Erika Lantz posted on Thursday, February 27th, 2014 | Blog, PRX, PRX Remix | No Comments
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 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.
Rekha posted on Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 | PRX | No Comments
Some of you know that PRX is an iTunes label, aka content provider. That means that we can send public radio pieces to the iTunes Store for purchase and download. We do this for a bunch of independent producers and leading shows, including The Moth, This American Life, and Car Talk.
PRX is proud to announce the arrival of Car Talk to Amazon and Google Play. You can find their albums, past episodes, and 50 of their favorite Car Talk Classics, just like you’ve been able to on iTunes. Car Talk’s Amazon and Google Play presence is thanks to PRX’s collaboration with DashGo, a direct distributor to these stores.
iTunes continues to dominate in music and audio sales. But for the revenue to add up, it’s wise to be in more places. We regularly track this shifting landscape, and Amazon and Google Play emerge as clear choices. Amazon has a significant share of the digital music market; based on our own limited sample, spoken word sales on Amazon are roughly 10% of iTunes. Google Play is nearly caught up with Amazon. Importantly, both are well integrated into the Android mobile experience, in ways similar to how iPhone owners use iTunes.
Digital sales distribution is another way that PRX forges new channels of revenue and reach for public radio makers. We think it’s a pretty great thing for listeners, too.
Audrey posted on Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 | Press Releases, PRX, PRX Projects | No Comments
The seven Matter Two startups are at their second demo day today in NYC after presenting in San Francisco last week. Read more about the companies in the press release below. Congrats to all and here’s to another amazing class!
PRESS RELEASE (PDF)
For information and interviews:
Patrick Kowalczyk, email@example.com
Marc Shatzman, firstname.lastname@example.org
PKPR, 212.627.8098 (o), 917.699.6260 (m)
SEVEN MEDIA STARTUPS FROM MATTER’S SECOND CLASS
MAKE CASE FOR CAPITAL AT DEMO DAYS
IN NEW YORK CITY AND SAN FRANCISCO
Fusing public media values with Silicon Valley entrepreneurship, media start-up accelerator showcases second class to investors and media industry leaders on both coasts
New York, NY (February 25, 2014) – Seven startups from the second class of Matter, the San Francisco-based media startup accelerator, today made their case for capital and highlighted how their ventures will disrupt traditional media, journalism, and publishing at demo days this week in San Francisco and New York City.
Backed by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, KQED, and PRX, Matter fuses public media values with the methods and mindsets of Silicon Valley entrepreneurship. It invests in entrepreneurs who show high potential to create media ventures that have a meaningful, positive impact on society while pursuing a sustainable, scalable, profitable business model.
For the seven teams that comprise Matter’s second class, the two demo days for select groups of investors, media executives, and mentors marked the culmination of an intense five-month program that began in October 2013. Participants, which hail from the U.S., Argentina, Ireland, the UK, and Finland, were provided with a $50,000 investment and working space in Matter’s co-working facility in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood. Each team participated in a bootcamp focused on building scalable media ventures with a human-centered, prototype-driven design process, as well as a regular series of design reviews, speaker sessions, and mentoring meetings with entrepreneurs, investors, and media executives.
The seven startups that presented at Matter’s demo days at Matter’s headquarters in San Francisco (February 20th) and New York City’s Greene Space at WNYC (February 25th) are:
Beatroot provides impact measurement to journalists, empowering them to be more relevant to their audiences, more impactful with their stories, and more in charge of their careers. (Mikko Koskinen & Ville Sundberg: email@example.com)
Butler brings event tracking to the masses. We empower non-technical team members to take a user-centered approach to their work by enabling them to track the journey of an individual customer through their website or application without having to call engineering. (Jeff Wang & Jonathan Liu: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Connu helps emerging writers find, connect with, and monetize audiences through publishing the best new short stories. (Susannah Luthi, Niree Noel & Joseph White: Contextly enables publications of all sizes to be both informative and viable in the age of drive-by readers by marrying editorial wisdom to the power of algorithms. (Ryan Singel & Ben Autrey: email@example.com)
The Creative Action Network crowdsources creativity for good by powering a platform that generates and sells original content created by a passionate community of artists. (Max Slavkin & Aaron Perry-Zucker: firstname.lastname@example.org)
MADE is an invite-only marketplace that matches top freelance creatives with the people who want to hire them, freeing everyone up to spend less time searching and more time creating. (Benjamin Evans, Nicolas Parziale & Emma McGowan: email@example.com)
Woopie (Write Only Once, Publish It Everywhere) empowers writers and publishers to easily reach their audiences on all devices and platforms through a digital content publishing tool focused on responsive design. (Marta Rotter & Stewart Curry: firstname.lastname@example.org)
“I have had the pleasure of working intensely with these teams over the past 20 weeks and am humbled by their scrappiness, creativity, grit, drive, and determination to make an impact on the world through their ventures,” said Matter Managing Partner Corey Ford. “After this experience, I believe they are ready for anything.”
“With this extraordinary group of startups it’s clear that Matter is establishing itself at the epicenter of a media revolution”, said Jake Shapiro, Matter Founding Partner and CEO of PRX. “Not only are we helping launch these new ventures but we’re also giving our partners, investors and the broader field a window into innovation and talent at the cutting edge.”
Matter’s first class of six startups ChannelMeter, Inkfold, KickFlip (by OpenWatch), Mixation,
Pop (by Zeega), and Spokenlayer graduated in July 2013. Since then, five of them have raised additional capital or received acquisition offers. Three of the product-driven companies had major product launches this past week, including Pop which is currently a featured app by Apple and was named as one of Mashable’s weekly “five apps you don’t want to miss.”
Fusing public media values with Silicon Valley entrepreneurship, Matter is a start-up accelerator supporting media entrepreneurs building a more informed, connected, and empowered society. Backed by KQED, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and PRX, Matter invest in entrepreneurs who show high potential to create media ventures that make a meaningful, positive impact on society while pursuing a sustainable, scalable, profitable business model. For more information visit http://matter.vc/press/.
Audrey posted on Monday, February 24th, 2014 | PRX | No Comments
Prompted on Twitter by our friend Wayne Marshall, we’ve put together a list of essays and radio episodes that focus on contemporary radio sound design.
Here are six of our favorite bits of advice:
Whenever I have a hard time deciding what music to use or where to put it, usually that means I don’t really understand why I’m putting music there in the first place. But a good reason tells me so much: where it should be placed, what style it should be, what mood it needs to convey. If music really belongs in your story, it won’t be hard to find clues that tell you what kind of music to use.
- HowSound often touches on sound design. Here’s one episode that focuses on the amazing sound work that went into Kathy Tu’s piece “The Fighter Pilot.”
- Sound Design from Hell. Film sound designer Steve Boeddeker explores how sound can be used to enhance the emotional impact of a scene. Produced by Jonathan Mitchell for Studio 360.
- One of my favorite pieces discovered on PRX is from Paolo Pietropaolo, and while this one doesn’t directly comment on sound design, it boasts excellent design as Paolo explores the story of his tinnitus which affects his ability to enjoy silence.
- John Biewen praises the pause.
- Producer Julia Furlan, tipped us off to this Transom manifesto from Oscar-award-winning film editor and sound designer Walter Murch, who was behind such films as The Conversation, The English Patient, Apocalypse Now, Cold Mountain and Jarhead.
Conceptual density is something that should obey the same rules as loudness dynamics. Your mix, moment by moment, should be as dense (or as loud) as the story and events warrant. A monotonously dense soundtrack is just as wearing as a monotonously loud film. Just as a symphony would be unendurable if all the instruments played together all the time.
Erika Lantz posted on Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 | Blog, PRX, PRX Remix | No Comments
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 PRX.mx, 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.
Audrey posted on Thursday, January 30th, 2014 | PRX, Zeitfunk | No Comments
Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 Zeitfunk Awards! 2013 Marked PRX’s 10th year and we’re excited to be celebrating with all of you.
Who is the coveted Most Licensed Producer or the Most Licensed Series? What about the Station that Licensed the Most in 2013? Check out our “top new artists” categories like Most Licensed Debut Group. Find all that and more!
We’ve gathered some useful stats and interesting facts about PRX, as well as a Staff Yearbook featuring pictures of PRX staff when they were about PRX’s age.
Thank you for making 2013 another record-breaking year at PRX. Here’s to many more decades!
Did you make the list? Tweet it, Facebook it, let the world know: use #Zeitfunk2013 on Twitter.
Audrey posted on Friday, January 10th, 2014 | PRX | No Comments
On the PRX Apps blog, Technical Projects Director Matt MacDonald gives a rundown of how and why we updated our station apps platform.
With this update, the station iPhone apps are significantly easier to use. They focus on the core functions and features that users truly want, with an updated design that feels more 2014 than 2009.
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!
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