Audrey posted on Monday, January 6th, 2014 | PRX | No Comments
HowSound producer/host Rob Rosenthal is featuring a wild documentary called “Hark! The Acoustic World of Elizabethan England.” This piece was so stimulating that it sparked a New Year’s Resolution for Rob to, “listen deliberately to the sounds around me as often as possible.” We think that’s an excellent resolution, Rob.
PRX Remix’s Sam Greenspan said of Hark! “This stunning work takes us back 400 years into a long-extinct sonic world–a world absent of the noise of cell phones, car traffic, household appliances, and recorded music. A world where the “sonic event” of the day might be the livestock getting fed.”
And fed the livestock will be.
Jones posted on Thursday, December 19th, 2013 | Blog, PRX | No Comments
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!
Audrey posted on Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 | PRX | No Comments
Each year, PRX staffers come together to make a list of our favorite pieces of the year. It’s a great way to reflect and celebrate the producers who have worked so hard to create phenomenal work.
We listen to a lot of radio. And even then, we know we still haven’t heard everything. Here are some of our favorites from PRX, but chime in with your own favorite radio from 2013 in the comments. We want to know what you loved.
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.
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.
Jake posted on Thursday, November 21st, 2013 | Blog, PRX | No Comments
Please join me in welcoming Janet Balis as our newest member of the PRX board of directors!
Janet is an accomplished digital media executive who has just started a new position as Chief Revenue Officer at Betaworks in New York City. Prior to Betaworks Janet most recently served as Publisher of the Huffington Post and held senior roles at Martha Stewart Omnimedia, Time, Inc. and Aol.
“I’ve been an avid public radio listener my whole life,” says Janet. “I’m excited to join PRX as an innovative organization defining new models for public media content, distribution and engagement.”
Janet joins PRX board members Henry Becton, Torey Malatia, Susan McKeever, Ashton Peery, Jake Shapiro, and Bruce Warren.
Audrey posted on Monday, November 18th, 2013 | PRX | No Comments
The 99% Invisible team reached their 10,000 backer stretch goal and received an additional $20,000 grant from MailChimp. Amazing!
In a project update posted yesterday, Roman announced the next stretch goal and it’s one we here at PRX are particularly happy about.
For a couple years, I’ve been scheming with PRX to create a collective of exceptional radio shows that will push the boundaries of public radio. Modeled after 99% Invisible, we want to provide support for a select group of creator-driven, high-quality, entrepreneurial programs that will establish a path to success for the most talented audio producers.
Any pledges collected over the $350K mark in the 99% Invisible Season 4 Kickstarter will go toward starting a seed fund for the collective.
We’re getting really excited to share more about what we’re up to, but for now, read the rest of Roman’s note and consider making a pledge.
Lily Bui posted on Friday, November 8th, 2013 | Blog, PRX, STEM Story Project | No Comments
This post is part of PRX’s STEM Story Project series.
For a long time, scientists have known that breathing in soot from vehicles and power plants is bad for us. But the soot itself might not be the problem—at least not entirely. Scientists have found that particles live a ‘secret life’ once released into the atmosphere, picking up toxic gases and other hitchhikers before making their way into our lungs.
In researching Tracking the Secret Life of Soot, producer Reid Frazier was struck by how the scientists he spoke with described the properties of soot as it ages in the atmosphere. Their words of choice were “sticky” and “gooey,” not exactly the most scientific terms in the book! “It struck me as a wonderful way to describe the process–it’s visceral,” he explains.
But how to convey that through audio? Then one day, Frazier had an idea:
“I was at home writing the script one day when I looked at my garden—really, just a patch of untended flowers and weeds. I got an idea. I dug a hole, filled it up with water, then took my shoes off and stood in the muddy pit I’d created. I turned my mic on to capture the mucky, suction-y sound of me trying to lift my feet out. This is how I made that goopy sound you here in the background of the story as one of the scientists explains what happens to a soot particle in the atmosphere. It was the most fun you can have working—getting to walk barefoot in the mud. And it made great ‘gooey’ audio.”
Since Reid’s piece came out, a new study from MIT found that 53,000 people a year die prematurely because of automobile pollution in the U.S., compared to 34,000 people a year who die in traffic accidents.
Air pollution has also been implicated in low birth weight (and subsequent health problems and premature death), 430,000 premature deaths per year in Europe, and 4,655 premature deaths in São Paulo in 2011. Emissions from cars are a major cause of Beijing’s infamous smog.
Learn more about the secret life of soot and other particles in the air around us by listening to Reid’s piece.
Want to help monitor local air quality? A new citizen science project named AirCasting allows you to use your smartphone to record and share data about the air quality around you.
Image from EarthTimes.
Audrey posted on Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 | Blog, PRX | No Comments
A few months ago, our colleague Rebecca Nesson threw her name in the hat to tell a story at one of the Cambridge Moth storySLAMS. Her story was so exceptional that it led to her telling her story at a Moth Mainstage show at the Somerville Theater. And this week, the story is featured in the Moth podcast!
By day Becca works on PRX’s mobile apps, including of course The Moth app.
We all knew Becca was a talented developer but we didn’t know how gifted she was as a storyteller. Proof is in the puddin’. Listen and enjoy.
Here’s Becca on The Moth’s homepage this week!
Audrey posted on Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 | PRX | No Comments
In 2011, Kickstarter launched their Curated Pages feature. PRX was one of the first creative institutions chosen to feature projects that we love and we’ve seen many of those projects funded successfully. Check out our page.
There are two new projects that we’re particularly excited about.
99% Invisible, a tiny radio show about design hosted by Roman Mars has set out to fund their 4th season, and not only have they reached that goal, they’re just about to reach their second stretch goal.
There is still a lot of money to be raised in order to hire another producer (healthcare for staff was the first stretch goal, very cool) and MailChimp is putting up a challenge grant. So now is the time to pledge if you have not already. Even $1 helps.
Tiny Spark is a radio program that investigates the Business of Doing Good. Host Amy Costello has investigated organizations like Toms Shoes and medical volunteers in crisis zones. Help this indie outlet bring us more investigative stories via more frequent podcasts, new staff, and an enhanced website.
Lily Bui posted on Monday, November 4th, 2013 | PRX, STEM Story Project | No Comments
This post is part of PRX’s STEM Story Project series.
In elusive moments, we can often feel alone in the world — prone to disconnection. What if I told you that there was at least one whale out there who could understand exactly how you’re feeling?
52Hz is the name given to a mysterious whale that vocalizes at a higher frequency than other whales. Some refer to him as the world’s loneliest whale, but scientists aren’t convinced that its unique call has left the whale isolated. The producers of Everything Sounds investigate the 52Hz whale, marine mammal communication, and whether or not this whale is truly alone.
Making this piece come together was no easy task. Craig Shank and George Drake, Jr., decided to drive 15 hours from Chicago, Ill., to Woods Hole, Mass., to grab audio on-site in order to get a more complete view of the work that marine biologists do. (For those unaware, Woods Hole happens to bear significance for those with a love for both science and radio.) There, the producers spoke with Darlene Ketten:
“Maybe it was our exhaustion setting in, but we left that conversation feeling as though we had some of the most interesting audio we’ve ever collected together. We were amazed at how much we learned about marine life and we were eager to share it in our piece about the 52Hz whale. That conversation helped us to realize that the stories we tell ourselves about animals often aren’t anywhere near as fascinating as the facts and the process of making new discoveries. I expected to produce a story about one unique whale. However, I didn’t expect to come away with a changed perspective of the natural world.”
Lean in and listen to a story that will not only change your perspective on the world, but also one that sparked a change in the producers who ventured to tell it.
Image: Spectrogram of the 52 Hz signal, Wikimedia
Want to learn more about whale calls? Whale FM is a citizen science project that allows you to help scientists better understand orca and pilot whale sounds. You can listen to the sounds online and help identify matches.
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