PRX to launch Public Media Accelerator with $2.5 million investment from Knight Foundation

I have exciting news to share, for PRX and public media.

PRX has evolved considerably over the past several years, focusing our strategy on three areas: Content, Distribution, and Leadership/Innovation.

In Content we are seeing great success with The Moth Radio Hour and other signature programs; in Distribution the PRX content marketplace is thriving, Public Radio Remix is a growing national format, and our mobile apps for public media are taking off with This American Life, KCRW Music Mine, Public Radio Player and top station apps.

But it is in the third area of Leadership and Innovation – where projects like the Public Radio Talent Quest first emerged –  that I am bringing you news of a significant development we are announcing today: a new $2.5 million effort to spur innovation to advance public service media.

The press release below lays it out, and you can learn more at and by following @publicmediax.

We will soon be recruiting advisory board members and mentors, and are interested in key partnerships and sponsors. More on that front coming soon.



CAMBRIDGE, December 8, 2011 – A new effort will provide funding and expertise to entrepreneurial teams with innovative ideas for increasing the impact of public service media.

Called the Public Media Accelerator, the project will be launched and operated by PRX, and is supported by a $2.5 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Modeled on technology startup incubators, the Accelerator aims to strengthen public media’s essential role in meeting community information needs across new platforms and devices.

“Forty years ago, public broadcasting harnessed the technology of the time to engage audiences with high quality content that was otherwise inaccessible,” said Jake Shapiro, CEO of PRX. “We are expanding this vital service to include today’s pervasive and participatory media, particularly mobile.”

“Through funding more than 200 community information experiments, we’ve found that the models with the best success are nurtured through outside advice and expertise,” said Michael Maness, Knight Foundation’s vice president for journalism and media innovation. “We hope the Public Media Accelerator will bring public media’s quality journalism into more people’s lives, by using technology to expand its reach.”

The Public Media Accelerator will invest in both nonprofit and for-profit ventures, building apps, services and media products. It will showcase successful projects to additional funders and investors, and receive support through a partner and sponsor network.

The Public Media Accelerator will formally launch at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) conference in March in Austin and will name a director and advisory board early next year.

For more information and updates about the Public Media Accelerator visit and follow @publicmediax on Twitter.


PRX is an award-winning nonprofit public media company, harnessing innovative technology to bring significant stories to millions of people. is public radio’s largest distribution marketplace, offering thousands of audio stories for broadcast and digital use. Listen to Public Radio Remix, our continuous stream of the best radio stories, on XM123,, and a growing number of broadcast stations. Our apps for public media include This American Life, KCRW Music Mine, and Public Radio Player. Learn more at

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit

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