Lily BuiPRX’s STEM Story Project 2.0

Lily Bui posted on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 | PRX, STEM Story Project | No Comments


It’s baaack! PRX is excited to announce version 2.0 of our STEM Story Project!

In partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, PRX will be holding another open call for radio stories inspired by STEM topics: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. We have a pool of $58,000 to distribute among multiple projects.

Last year, PRX funded 16 open call stories about STEM, with topics spanning forensics, poison, human echolocation, DIY spacesuits, and more. They aired on national shows and stations throughout the country.

Our prime directive (as Spock would say) is to:

• Unleash highly creative, STEM-based original stories and productions
• Educate and excite listeners about STEM topics and issues
• Tell stories and explain STEM issues in new ways

Have an idea for a story? The proposal guidelines and application will be here later this week.

Applications will open May 5, 2014. The DEADLINE for applications is May 26, 2014 at 11:59PM ET.

Join us on April 30 at 2 p.m. ET for the STEM Story Project webinar to answer questions – register here.

If you can’t make or wait for the webinar, email your questions to But read the application and guidelines first when they come out later this week!

Follow #PRXSTEM on Twitter for all the latest.

Thank you!

John Barth
Genevieve Sponsler
Lily Bui

The PRX STEM Story Project Team

AudreyFavorite Poetry Audio from Around the Web

Audrey posted on Thursday, April 10th, 2014 | PRX | No Comments

Last year I made the claim that poetry is for everyone, especially radio lovers and I stand by that! This year I wanted to dig a little deeper and see what poets were doing with audio, whether it be podcasts, broadcast programs or archival audio footage. There’s so much amazing poetry to listen to on the web, here are some of my favorites.

The Gift
- Imagination is the seed of empathy – a centrally important function – and both the gift and burden of the writer, argues Kwame Dawes in The Gift from WBEZ.

What is Poetry?
- One of my all-time favorite pieces on PRX is this Carl Sandburg remix produced by Barrett Golding called “What is Poetry?”

State of the Re:Union Poetry Month Special
- Host Al Letson tells his personal stories of how poetry influenced his life and features some incredible slam poets from around the country.

Woodberry Poetry Room Recordings

- The Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard contains a landmark collection of poetry readings that have taken place at Harvard. You can listen online to many of them. Here are a few of my favorites:

- John Berryman, 1962, The Dream Songs

- Ezra Pound, 1939, The Cantos

- Amiri Baraka, 2013, Somebody Blew Up America

- Alice Notley, 2013, I Went Down There

Video Poems

- “On the Other Hand” by Lanny Jordan Jackson.

- Allen Ginsberg’s “Father Death Blues.”


- Voicemail Poems podcast:

- Poetry and club jams unite. Listen to the Pretty LIT podcast and read my interview with the producer, B.J. Love.

Got a favorite poem recording, poetry radio program or podcast I’ve missed? Let us know in the comments.

Lily BuiWe’re Webby Nominees! Please Vote.

Lily Bui posted on Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 | PRX | No Comments

Webby_LogoAw, shucks.

As they say, “It’s an honor just to be nominated!” PRX has been nominated for not just one but TWO categories this year for the 18th annual Webby Awards.

We’re proud to be recognized for our mobile apps PRX Remix and the Public Radio Player.

***VOTE HERE and HERE to help us win the People’s Voice Award!***

In addition to nominees, the Webbys also name the top 15% entries as bona-fide honorees. We’re happy to also announce that The Moth app, developed by us, is one of these honorees! You can find the official list here.

Think of the Webbys as the Oscars of the Internet. The only difference is that YOU get to help turn these nominations into full-blown wins! This year, they received 12,000 entries from over 60 countries. Other nominees include SoundCloud, Stitcher, HBO GO, TED, Pandora, and more.

PRX is a Webby regular, with a past win and multiple honors and nominations. We’re thrilled that the recognition continues.


Last year, over 2 million people cast their votes from over 200 countries and territories worldwide. We hope that you cast yours before April 24, 2014!

(I mean, c’mon, who wouldn’t want to take one of these babies home?)


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!

AudreyPoetry and Club Jams Come Together in PrettyLIT

Audrey posted on Monday, April 7th, 2014 | PRX | No Comments

April is National Poetry Month and I’ve been sniffing around the interwebs for places where poetry and radio meet. A poet friend of mine alerted me to PrettyLIT by BJ Love and when I saw the premise of the project, to be honest, I was a bit skeptical.

Poetry and club jams? I enjoy both, but I wasn’t sure what would happen when they came together. PrettyLIT features some of my favorite contemporary poets (as well as older recordings of poets like Elizabeth Bishop, Anne Sexton and e.e. cummings) reading their work over Kanye West, Aphex Twin, Prince and Madonna.

For all those out there that say they hate poetry, find it boring, are afraid of it, or would rather go to anything besides a poetry reading, PrettyLIT might be for you. It takes already really excellent readings and makes them…a little more fun, maybe a little less scary!

I wrote to BJ to find out more about his project and the connections he sees between poetry and radio.

Audrey Mardavich: Give me a little background about your project and how it got started. Why poetry, why club jams?

BJ Love: My honest, no bullshit answer to that question is…I thought it would be super-fun. And, I think, sometimes secretly, but most of the time quite publicly, all poets wish that reading their poems felt as good as dancing to a good club jam feels. Seriously, think of every time R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix)” has come on…that’s the feeling virtually every poet is after.

I guess like an alchemist, I’m just mixing a little gold in with my iron in hopes that I’ll finally be able to create that feeling in my audience.

I want people to feel that way with these poems…to hear the poet read them this crazy poem and feel connected to it in that dancing way that lets the listener know they are having the best time ever!

AM: How do you pick your poets and how do you pick your music?

BJ: In most cases, I have to solicit people pretty hard. The whole “literature, club jams,” concept seems too goofy, I think, to a lot of writers, and I get that. I think the worry is that I’m kind of taking the piss out them and their work, which couldn’t be further from what’s actually happening. I mean, once I get the poems, I listen to them 10-15 times…I literally just sit there and listen to them over and over and over. I memorize them, I start reciting them as I walk around, and eventually, I’ll be at the gym, driving around, or sitting in my office, and a song will come up that will snap a poem back into my head, and that’s how I know what I have to do. Occasionally though, I can hear a poem once and know exactly what song I should pair it with. That actually just happened with last episode; the poet Mike Young sent me a poem and within the first few lines, I heard Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer,” thumping back behind it…

AM: What made you want to take poetry and put it on the radio?

BJ: I love the idea of poetry invading those more passive spaces.

In most cases, if you want to interact with poetry you make the conscious decision to do so. You pick up a book. You go to a reading. You look up audio on the internet. But to have it just show up on the radio…I think that would blow a lot of people’s minds and totally remake the way we think about poetry in this country. I mean, every kind of literature has a best-seller list in the New York Times Book Review; non-fiction, graphic novels, romance…everything, that is, except poetry. But that’s a different conversation all together…

I guess I just want poetry on the radio because I don’t think that lack of interest necessarily has to be the case.

AM: What do you think making poetry and making radio have in common?

BJ: It seems to me that the biggest thing they have in common is the never-ending fight for your audience’s attention. Writers and radio makers, and probably teachers too (of which, I am now all three), have the weirdest relationships with their audiences…you love them and you need them, and yet, you’re always trying to distract them so you can get them to do what you want them to do…listen to what you’re trying to say. That, I think, is the toughest job in the world…trying to get people to pay attention to you in a meaningful way.

AM: What’s your favorite part of the PrettyLIT process?

BJ: The one thing makes me giddy every time is when a poem and a song finally click together. For every minute of audio you hear in PrettyLIT, there’s about an hour of finagling and staring at sound waves on my computer. I’ll move this phrase over 3/10ths of a second. Move it back 1/10th. Listen to it 5 times, and then put it back in its original position and listen to it another 5 times…but man, when it falls into place, finally, it takes every ounce of self-restraint for me to not upload that single track to Facebook right then and there. I love it…so much. It’s like recognizing where you’re at after you’ve been lost for the last 30 minutes…amazing.

AM: What can poetry do on the radio that it can’t do on the page?

BJ: I think it allows the interaction between author and audience to be a bit more honest and upfront. Interpreting poems, or any literature, is a necessarily isolating experience. One that I think most of us are intimidated by, I mean, I know I am. But having the author right there reading it to you, it feels much more open…as if there is nothing to be interpreted, it’s just someone talking to you, even if the statements are a tad more convoluted than usual.

I think that’s also why I choose to go with kinds of music I first became familiar with in clubs; dancing has always been scary to me. I’m tall and lanky and my body doesn’t move gracefully. I have been very aware of that since I was about 12, but when dancing stopped being linked to performance (as all things are when we’re young), and just became about looking all my friends in their eyes and laughing and wildly acknowledging that we were having the best time ever…well, dancing became my favorite thing to do.

I want people to feel that way with these poems…to hear the poet read them this crazy poem and feel connected to it in that dancing way that lets the listener know they are having the best time ever!

AM: True or false: are radio makers secretly poets?

BJ: True…and not so secretly. It’s all about conveying an image, or an emotion, or anything really, through language, without much help from the other senses. I think that is what I really like about hearing poems as opposed to reading them…our voices allow us to decipher so much more meaning from the work than just the words alone.

There are poems that barely registered with me emotionally when I read them in a book, but that I’ve wept listening to…that does work the other way though too; “At North Farm,” by John Ashbery is a great poem. It’s so full of wonder and excitement and reverie, and then to hear him read it, all fast as though it’s the tail end of a much more interesting thought that has run it’s course, is a total let down…so I kind of chopped and screwed that one when I put it in the podcast. I slowed it way down, gave it some space to breathe…and laid some Sir Mix-a-Lot underneath! I liked it a little bit more after that…

AM: What’s your favorite poem and what’s your favorite piece of radio you’ve heard?

BJ: My favorite poem(s) are Jack Spicer’s “Letters to James Alexander.” There’s an honesty to those poems that I find startling and comforting all at once. My favorite radio really depends on the week. I bounce between “This American Life,” “Radiolab,” and “99% Invisible.” Actually, I first heard “Radiolab” ON “This American Life,” and heard “99% Invisible” for the first time on “Radiolab.” I really like those shows because I feel they capture the rhythms of story, the beats of narrative better than anything I’ve ever heard…including good storytellers telling stories right in front of me over a few beers. If I have one hope for “PrettyLIT,” it’s that it becomes compelling in the way I believe those shows do; you love what you hear so much, that you can’t turn it off because you HAVE to hear what comes next.

But my favorite piece ever? That would have to be a chunk of audio they played on “Radiolab” where this guy is hiking and hungry and hasn’t eaten in days, and he comes across a cachet of candy he left behind months ago. As he’s digging it up he starts screaming and laughing and screaming and eating and laughing. I’ve never heard joy like that before…and when I finally did, I had to pull over because I couldn’t see through my stupid teary eyes any more.

AM: How can people contact you to be a part of PrettyLIT?

BJ:The best place to start is There you’ll find this phone number: (912) 349-9676. You can always call in and leave a message with a poem or story, though, for the sake of sound quality, just record yourself on your computer or phone and email the file to me at

…oh, and be sure to tell me who you are and where you’re from. I’d love to know a bit about you too.

Audrey Mardavich is a poet and also the Member Support and Administrative Associate at PRX. She runs the 2×2 Reading Series at Lorem Ipsum Books in Cambridge, MA.

BJ Love is the author of a few chapbooks, Michigander, being one, Yes, I’m Sure This Was a Beautiful Place, being another. He is a teacher at Savannah State University, and the co-host of Seersucker Shots, a reading series in Savannah, GA.

JakeReveal Wins Peabody Award

Jake posted on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 | PRX, PRX in the News | No Comments

The lead investigative story first featured in the pilot program of Reveal, a joint production of The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, has won a Peabody Award.

The story, reported by CIR’s Aaron Glantz, exposed opiate prescription abuse by the VA and the damage done to veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. CIR’s extensive use of the Freedom of Information Act put hard data to the human impact and made possible a story for public radio, online and television.

More than 150 stations have aired the Reveal pilot. The second pilot has been airing on public radio since March.

“PRX is deeply honored to be part of this award with the talented journalists at CIR,” said PRX Managing Director John Barth. “We have listened carefully to stations and listeners and this Peabody is an affirmation that strong, investigative journalism will be at the core of Reveal.”

PRX and CIR are proud to be in the company of other award-winners announced today: This American Life, NPR, PBS and many others.

Full list of winners.

About Reveal
Reveal is an investigative public radio program for the 21st century, accompanied by web, mobile and social platforms that create a powerful level of content and audience engagement. Reveal will leverage the social web beyond promotional sharing to reach new audiences off the public radio grid and pro-actively engage them in the search for common cause and solution to the myriad problems identified and addressed through Reveal‘s reporting. Reveal intends to become a weekly program and is now in the piloting phase with stations and collaboration partners.

Reveal is a joint production of The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX. PRX is the exclusive distributor of Reveal.

About PRX
PRX is an award-winning nonprofit public media company, harnessing innovative technology to bring compelling stories to millions of people. operates public radio’s largest distribution marketplace, offering thousands of audio stories for broadcast and digital use, including The Moth Radio Hour, Sound Opinions, State of the Re:Union, Snap Judgment, and WTF with Marc Maron. PRX Remix is PRX’s 24/7 channel featuring the best independent radio stories and new voices. PRX is also the leading mobile app developer for public media, with apps such as Public Radio Player, Radiolab, This American Life, WBUR, KCRW Music Mine, and more.

PRX was created through a collaboration of the Station Resource Group and Atlantic Public Media and receives support from public radio stations and producers, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Knight Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Sloan Foundation.

About the Center for Investigative Reporting
Investigative reporting is an essential pillar of a democratic society. For more than three decades, The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) has relentlessly pursued and revealed injustices that otherwise would remain hidden from the public. Today, we’re upholding this legacy and looking forward, working at the forefront of journalistic innovation to tell the stories that make a difference and reach diverse audiences of all ages, across the aisle and worldwide.

CIR stories appear in hundreds of news outlets, including NPR News, PBS FRONTLINE, PBS NewsHour, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Sacramento Bee, The Daily Beast and American Public Media’s Marketplace. CIR stories have received numerous journalism awards, including the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton, George Polk Award, Emmy Award, Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, and the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Its reports have sparked state and federal hearings and legislation, public-interest lawsuits and changes in corporate policies. For more information, visit

Reveal Credits

Host: Al Letson

Executive Producers: Ben Adair, Susanne Reber

Editors: Amy Pyle, Mia Zuckerkandel

Producers: Michael Montgomery (KQED), Michael Schiller,

Reporters: Aaron Glantz, Kendall Taggart, Ryan Gabrielson, Amanda Aronczyk

Data team: Agustin Armendariz, Aaron Williams, Michael Corey

Production assistance: Allegra Bandy, Stan Alcorn, Bianca Bruno, Julia Chan, Sharon Pieczenik, Ben Rosenthal

Mix engineer: Jim Briggs Mia Zuckerkandel, Sam Ward, Jaena Rae Cabrera, Christine Lee, Nikki Frick

Video producers: Michael Schiller, Adi Sambamurthy

Reveal is a co production of The Center for Investigative Reporting and the Public Radio Exchange PRX

Senior Management for PRX: Jake Shapiro, John Barth, Kerri Hoffman

Senior Management for CIR: Robert J. Rosenthal, Mark Katches, Joaquin Alvarado, Susanne Reber

Reveal was co created by: Ben Adair, Susanne Reber, Joaquin Alvarado, John Barth and Kerri Hoffman

AudreyPRX to Distribute Dog Talk

Audrey posted on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 | PRX | No Comments


PRX Furthers Mission to Reach Wider Audience, Distributes DOG TALK, a Show by Dogs

Cambridge, Mass. – PRX announced today that they are distributing Dog Talk from acclaimed producer Bailey Kalafarski. With a $600 grant from the Ivan G. and Ekaterina V. Sputnik Foundation, PRX will be able to increase listenership for this up-and-coming series, which had considered self-distribution.

Drawing from PRX’s growing catalog of over 65,000 audio works by independent producers as well as local stations, PRX has decided to invest its time and money into distributing a show by (and for) dogs. As a result of our focus on audio produced by dogs, you can now also exchange your membership points for kibble. PRX continues to build on its track record of harnessing digital media and technology to bring compelling audio stories to a wider audience. The show touches on topics such as global climate change, strange noises in hallways, and car doors and speaks to a diverse audience of collies, shepherds, and terriers.

“We’ve wanted to scratch this itch for a long time,” says CEO Jake Shapiro. “We knew changing our focus to dog audio producers might tick off some people, but we’re looking forward to seeing where Dog Talk takes us and the new audiences we reach.”

Stream the latest episode below, which discusses the impact of social media on pets’ lives. The full series is available here.


GenevieveSecond Ear is Open for Submissions

Genevieve posted on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 | PRX | No Comments

PRX’s Second Ear — a monthly idea-sharing session & mini-makeover for an audio piece — is open for submissions now! We can only take 15 submissions, so get ‘em in early.

Head here for the application form, criteria, and FAQ.

Follow @prx and #SecondEar on Twitter for updates and to hear the before and after of the chosen piece.

If you have any questions, please comment on this blog post so others can see, or write to us.

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

AudreyUsing Facebook Interest Lists

Audrey posted on Monday, March 3rd, 2014 | PRX | No Comments

We’ve been trying out Facebook Interest Lists to make sure we’re getting public radio updates from our favorite pages.

When you create or follow a list, you’ll see the best posts from that list in your main News Feed. If you feel like you’re not seeing enough PRX posts thanks to Facebook filters you can create your own Interest List and add us, which will help you see more, if not all.

On the PRX Facebook page we’re sharing producer news + tips, training and job opportunities, calls for pitches and other cool public radio and media stuff. We are also featuring your work, so make sure to Like our page and consider adding PRX to an Interest List.

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