Welcome Laitan

Laitan Oladipo approached PRX about helping out during her winter break. We think that’s a great use of free time, and we are glad to have benefited as well. Thanks, Laitan!

Hi, there! My name is Laitan Oladipo and I am currently a sophomore at Brown University studying Modern Culture and Media. Thus far, I’ve spent my time at school pursuing courses that have allowed me to be creative and innovative. I have a widespread interest in media but, more specifically, I love art and everything artistic. I love to sing, write, paint and do anything that encourages cultural appreciation/self-reflection/participation.

I got involved with PRX through Rekha, a fellow Brunonian, and am so happy that I had the opportunity to get to work with her. I wanted to pick her brain as to everything media and she really gave me a lot to think about. My experience with public radio has always been rather on the surface—it was something I would listen to in the car driving to and from school—but after spending a full day at the Public Radio Exchange, I can truly say that this community is cultivating a digital art form. What I mean is that PRX’s method is against the grain in a way that is relevant, much like unconventional art.

I’ve always believed art is dependent on its emotional semblance and connection with the viewer. Art is relevant when the viewer feels and therefore cannot forget. Art is the inexperienced, still waiting to be made and discovered. What immediately resonated with me after leaving the Exchange on day one was that, much like art, PRX serves as an outlet for many diverse voices, stories, and opinions.

For the time being I will be working on a small project with Jones at Generation PRX. I am excited to learn more about public radio and hopefully expand my definition of the medium.

Emily Joins YouthCast!

We are super (SUPER!) excited to re-introduce Emily Corwin as the new host of YouthCast, the Generation PRX podcast and blog that is all about youth radio. Why re-introduce? Well, until a few months ago Emily helped hold down the PRX help desk – answering any and all questions from producers, listeners and stations alike. And besides hosting YouthCast, she is the Assistant Programmer of Public Radio Remix, PRX’s 24/7 radio service of driveway-moment storytelling. That’s right, Emily is a bonafide PRXpert.

But while Emily knows all there is to know about distributing radio, she’s also an up and coming maker of radio; you can hear some of her work here, or on PRX. And did we mention she’s also a wildly talented cellist? If she isn’t listening to, talking about, or making radio, you can find Emily running, biking, cooking, eating, or skyping with her tiny nephew.

Like we said, we are SUPER excited that Emily’s joining us on YouthCast, and we’re bidding a fond and grateful farewell to the amazing Molly Adams, who ably hosted the ‘Cast for two years. Keep your eyes on these two – they’re headed places.

Subscribe to YouthCast on iTunes

Daniel Gross, PRX Intern, Says Hello

Well hello there.

I’m Daniel, PRX’s newest intern. I come to the ‘xchange by way of news radio work at 95.3 WHRB-Cambridge, 89.3 KPCC-Pasadena and PRI’s Living on Earth. These days I’m an undergrad at Harvard College, which puts me about two minutes away from work.

On a blustery day last spring, I was aimlessly Google-hopping between news and public radio internship listings. I’d never heard of Public Radio Exchange. It had never heard of me. PRX caught my eye well before I realized I could almost see it from my window. It seemed like just the place to make public radio more accessible, efficient, and fun. So now I’m here.

On the days I’m not, my home-at-school is the English Department, where I stare at large chunks of text all day and try to smuggle nonfiction into my fiction curriculum. In between, I work on a weekend WHRB show called As We Know It. We’re the largest college news radio group I can think of, weighing in at a whopping 6 persons (but 9 more in-training!). I try to spend at least one day a week interrupting people’s lives with a shotgun mic.

You may spot me holding a piece-of-junk guitar singing joke-folk songs. You probably won’t see me trying to partner dance. You may spy me squashing inky lead letters into pieces of paper at the Bow & Arrow Press. You probably won’t see me BASE jumping. You may encounter me in the kitchen with vegan ingredients. You probably won’t see me in a tie.

I’m allergic to cats, peanuts, kiwi, and all dishes made of fishes. Also call-in radio shows.

Late at night, when I’ve squeezed my podcasts dry and WBUR’s broadcast of All Things Considered is 18 hours away, I face an auditory vacuum of awful proportions. So I turn on the Public Radio Player and tune in to the exotic sound of Hawaii Public Radio. I’m sneaky. HPR broadcasts All Things Considered at 12am my time. As a result I know more about highway construction on the Big Island than anyone I know.

It’s nice to meet you.

New Member Support and Administrative Associate

Hello! My name is Audrey Mardavich and I am happy to say that I am the newest member of the PRX team. Most recently, I spent the past year in Austin, Texas as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) at the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. At the Food Bank, I helped the Communications team collect stories for their “StoryBank,” which included written pieces, podcasts and videos of our clients and their experiences with food insecurity. Not only did I learn a lot of new technical skills doing this, but I learned many new ways to tell a story.

I studied English and Creative Writing at Suffolk University in Boston, and storytelling has always been something that has come naturally to me. When I interviewed the Food Bank clients, I realized how important it was for them to be able to share their story, and it became apparent how much was lost when a 20 minute conversation became a two paragraph blog post.

In came the podcasts and videos–now Clarice from Waco, and Robert from Marlin were able to share their own story in their own voice which not only made for a more compelling story, but a more democratic one.

I learned that the best stories are often the stories that are struggling to be heard. This is why I am excited to be a part of an organization dedicated to making the best stories available to listeners everywhere in new, exciting ways. I am so excited to help you get your story heard, help listeners use our site and applications to their fullest potential, and hear amazing stories along the way.

Rene Dongo Says Hello

credit: Jennifer Nedbalsky

Hello there, please allow me to introduce myself (via cyberspace? yes cyberspace!). My name is Rene Dongo, I’m a graduating senior from Emerson College and over the past few months I’ve been helping out with the Car Talk and This American Life projects here @ PRX. I’ve worked with Rekha, Genevieve, and Emily debugging apps, trolling the PRX website for evil spies, updating station data, and other cool sounding things.

I heard about PRX through Erin Mishkin of AIR, and she suggested it would be a good fit. While @ Emerson I dabbled in radio through the free format station WECB. Over the next 3 years, I hosted two talk shows that featured Boston based artists. The latest incarnation of the radio program was called “The Helmsplitter”. We recorded 12 episodes and dropped an EP. All of which are available for free @ http://helmsplitter.tumblr.com

Oddly enough, my major at Emerson is film production and I really enjoy creating short films. I believe it’s an effective communication tool for social issues and ideas that can be very persuasive. Lately my work has been focused on music videos and spoken word poetry. Below is the my last music video entitled “Catch Wreck – 1Tyme4urMynd”. Feel free to check out more of my video work at http://renedongo.com.

The new Chris (aka Farski)

I’ve landed here at PRX just a month after discovering the company. I was immediately intrigued by the work they are doing with lots of the public radio content I have grown to enjoy and trust, so when I saw their posting for a Rails developer I had to jump on the opportunity. My recent work history being filled with Rails applications focusing on presenting data to users in the most effective ways possible. I’ve reached where I am through some print and web design, film and photo production, and even some financial services. Staying on top of the latest ideas and trends in technology, and thinking of ways to use them to help improve the world around us is something I’m passionate about.

PRX has brought me back to Boston, after graduating from the business school at Boston College in 2004. In my time there I worked hard to understand where uses of technology in business and media worked, and where they were lacking or not being used to their full potential. It’s amazing to be part of a company like PRX, which is at the forefront of enacting change in the storied world of public radio, bringing in a fresh generation of listeners and redefining the way radio content is delivered. I hope that with my background in user experience design and development I can help PRX continue to excel at reshaping public radio.

When I’m away from the computer, I pass the time playing a wide variety of board games, being a freelance sports photographer, staying pretty active, or hanging out with my dog. I’m always up for a good movie or documentary, and finding a new best-band-ever happens more frequently than it probably should.

I’m New Here

It's ChrisSo, hey. My name’s Chris and I just started at PRX as a Web Applications Developer. If you’ve ever wondered what you would get if you somehow combined a computer nerd, radio nerd, and public media nerd, I’m your answer. Naturally, I’m quite excited to be joining the team here, and I’m really looking forward to working on some of the awesome pieces of technology coming out of PRX.

A little bit about me: I have been listening to public radio almost exclusively for so long, it’s hard to remember things ever being different. I’ve got a few cross-country road trips under my belt, and there always seems to be an NPR station somewhere on the dial. I carried my love for the audio broadcast to Longwood University, where I worked as an on-air personality, Music Director, and Webmaster for WMLU.

I’ve run the gamut when it comes to the internet – I’ve done everything from *nix systems administration to pixel-pushing design work to asynchronous message handling, and I love every bit of it. I’m a rubyist (nerd speak for someone who likes the ruby programming language), so I find myself at a lot of ruby/rails meetings. I’m really hoping to be able to improve my skills developing for the Android mobile platform. More and more, I see the future as mobile and social, and I am very excited to see that space developing at the rate it is (even while I am struggling to keep up).

When I am not completely geeking out about the future of computing, I am probably riding my bike or playing my ukulele (poorly).

I have already started working through the main prx.org application, and I’m getting geared up to start working on some cool new features and projects here. I’m really looking forward to working closely with the re-democratized side of public radio, and making the experience of using prx.org even more seamless.

Meet the New Intern: Susanna Bolle

A straight line may be the shortest path between two points, but the journey is infinitely more fun when you wander a bit from the straight and narrow — at least I like to think so.

Susanna BolleI’m Susanna Bolle, one of PRX’s newest interns. My path to PRX has been a circuitous one, though it feels like a natural thing. Over the years, I’ve done graduate studies in Russian cultural and intellectual history, worked as a freelance music journalist, and organized a concert series. I’ve always been a fan of radio, be it public, community, or something else altogether — just so long as the voice is independent and interesting. But I took to the airwaves myself only recently. At the behest of a friend, I started doing a weekly music show on one of the fringier of Boston’s college radio stations, WZBC. I was hooked from the start.

Now I’m finishing a Masters in Journalism at Boston University, focusing on radio, of course! I couldn’t be more pleased to be spending my summer at the Public Radio Exchange. Here at PRX I help spread the word about the innovative work done by PRX’s eclectic community of producers, focusing on the collection of PRX albums now available on iTunes. I get to be part of the future of radio and listen to great radio pieces all day at the office. What could be better?

In addition to my internship at PRX, this summer I’m working across the river at WGBH, staring down pixels as the web intern for the public television series, NOVA. I also do my best to get out of the house and onto my bike as often as possible.

Joining PRX

beccaOne month after joining PRX as a Web Application Developer, I’m happy to report that I’m having a great time, learning rapidly, and already beginning to make some improvements on prx.org.  I’m Rebecca Nesson, PRX’s newest technical staff member.

The PRX offices are only a short distance from my old digs in the Computer Science department at Harvard from which I am receiving a Ph.D. in Computational Linguistics on Thursday.  (Really, who doesn’t want computers to learn to speak English?)  And I feel right at home sharing space with the Berkman Center where I studied cyberlaw when I was a law student at HLS and worked on educational technology as a research fellow after I graduated.  After many years in academia I wanted to work in a production environment where I could improve my engineering skills.  But I didn’t want to go just anywhere.  It had to be an organization that was doing something really cool.  Enter PRX…

PRX is leading the way in helping public radio to flourish at a time when many other forms of media are struggling to remain current.  In my view, the key to our success is figuring out how to streamline the best parts of what public radio already does and envision new ways that public radio can serve and grow its audience.  We do that by building the technology to make it happen.  As a programmer at PRX my work is to build the media environment I want to live in.  That is cool.

In the near future I’ll be contributing to PRX by working on the core web application.  As I get more experienced here I hope to be able to bring some of my computational expertise to bear on our technology and to help integrate PRX content creatively into online educational experiences.

When I’m not at PRX I’m generally hanging out with my family, which has grown from two to four people in the last year and a half.  I’m also a big supporter of local farming and I volunteer as a board member at Waltham Fields Community Farm.

Greetings From A New PRXer

The rumors are true: PRX now has the best Director of Projects + Partnerships it’s ever had!

Hi everyone, I’m Rekha Murthy, PRX’s first Director of Projects + Partnerships. I’ve worked in public radio, Web, and mobile media for the past 12 years. My public radio career began with an internship at WFCR in Amherst, MA (thanks guys!). In 1998, NPR brought me to Washington DC to be a writer and editor for their Online division. Then, from 2000 to 2003, I was a producer for “All Things Considered”. I’ve since freelanced for “On Point”, “Day to Day”, and “The World”, and I helped design and teach a radio documentary course for MIT undergrads.

Before, after, and sometimes during my public radio life, I have been a user experience designer (aka information architect) as well. I’ve worked for Web and mobile startups and consulted on my own. Past clients include France Telecom R+D, Bank of America, IEEE, and BarnesandNoble.com.

It used to feel like I was jumping between two different worlds, but now I know that good things come from crossing media. MIT’s Comparative Media Studies program, where I got my Masters, affirmed this belief. While there, I designed a multimedia walking tour of Paris for handheld devices. I also spent a lot of time (read: thesis) analyzing how people use the streetscape for everyday communication.

I enjoy radio documentaries while I’m cooking and knitting, and first-person narratives when I’m at the gym. I surf the Web a lot, tracking fads and trends and guessing which ones will endure. I blog occasionally, too.

As for PRX, I like to think about it in terms of movement. Producers and stations use the framework we provide to keep public radio pieces moving, bringing greater exposure and revenue to an ever-growing pool of content.

Much of that movement has been in radio broadcast. But now we’re also thinking beyond broadcast, to a myriad of rapidly evolving ways to distribute and consume audio. These include satellite radio, HD radio, mobile devices and, of course, the Web. At PRX, we believe public radio has a major role to play in this dynamic media world.

That’s where I come in. As Director of Projects + Partnerships, I’m here to move your content further. With your input, I’ll evaluate which platforms are worthwhile, and what kinds of content work best on each. I’ve already helped send dozens of albums to iTunes, eMusic, Amazon, Napster, and Rhapsody, where people are paying to download public radio content to their own players.

PRX on iTunes
Actual iTunes placement of a real album from PRX.org. Click for context.

I’m a firm believer that old and new can co-exist in mutually supportive ways. Broadcast radio will be around for a long time. But the content it airs can go all sorts of places, reaching new people. A digital presence might lure people back to their radio dials. Or it might develop a following in a new medium. Maybe some followers will become producers themselves, bringing a fresh perspective to the field.

All this movement can be overwhelming, but we at PRX see it as an opportunity, and we want to make it easier to navigate. I am looking forward to getting to know you all, and hearing your thoughts on how to keep your work moving in this exciting media world. Feel free to message me from my profile on PRX.org.