Introducing PRX’s Second Ear

Introducing PRX’s Second Ear — it’s like a mini-makeover, without the reality television!

Are you a producer looking for perspective and ideas on an audio piece?

Each month, PRX will work with one producer on a piece to improve it. We’ll provide feedback based on criteria like music, transitions, script, hosting, etc. We’ll also help with the piece’s presentation on PRX — the image, description, your profile, and so on. Then we’ll go over our ideas with you, have you post the improved piece as an “after” to the “before”, and share it with the world.

Here’s how it’ll work:

  1. We’ll take submissions online starting the first of each month. Producers will have five days to submit a piece under 15 minutes in length and a little pitch about it. One submission per person only. Submissions will be capped at 15 per month. Plan ahead: Here are the fields you’ll have to fill out when you apply.
  2. From the sixth to the fifteenth of the month, PRX staffers will choose one piece from the 15 submissions, listen to it a ton, and take notes on items to improve.
  3. Once we’ve got all our suggestions, we’ll arrange a 30-min. phone call with the producer to talk ideas. Producers will get input from John Barth (Managing Director), Genevieve Sponsler (Content Coordinator), and Erika Lantz (PRX Remix Assistant Producer).
  4. Before the end of the month, the producer will post the improved piece. We’ll provide a homepage feature, a blog post, and social media shoutouts.

Check out the FAQ we made below. To participate, follow us on Twitter, where we’ll post the link to apply and more details April 1. We’re thrilled to start this new project and can’t wait to work with you.

Some anticipated FAQs:

  • Why are you capping it at 15 submissions?
    PRX is small, and we want to be able to make sure we can read all the submissions in a timely fashion and have time to work with the producer. If you miss it, apply the next month!
  • Can I submit more than one piece?
    No — only one piece per month per person. Since we are capping it at 15 submissions, we want 15 different producers to be able to apply.
  • Why do pieces have to be under 15 min.?
    Pretty much the same answer as above — we want to be able to provide feedback on the whole piece in a short amount of time. Additionally, we have stats that show stations are much more likely to buy pieces under 10 minutes if they’re buying short pieces, and we prefer pieces under 15 minutes for Remix.
  • Will you do one per month?
    Yes — our plan right now is to do one Second Ear per month. We’ll see how it goes and may adjust accordingly.
  • If my piece is chosen and I make changes, will it get licensed by stations?
    We wish we could guarantee that, but we can’t! We can guarantee that you’ll get valuable input from PRX staff that you can use to improve your piece.
  • If I work with you guys, do I have to credit PRX in the audio?
    Nope, it’s still your piece. But we would ask you to put “Part of PRX’s Second Ear” somewhere in your piece description so that others can learn about the project.
  • Does my piece have to be on PRX when I apply?
    Yes, submitted pieces must be on PRX before the application process. That way we’ll be able to do a before and after comparison with listen and license statistics.
  • Do I have to have a paid PRX account?
    No — but we will remind you that in order to get royalties, you’ll need one!
  • What are the criteria you’ll be looking at when choosing a piece?
    Sometimes the best stories are creative pet projects. Those stories deserve an editor as much as your daily news spots do. We’re looking for complete stories that you’d like to make even stronger by getting an outside perspective. We aren’t a school so we won’t be able to teach you how to do radio, and we aren’t looking for first drafts. We are interested in working with producers who want to get pieces on the radio or want them considered for Remix.
  • What’s the goal?
    Better pieces heard by more people! We are a team of experienced radio distributors and producers helping out. It’s about making good stories even better.

Image from Shutterstock.