John posted on Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 | Blog, PRX Projects | 1 Comment
The latest report from the FCC on The Information Needs of Local Communities paints a grim picture about the state of local news.
Local TV news is pretty thin and getting thinner. And while there is some praise for the ambition of local public radio, the report makes clear that resources don’t match the vision.
PRX, with the help of the Knight News Challenge, is stepping in to do its part to change the situation.
This modest idea shows some early promise:
What if local public radio stations with loyal news audiences were able to pitch ambitious story and project ideas directly to listeners? Say a station wanted to propose a documentary, or a series about a pollution issue; maybe a special and a talk show about an area of education reform.
But, money was the barrier: Not enough staff to fill in on a long project, no money for a researcher to do necessary leg work, or simply no staff reporter capable of doing the production?
Story Exchange helps solve the problem. Here’s how:
- The station creates a series of story pitches and makes them directly to the audience. And each pitch has a modest price attached to complete the assignment.
- Those pitches appear on the station website, and they get promoted on air, in emails to listeners and on the local talk show.
- The station website is a doorway for listeners to pledge micro-amounts ($5, $10 at a time, for example).
- Once the goal is reached, the money goes to the station.
- And, the station completes the project and makes it available on the web.
- Listeners do – the ones who showed interest in that area of coverage get to directly support and hear the impact of their commitment.
- The station does – it gets the nominal additional resources to do something it might otherwise not be able to accomplish
- The community does – communities of interest act individually to show their support for a KEY station activity. If the journalism is good, everyone benefits.
- And this sometimes ethereal notion of engagement becomes tangible.
Does it work?
Yes. PRX watched Spot.us for some time and saw that freelance print reporters and some small public stations were able to raise money for local reporting.
We figured, let’s turn loose the power of stations as centers of local journalism and give listeners the incentives to easily make a difference by supporting stories and issues they cared about.
Station editors and managers are always in control of the pitches and which stories are completed. Best of all, the donors are identified and their contributions small enough that no one person has the power to influence coverage.
And, it IS working in our first test market of Louisville.
Within a few days of posting the pitch for coverage about the health risks of coal dust exposure, enough listeners pledged a total of $250 to get that series completed.
There are more pitches out there from Louisville Public Media on a bridge controversy, school management problems and more.
PRX is looking for more stations that want to engage in this experiment.
What’s it take?
- A commitment by the station to local programming and promotion.
- An engaged audience.
- A strong news department with fresh ideas.
- A willingness to talk about the pitches, how the process works, and why this project is important for local journalism.
Contact John Barth at john – at – prx – dot – org and we can help you get started.
Emily posted on Monday, May 16th, 2011 | Blog, PRX, PRX Projects | No Comments
Today Public Radio Remix — our 24/7 stream of audio awesomeness — went live on WREM 88.1FM in Canton, NY. WREM is a brand new acquisition of North Country Public Radio, owned and operated by St. Lawrence University. Take a look at their spiffy Remix webpage, which has current and upcoming playlists, links to each story, a feed of the Public Radio Remix blog, and more.
WREM joins KPBZ in Spokane, WA as our second terrestrial station carrying Public Radio Remix.
We want to thank North Country Public Radio Program Director Jackie Sauter, Chief Engineer Bob Sauter and General Manager Ellen Rocco for making this launch as easy as pie. We’re thrilled!
Emily posted on Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 | Blog, PRX, PRX Projects, Tech | 1 Comment
We’re pretty into our phones over here at PRX. And that’s as it should be, I suppose, as many of us spend our days conceiving, coding and promoting mobile apps for public radio.
A couple months ago Radio Diaries producer Joe Richman — equipped with his first-ever iPhone — asked me what PRX’s favorite apps are. I put the question to my colleagues, and return with the following list of our favorite mobile apps.
First, meet our team of mobile app enthusiasts:
Our big list of favorite apps:
|Ad Hoc Helper App||Matt||The Ad Hoc Helper allows developers to create a special version of their apps that can be run on anyone’s iPhone outside of the normal AppStore channels.||iPhone|
|Amazon Kindle||John||Kindle books on your phone including thousands of free books.||Android|
|Android API Browser
||Chris||Not amazing as an app, but the first android app on the market written 100% in Ruby.||Android|
|AnyStop||Robert||Real-time MBTA bus schedules.||Android|
|Audible||John||“This free app features the most comprehensive audiobook experience ever, including Wi-Fi delivery of your Audible.com library.”||Android|
|Beluga & GroupMe
||Farski||Group texting, even with feature phones. Maybe the best thing ever.
|Bloom||Jake, Robert||“Part instrument, part composition and part artwork, Bloom’s innovative controls allow anyone to create elaborate patterns and unique melodies by simply tapping the screen.”||iPhone|
|Boston Bus Map
||Robert||Real-time MBTA bus schedules.||Android|
|Camera (on the device)||Matt, Kerri||iPhone|
|Catch The Bus||Matt, Rekha
||More GPS-driven MBTA bus schedules.
I love/Hate this one. – Matt
I feel the same way about it on Android – Rekha
|Chirp! for iPhone
||Rekha||Look up birds from any region and play their songs. John (hubby) and I use it to freak out birds from other regions.
|Clock/Stopwatch (on the device)||Robert||iPhone|
|Congress for Android
||Chris||Indispensable. One reason to be on Android. – Chris
Track elected officials’ activities, read the latest bills and laws…
|Cut The Rope||Robert||A game that’s easy to start and hard to finish.||iPhone|
||Chris||Keep your music synced without ever plugging in.||Android|
|Dropbox||Farski||Instant Cloud for photos and files.
|Epicurious||Rekha, Kerri||Great recipes, and it generates a shopping list for you.
||Robert||Has the best Sudoku hint system.||iPhone|
|FIP for iPhone
||Rekha||Amazing Paris radio station – every song is a winner.
|Kerri, Rekha||Socializing without all that nasty human interaction.
|Flash Player 10.2
||Chris||Browse the whole web.||Android|
|FlightView||John||Real time flight info.
||Jake, Kerri||Genius Scan turns your iPhone into a pocket scanner, enabling you to quickly scan documents on the go and email the scans as JPEG or PDF.||iPhone|
||Roman||Space shooter game.
|Gigstar – Music Guide
||Chris||There *are* shows you don’t know you’re missing.||Android|
||Farski||Share your location with friends.
|Google Maps (on the device)||Kerri, Chris, Rekha||The BEST google maps experience ever is the one on Android. Same deal for GMail. – Chris
I don’t know, I think Google Maps are more usable on iPhone, strangely. – Rekha
||Farski||Phone service with cheap international rates, and helps organize your calls and texts.
||Jones||Take photos with an analog feel.
||Rekha||As much for the decent UI as for the content. Not a lot of great news apps on Android yet.
|Inception||Jake||Also from RJDJ, this app plays music based on the ambiet information it receives through the phone’s mic.
||Robert||Great for finding good Netflix instant streaming movies.||iPhone|
|Itsy Bitsy Spider
||Jake||“Award-winning Childrens’ app.”
|KCRW Radio||John||Live stream and on demand.
||Robert||Alerts when your books are due.||iPhone|
||Farski||Free turn-by-turn navigation and driving directions.||iPhone|
||Jake||“Melodica is a revolutionary music application that mixes lights and sounds in a unique way, allowing anyone to compose music intuitively creating amazing visual effects just with the tips of your fingers.”||iPhone|
|Mobile Mouse||Matt||Remote trackpad.
|Mobile Safari (on the device)||Matt, Robert||iPhone|
||Farski||Tracks your path and gives you a bunch of extra data. Great for cycling.
||Farski||Explore space through videos, images and more.
|NPR News for Android NPR News for iPhone
||John, Kerri||Android, iPhone|
||Farski, Kerri||First listens, interviews with artists, and good lists and mixes||iPhone|
|Netflix||Matt, Robert, Kerri, Farski||Instantly watch TV shows & movies streaming from Netflix.||iPhone|
|Notes (on the device)||Robert||iPhone|
|Osmos||Jake, Robert||“Asteroids meets a lava-lamp.”||iPhone|
|Pandora||Matt, Robert, Kerri, Jones, Farski||Personalized radio streams.
|Papa Sangre||Jake||A video game without the video.
|Public Radio Player for iPhone
||Rekha||From PRX! Find your favorite public radio stations and shows, streaming and On-Demand.
|RDIO||Chris, Robert||Mounds of music for $10/month. – Robert||Android|
|RJDJ||Roman, Robert||Reactive music, the next step in the evolution of music. I did a story about it a couple years back. http://bit.ly/e274XK. – Roman||iPhone|
|Remodium||Farski||Allows you to remotely access Adium on your Mac.||iPhone|
|Shazam||Kerri||Discover new music through your friends.
||Robert||Read lyrics while using Pandora or RDIO.||Android|
|Soundcloud||Jones||Record, listen and share your sounds on the go.||iPhone|
|Speedtest||Matt||Measure the network speed of your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.||iPhone|
|Square Up||Matt||Reads credit cards.
|SynchStep||Robert||Automatically finds music to match your pace.||iPhone|
|TestFlight||Matt||Beta testing on the fly.
|The Weather Channel
|This American Life||Kerri, Robert||Developed by yours truly!
|Tiny Wings||Roman, Farski||Move over angry birds.
|Trace||Robert||Free, and my 8 year old son enjoys it.||iPhone|
|Matt, Kerri, Rekha||iPhone, Android|
||Jake||A puzzle-ey block game.
|WeatherBug||John||Get the weather.
|WhiteNoise||Matt||Ambient sounds for sleeping.
|Yelp||Jones, Rekha||Restaurant and other business reviews. Monocle on the iPhone is pretty cool.
Rekha posted on Thursday, April 7th, 2011 | PRX Projects | 1 Comment
Beloved public radio show This American Life just blew through another milestone in its plan for mobile domination.
Announcing the This American Life app for iPad!
Our PRX tech team developed it, we had a lot of fun doing it. Just like we had when we built their iPhone and Android apps.
The iPad app has everything the other apps have, and more, including:
- Save up to THREE episodes for offline listening
- Play and share individual stories, not just entire episodes
- Not sure where to put your eyes while listening? Put ‘em on the Twitter feed of all TAL mentions
- A comic strip about the show. But of course!
This American Life’s blog has screenshots to whet your appetite.
Rekha posted on Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 | PRX Projects | 2 Comments
You finish listening to Car Talk’s latest podcast episodes in, like, no time. Then what? you ask.
Well, visit the wider world of Car Talk on iTunes and delightedly partake in the wealth of episodes before you. What’s 99 cents when presented with such joy, such entertainment? These albums make great pick-me-up gifts for someone who hasn’t laughed — or snort-laughed — in a while.
In the latest chapter of PRX’s life as a record label for iTunes, we’re proud to have the privilege of delivering Car Talk to iTunes in the form of:
* weekly episodes
* 50 Classics everyone loves
* several compilations of great stuff, too
Car Talk albums on iTunes: When the podcast simply isn’t enough.
Rekha posted on Friday, December 3rd, 2010 | PRX in the News, PRX Projects | 2 Comments
***Update 12/14: Well over 6000 signatures and counting. Is yours on there?***
***Update 12/9: In yesterday’s New York Times, PRX CEO Jake Shapiro gets interviewed on this issue: Donations Ban on iPhone Apps Irritates Nonprofits. Petition signatures are nearing 2000 – add yours!***
With the holidays and the year’s end upon us, many of us think about donating to charity. Many of us have iPhones, and iTunes accounts that already have our credit card info. Since we also like things to be easy, it seems obvious we should be able to give money to deserving nonprofits through our iPhones.
But Apple prohibits this. Nonprofits can’t ask for donations in their apps, and any purchase transaction through iTunes gives Apple a 30% cut. In June, Jake Shapiro, our CEO, called on Apple to change this no-donation policy.
PRX’s Public Radio Player iPhone app is a great example of what such a change could mean. The app has had over 2 million unique downloads. Nearly 500 noncommercial stations across the U.S. have a page in the app. Imagine if each page had a Donate button that, with two or three taps, let you send money to the station.
Many of you have asked us how to donate to your favorite Player stations. Now there’s a petition so you can ask Apple to change its no-donations policy.
For a brief time, PayPal found a way around this rule, and made nonprofit donations possible through its PayPal Mobile for iPhone app. Soon after, Apple asked PayPal to remove the donation feature, which they did. In “Why Does Apple Make Donation Apps So Hard?” Gizmodo provides a good review of the situation.
Beth Kanter posted about this on her blog about nonprofits and technology. We’re glad she’s on the case. Especially if she’s going to keep making these wacky graphics!
Rekha posted on Thursday, September 30th, 2010 | PRX Projects | 2 Comments
This American Life’s iPhone app was such a success, they didn’t want it to stop there. Nor did the many Android owners who begged for an app of their own. So we built one.
Emily posted on Tuesday, September 14th, 2010 | Press Releases, PRX Projects | 2 Comments
After 16 months streaming on XM, REMIX Radio — PRX’s remix of amazing stories, cool podcasts and more — is now broadcasting on real-live radio-radio, from the brand new KPBZ 90.3 in Spokane, WA. Thanks KPBZ!
We received such great feedback from our XM listeners that our tech team and the good folks at Backbone Radio couldn’t help themselves but pull on their white coats, get out their test tubes and clone that friendly beast. Now you can hear REMIX on terrestrial radio, on XM, online and on your iPhone and iPod too.
REMIX Radio is curated and hosted by Remixer-in-Chief Roman Mars, and streams 24/7. Hear what folks are saying!
Bravo. Only been on for a couple of days and don’t want to be without it. Bits on Mandela, border crossings, street dogs, mass hysteria… where have you been all my life? -Ralleuc, KPBZ listener
I was about to throw out my XM radio until you guys came along. PRX is amazing, I love it. -Richard, XM 136 listener
This is great. I recently moved to Spokane and…. I’m so excited to hear what you guys have to offer. I’ve been listening for a half-hour and have already heard a Bob Dylan song I’ve never heard and learned something new about Ben Franklin. THANK YOU! -Agille, KPBZ listener
I LOVE your channel. It is the only one I really listen to and love on XM. Today, you had a piece from The Moth from 2006 around 1:45pm EST. What a compelling man! I had an appointment and had to leave the broadcast midway. I simply cannot bear to not know the ending to the story!!! … Thanks, many blessings and thank you for the many amazing stories and pieces. -Karen, XM 136 listener
Amazing Stuff! -Purav, XM 136 listener
You should join in the fun!
Rekha posted on Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 | Blog, PRX Projects | No Comments
Two of public radio’s newest shows, State of the Re:Union and Snap Judgment, have been busy expanding their multimedia empires. Broadcast carriage on hundreds of stations, online video, live performance, audience participation… these folks deserve a shout out.
PRX’s Jake Shapiro & Snap’s
“We kind of just go-go-go all the time,” says Mark Ristich, co-executive producer with Glynn Washington, a Talent Quest winner who is host and creator of the series. “We’re going to try to keep the content as fresh as possible, because we’ll lose people if we don’t.”
The small production team is busy creating 26 weekly radio episodes and a series of live storytelling performances, the first of which was recorded in June at San Francisco’s Brava Theater. The performances will be adapted for radio and television programs.
Meanwhile, host/EP Al Letson, EP Ian DeSousa, and team over at State of the Re:Union keep finding and making new tools for engagement and support. There’s the My Community in One Picture series of listener submissions. There’s also a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund a video documentary to accompany SOTRU’s Austin, Texas radio piece. (The campaign ends in three days, on August 21… tell your friends!)Both shows are co-distributed by PRX and NPR. We’re really proud of what they’ve accomplished and continue to achieve… and we’ll be sure to keep bragging about them.
SOTRU’s Al Letson & the PRX crew
Rekha posted on Tuesday, August 10th, 2010 | PRX Projects | No Comments
Here at PRX and there at This American Life, we listened to people’s feedback about the This American Life iPhone app. Generally, it’s been great, and we thank you for that. Naturally, there were requests, some of them ardent. Now, they are a reality:
- Multitask: Listen while you do other things on your device, like check email and surf the web
- Multitask without an internet connection: Save an episode for offline listening so you’re *never* bored.
- Stay organized: Mark as “Heard” the episodes you’ve, um, heard
(I’m sensing a trend… efficiency. Doesn’t anyone ever just listen anymore?)
Ira Glass talks about the new features in more depth here: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/blog/2010/08/awesome-new-features-in-version-20-of-our-iphone-app
Get the app (if you already have it, download the update from the iTunes App Store.)
Subscribe via Email
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