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Finding the next Ira Glass

Posted at 10:17 AM on March 13, 2007 by Bill Wareham

I'm not sure public radio has ever had an identifiable "process" for evaluating talent. A lot of it seems to happen by accident. So, it's probably not accurate to describe the Public Radio Talent Quest as defying some norm for identifying the next big thing.

Still, it's undeniably different. From the web site:

On PublicRadioQuest.com anyone can take a turn behind the microphone for a shot at stardom – public radio style.

Public Radio Talent Quest contestants will compete in four rounds of auditions and on-air challenges. Thousands of public radio listeners will cast their votes online and a panel of public radio professionals and celebrity judges will help winnow the field from hundreds of entrants to the final group of three – each of whom will get to produce a pilot show for public radio a Participatory event.

Public radio stations around the country and major national shows will help spread the word about The Quest, encouraging contestants to enter and listeners to vote.

When all is said and done the three winners and their pilot shows will be posted online and presented to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for possible further funding and national distribution.

The folks behind this have enlisted Mo Rocca and others to promote.

A bit of a disclaimer: I'm not directly involved in this talent search, but MPR's parent organization, American Public Media, is one of the network sponsors.