PRX Partners with Esquire to Launch Esquire Classic Podcast

PRX is excited to announce a partnership with Esquire on their new Esquire Classic podcast. The series explores some of Esquire‘s most popular past articles and thoroughly examines both the content and the context with host David Brancaccio and a number of famous guests. Esquire Classic kicks off today with the release of episode one, “Falling Man”.  It details an article written by Tom Junod in 2003, which revolved around a photo of a man forced to jump from the World Trade Center on 9/11. Junod discusses why the magazine’s most-read story of all time was so controversial and important.

You can listen to the full episode at . Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes to listen to the second episode, which will launch two weeks from today.

Read the full details of the podcast launch below:

Series sheds new light on groundbreaking work by writers
Nora Ephron, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Tom Junod

Cambridge, MA (October 5, 2015) – To celebrate its 1000th issue this month, Esquire has joined forces with PRX, the award-winning public media company, to launch a podcast deconstructing classic non-fiction stories from the vault of the 82-year-old magazine that continues to push the boundaries of narrative journalism.

Hosted by public radio’s David Brancaccio, the new podcast dissects iconic Esquire stories by writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nora Ephron, and Tom Junod, and reveals the cultural currents that make them as lasting and timely today as when they were first published. Guests will include Esquire writers and editors, along with authors, academics, comedians and actors.

The Esquire Classic podcast launches today with an episode showcasing the magazine’s most-read story of all time: Junod’s 2003 article “Falling Man.” Inspired by the famous and infamous photograph of one of the people forced to jump from the World Trade Center, captured by Richard Drew on 9/11, Junod reveals why he felt it was his responsibility to bring the photo – and the anonymous falling man pictured – to light.

The Esquire Classic podcast episodes will be published every two weeks starting Monday October 5. It is produced by audio veteran Curtis Fox.

The Esquire Classic Podcast joins a select roster of signature shows from PRX, including The Moth Radio HourReveal, and Snap Judgment. PRX is also the home of Radiotopia, a podcast network of the world’s best story-driven shows anchored by 99% Invisible, the popular design show from Roman Mars.

“PRX is dedicated to bringing audiences the most engaging stories from the world’s best storytellers,” said Jake Shapiro of PRX. “For more than 80 years, Esquire has set the standard for publishing work that shapes our culture and conversation. We are thrilled to join Esquire in shedding new light on these fascinating and timeless stories.”

“It is amazing how deftly PRX and David Brancaccio explore and exploit what can make a story into something that stands the test of time,” said David Granger, the editor-in-chief of Esquire. “With the launch of Esquire Classic, the complete digital archive of the magazine, we’ve been working to make the past not just present but urgent. PRX is the best partner we could have in this venture.”

You can download and stream the podcast via iTunes and at

The other two installments in the 3-episode pilot podcast series are:

The Crack-Up (1936) – In 1936 F. Scott Fitzgerald, then a struggling writer battling depression and alcoholism, published a radical series of essays in Esquire about his mental breakdown. Celebrated poet and memoirist Nick Flynn discusses Fitzgerald’s mindset at the time, the ridicule he faced from friends like Ernest Hemingway, and how his essays set off a genre of confessional writing that persists and thrives today.

A Few Words About Breasts (1972) – Nora Ephron’s comic lament about how her late onset of puberty and earliest sexual experiences gave her a lifelong obsession with her breasts. Jessi Klein, head writer for “Inside Amy Schumer,” joins David Brancaccio to discuss Ephron’s story and its lasting influence on the way women perceive and voice themselves in writing and comedy.

About Esquire
Esquire (, published by Hearst Magazines, is the most-honored monthly magazine in America. Over the past 15 years, it has won a total of 16 National Magazine Awards. Its Web site and e-reader applications have been similarly honored – Esquire won the first-ever National Magazine Award for iPad applications. In addition to its U.S. flagship, Esquire publishes 27 editions around the world. Esquire Classic (, the magazine’s new digital archive of every issue from 1933 to today, features over 50,000 stories from the authors such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tom Wolfe, Gloria Steinem, Cormac McCarthy, and David Foster Wallace. Follow Esquire on Twitter at @Esquiremag and @EsquireClassic.

About PRX
PRX is an award-winning nonprofit public media company, harnessing innovative technology to bring compelling stories to millions of people. operates public radio’s largest distribution marketplace, offering tens of thousands of audio stories for broadcast and digital use, including This American Life, The Moth Radio Hour, Sound Opinions, State of the Re:Union, Snap Judgment, and WTF with Marc Maron. PRX Remix is PRX’s 24/7 channel featuring the best independent radio stories and new voices. PRX was created through a collaboration of the Station Resource Group and Atlantic Public Media, and receives support from public radio stations and producers, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and Knight Foundation. Follow us on Twitter at @prx.

About David Brancaccio
David Brancaccio is the host of American Public Media’s Marketplace Morning Report. His reporting has focused on the future of the economy, financial and labor markets, technology, the environment and social enterprises. In the early 1990s, Brancaccio was Marketplace’s European correspondent based in London, and hosted Marketplace’s evening program from 1993 to 2003. He co-anchored the PBS television news magazine program NOW with journalist Bill Moyers from 2003 to 2005, before taking over as the program’s solo anchor in 2005. His feature-length documentary film, Fixing the Future, appeared in theaters nationwide in 2012. David is author of the book Squandering Aimlessly, an exploration of how Americans apply their personal values to their money. Among his awards for broadcast journalism are the Peabody, the DuPont-Columbia, the Cronkite, and the Emmy.

Radiotopia Shows Make up 1/3 of Third Coast Winners

Winners of the 2015 Third Coast Audio Festival/Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition — honoring the best new audio works — were announced today. Three of the nine winners are from Radiotopia, PRX’s podcast network. Congratulations to all!

The category in which each winner falls (like Best New Artist, and so on) will be announced on October 24th during the awards ceremony at the Filmless Festival in Chicago. Take a listen to the winning episodes from Radiotopia shows below:

695BGK (USA)
Produced by Lauren Spohrer and Phoebe Judge for Criminal

The Living Room (USA)
Produced by Briana Breen with editing, mixing and scoring by Brendan Baker for Love + Radio

Structural Integrity (USA)
Produced by Joel Werner and Sam Greenspan with editor Roman Mars for 99% Invisible

PRX at PRPD 2015


PRX will be at PRPD next week in full force, hosting parties, participating in panels, and manning our suite in room #1566.

Here are all of the details:

Public Media Women in Leadership Reception hosted by CPB & PRX 
7 PM
Let’s raise a glass in celebration of women in our industry and hear from leaders in the field about new opportunities. Join us in the PRX Suite room #1566. Space is limited so please RSVP at the PMWL Facebook group page.  


PRIVATE BRIEFING: Details on the launch of Reveal weekly

Please join PRX and The Center for Investigative Reporting for details on the WEEKLY version of Reveal, coming 2016. 
Meet Reveal EP Kevin Sullivan, Reveal host Al Letson and CIR and PRX crew – get your questions answered about the next step with this Peabody award-winning show. 

Pick one of two private briefings on the launch of the weekly Reveal:

  • 10:30AM to noon in the PRX suite room #1566
  • 1:45PM to 3PM in the PRX suite room #1566

Make your reservation for the time that best fits your PRPD schedule. When you sign up, provide a textable mobile number or just swing by the PRX booth so we can confirm. 

The Talent Development Super Session

9AM to 10:30AM
Join PRX Chief Content Officer John Barth and others (  for a deep dive into identifying, developing and nurturing the talent we need to take public radio into the next generation of service.
The Moth LIVE
7:30 PM Byham Theatre 101 6th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 
It’s a hit on more than 500 stations, probably yours. Join us for the laughs, tears and power of live storytelling that only The Moth can deliver. Pay close attention for a very special PRX musical guest!

BREAKOUT SESSION: Fact and Fiction from the Frontlines of the Podcast Revolution

10:45AM to 11:45AM Location: TBA
Get the inside track on podcasting from talent, to production dynamics, to revenue challenges, moderated by PRX COO Kerri Hoffman (Hot Pod newsletter recently called her the ‘badass of podcasting!”) Bring questions!
BREAKOUT SESSION: Deep Impact: Deciding to do investigative reporting
1:45PM to 2:45PM Location: TBA
Moderated by Reveal EP Kevin Sullivan, MPR’s  Madeleine Baran (duPont Award winner for investigative reporting) and Patrick Madden of WAMU will discuss the pluses and minuses of investigative reporting in local markets and how prepared – or unprepared – stations are for this challenge. 

Meet the PRX Staff

We’ll all be on hand to meet with you.

  • CEO Jake Shapiro
  • COO Kerri Hoffman
  • Chief Content Officer John Barth
  • Station Relations Director Kathleen Unwin
  • Content Coordinator Genevieve Sponsler
  • Marketing Director Maggie Taylor

We’re here to discuss:

  • Reveal Weekly
  • The Moth Radio Hour
  • Sound Opinions
  • PRX Remix
  • Program distribution
  • Content and talent development
  • New programs
  • Podcasting

See the full conference agenda here.

Welcome Maggie Taylor!


Hi everyone! My name is Maggie Taylor and I am very excited to be joining PRX as the new Director of Marketing, and to be making my first foray into both the public media and nonprofit spaces.

I obtained my undergraduate degree in Public Relations from the University of Rhode Island. Since then, I have built a marketing background that’s heavy in tech and start-ups, in both the B2B and consumer spaces. I love working directly with consumers, and using PR, influencers, and social media tools to help grow brand awareness and adoption. I enjoy representing the voice of a brand, and the opportunity to facilitate new customer exposure. I’m also an avid reader and writer, and like to create engaging pieces of content and experiences. I love public radio and listening to podcasts; I remain in constant awe of their ability to create such intimate relationships between host and listener. It reminds me of a quote from the book “All the Light We Cannot See”: “Radio: it ties a million ears to a single mouth.”

On the personal side, I hail from the Seacoast area of NH, but had the pleasure of living out a West Coast adventure in San Francisco for two years, and returned last summer via a cross-country road trip. In my spare time I love traveling, food, reading, and spending time with my friends and family. I also have a penchant for song memorization and, consequently, karaoke.

I’m delighted to join this intimate and passionate team to help craft and spread the unique PRX story to a large, diverse audience. I’d love to personally connect with all of our readers and listeners, so please feel free to reach out and introduce yourself:

Julie Shapiro Selected as New Radiotopia Executive Producer

Drumroll please… After a highly competitive search, Julie Shapiro has been selected as the Executive Producer for PRX’s Radiotopia.

Julie’s leadership, creativity and commitment to excellence will drive Radiotopia’s success as a leading podcast network at a moment of growth and opportunity for the industry as a whole.

Julie will help lead overall strategic planning for the network, establish and oversee production standards and best practices, develop and manage creative collaborations, and set and meet audience and revenue targets.

We are thrilled to welcome Julie as the newest member of our stellar team.

Check out the press release below for details.


Contact Kerri Hoffman, COO

Cambridge, Mass., September 1, 2015 — PRX is pleased to welcome Julie Shapiro in the new role of Radiotopia executive producer.

Radiotopia is at the epicenter of the newly expanding galaxy of podcasts. Since launching in February 2014, Radiotopia has accelerated to 8.5 million monthly downloads across a growing roster of 13 programs, including 99% Invisible, the celebrated show on design from Roman Mars, and Criminal – a new breakout hit from Lauren Spohrer and Phoebe Judge. In May 2015 the Knight Foundation awarded $1M to PRX to support the development and strengthening of Radiotopia.

Julie will bring editorial vision, creativity and leadership to Radiotopia’s expanding portfolio of top programs. She will work closely with PRX, Roman Mars and the Radiotopia producers to grow the shows, cultivate relationships with talented producers and partners, and build sustainability of the podcast medium.

Julie co-founded and was artistic director of the Third Coast International Audio Festival (TCIAF) for thirteen years. As the creative engine at TCIAF, Julie did everything from co-producing the biannual conference and Filmless festival, to co-curating and editing the Re:sound podcast, to leading strategic direction and public image of the organization.

In 2014, Julie left TCIAF to become the founding executive producer of the Australian Broadcast Corporation’s Creative Audio Unit (CAU), where she led a team in establishing two weekly, national shows and set the strategy and vision for the unit. She is a thought leader and a determined advocate of creative pursuits. Julie originally coined the term “Radiotopia” in a speech at the Third Coast Festival, describing it as a place where awesome stories live.

“Julie has championed the work of hundreds of independent producers and has demonstrated the passion and bold thinking we need to make Radiotopia thrive.” said Kerri Hoffman, Chief Operating Officer of PRX.

Julie is also known for her dedication to diversity and gender balance in public radio, and wrote the influential ”Women Hosted Podcasts” article which had a major impact on the public media industry.

Radiotopia co-founder, Roman Mars said, “Julie Shapiro will provide leadership and vision for both Radiotopia and for the emerging podcasting industry as a whole.”

About PRX
PRX is an award-winning nonprofit public media company, harnessing innovative technology to bring compelling stories to millions of people. operates public radio’s largest distribution marketplace, offering tens of thousands of audio stories for broadcast and digital use, including This American Life, The Moth Radio Hour, Sound Opinions, State of the Re:Union, Reveal, and the Radiotopia podcast network. PRX Remix is PRX’s 24/7 channel featuring the best independent radio stories and new voices. PRX was created through a collaboration of the Station Resource Group and Atlantic Public Media, and receives support from public radio stations and producers, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and Knight Foundation.

Lessons from Podcast Movement, or What I Learned at Summer Camp


What do a professional wrestler, a comedian and a design buff have in common? Successful podcasts.


Over 1000 would-be and experienced podcasters shared tips, ideas, and creative support in Forth Worth at the 2nd Podcast Movement Conference. If you weren’t there and felt like you should have been – you have experienced the first thing they did right: promotion.

The conference creators were able to create a lot of buzz leading up to the conference. They used bold words like “biggest ever”, “for the first time” and “lifetime achievement”. They hosted a podcast academy of awards complete with tears and “I’d like to thank the academy…” speeches. The opening day party featured a mechanical bull, live music and a goofy game of olympics. It was loud, the food was terrible and we had a great time.


What the conference organizers did very well

  • Energy – it was fun and exciting.
  • Bright future – there were almost no radio vs. podcast conversations.
  • Community – lots of sharing and support.
  • Diversity – the variety of participants felt like a bigger sector of the public.
  • Respect – they celebrated the veterans who contributed to the industry and were also wowed by the young go-getters.
  • Sharing – the most successful were not afraid to share real, actionable strategies and advice.

What public media does very well

  • Content – hands down our content is compelling and will have a long shelf life.
  • Storytelling – our shows take listeners on a journey.
  • Production techniques – our shows are artfully crafted with rich sound.
  • Scale – we have bigger reach. Less than 1% of podcasts have more than 50K downloads per episode.
  • Engagement – over time, our listener loyalty increases.


My Takeaway

We met a lot of podcasters that are aces at marketing and promotion. They are experimental and bold about monetization. They are savvy about one click payments and some are adopting a direct support model. Most listeners do not differentiate between public media podcasts and others, they just know shows they love.

The talent-drain is real. We are already seeing it. One speaker said openly that the future of podcasting is weighted toward “ex-NPR people and media/celebrities”. While monetization is critical, we should not be motivated only by this. It doesn’t serve the audience well. It is important for public radio to develop new and innovative shows that can sustain and maybe even subsidize traditional distribution models. And when we do, we should brag more.

Welcome Josh Swartz!

Hi! I’m Josh, the new PRX Remix curator. My radio background starts with…well, film.


I graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont in February 2015 with a degree in film and sociology. While at school, I produced documentaries on topics ranging from New York’s parole system to my professor’s pet fish. Out of the classroom, I found my way to the Narrative Journalism Fellowship and produced audio profiles of fellow students. Engaging in filmmaking and audio work simultaneously provided an opportunity for me to figure out what the hell I wanted to pursue after graduation. Since I’m here, it should come as no surprise that I fell in love with radio – both the process of making it and the power of listening to it.

After graduation I jumped from small-town Vermont to small-town Massachusetts. I was a student in the Spring 2015 radio-intensive Transom Story Workshop on Cape Cod, where I developed my radio chops and, importantly, first learned about PRX and PRX Remix. In June and July I trekked to the beautiful Adirondacks in New York to do some freelance work for North Country Public Radio. There’s a 24/7 Remix station up there, so I spent a lot of time listening while gazing at grazing cows.

Now, here I am, sitting in an armchair in public radio utopia a.k.a. the PRX offices of Harvard Square. It will be an adjustment back to city life after four and a half years of living in small towns in Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York, but this is exactly where I want to be.

In addition to being immersed in Remix radio waves and PRX life generally, I will also be launching a podcast soon! Sneak peek: it’s called Bandwagon and it involves Bernie Sanders.

More about me – I love road trips, eating pho, TV show binges, skiing, lying in grass, and naps (especially while lying in grass).

Give me a shout at


10 Ways Not To Start A Radio Story

Let's keep those listeners glued to their headphones.
Let’s keep those listeners glued to their headphones. (via Shutterstock)

I listen to radio almost nonstop for my job, and the more I listen, the more I notice trends. Producers can fall back on patterns that have worked and feel good.

We all know the ingredients of a good story: characters, conflict, hooks, turns, surprise, visual or sensory details, scenes, reflection… It’s easy to start listing these as checkboxes in our minds.

The problem is that once we operate according to checkboxes, we start making boring radio. We settle for an obvious descriptive detail, or check off the “surprising box” with a structure that isn’t surprising. Great intention can lead to lazy execution.

Here are 10 openers I’ve heard again and again from public radio producers and podcasters. They’re easy. They’re appealing. They’re overused.

1. The “Not Your Typical”

The concept behind the “Not Your Typical” beginning is that a character seems average—but there’s a twist. Often I’ll hear a reporter take some time to set a scene, then drop what’s supposed to be the big reveal—that this story is different.

Other times, a story might even open with a sentence like “Jane Doe is not your typical biker.” Even if this is the best concept to begin with, there must be a more compelling way to write or illustrate it.

More fundamentally, it’s not enough for a piece’s only “surprise” to be, say, that old people are doing something young people typically do. That kind of surprise wears off. It’s a reason to start reporting, but it alone won’t justify putting the piece together. A story needs another nugget, maybe an emotional one, to sing.

2. The “I’m Standing Next To”

“I’m standing next to the oldest building in the city. It’s been here for three hundred years…”

I get the sense that this just feels like a solid way to use natural sound. But you can put that ambi under literally any words you want. Better to use the little time you have to set up an interesting observation or metaphor.

There are infinite other ways to begin, so why not come up with some truly fantastic sentences?

3. The Physical Description

Including visual detail for the sake of checking of the “visual box” isn’t useful. When used well, an image can and should knock you over, change the way you see something, unsettle you or pull you in so that it’s impossible to move on with your day until you learn everything you can about it.

Unless the physical traits of a main character are extremely unusual or central to the story, hold off—and even then, resist if you can. Most of the time this isn’t the most interesting way to begin.

4. The Directions

“To get to Joe’s house, you drive five miles west of town until you hit a dirt road winding toward the base of the mountain, then…”

An extraordinary number of stories begin with the reporter giving directions, in some cases for no ostensible purpose. Even when directions do reveal something valuable, visualizing geography requires a lot of imagination on the listeners’ part. It’s too much work to require before you’ve convinced them the story is worth listening to.

Often, I zone out.

5. The Warm And Sunny

Isn’t weather what we talk about with strangers when we can’t think of anything interesting to say? Yes, radio thrives on sensory scenes. But producers need to write them vividly and with precision and purpose. If you want to stun listeners with the top of your story, don’t start with a weather report.

6. The “Okay! So…”

Starting with an off-the-cuff “Okay! So…” is huge right now. It’s colloquial, it’s personal, and it signals we’re jumping into action.

Brilliant producers use this line on brilliant shows, and it works.

But the Okay So has become such a go-to that to me, it’s starting to feel inauthentic, even cliché. When I hear it, I can feel a little manipulated, and I start focusing on the production instead of the story. Unless there’s a really compelling reason to begin with these words—and often there is!—avoid this one.

By refusing to rely on a trick, you’ll force yourself to write something new and strong.

7. The Long Intro

If you listen to PRX Remix, you know that I’m moving toward short intros—or often no host intro at all. I’m all for diving right in and letting a little mystery linger.

8. The Non-Narrated My Name Is

This one’s simple. Except in rare circumstances, start with strong tape, not a self-ID.

9. The Very Important Information

There are lots of issues I care about, but rarely will a story’s importance alone keep me listening.

Don’t start with a fact-vegetable and then assume that I’ll stay with you because I know vegetables are good for me. Start your story with an amuse bouche—a tiny appetizer that bursts with flavor when I pop it in my mouth and leaves me drooling for the main course.

And then I’ll probably eat my vegetables—er, listen to the facts.

10. Anything that isn’t stunning

A first sentence should transfix your listener. It’s competing with music, television, and all of the internet, so find the hook. Pick the detail you can’t stop thinking about and move it to the top. Challenge yourself to find new ways to write about things—which often means pushing yourself to push beyond the first few drafts—or to go deep right away.

So when I’m working, I repeat to myself:

Don’t start the way you think you have to.

When in doubt, write it better.

When uninspired, think Nancy Updike and her talk Die, Mediocrity, Die. (She has tips for what you should do, not just what you shouldn’t.)

When it’s worth it, break the rules. Even mine.

Welcome Gina James!


If someone were to draw a picture of me when I was a little girl: I’d be standing in the middle of a tomato garden with seeds and juice dripping off my chin.

If someone were to draw a picture of me last year: I’d be on stage, at a Moth StorySLAM, baring my soul to complete strangers.

If someone were to draw a picture of me last month: I’d be in a hot & sweaty muscle confusion class, Eye of the Tiger blasting in the background.

If someone were to draw a picture of me last week: I’d be sitting on a porch swing next to a 95 year old farmer in West Virginia, recording his life story.

If someone were to draw a picture of me today: I’d be literally jumping up & down with excitement – I’m an official part of the PRX Crew as the newest Manager of Development and Operations!!!

My name is Gina James. After studying Cultural Anthropology + Business Administration at BU, I’ve journeyed through various industries (education, travel, hospitality, tech) … to finally land where my heart has always been: public radio.

For the last 12 months I have focused mostly on the craft of gathering oral history. It was this past year when I had an ‘aha’ moment of a lifetime. I love listening to stories via audio because unlike other forms of media, you must rely on your heart to truly assess the content. You are able to experience an individual’s true voice instead of the masks that can be created through literary tricks.

Radio is Real.

I can’t wait to bring more of it to every pocket of our world.

Meet The Sarahs: A New Audio Fiction Competition

It’s time audio fiction had its own red carpet

Introducing The Sarah Lawrence College International Audio Fiction Award

The Sarah Awards will celebrate and reward the best audio fiction works from around the world with $3,500 worth of prize money and an awards ceremony in New York in Spring 2016.

Get the guidelines, then get creative!

The early bird submission timeline is Nov. 23 – Dec. 21, so you have plenty of time to dig in and put your best fiction forward.

The Sarahs also includes:

BONUS: Winners of The Sarahs and the Very, Very, Short, Short Stories Contest will be featured on PRX Remix — PRX’s 24/7 stream of the best independently created audio stories — airing online, SiriusXM 123, and broadcast stations around the country.