Introducing PRX’s Second Ear

Introducing PRX’s Second Ear — it’s like a mini-makeover, without the reality television!

Are you a producer looking for perspective and ideas on an audio piece?

Each month, PRX will work with one producer on a piece to improve it. We’ll provide feedback based on criteria like music, transitions, script, hosting, etc. We’ll also help with the piece’s presentation on PRX — the image, description, your profile, and so on. Then we’ll go over our ideas with you, have you post the improved piece as an “after” to the “before”, and share it with the world.

Here’s how it’ll work:

  1. We’ll take submissions online starting the first of each month. Producers will have five days to submit a piece under 15 minutes in length and a little pitch about it. One submission per person only. Submissions will be capped at 15 per month. Plan ahead: Here are the fields you’ll have to fill out when you apply.
  2. From the sixth to the fifteenth of the month, PRX staffers will choose one piece from the 15 submissions, listen to it a ton, and take notes on items to improve.
  3. Once we’ve got all our suggestions, we’ll arrange a 30-min. phone call with the producer to talk ideas. Producers will get input from John Barth (Managing Director), Genevieve Sponsler (Content Coordinator), and Erika Lantz (PRX Remix Assistant Producer).
  4. Before the end of the month, the producer will post the improved piece. We’ll provide a homepage feature, a blog post, and social media shoutouts.

Check out the FAQ we made below. To participate, follow us on Twitter, where we’ll post the link to apply and more details April 1. We’re thrilled to start this new project and can’t wait to work with you.

Some anticipated FAQs:

  • Why are you capping it at 15 submissions?
    PRX is small, and we want to be able to make sure we can read all the submissions in a timely fashion and have time to work with the producer. If you miss it, apply the next month!
  • Can I submit more than one piece?
    No — only one piece per month per person. Since we are capping it at 15 submissions, we want 15 different producers to be able to apply.
  • Why do pieces have to be under 15 min.?
    Pretty much the same answer as above — we want to be able to provide feedback on the whole piece in a short amount of time. Additionally, we have stats that show stations are much more likely to buy pieces under 10 minutes if they’re buying short pieces, and we prefer pieces under 15 minutes for Remix.
  • Will you do one per month?
    Yes — our plan right now is to do one Second Ear per month. We’ll see how it goes and may adjust accordingly.
  • If my piece is chosen and I make changes, will it get licensed by stations?
    We wish we could guarantee that, but we can’t! We can guarantee that you’ll get valuable input from PRX staff that you can use to improve your piece.
  • If I work with you guys, do I have to credit PRX in the audio?
    Nope, it’s still your piece. But we would ask you to put “Part of PRX’s Second Ear” somewhere in your piece description so that others can learn about the project.
  • Does my piece have to be on PRX when I apply?
    Yes, submitted pieces must be on PRX before the application process. That way we’ll be able to do a before and after comparison with listen and license statistics.
  • Do I have to have a paid PRX account?
    No — but we will remind you that in order to get royalties, you’ll need one!
  • What are the criteria you’ll be looking at when choosing a piece?
    Sometimes the best stories are creative pet projects. Those stories deserve an editor as much as your daily news spots do. We’re looking for complete stories that you’d like to make even stronger by getting an outside perspective. We aren’t a school so we won’t be able to teach you how to do radio, and we aren’t looking for first drafts. We are interested in working with producers who want to get pieces on the radio or want them considered for Remix.
  • What’s the goal?
    Better pieces heard by more people! We are a team of experienced radio distributors and producers helping out. It’s about making good stories even better.

Image from Shutterstock.

Matter Two Startups Make Case for Capital at Demo Days in SF, NYC

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!


For information and interviews:
Patrick Kowalczyk,
Marc Shatzman,
PKPR, 212.627.8098 (o), 917.699.6260 (m)

Download photos here:


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:

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:

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: 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:

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:

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:

“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.”

About Matter
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

[contextly_auto_sidebar id=”OkYbMnBhU0JLwpaIi2Fw7sG0NMdGTNWe”]

The Moth App: The Art of Listening to Stories on Mobile

The Moth app splashWe’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!)

Get The Moth app and start listening!
App_Store_Badge_EN_0609_smaller  en_app_rgb_wo_60

(Cross-posted from our PRX Apps blog.)

The official press release is below.

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).

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.

Public Radio Exchange (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, 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.

# # #

Welcoming Matter Two

We are excited to announce Matter Two!

This was an extraordinarily competitive and rigorous selection process. Hundreds of startups applied from across the U.S. and from around the world. It’s clear that word of Matter has spread, and our focus on mission, our design thinking and entrepreneurship program, and our growing community of mentors and partners is a beacon for many remarkable entrepreneurs.

We conducted in-person interviews with the top 48 semi-finalists and then selected 20 finalists to complete an 8-hour design thinking assignment that tested key assumptions about the desirability, feasibility, and viability of their ventures.

And then we jumped into a round of intensive follow-up conversations, product demos, code reviews, reference checks, due diligence, and many, many, internal discussions about our choice.

We are so proud of the result – Matter is investing in 7 media startups that will change media for good:

Connu helps emerging writers find, connect with, and monetize audiences through publishing the best new short stories.
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.
Creative Action Network is a marketplace for artists, causes and supporters to harness their talents for good by creating, buying and sharing original, crowdsourced creative content and merchandise.
Formidable Corp. bursts the filter bubble to help connect you to people outside of your social circle.
GetCast empowers creative professionals to take control of their careers by connecting them through a platform that helps them showcase their work, hone their craft, and collaborate on a global scale.
Hacklog empowers individual journalists to be more relevant to their audiences, impactful with their stories, and in charge of their careers by providing honest analytics.
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.

Last week, these 15 mission-driven entrepreneurs packed up their lives and converged on their new home in San Francisco. They traveled from as far as Finland, Argentina, and Ireland and from as close as SOMA and the Mission. Matter has officially gone international.

Their journey kicked off with an intense, week-long bootcamp focused on building scalable media ventures using a human-centered and prototype-driven process.

The experience not only gave our entrepreneurs the tools and mindsets they’ll need to navigate the “drunken walk of the entrepreneur,” but also established the culture and community that will provide the true acceleration of the Matter experience.

Now, we drive to Demo Day. Each team with unveil their products on Feb. 20 in San Francisco and on Feb. 25 in New York City.

Where you see the teams now is just a snapshot in time. Each team will constantly iterate on its product, its distribution strategy, and its business model by getting out into the world, testing its assumptions, and gaining traction with their customers. The application process was all about testing to see if they could do that.

Each day they will be a step closer to hitting the sweet spot of feasibility, viability, and desirability. We are excited to see where they end up.

The adventure has just begun.

Science Friday Joins the iTunes Party

Imagine you threw a party, and Carl Sagan, Michael Pollan, Ray Kurzweil, Jane Goodall, and Oliver Sacks all showed up. Awesome, right? That’s how we’re feeling about the latest addition to PRX’s catalog on iTunes: Science Friday.

For more than 20 years, host Ira Flatow has led discussions and interviews with science’s leading thinkers and doers. These conversations are the kind worth returning to years later.

As a record label for iTunes, PRX sends audio content from This American Life, Car Talk, The Moth, and dozens of independent producers to iTunes for sale in the iTunes Store. We are only too happy to have Science Friday join the party with its enticing archive in tow.

Check out the full Science Friday catalog on iTunes.

Radiolab apps in orbit

We are jumping for joy to see the Radiolab iPhone and Android apps out in the wild!

Go download them here.

PRX developed the apps in partnership with the show, WNYC, and the design firm 1 Trick Pony and we are extremely proud of our team’s work over the many months and twists and turns entailed in creating such a remarkable experience.

PRX has also developed apps for WNYC and WQXR, as well as This American Life, KCRW and a growing list of top public media properties, so this was an amazing opportunity to take what we’ve learned, built and explored and join forces with the creative geniuses at Radiolab.

Congratulations to our partners, and big props to the PRX crew who put their all into this: Matt MacDonald, Becca Nesson, Devin Chalmers, and Chris Rhoden, with help from Andrew Kuklewicz and Chris Farski. You guys rocked it.

Here’s the download page on Radiolab’s site, and a short video overview narrated by Jad:





Networks: A PRX Service

Here’s a little known secret: There’s a part of PRX you most likely have never seen.

It’s called PRX Networks, and it works like a ‘private’ for archiving, exchanging, tracking, previewing and the downloading of digital text, audio and images for use on both digital and broadcast platforms. It is also contains a collaborative editing and notes tool so teams in various locations can edit, share and comment on content in progress.

PRX is proud that Networks has become the backbone for a handful of Local Journalism Centers (LJCs) and other regional collaborations (see below). Thanks to the pioneering cooperation and guidance of the Northwest News Network (N3), PRX was able to refine Networks into a fast, versatile and customizable tool that works for busy producers in a high production environment.

All content can be searched and tagged for easy and quick access.

There’s lots of detail below. If you or your team want a demo or if you just have further questions, please drop me a line at john-at-prx-dot-org! This thing really works.

Feature Summary:

  • Speedy processing for producers on deadline
  • Lean and clear UI
  • Search
  • Accepts all audio formats common to public radio
  • Batch processing and upload
  • Transaction reports
  • Broadcast and digital content
  • Export to NPR API
  • Low cost
  • Collaborative feature improvements
  • Customization of content tags, content types and branding
  • Private note fields for editors and producers
  • One step audio conversion to both broadcast and digital files
  • Audio and image previews
  • Unlimited storage for one annual fee
  • Training and support

Station Usage

PRX Networks launched in 2010 after collaborative design and testing with the regional N3 network. Since then, 33 core stations and producer groups have been using it to share over 4,500 items, and are finding Networks to be a reliable and streamlined backbone for daily broadcast and digital content exchange.


  • OPB
  • KUOW
  • KLCC
  • KWSO
  • Jefferson Public Radio
  • Spokane Public Radio
  • Boise State Public Radio
  • Northwest Public Radio
  • KPLU
  • KMUN
  • N3 staff

  • Chicago Public Radio
  • Front and Center staff/producers

Local Journalism Centers (LJCs)

  • Chicago Public Radio
  • WCPN/Ideastream
  • Michigan Radio

  • KCUR
  • KBIA
  • NET Radio- Nebraska
  • Iowa Public Radio
  • High Plains Public Radio
  • Kansas Public Radio

  • WQCS
  • WMFE
  • WUWF
  • WGCU
  • WJCT
  • WUSF
  • WLRN

  • KUOW
  • Boise State Public Radio
  • Northwest Public Radio
  • Oregon Public Broadcasting


Each element on Networks is called an ITEM – that can be text copy, audio, audio with copy, images, graphics or any combination of all of these.

Here’s the distribution of the total 4,711 items on Networks (Feb 2012):

  • N3 – 3,211
  • Front and Center – 42
  • Changing Gears – 196
  • Harvest Public Media – 226
  • Florida News Exchange – 921
  • EarthFix – 119

Audio and Digital Elements

Networks makes it easy to upload audio and all digital elements. The audio uploader and transcoding accepts source audio files in any format – WAV, MP2, MP3, AIFF.

All digital files can be batch uploaded for speed and efficiency.

All audio files can be previewed as streams before downloading.


The PRX Networks infrastructure can support video, the increased storage required to support large video assets necessitates additional costs to networks wanting video.

Downloading files triggers a transaction record for both Activity reports (productivity by station, reporter and type of item) and Carriage reports (by station, reporter and station license). Both can be exported as .csv files.

Carriage Report Sample

Activity Report Sample

For Changing Gears

Networks Sample Page

Exploring the Depths of KCRW Music Mine

KCRW Music MineWe’re still buzzing from the excitement of getting the KCRW Music Mine iPad app out into the wild. The app exemplifies our desire to bring public media to mobile and tablets in new and amazing ways. Mark Ramsey says it well in this review.

With the launch flurry settling down, we’ve had some time to reflect on how the app came about. It was quite a process. Head over to the PRX Labs blog for an interview with Matt MacDonald, PRX’s Director of Project Management, on the concept and design, where he says things like:

One goal for us was to encourage musical exploration and delight so some of our interaction decisions basically force you to try out music that you might not be familiar with. We made sure to encourage that by not adding features like search or sorting and filtering tools.

Read Exploring The Depths Of Music Mine on PRX Labs.