Press Release: PRX raises $2.7 million for expanded services

PRX Raises $2.7 million from Corporation for Public Broadcasting, MacArthur Foundation, and Ford Foundation

Plans expansion of distribution platform, content ventures, and mobile applications

Cambridge, MA (September 8, 2010) – Public Radio Exchange (PRX Inc.) has raised $2.7 million from three top investors in public media’s digital transition. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Ford Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation have committed multi-year funding to PRX – a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization.

“This round of support accelerates PRX’s momentum as the field’s leading innovator and collaborator,” said Jake Shapiro, CEO of PRX. “We are embarking on a strategic expansion of our services to meet the extraordinary needs and opportunities in the transformation of journalism and media.”

PRX operates public media’s largest open distribution marketplace – offering tens of thousands of audio programs for broadcast and digital use, clearing rights and managing royalties for over 2,000 independent producers and stations. Signature programs from PRX include The Moth Radio Hour, Sound Opinions, State of the Re:Union, Snap Judgment, and the Vinyl Cafe.

PRX showcases creative stories from these programs and other top talent on REMIX – a new national channel available on XM 136 and coming soon as a broadcast, HD, mobile, and Internet service.

PRX connects content and distribution as the developer of the popular Public Radio Player and This American Life iPhone apps, with Android versions in development. PRX recently launched the WBUR Boston app, leading the rollout of PRX’s forthcoming mobile app platform, designed to make robust app development more accessible to a growing number of stations and producers.

“PRX is a catalyst for creating a next generation public media service,” said Patricia Harrison, President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). “Our support for both the REMIX project and PRX reflect CPB’s commitment to what we believe will be the key for public media’s growth in the 21st century – the ‘three D’s:’ digital, diversity, and dialogue.”

“PRX provides excellent leadership in the use of digital media in a multiple platform world and in forging new public-purpose services for new audiences,” said CPB’s Bruce Theriault, Senior Vice President for Radio. “PRX is one of the most innovative and collaborative forces in public media and CPB is pleased to provide multiyear funding along with the Ford and McArthur Foundations to support their work.”

CPB has awarded a grant of $1.5 million over two years for PRX, and has previously supported PRX with start-up, operating, and project grants.

“PRX has been a pioneer in developing creative approaches to delivering audio documentaries on important subjects to the public,” said Elspeth Revere, Vice President of the General Program at the MacArthur Foundation. “We see PRX as a leader in bringing high-quality and informative programs to new audiences using a changing set of technological tools. This is key to MacArthur’s goal of providing useful information to audiences in engaging formats to help them fulfill their roles as citizens.”

The MacArthur Foundation awarded a grant of $900,000 over three years to PRX. In 2008, PRX received the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.

“The Ford Foundation is proud to support PRX as it continues to open the door for new voices in public media and beyond,” said Orlando Bagwell, Director of Freedom of Expression at Ford. “Their work at the intersection of technology and talent can help move public media forward in the US and serve as model through the world.”

The Ford Foundation awarded a one-year $300,000 grant to PRX, and previously included PRX in the five-year initiative, “Global Perspectives in a Digital Age: Transforming Public Service Media.”

About PRX

PRX develops innovative approaches that enable talented creators and engaged institutions to bring compelling and significant stories to millions of people.

First launched in 2003 as a project of the Station Resource Group in collaboration with Atlantic Public Media, PRX became an independent nonprofit organization in January 2009.

PRX employs 12 people based principally at its offices in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. In addition to philanthropic support, PRX generates revenue from content distribution and licensing, web and mobile advertising, membership fees, and individual donations.

The core PRX platform and services support broadcast and digital distribution through an open content marketplace for independent producers and local public radio stations. PRX has paid out over $1.5 million in licensing royalties to hundreds of stations and independent producers using the platform.

PRX is an innovation lab for a number of public media projects including Generation PRX – a network and resource center for youth media groups; the Public Radio Player – an iPhone and Android application aggregating local station streams and on-demand content; and REMIX – a national channel featuring diverse stories from and beyond the PRX content catalog.

In June 2010 PRX was announced as a winner of the Knight Foundation’s News Challenge for StoryExchange – an open source collaboration with crowdfunding news startup

As public broadcasting charts a course to a more expansive definition of a public media system, PRX plays an indispensable role as an effective collaborator and trusted intermediary, providing leadership and services to the field.

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