Folks may remember the Public Radio Talent Quest from last year. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting put together a big pot of money to find new talent for public radio. They sponsored a contest for organizations to dig up the talent, and two won. PRX, the Public Radio Exchange held an American Idol-style competition online, while a consortium of producers decided to make a "big list" of people they'd like to hear in public radio, then ask them if they'd be interested.
They narrowed the list down to six finalists, each of whom would get enough money to produce a professional-quality pilot episode. Based upon these pilots, one winner would receive funding for a full year of programs. Among the finalists were Mark Bittman, "The Minimalist" from The New York Times, SNL alumna Julia Sweeney, who hoped to do a science program, and a woman who goes by Skepchick.
What happened was a surprise: the CPB was so excited about the finalists that they chose three winners, rather than just one.
Al Letson, a performance poet, playwright and actor will host "State of the re:Union." The show will look at the unique cultures and communities of cities and towns across America. You can download the pilot, about Washington, DC, from this link (MP3).
Majora Carter is a MacArthur "genius" grant-winning organizer in the Bronx. Her show, "The Promised Land" will look at how leaders are created, "around the world, or around the block." You can download the pilot from this link (MP3).
Glynn Washington is Executive Director of the Center for Young Entrepreneurs at Haas Business School at UC Berkeley. His show, "Snap Judgement," will look at how one decision can have huge consequences. The pilot is available from this link (MP3).
What do you think of the shows?