Audrey posted on Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 | PRX | No Comments
As Rekha flew off to Chicago for Filmless, I headed by train to New York City for WFMU’s Radiovision Festival. A day-long festival “celebrating radio’s future as it takes on new forms in the digital age for the medium’s fans, tinkerers, and future thinkers.”
The morning kicked off with a panel called Radio Stations of the Future with the discussion focusing on music blogs, streaming services, and audio platforms. The panel featured folks from SoundCloud and Songza, as well as Brooklyn Shanti, an MC and Producer.
SoundCloud’s Brendan Codey focused on the listener experience of SoundCloud and proposed that commenting on the waveform has become the digital equivalent of gathering around a radio, a new way to experience audio with others.
Asking what radio stations of the future might look like brought up these questions:
- How will content creators continue to create and get paid for their work?
- What are alternative funding models for content creators?
WNYC’s Chris Bannon talked about making pledge season fun, stating, “Nobody wants to contribute to fear.” He discussed one of their not-so-successful fundraising projects, the RadioLab Lab Partners, and what was learned from its not-so-successful run.
Planet Money’s Alex Bloomberg brought up their very successful Kickstarter campaign and their Seed to Shirt project. Although they raised almost $600,000 Bloomberg was skeptical about public radio’s fundraising effectiveness. How can we do better? was the question of the day.
Radiovision was a look at the the state of radio as much as it was looking at the future of radio. Comedy podcast hosts Jake Fogelnest and Julie Klausner joked about the sad state of humor on public radio. However, both hosts confirmed they would love to make it on the dial to connect to those broadcast audience numbers.
The festival was equal parts entertaining and invigorating, with lots of tough questions being asked about the future of public radio: online and over the airwaves.
As we head into PRX NXT, we hope that the next steps for PRX will address some of those big questions asked at the conference. Maybe we’ll see you on a panel at the next Radiovision.
Postscript: sad to hear that The Best Show on WFMU will be ending in December after 13 years on the air. Thanks for creating moments like this on the radio, Tom.
I’m fresh from the Third Coast Filmless Festival and feeling great. This tiny, vibrant gem of a festival is a weekend of calm in a storm of media distraction, and an inspiration to both producers and listeners.
Filmless is the Third Coast International Audio Festival’s answer to film festivals. There are “screenings” and “reels” – just no films. Instead, everyone sits in the dark, listening to audio pieces, from personal stories to documentaries to fictional drama. We laughed together, we laughed out of sync, and I know for at least one piece, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
Roman Mars talks podcasting.
You can view the entire program on the Filmless site, and look for the pieces on PRX, SoundCloud, and the producers’ own sites.
In addition to screenings, there were workshops. Our very own PRX Remix program director Roman Mars led a Podcasting session that, as a sign of our times, focused nearly as much on the fundraising needed to sustain the craft as on the craft itself. Meanwhile, volunteers at Lea Thau’s Storytelling session got a taste of The Moth’s brand of name-pulled-from-a-hat spontaneous storytelling.
Some of the questions explored over the course of the weekend:
- In a nonfiction piece involving a horse from the 1830s, before recorded sound, is it ethical to include audio of a horse living now?
- How much do you coach an interviewee to draw out the story you know they have inside?
- Can you rearrange tape, sometimes phrase by phrase, even word by word, if you are keeping the meaning intact?
- Is it cool to make a Cecil B. DeMille joke even if not everyone will get it?
- How many podcast episodes do you have to make before you don’t cringe when someone compliments you?
Julie Shapiro samples culinary art
Saturday night, the Short Docs Feast did something bold, risky, and awesome: Local chefs were invited to make dishes inspired by the winning audio works. Each chef served their dish to the producer, on stage, while describing their creative process. I now know how blackbird pie works. It’s a little shocking, but in a surprisingly appetizing way.
The event culminated with the Third Coast awards ceremony, emcee’d by Snap Judgment’s Glynn Washington. Winners walked away with funky trophies and a sense of recognition for their work.
Filmless showcases the state of the art, and it sounds wonderful. It inspires me and my colleagues as we work hard to get good audio out into the world and support the producers who make it.
Jones posted on Monday, October 21st, 2013 | Blog, PRX | No Comments
Originally posted on Generation PRX.
At PRX HQ, we’ve been talking about how to improve PRX in a number of ways, including some exciting changes to profile pages, audio and, ultimately, listening. It’s a project we’re calling PRX NXT. We asked Director of Project Management Matt MacDonald, who heads up the project, to break it down.
GPRX: Take it from the top: What is PRX NXT?
Matt: PRX NXT is a significant refresh and update to the PRX.org website, improving the publishing process and creating brand new piece and producer profile pages with a focus on increasing listening.
GPRX: What are the biggest changes producers will notice as it rolls out?
Matt: Producers will notice that piece pages will be updated to make it much easier for people to listen to their stories and share their work. We know that visitors to PRX often first experience a producers work via a piece page, that essentially a piece page is a homepage for PRX and the producer. With that in mind we’re focusing on designing that page to encourage more listening. Right now when you visit a PRX piece page it is very much geared toward the marketplace, producers selling pieces and stations buying pieces. The most visible change will probably be how much we’re improving the listening experience.
GPRX: How will these changes help producers get audio work out in the world?
Matt: I’d say the most important change that we’re making relates to the listening experience. PRX.org has always been an open and transparent marketplace and the listener community has just sort of come along for the ride. With PRX NXT we are creating a world-class listening destination for professional audio and storytelling producers. We want to make sure that when a producer points someone to their PRX piece or producer profile that they get a great listening experience.
GPRX: Anything else we should know?
Matt: We’d love to hear what producers at all stages of their career and experience level need to improve their work and build audience. Whether you are looking to become a professional producer or a skilled hobbyist, we want to make sure that PRX is the home for your audio stories.
Have an opinion? Fill out the PRX Producer Survey.
Rekha posted on Friday, October 18th, 2013 | PRX, PRX Projects | No Comments
We’re proud to announce that The Moth is now mobile.
The Moth app for iOS and Android, developed by PRX, is the latest product of our ongoing effort to bring audio stories to the places — and devices — where people listen.
The app is also more evidence that great things happen when PRX and The Moth get together. Acclaimed public radio show The Moth Radio Hour, presented and distributed by PRX, is now on 260+ stations. (And yes, those episodes are on the app, too!)
(Cross-posted from our PRX Apps blog.)
The official press release is below.
THE MOTH APP BRINGS POWERFUL PERSONAL STORIES TO IPHONE AND ANDROID
Renowned storytelling organization partners with Public Radio Exchange (PRX)
for effortless, elegant mobile listening experience
New York, NY (October 18, 2013) – Renowned storytelling organization The Moth has partnered with Public Radio Exchange (PRX) to release a mobile app that gives listeners access to audio stories from The Moth’s live events, its top-rated podcast, and its award-winning public radio show, “The Moth Radio Hour,” distributed by PRX and produced by Jay Allison of Atlantic Public Media.
Moth stories span the great range of human experience. Storytellers come from all walks of life to stand in front of a live audience and tell their funny, sad, and moving stories without notes. The app features hundreds of the Moth’s stories, including rapper Darryl “DMC” McDaniels’ confession of his love for Sarah McLachlan, writer Malcolm Gladwell’s wedding toast gone horribly awry, and A. E. Hotchner’s death-defying stint in a bullring with his friend Ernest Hemingway.
The app’s minimalist design keeps the stories front and center:
• Favorite stories you want to remember
• Share stories you want others to hear
• Download any story for offline listening
“We are thrilled about the possibilities the Moth app brings to our listeners,” said Sarah Haberman, the Moth’s Executive Director. “It is the perfect storytelling hub where Moth fans can find and share their favorite stories, whether they appeared on our Radio Hour, our podcast or at a live event. The Moth could not have achieved this milestone without PRX, and we are confident the app will serve to strengthen and broaden an appreciation for the power of storytelling among current and future listeners.”
“The Moth apps marry PRX’s love of stories with our insights into how listeners access content on mobile devices,” said Jake Shapiro, CEO of PRX. “As public radio expands to serve audiences on emerging platforms, PRX and The Moth are pioneering new paths.”
The app was developed by Public Radio Exchange, which distributes The Moth Radio Hour, with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Public Radio Exchange (PRX) has developed acclaimed apps for This American Life, PRX Remix, and Radiolab, PRX also just announced the second class for Matter, its media-tech accelerator that fuses the values of public media with Silicon Alley entrepreneurship (See coverage in NY Times, AllThingsD).
ABOUT THE MOTH
Originally formed by the writer George Dawes Green as an intimate gathering of friends on a porch in Georgia (where moths would flutter in through a hole in the screen), and then recreated in a New York City living room, The Moth quickly grew to produce immensely popular events at theaters and clubs around New York City and later around the country.
Today, The Moth is a nonprofit organization with ongoing programs, all of which contribute their best stories to The Moth Radio Hour: The Moth Mainstage where celebrities appear alongside unique voices from all walks of life; The Moth’s StorySLAM competitions, which are open to all and rapidly expanding to cities across the country; and The Moth’s community outreach program, MothShop, which brings workshops to people whose stories would otherwise go unheard.
ABOUT PUBLIC RADIO EXCHANGE (PRX)
Public Radio Exchange (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 thousands of audio stories for broadcast and digital use, including The Moth Radio Hour, Reveal, 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 including Public Radio Player, Radiolab, This American Life, WBUR, KCRW Music Mine, and more.
# # #
Audrey posted on Thursday, October 10th, 2013 | PRX | No Comments
If you have not seen Snap Judgment live, you are missing out.
In fact, Ira Glass says,”Snap Judgment puts on one hell of a live show.” Ira would not tell a lie.
If you live in the L.A. area, get your tickets now to see Glynn Washington and Snap Judgment at the Nokia Theater on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 8 PM.
Erika Lantz posted on Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 | Introductions, PRX, PRX Remix | 2 Comments
Hello! I’m Erika, the new Assistant Producer for PRX Remix. I feel very lucky to join a team of such imaginative people.
I grew up in Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes and Minnesota Public Radio. I spent a lot of time making music and thinking about words, and feeling torn between the two. Then it hit me that words and sound work together all the time. I turned to radio.
I got my start at KFAI in Minneapolis. Since then, I’ve spent time at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, APM’s Performance Today, State of the Re:Union, and, most recently, WBUR.
I’ve worked in other media, but sound affects my emotions more than any other thing I perceive. There’s no better way to get drawn into a story, a perspective, a place. Good radio makes me feel connected, in some new way, to the world around me. It seems to me most of us spend our lives looking for connections like that.
PRX Remix lets you roam a sonic world more immersive and surprising than you find on traditional radio stations. There’s a whimsy to the random curated stream. You can bump into subjects you might not have thought to learn about, trip over shows otherwise unencountered, and get lost in archival sounds from the past. I’ll be spending my days scouting for new producers and sounds. I’ll share the best on PRX Remix.
Beyond building new platforms, PRX keeps looking for ways to push the medium while supporting storytellers. In the few days I’ve been here, I’ve already learned about upcoming projects I think you’ll want to hear about. I’m excited to get to work. Stay tuned.
Sam Greenspan posted on Thursday, October 3rd, 2013 | PRX | No Comments
When producer Laura Starecheski first visited Creedmoor, a psychiatric hospital in Queens, New York, she just wanted to interview to residents who were participating in an art program. Most of the residents she encountered were hard to connect with, except for one: a man named Issa Ibrahim.
Issa was an artist and a musician. He spoke eloquently and wore trendy clothes. He seemed normal. Laura didn’t know why he was being hospitalized, and why he had no release date.
That was back in 2004. It took Laura another six years of visits and interviews with Issa to find out what landed him at Creedmore–and another three years to find out why he was still there.
This is a documentary nearly a decade in the making. It’s a story about mental health, a neglectful healthcare industry, but mostly, it’s about one man’s struggle to hold onto his humanity. Don’t miss it.
“The Hospital Always Wins,” by Laura Starecheski for State of the Re:Union. Now on PRX Remix.
Lily Bui posted on Friday, September 20th, 2013 | PRX | No Comments
This post is part of a series of posts featuring the stories from our STEM Story Project.
Some things can be better left unsaid. Who would have thought that math could be one of them?
Tim Chartier has found a way to fuse his two great loves: math and mime. (It’s a fusion that’s almost as unlikely as wanting to do a radio story about it.) He and his wife strive to have their audiences become a part of the world that they’re creating on stage, and in so doing, the math becomes at once understandable and unforgettable.
STEM Story Project producer Ari Daniel gives us an inside look on pulling this story together–and how it almost didn’t happen in the first place:
“I set out to work on a different story for PRX’s STEM Story Project, but a central piece fell through at the last minute (two days before I was planning to do the interview!). PRX allowed me to change my topic, and so I revisited an earlier email correspondence with Tim Chartier (the primary character in “Loving Math and Mime”). He invited me to come experience mime-matics in person.”
As if creating a radio story didn’t come with enough challenges to begin with, creating an audio story about mime is another obstacle in itself. Luckily, Ari wasn’t alone in this endeavor:
“The hardest thing about this story was how to bring math (a subject that most people aren’t especially fond of) and mime (a subject which, by definition, just doesn’t work without being able to see it) to life on the radio. I was fortunate that Tim is an incredible storyteller and communicator, and that he and his wife, Tanya, were so generous with their time and expertise when I visited them. In addition, my editor, Sean Cole, helped me improve this piece immensely, by focusing the storyline and adding humor and creative vitality. This piece is one of my favorites to have worked on.”
After you treat your ears to math and mime, feast your eyes on a video of one of Tim Chartier’s performances. It may not be the most conventional of combinations, but the product of math and mime is nothing short of amazing.
Photo: Ari Daniel
Audrey posted on Friday, September 13th, 2013 | PRX | No Comments
Program Directors, Producers, Station staff: headed to Atlanta for PRPD? PRX will be there at booths 4 and 5.
PRPD marks our 10th anniversary, so make sure to stop by and help us celebrate!
We’ll be talking about all the amazing programs coming to PRX this fall. Or come by and grab a PRX Remix t-shirt. Need to subscribe to a show using SubAuto or have a question about PRX.org? I will be there to help you in person!
Sam Greenspan posted on Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 | cool, PRX, PRX Remix, shows | No Comments
Nearly three minutes of uninterrupted squealing. It’s challenging. It’s painful. And it’s total genius.
HARK!, a documentary by Chris Brooks, Paolo Pietropaolo, and Alan Hall, “investigates the acoustic world of Early Modern England.” Even though the historical record may give us some clues as to what the Elizabethan era might have looked like, we have almost no inkling what it sounded like.
Almost. 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.
So when you start hearing pigs around the 22-minute mark–and you keep hearing pigs through 25-minute mark–don’t fast-forward. Let the pigs take you through a time warp. And then be glad that you don’t have to clean up after them.
Listen for HARK! on PRX Remix.
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