GenevieveComing Soon: Studs Terkel in Conversation with American Poets

Genevieve posted on Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 | Blog, PRX | No Comments

Coming soon from The WFMT Radio network, a new series called Studs Terkel in Conversation with American Poets.

Celebrate National Poetry Month with a trio of short radio programs featuring some of America’s greatest 20th century poets in conversation with Studs Terkel. These programs explore how poetry channels voices from the past, propels fantastic voyages and dives deep into memory, childhood and the wild “backyards” of life. Robert Polito, president of the Poetry Foundation, guides this tour which features excerpts from Terkel’s archival talks with Allen Ginsberg, Gwendolyn Brooks, James Baldwin, Howard Nemerov, Elma Stuckey and John Ciardi.

They’ll be posted here for listening and purchasing later this week!

GenevieveIntroducing PRX’s Second Ear

Genevieve posted on Thursday, March 20th, 2014 | Blog, PRX Projects | No Comments

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.

Lily Bui7 Essential Public Radio STEM Education Resources

Lily Bui posted on Monday, March 10th, 2014 | Blog, STEM Story Project | No Comments

Educators, if you’re looking for ways to bring public radio into the classroom, look no further than this blog post. Here’s a list of some great STEM education resources that you can tap into.

Full lesson plans (including objectives, materials, discussion questions, homework assignments, teaching standards, etc.) based on radio pieces about science topics. Listen Edition is also a formal PRX partner (see “purchased pieces” on the right-hand column for what pieces they’re using).

Example: Bees and Electric Fields

A list of experiments you can try at home and in the classroom, sometimes accompanied by audio segments from Science Friday. Experiments are sorted by topic (chemistry, engineering, math, physical sciences, etc.) and include full lesson plans.

Example: Smelly Chemistry

The Loh Down on Science offers a free, fun Question of the Day (QOTD) game for K-12 and beyond.  A humorous and intriguing multiple-choice question (astronautwear, hockey noise, robot speech, Egyptian beauty secrets), it stimulates discussion in the classroom and provides a crowd-sourced surprise the next day, in that the answer includes a poll on how players voted (sometimes the majority is right, sometimes they’re not). Visit The Loh Down on Science for info on its twice-a-year school contests where the school with the most QOTD answers wins $1,000!”

This is part of a three-year project to create fun, open-sourced science education tools for schools. Find “Loh Down” 90-second podcasts organized by grade level. From animal behavior to the physics of sports to the neuroscience of morality, educators will find material finely tuned for classroom audiences. (And plenty of puns to boot!)

Example: Crowdsourcing Quakes

Use the Encyclopedia of Life page to look up practically any species on Earth. Then listen to the “One Species at a Time” podcast for stories about these organisms! Produced for the Encyclopedia of Life by Ari Daniel and Atlantic Public Media, with support from the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology.

Example: Red Paper Lantern Jellyfish

Resources for teaching the science of sustainability. Find tools for teachers, handouts for students, infographics, slide shows, videos, and featured content related to water, food, energy, biodiversity, climate, and much more.

Example: Ocean Acidification

A weekly activity for students to engage with current issues using social media tools like Twitter. Every Friday, Do Now hosts Twitter discussions about civics, government and politics. Every Tuesday, Twitter discussions rotate between science and arts/pop culture. Follow @KQEDedspace on Twitter for more.

Earlier this year, PRX hosted an open call for STEM public radio stories, with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. On this playlist, you’ll find stories about forensics, poison, DIY space suits, iron lungs, and more–covering a wide spectrum of STEM topics for all curious ears. Use these pieces to spark discussion about pertinent topics in science, tech, engineering, and math, and make sure you tell us about it!

Since the very beginning, public radio has endeavored to be an educational media outlet that provides quality content for public consumption. We hope this list helps you — and the younger minds you come across — stay curious about the world around you.

Image: NOAA


JonesWeb Event Recap: Online Fundraising for Youth Radio Groups

Jones posted on Thursday, March 6th, 2014 | Blog, PRX | No Comments

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 2.38.25 PM

On March 4th, we hosted a web event on Fundraising with Online Tools for Youth Radio Groups. We were lucky to have a conversation with two fundraising greats:

First, we spoke with Roman Mars of 99% Invisible about how to use tools like Kickstarter to raise money for youth radio groups. Roman’s Kickstarter campaigns broke records for crowd-funded journalism, and he’s set the standard for successful online fundraising. 

Next we heard from Carol Varney of the Bay Area Video Coalition about where audio groups can go to find funding online, and how to make the human connection to funders.

Most  of the hour-long PRX webinar was recorded and archived (due to a small glitch the 20-minute intro was not recorded). However, the complete slide presentation (including research and contact links) can be found below:

Fundraising For Youth Radio Groups with Roman Mars and Carol Varney from generationprx

Erika LantzThis Is Criminal

Erika Lantz posted on Thursday, February 27th, 2014 | Blog, PRX, PRX Remix | No Comments

I admit it. There’s not much I love more than a good murder mystery. I’m a sucker for detective novels and forensics shows.

So I was instantly intrigued when I came across Criminal, a new podcast devoted to crime.

Lauren Spohrer, Phoebe Judge, and Eric Mennel worked together until this October on The Story with Dick Gordon at WUNC. When the host, Dick Gordon, moved back to Canada, the eight-year-old show went off the air.

“When the show ended, we had this sort of restlessness in us,” Eric told me over the phone. “The podcast was a great way to harness that restlessness.”

Lauren had the idea to start a show about crime. Because who doesn’t love a crime story? Breaking free from the broadcast clock with an indie podcast would let them dive deeper in the long form they’d come to love at The Story.

The three of them have day jobs, with Eric and Phoebe still working at WUNC. That means they’re making pop filters out of tights and coat hangers, recording in Lauren’s closet and mixing stories at one in the morning.


“I don’t think we’re reinventing the wheel,” Eric says. “Some of the oldest stories in print are crime and mystery stories.”

You hear that in Episode 1, “Animal Instincts,” which finds odd parallels in two crimes five hundred years apart.

But unlike typical whodunnits, Criminal isn’t interested in solving crimes. Once you dig into a story, Phoebe says, you realize it’s hard to pin down the truth.

“A lot of times, when we read crimes stories, we read headlines, we read just the facts: this man was convicted, this is the crime he committed, this was the victim,” Phoebe says. “It’s never simple. In crime stories, there’s victims, there’s perpetrators, there’s the other people who are affected. When you are able to give time to a complete story, you start to see all these different ripples, the ripple effect of it. We’re learning that you can’t just say this guy is guilty because of x, y, z. It’s always more complicated than that.”

With that mantra, and with the show’s slow, driving rhythm, Criminal is a little dark, a little playful, a little melancholy, and entirely engrossing. Episode 3 comes out Friday.

Erika LantzFour Takeaways from Media That Matters

Erika Lantz posted on Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 | Blog, PRX, PRX Remix | No Comments


I’m back from the 2014 Media That Matters conference at American University’s Center for Media and Social Impact. I got to spend the day there with experts in film, social media, games, comics, and interactive experiments.

I attended to take part in a panel on sound, but left buzzing with ideas that pushed me outside my radio comfort zone. Here are a few.

1. People pay attention to games, says Kunal Gupta, director of the games exhibition collective Babycastles—and failing to see that means losing potential audience. Too often, media makers don’t see games for what they can be: entire worlds, or art that empowers people and communities. If you want to make an impact, don’t discount a game.

2. “Games are not good for facts. Games are good for feelings.” Colleen Macklin warned against looking to social impact games to teach information, or serve as “Games for X.” A game is a system with moments of choice that create an emotional, visceral experience. Society’s biggest problems are systemic, she said, and games encourage systemic thinking — especially when players start to make their own rules.

3. To engage different age groups, use a variety of media.  Marissa Valeri says a comic can jumpstart engagement and mobilize a new audience. While some people will latch on to an image, others want to read information themselves. Greg Pak produced the graphic novel app Vision Machine, but pointed out that for all the fancy stuff you can make, sometimes a simple comic strip can reach the most people.

4. People are breaking the boundaries of their medium in new ways all the time. Take Operation Ajax, an interactive comic book for ipad that brings together all sorts of media — comics, sound design, video, archived documents — into what creator Daniel Burwin calls a “curiosity path for the audience.” The result is pretty magical.

How do you think we radio producers can use these ideas to make better stories? Let us know in the comments.

Erika LantzRemix in Rhode Island

Erika Lantz posted on Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 | Blog, PRX, PRX Remix | No Comments

Big news! Starting March 1, you’ll hear two hours of storytelling radio from PRX Remix on Rhode Island Public Radio every weekend.

Remix’s Rhode Island debut is part of a whole new weekend lineup of superb shows, including some from PRX: The Moth Radio Hour from PRX, and Snap Judgment, a show from PRX and NPR that’s hosted by Glynn Washington, winner of PRX’s Public Radio Talent Quest.

We’re thrilled to start working with the folks at RIPR. Rhode Islanders, tune in Saturdays at 6 a.m. or Sundays at 8 p.m. for an hour of mind-bending interviews, found tape, cool sounds, and the some of the best radio stories from PRX and beyond.

Those of you living outside The Ocean State, take heart: PRX Remix airs on radio stations across the country. You can hear us streaming 24/7 at, on XM Channel 123, and in your pocket. And there’s no harm in asking your own public radio station to put some Remix on.

JonesA New Chapter for Generation PRX

Jones posted on Thursday, December 19th, 2013 | Blog, PRX | No Comments

Evolution of the GPRX Logo

Evolution of the GPRX Logo

In 9 years of leading Generation PRX, I’ve watched this network grow from a handful of committed youth radio groups to something more closely resembling a movement. And though I’ll be leaving PRX to pursue a career in health at the end of the month, I’m so excited to see what comes next for the youth radio field.

We’ve come a long way! Thanks to dedicated youth radio producers, teachers, and stations, diverse stories from young producers are reaching millions of listeners. From 26 youth radio stories, the PRX catalogue now hosts over 2,400 pieces from 60 youth radio groups. Audiences are hearing young people report on topics ranging from politics to heartbreak, but they’re also hearing something else: young people’s capacity, vision, and insight.

GPRX’s Youth Editorial Board has proved to be a vital network of peer feedback, and our hour-long specials on topics as wide-ranging as immigration, parenting and the environment have created a new model of programming. This work demonstrates what I think of as the hallmark of youth-produced radio: the transformative power of both making and listening to stories.

But this isn’t goodbye! I’ll be staying on in some new capacities to help shepherd this important work forward, and we’ve got excellent partners that support new voices:

  • At PRX, we’ll continue to feature youth-produced radio on the website, newsletters and social media. And PRX Remix - our 24-hour satellite and broadcast stream – is always looking for great content from new producers. If you have work or news to share please let our editors know. We’re also planning to offer webinars to help youth radio groups build capacity in areas like fundraising, peer feedback and distribution. Details to follow.
  • Transom has recently launched online workshops (now in testing) to help new producers hone skills in a free, distance-learning format. From history, to interviewing, to equipment – keep your eye on this one.
  • HowSound podcast, from venerable radio teacher Rob Rosenthal, is an incredible tool for understanding how great radio gets made. Subscribe in iTunes.
  • Start planning now to go to Third Coast Festival, the best producer meet up in radioland. TCF is a chance to build skills, connect with new and veteran producers, and (of course!) show off your dance moves.
  • AIR - the Association of Independents in Radio – offers both student-discount memberships and mentorship programs that help individual producers focus on a particular skill and audio piece. Their New Voices scholarships help minority producers attend Third Coast. Contact Erin Mishkin (erin[at]airmedia[dot]org) to learn more.

I’m so proud of what the Generation PRX network has created, and excited to hear what comes next. I remain as inspired by young people’s stories  - and the producers, teachers and stations who bring them to the world – as I was ten years ago. The future is bright!



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GenevieveFirst Annual Gift Guide for Audio Producers

Genevieve posted on Monday, December 9th, 2013 | Blog | 2 Comments

Not an audio producer.

We couldn’t get ahold of Santa, but we did gather some ideas from other friends on what to get for the audio makers in your life.

The crew at Transom sent some suggestions (get more info in their equipment reviews):

More ideas from us and other places:

Satisfied bib customer.

Producers, what are some of your favorite gifts you’ve received or given? Jump on in with your ideas in the comments below!

(Kitten image from Shutterstock. Bib image from PRX’s Rekha Murthy.)


Audrey posted on Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013 | Blog, PRX, PRX at Ten | No Comments

This year is PRX’s 10th anniversary and we’ve been doing a lot of reflection on PRX’s accomplishments as well as those of our producers, stations, and public media partners.

PRX is participating in Giving Tuesday (think the opposite of Black Friday, Cyber Monday or… Brown Thursday?!). In contrast to the buying frenzies, we want to show our support for a different kind of gift-giving, a day for giving back.

We invite you to donate to PRX, and to give to other Giving Tuesday nonprofits, too.

Why PRX? We believe that public media plays a critical role in our civic society and our democracy by creating an informed and educated citizenry. That belief is what drives all the serious fun we have getting public radio stories out into the world. It’s why we nurture new and established talent, forge new distribution opportunities, and use technology to get public radio onto new platforms.

Some major PRX accomplishments from 2013:

- Pop Up Archive.
- STEM Story Project and the Global Story Project open calls.
- Built The Moth app for iOS and Android.
- Saw many programs reach Kickstarter success.
- Matter One and Matter Two.
- PRX Remix app for iOS and Android.
- PRX/CIR collaboration on Reveal pilot.
- Public Radio Player redesign.

PRX is a small entrepreneurial nonprofit with big ambitions. We’re leaders and innovators who want to continue to develop content, technologies, and ways of doing things that provide broader access to public media. We want to support our storytellers and truthtellers to do what they do best: add value to our lives and our communities.

Here’s a testimonial from one of our PRX Remix listeners:

When the world looks like it’s starting to suck even worse and it’s going down hill, I turn off my phone and I turn on the radio to you, and you always give me a little glimmer into the things that are here that are good. Just little people with little stories. It makes the whole crappy world look a whole lot better.”

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to PRX today so we can continue our mission of making public radio more public.

Take a moment on Giving Tuesday to reflect on public media as a whole and consider donating to your local radio station, a favorite public radio program, or other public media organization that you find valuable. You can find a full list of Giving Tuesday participants here. And help spread the word.

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