less may be more. Nearly 75 percent of the participating host stations said they didn’t have the staff or resources to keep up the tech end of the projects they incubated, but Schardt says her producers have also seen that light and lean tools are easier, and more replicable, than custom-built platforms.
The numbers suggest she’s on to something. Localore has generated nearly 30 million interactions—that’s the language of public media 2.0, where not only listeners, but sharers, streamers, aggregators, and responsive content creators are counted up to measure impact.
“We found that we don’t need to invest in technology to really activate the stations,” she says, “and to really give producers tools and elements that they can use to drive change.”