Category Archives: PRX

No Category

Welcome Radiotopia Executive Producer Julie Shapiro!

JS_garden2

Greetings from day 3 at PRX. I’m Julie Shapiro (no relation besides friend/colleague to PRX’s other J(ake) Shapiro) and mere words can’t describe how excited I feel to have joined the family via Radiotopia. Maybe a few sounds would do the trick? Use your imagination.

There’s no single trajectory that delivered me here, but surely a few dots have connected along the way: countless record store jobs, publishing a zine (Anodyne) for years, programming an experimental music festival (Transmissions), earning a degree in Sociology, traveling all over the place, a few years with the Center for Documentary Studies, thirteen amazing years with the Third Coast International Audio Festival, and, most recently, launching and steering the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s small but mighty Creative Audio Unit (CAU).

Certain recurring themes have persisted over the years: listening and stories. Asking questions and experimenting. Championing independence and fostering community. Thinking, encouraging, challenging, obsessing over font choice and organizing – from ladies’ clothing swaps to international radio gatherings. Horses, books, mixtapes, sesame bagels and PTDS.

Around the time Radiotopia blazed into the podcasting galaxy, I moved with my family to Sydney and immersed myself in building the CAU from the ground up. But I listened closely (ok, obsessively) from afar as podcasting turned mainstream – undoubtedly helped along by Radiotopia, and all of the amazing producers in its orbit, and realized I wanted/needed to be closer to the epicenter.

Now, I’m starting this gig in the middle of Radiotopia’s 2015 fall fundraising campaign, and have already been astounded by the show of love and support for the network so far. So many sustaining donors! So much generosity! So many exclamation points! (If you haven’t yet donated, please consider this my first official nudge, me to you, to head over to Radiotopia.fm and get busy. Thank you!)

We have new Radiotopia ideas, plans and projects in the works, to say the least. Now if we could just bend the space-time continuum to provide more listening hours in the day…

I’m working on it. Stay tuned.

Photo credit: Alex Craig

Announcing this year’s STEM Story Project grantees

PRX is pleased to announce the grantees for our third annual STEM Story Project, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The STEM Story Project is an open call for science, tech, engineering, and math pitches. Over the summer, we asked producers around the world to share their ideas with us. Then, a team of scientists in various disciplines, plus a team of radio professionals, screened the over 100 proposals we received. As you can imagine, the final decisions were incredibly difficult to make!

The stories below (titles subject to change) are being created right now, and will be available on PRX.org starting in mid-November. Stations and shows on PRX can license the stories for air, and they will also be featured in the upcoming season of our science podcast, Transistor.

Past years’ STEM stories aired on many stations, PRX Remix, Here and Now, All Things Considered, and Studio 360, to name a few. So don’t be shy if you’re with a show or station and not yet on PRX. Get in touch.

Without further ado, the grantees of our third annual STEM Story Project are…

The Words are a Jumble from Tobin Low.
Vissarion Shebalin was not a great composer. But his music could unlock an important truth about how the brain processes music and language.

Rodney Learns to Fly from Ari Daniel.
Rodney grew up selling dope and guns. But he’s always loved caring for birds. The drugs landed him in jail. The birds helped set him free.

Ovarian transplant is the surgery on infertility’s cutting edge from Robin Amer.
Twins Carol and Katie are physically identical in every way but one: Katie was born without ovaries. Carol donated hers to her sister so she could start a family.

Imagine All the People from Pien Huang.
Meet a four-year-old with a LOT of imaginary friends. What do fake friends do for us as kids and adults?

HIc Sunt Dracones: The Art of Polynesian Wayfinding from Lily Bui.
Ancient Polynesians relied on three core faculties to navigate: knowledge of the stars, understanding of the environment, and—above all—their memories.

Owning the Clouds: Fears, facts, and the future of weather from Steven Jackson.
Can we harness clouds to counter drought, stop storms, and fight climate change? And if we can, should we?

Peeing in My Pants, Everybody Does It from Lauren Whaley.
A personal and research-driven journey into the science, technology and emotional sides of pelvic floor dysfunction.

From Frogs To Wands of Destiny: The Evolving Science of Home Pregnancy Tests from Anne Noyes Saini & Amy Gastelum of the podcast Mother.
Trace the evolution of modern pregnancy testing from when tests entailed injecting frogs with women’s urine, to the first reliable home pregnancy test kits.

Many Humans, One Music? from Katie Burke.
Is music a universal language? A new study says music worldwide shares features like rhythm & group performance.

The Science of Protecting Cities from Floods from Jenny Chen and Ellen Rolfes.
Head to the scene of forensic flood science, where engineers are doing detective work to rebuild cities to be more resilient to climate change.

CSI Bee Squad from Megan Molteni.
A look inside a tiny crime scene — investigating a bee kill.

That Bowl Was Delicious from Hannah Marshall & Quentin Cooper.
Swear your coffee tastes better from your favorite mug? You may not be imagining it.

The Noisiest Species from Kerry Klein.
How our vrooms, clangs and thunks are harming natural ecosystems — and ourselves.

Tick Tock Biological Clock from Marnie Chesterton.
Women in their late 30s are told their fertility falls off a cliff. The truth is more surprising.

Three Letters Met on Broom Bridge from Samuel Hansen of the podcast Relatively Prime.
Every October, hundreds of devotees gather to walk across a bridge in Dublin — for math.

The Ghost in the MP3 from Emily Richardson-Lorente.
What’s lost when a song is compressed into an MP3? To the untrained ear — perhaps nothing. But to one composer, it’s the source of stunning and ghostly ‘lost sound’ compositions.

Cosmic Ray Catchers from Ross Chambless.
Something out there is hurling powerful particles at Earth, and a team of scientists have found a hotspot near the Big Dipper.

Help Radiotopia Reach 5,000 Donors to Earn $25,000 from Slack

normal_radiotopia1000x600-new4

Radiotopia from PRX is kicking off our Fall fundraiser this week, with all 13 shows getting in on the action, and we need your help.

Our partners at Slack are challenging Radiotopia to get 5,000 donors by 10/26… if we can hit that number, they will donate $25,000.

We bring the Radiotopia podcasts to you for free, but there are serious costs associated with taking creative risks while delivering the highest quality shows in the world. By supporting us with a monthly gift, we’ll be able to continue to do just that. Surprise you. Shock you. Make you laugh. Make you mad. Make you feel.

As a thank you for your support, enjoy gifts like our exclusive tote bag, one of your favorite Radiotopia T-shirts, or the brand new 99% Invisible challenge coin (only available during this drive).

Donate today!

Tom Junod Hosts AMA for Esquire Classic Podcast Series

Writer Tom Junod hosted an AMA on Reddit this week to promote the first episode, “Falling Man“, from the new Esquire Classic podcast series in partnership with PRX. The AMA had a ton of great engagement from Reddit users and generated a number of insightful thoughts on the 9/11 story, Junod’s career, and the journalism profession in general.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 11.24.36 AM

Here are some of the most interesting and powerful quotes from Junod:

On the photo itself:
“[The falling man photo] seemed a portrait not just of a man about to die, but also of a world about to be born. And so it was.”

On Donald Trump:
“He doesn’t sound like a politician, so he can get away with stuff people think that politicians shouldn’t say. But a lot of journalists want to sound like journalists. A lot of journalists want to sound like everybody else. Trump speaks to the advantage of having your own voice…he’s flat out the most insincere person I’ve ever met. That he’s ridiculously needy, and responds to everything situationally and by instinct, doesn’t make him a truth teller.”

On women and Esquire magazine:
“I think we ought to write about women more, and write about them as we write about men. I mean, Esquire’s a men’s magazine, and so there are always going to be “appreciations” of female beauty. But we write about men, without thinking, Oh, this is a story about a man. We ought to do the same about women. Above all, I’d like to see us develop more female voices, and use more women as writers.”

On journalism and our storytelling culture:
“You tell stories all day long, and then you close your eyes at night you STILL tell yourself stories, in the form of dreams. It’s just who we are. The narrative animal. We just have to make the narratives better.”

On professional risk taking and experimentation:
“Innovation and experimentation are situational in nature. It’s what I love about my job — it matters very little what you’ve done in the past, and every story is a new start. Sometimes, you take risks because you have to.”

On fact vs. fiction
“You can mess with style, you can mess with point of view, you can take virtually any liberty you want to in the storytelling, but if you’re going to make up “the facts” you should alert the reader, as we did with the Stipe profile. 3. I definitely look at my work as an argument. I’m a frustrated lawyer. And the debate with myself comes in the form of the stories themselves.”

On objectivity in reporting:
“Objectivity is an impossibility… fairness is a much better goal. But how do you stay fair, when you’re not being objective? For me, the answer is admitting that you have a personal stake in the story, even to oneself. Journalism is a very human transaction, with fallible people on all sides, in every part of there process. We might as well make that clear up front.”

On favorite movies:
“I’m a Godfather guy, 1 and 2. But I also have a place in my heart for Point Break, Goodfellas, Dazed and Confused, Spinal Tap, and Pee Wee.”

How to Get Your Stories on the Public Media Platform

Gj0lUB2V19bgib5CmTWjESLlAsoAKnXQPPQkXjPJ0BY

The Public Media Platform (PMP) is an easy way to get your stories heard on station websites around the country and PRX.org is the only place for independent producers to get their work into the PMP.

The PMP is a database; a place where lots of information about public media content can live. The part of the PMP that makes it so exciting and useful is its API, or application programming interface. APIs are how software, websites, and apps talk to each other. When you use the Uber app on your phone, it knows how to talk to Google’s API which is how it can show you the map. And when your ride is over, it uses a credit card processing API to move money around.

This is a really powerful concept, because it means Uber didn’t need to build its own maps or credit card processor. The PMP offers that same kind of functionality. For example, a station like WGBH which gets content from many different sources like NPR and PRX no longer needs to deal with separate APIs. Now, WGBH only needs to work with one, the PMP’s API. This means all of this great content is available much more easily.

One of the ways the PMP is used, is that a station can automatically surface a show (ex. The Moth) and have that content pushed directly to their site or app instead of having to manually add it.

You might be asking, “Why is this a good thing for me? Why should I put my work in the PMP?” The bottom line is that the PMP will help make your work even more widely available.

For example, station websites using content management systems provided by PBS and NPR are using the PMP to bring in stories to feature and display. The PMP will also be a source of content for the NPR One apps, and potentially other apps and services both in and out of public media. There are also plugins being created to publish PMP stories into any site that uses a popular content management system (e.g. WordPress and Drupal).

If you’re interested in getting your work into the PMP, you are automatically approved if you have had two or more stories licensed on PRX over time.

If you’re not automatically approved, we would be happy to add you. Write to PRX Help to be approved.

Once you’re approved, you just need to head to My PRX and opt-in to the PMP under your Outside Purchaser Preferences.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 10.59.11 AM

For more information about the PMP, visit them online or follow them on Twitter.

PRX Partners with Esquire to Launch Esquire Classic Podcast

PRX is excited to announce a partnership with Esquire on their new Esquire Classic podcast. The series explores some of Esquire‘s most popular past articles and thoroughly examines both the content and the context with host David Brancaccio and a number of famous guests. Esquire Classic kicks off today with the release of episode one, “Falling Man”.  It details an article written by Tom Junod in 2003, which revolved around a photo of a man forced to jump from the World Trade Center on 9/11. Junod discusses why the magazine’s most-read story of all time was so controversial and important.

You can listen to the full episode at classic.esquire.com/podcast . Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes to listen to the second episode, which will launch two weeks from today.

Read the full details of the podcast launch below:

ESQUIRE TEAMS WITH PRX FOR ESQUIRE CLASSIC PODCAST
Series sheds new light on groundbreaking work by writers
Nora Ephron, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Tom Junod

Cambridge, MA (October 5, 2015) – To celebrate its 1000th issue this month, Esquire has joined forces with PRX, the award-winning public media company, to launch a podcast deconstructing classic non-fiction stories from the vault of the 82-year-old magazine that continues to push the boundaries of narrative journalism.

Hosted by public radio’s David Brancaccio, the new podcast dissects iconic Esquire stories by writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nora Ephron, and Tom Junod, and reveals the cultural currents that make them as lasting and timely today as when they were first published. Guests will include Esquire writers and editors, along with authors, academics, comedians and actors.

The Esquire Classic podcast launches today with an episode showcasing the magazine’s most-read story of all time: Junod’s 2003 article “Falling Man.” Inspired by the famous and infamous photograph of one of the people forced to jump from the World Trade Center, captured by Richard Drew on 9/11, Junod reveals why he felt it was his responsibility to bring the photo – and the anonymous falling man pictured – to light.

The Esquire Classic podcast episodes will be published every two weeks starting Monday October 5. It is produced by audio veteran Curtis Fox.

The Esquire Classic Podcast joins a select roster of signature shows from PRX, including The Moth Radio HourReveal, and Snap Judgment. PRX is also the home of Radiotopia, a podcast network of the world’s best story-driven shows anchored by 99% Invisible, the popular design show from Roman Mars.

“PRX is dedicated to bringing audiences the most engaging stories from the world’s best storytellers,” said Jake Shapiro of PRX. “For more than 80 years, Esquire has set the standard for publishing work that shapes our culture and conversation. We are thrilled to join Esquire in shedding new light on these fascinating and timeless stories.”

“It is amazing how deftly PRX and David Brancaccio explore and exploit what can make a story into something that stands the test of time,” said David Granger, the editor-in-chief of Esquire. “With the launch of Esquire Classic, the complete digital archive of the magazine, we’ve been working to make the past not just present but urgent. PRX is the best partner we could have in this venture.”

You can download and stream the podcast via iTunes and at classic.esquire.com/podcast.

The other two installments in the 3-episode pilot podcast series are:

The Crack-Up (1936) – In 1936 F. Scott Fitzgerald, then a struggling writer battling depression and alcoholism, published a radical series of essays in Esquire about his mental breakdown. Celebrated poet and memoirist Nick Flynn discusses Fitzgerald’s mindset at the time, the ridicule he faced from friends like Ernest Hemingway, and how his essays set off a genre of confessional writing that persists and thrives today.

A Few Words About Breasts (1972) – Nora Ephron’s comic lament about how her late onset of puberty and earliest sexual experiences gave her a lifelong obsession with her breasts. Jessi Klein, head writer for “Inside Amy Schumer,” joins David Brancaccio to discuss Ephron’s story and its lasting influence on the way women perceive and voice themselves in writing and comedy.

About Esquire
Esquire (www.esquire.com), published by Hearst Magazines, is the most-honored monthly magazine in America. Over the past 15 years, it has won a total of 16 National Magazine Awards. Its Web site and e-reader applications have been similarly honored – Esquire won the first-ever National Magazine Award for iPad applications. In addition to its U.S. flagship, Esquire publishes 27 editions around the world. Esquire Classic (classic.esquire.com), the magazine’s new digital archive of every issue from 1933 to today, features over 50,000 stories from the authors such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tom Wolfe, Gloria Steinem, Cormac McCarthy, and David Foster Wallace. Follow Esquire on Twitter at @Esquiremag and @EsquireClassic.

About PRX
PRX is an award-winning nonprofit public media company, harnessing innovative technology to bring compelling stories to millions of people. PRX.org operates public radio’s largest distribution marketplace, offering tens of thousands of audio stories for broadcast and digital use, including This American Life, 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 was created through a collaboration of the Station Resource Group and Atlantic Public Media, and receives support from public radio stations and producers, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and Knight Foundation. Follow us on Twitter at @prx.

About David Brancaccio
David Brancaccio is the host of American Public Media’s Marketplace Morning Report. His reporting has focused on the future of the economy, financial and labor markets, technology, the environment and social enterprises. In the early 1990s, Brancaccio was Marketplace’s European correspondent based in London, and hosted Marketplace’s evening program from 1993 to 2003. He co-anchored the PBS television news magazine program NOW with journalist Bill Moyers from 2003 to 2005, before taking over as the program’s solo anchor in 2005. His feature-length documentary film, Fixing the Future, appeared in theaters nationwide in 2012. David is author of the book Squandering Aimlessly, an exploration of how Americans apply their personal values to their money. Among his awards for broadcast journalism are the Peabody, the DuPont-Columbia, the Cronkite, and the Emmy.

Radiotopia Shows Make up 1/3 of Third Coast Winners

Winners of the 2015 Third Coast Audio Festival/Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition — honoring the best new audio works — were announced today. Three of the nine winners are from Radiotopia, PRX’s podcast network. Congratulations to all!

The category in which each winner falls (like Best New Artist, and so on) will be announced on October 24th during the awards ceremony at the Filmless Festival in Chicago. Take a listen to the winning episodes from Radiotopia shows below:

695BGK (USA)
Produced by Lauren Spohrer and Phoebe Judge for Criminal

The Living Room (USA)
Produced by Briana Breen with editing, mixing and scoring by Brendan Baker for Love + Radio

Structural Integrity (USA)
Produced by Joel Werner and Sam Greenspan with editor Roman Mars for 99% Invisible

PRX at PRPD 2015

prpd_logo

PRX will be at PRPD next week in full force, hosting parties, participating in panels, and manning our suite in room #1566.

Here are all of the details:

MONDAY SEPT 28
Public Media Women in Leadership Reception hosted by CPB & PRX 
7 PM
Let’s raise a glass in celebration of women in our industry and hear from leaders in the field about new opportunities. Join us in the PRX Suite room #1566. Space is limited so please RSVP at the PMWL Facebook group page.  

WEDNESDAY SEPT 30  

PRIVATE BRIEFING: Details on the launch of Reveal weekly

Please join PRX and The Center for Investigative Reporting for details on the WEEKLY version of Reveal, coming 2016. 
Meet Reveal EP Kevin Sullivan, Reveal host Al Letson and CIR and PRX crew – get your questions answered about the next step with this Peabody award-winning show. 

Pick one of two private briefings on the launch of the weekly Reveal:

  • 10:30AM to noon in the PRX suite room #1566
  • 1:45PM to 3PM in the PRX suite room #1566

Make your reservation for the time that best fits your PRPD schedule. When you sign up, provide a textable mobile number or just swing by the PRX booth so we can confirm. 

The Talent Development Super Session

9AM to 10:30AM
Join PRX Chief Content Officer John Barth and others (http://prpd.org/conference/2015/agenda.aspx)  for a deep dive into identifying, developing and nurturing the talent we need to take public radio into the next generation of service.
The Moth LIVE
7:30 PM Byham Theatre 101 6th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 
It’s a hit on more than 500 stations, probably yours. Join us for the laughs, tears and power of live storytelling that only The Moth can deliver. Pay close attention for a very special PRX musical guest!


THURSDAY OCT 1 
  
BREAKOUT SESSION: Fact and Fiction from the Frontlines of the Podcast Revolution

10:45AM to 11:45AM Location: TBA
Get the inside track on podcasting from talent, to production dynamics, to revenue challenges, moderated by PRX COO Kerri Hoffman (Hot Pod newsletter recently called her the ‘badass of podcasting!”) Bring questions!
 
BREAKOUT SESSION: Deep Impact: Deciding to do investigative reporting
1:45PM to 2:45PM Location: TBA
Moderated by Reveal EP Kevin Sullivan, MPR’s  Madeleine Baran (duPont Award winner for investigative reporting) and Patrick Madden of WAMU will discuss the pluses and minuses of investigative reporting in local markets and how prepared – or unprepared – stations are for this challenge. 

Meet the PRX Staff

We’ll all be on hand to meet with you.

  • CEO Jake Shapiro
  • COO Kerri Hoffman
  • Chief Content Officer John Barth
  • Station Relations Director Kathleen Unwin
  • Content Coordinator Genevieve Sponsler
  • Marketing Director Maggie Taylor

We’re here to discuss:

  • Reveal Weekly
  • The Moth Radio Hour
  • Sound Opinions
  • PRX Remix
  • Program distribution
  • Content and talent development
  • New programs
  • Podcasting

See the full conference agenda here.

Welcome Maggie Taylor!

DSC_1753

Hi everyone! My name is Maggie Taylor and I am very excited to be joining PRX as the new Director of Marketing, and to be making my first foray into both the public media and nonprofit spaces.

I obtained my undergraduate degree in Public Relations from the University of Rhode Island. Since then, I have built a marketing background that’s heavy in tech and start-ups, in both the B2B and consumer spaces. I love working directly with consumers, and using PR, influencers, and social media tools to help grow brand awareness and adoption. I enjoy representing the voice of a brand, and the opportunity to facilitate new customer exposure. I’m also an avid reader and writer, and like to create engaging pieces of content and experiences. I love public radio and listening to podcasts; I remain in constant awe of their ability to create such intimate relationships between host and listener. It reminds me of a quote from the book “All the Light We Cannot See”: “Radio: it ties a million ears to a single mouth.”

On the personal side, I hail from the Seacoast area of NH, but had the pleasure of living out a West Coast adventure in San Francisco for two years, and returned last summer via a cross-country road trip. In my spare time I love traveling, food, reading, and spending time with my friends and family. I also have a penchant for song memorization and, consequently, karaoke.

I’m delighted to join this intimate and passionate team to help craft and spread the unique PRX story to a large, diverse audience. I’d love to personally connect with all of our readers and listeners, so please feel free to reach out and introduce yourself: maggie.taylor@prx.org.

Lessons from Podcast Movement, or What I Learned at Summer Camp

home_splash_image

What do a professional wrestler, a comedian and a design buff have in common? Successful podcasts.

CLXn_NUVAAATt3j

Over 1000 would-be and experienced podcasters shared tips, ideas, and creative support in Forth Worth at the 2nd Podcast Movement Conference. If you weren’t there and felt like you should have been – you have experienced the first thing they did right: promotion.

The conference creators were able to create a lot of buzz leading up to the conference. They used bold words like “biggest ever”, “for the first time” and “lifetime achievement”. They hosted a podcast academy of awards complete with tears and “I’d like to thank the academy…” speeches. The opening day party featured a mechanical bull, live music and a goofy game of olympics. It was loud, the food was terrible and we had a great time.

CLbkPNvUYAE5u0T

What the conference organizers did very well

  • Energy – it was fun and exciting.
  • Bright future – there were almost no radio vs. podcast conversations.
  • Community – lots of sharing and support.
  • Diversity – the variety of participants felt like a bigger sector of the public.
  • Respect – they celebrated the veterans who contributed to the industry and were also wowed by the young go-getters.
  • Sharing – the most successful were not afraid to share real, actionable strategies and advice.

What public media does very well

  • Content – hands down our content is compelling and will have a long shelf life.
  • Storytelling – our shows take listeners on a journey.
  • Production techniques – our shows are artfully crafted with rich sound.
  • Scale – we have bigger reach. Less than 1% of podcasts have more than 50K downloads per episode.
  • Engagement – over time, our listener loyalty increases.

CLSbTGPVEAAaChh

My Takeaway

We met a lot of podcasters that are aces at marketing and promotion. They are experimental and bold about monetization. They are savvy about one click payments and some are adopting a direct support model. Most listeners do not differentiate between public media podcasts and others, they just know shows they love.

The talent-drain is real. We are already seeing it. One speaker said openly that the future of podcasting is weighted toward “ex-NPR people and media/celebrities”. While monetization is critical, we should not be motivated only by this. It doesn’t serve the audience well. It is important for public radio to develop new and innovative shows that can sustain and maybe even subsidize traditional distribution models. And when we do, we should brag more.