PRX and Radiotopia Stories Come to Spotify

spotify_logo_rgb_greenGreat stories thoughtfully curated for a potential audience of 60 million. It makes perfect sense, right? Spotify, the popular music streaming platform, is expanding to include podcasts, and PRX is proud to be a launch partner.

We were in the audience at last week’s announcement event when Spotify’s VP of User Experience and Design pointed to a big screen with the 99% Invisible logo and exclaimed, “I love that show!”

Ridiculously early the next morning, PRX CEO Jake Shapiro appeared on Bloomberg TV to talk about the power of podcasting in clear business terms: “It is a revenue producer.”

This partnership is part of a PRX strategy that we’ve been pursuing since the early days of digital audio distribution. Aggregation services like iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and, of course, Spotify are used by millions of people. By building distribution relationships with these services, PRX is bringing public radio to new audiences, and reaching existing audiences on the platforms they use regularly.

Spotify’s new version rolls out over the next several weeks. Once you get it, head straight to the Storytellers section to see all of Radiotopia and The Moth. You can listen to other PRX shows – Reveal, Transistor, and How To Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black (launching tomorrow!) on the app, too. And more to come!

Starting June 1: Open Call for Your Science Audio Story Ideas

PRX is back with our third annual open call for science radio ideas — the STEM Story Project. STEM Stories from 2013 and 2014 aired on Here & Now, All Things Considered, Studio 360, our science podcast Transistor, PRX Remix, and numerous other podcasts and public radio stations around the country. We’re excited to do this again.

Starting June 1, we’ll accept proposals to create radio stories inspired by STEM topics (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). We have a pool of funding from the the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to distribute among multiple projects.

Our goals are to:

• Unleash highly creative, STEM-based original stories and productions
• Educate and excite listeners about STEM topics and issues
• Tell stories and explain STEM issues in new ways

Have an idea for a story? We will accept proposals between June 1st and July 1st, 2015. Here are the application guidelines. Be sure to check them out, and stay tuned to #PRXSTEM on Twitter, via our handles @TransistorShow and @prx

Have questions? Comment below or email your questions to stem@prx.org. But please refer to the FAQ below and application guidelines first!

May the force be with you.
-John Barth & Genevieve Sponsler

The PRX STEM Story Project Team

____________________________________________
FAQ

What is PRX’s STEM Story Project?

An open call for proposals to create radio stories about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). In the past two years, PRX has funded the creation of 29 STEM stories. They’ve aired on national shows like Here & Now, Studio 360, All Things Considered, our science podcast Transistor, and PRX Remix, in addition to being aired on stations throughout the country.

TIMELINE

What are the dates?
PRX will accept proposals online between June 1 and July 1, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Accepted proposals will be announced in early September. Producers will then have two months to create their stories and publish them to PRX.org by November 1, 2015.

ELIGIBILITY

Who can apply?
We welcome any producers or writers with audio production experience to apply. Producers can be independent or station-based.

What if I don’t have audio production experience but want to submit a story?
We recommend that you work with an audio producer to come up with a story proposal and to provide audio samples.

If I already received a grant last year, can I apply again this year?
Yes.

If I applied last year and didn’t get a grant, can I apply again?
Yes, but you must apply with a different story than the one you submitted last year.

I have a podcast/an idea for a podcast. Can I submit my podcast as a proposal?
We cannot fund an entire series, but you can submit an entry for a single episode of your podcast. For example, in past STEM open calls PRX has funded single episodes of Criminal, 30 Minutes West, and Destination DIY.

THE APPLICATION

What do I need to include in my application?
We’re looking for a proposal of your story idea, two audio samples of your previous work, and a proposed budget.

How long should my proposed audio story be?
We generally ask that the stories be 10 minutes or less. Shorter stories are more shareable online and more likely to get picked up by national shows, podcasts, and stations. Past stories we’ve funded have ranged from 6 to 18 minutes long, but again, with the majority being under 10 minutes.

How will proposals be chosen?
We will work with a team of science advisors and radio advisors to select proposals that best fit the project’s goals.

BUDGETS

What should I include in my budget?
Producer fees, engineering fees, travel expenses, and editor fees. If your proposal is chosen, we will contact you to revise your budget, if necessary. See the application form here for details.

How much funding do you tend to provide for each story? What is the average budget?
The total pool of money we have is about $50k, and in the past we have broken that up over 15 or so applicants. However, that being said, we don’t share more budget info than that. We want the flexibility to work with producers on stories that may surprise us, and change what we do year to year. Some stories require travel or big expenses, and some do not. So we want to see your budget, your freelance rate, etc. And then if we want to work together but the numbers aren’t quite doable, we talk about it with you.

I’m wondering how you go about funding station-based reporters. Does it go straight to the reporter, based on the time spent on the STEM story? Or does it go to the station?
We set this up based on whatever rules/process you have regarding employment at the station and the nature of the story. If it is a station-based story that is one thing; if it is a total freelance thing, that might mean something else. If you are allowed to do freelance work and keep 100%, we do that. If stations get a cut no matter what, we have to abide by that. If stations demand 100%, we have to respect that. Let us know in the budget section of your application.

PRODUCTION

Will you be giving me any guidance during the production process?
PRX requires at least one mandatory check-in during the production period to go over initial script drafts.

POST-PRODUCTION

What happens after the stories are done?
PRX will work with you to get the pieces licensed to different stations within our network as well as placed on blogs + other digital platforms.

Knight Supports Radiotopia With $1M

Radiotopia has been a huge success by any measure. To name a few: In just over one year, we’ve grown to 7.5 million monthly downloads across our 11 shows. Our Kickstarter campaign drew record-breaking numbers of backers and funding. Most importantly, our producers are making some of the best radio out there.

Knight Foundation saw the potential, and now they see our momentum. We are proud to announce that Radiotopia will receive $1 million in funding from Knight over the next two years. This is an important recognition of how far this brainchild of Roman Mars and PRX has come, while giving us the opportunity to grow and strengthen the network in so many ways. Read more from PRX CEO Jake Shapiro on the Knight Foundation blog.

PRESS RELEASE
Contact
Patrick Kowalczyk, 212-627-8098, PKPR, patrick@pkpr.com
Scott Piro, 212-627-8098, PKPR, scott@pkpr.com
Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2646, media@knightfoundation.org

Radiotopia Podcast Network Expansion Will Help Independent Public Media Producers Develop A Sustainable Business Model With $1 Million From Knight Foundation

Cambridge, Mass. – May 12, 2015 – To help independent audio producers develop new ways to engage audiences, develop models for success and support new talent in public media, podcast network Radiotopia from PRX will expand with $1 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Knight support will enable PRX to provide more resources to Radiotopia’s producers, helping them to experiment with new business models. To this end, PRX will provide more production and logistical support to Radiotopia’s producers, increase operational capacity, market its shows to an even wider audience and double down on promising paths to sustainability. PRX will also hire an executive producer to provide leadership and promote collaboration across and beyond the network. Additionally, Knight support will establish a new pilot fund to identify and nurture diverse emerging producers and hosts.

“Radiotopia is at the epicenter of an expanding galaxy of audio stories and mobile distribution,” said Jake Shapiro, CEO of PRX. “Knight’s investment accelerates our path to reach new listeners, strengthen these shows, and establish a new model for public radio beyond broadcast.”

“PRX has grown Radiotopia to 7.5 million monthly downloads in just over a year by focusing on quality storytelling and programming, but also an innovative approach to distribution and revenue generation,” said Chris Barr, Knight Foundation director for media innovation. “Their experiences can help establish a means for independent producers to become more sustainable and draw in new funding.”

PRX, the award-winning public media company, launched Radiotopia in February 2014 with $200,000 in support from Knight Foundation, in partnership with Roman Mars, known as an innovator for independent podcasts including his hit show “99% Invisible.” Radiotopia has quickly become the leader in today’s audio storytelling renaissance by helping rising talent in the podcasting world grow their audiences, earn revenue and create the best work of their careers.

Last November, Radiotopia became the most-funded radio/podcast project in Kickstarter history, raising over $620,000 from over 21,808 backers, surpassing its original goal of $250,000. The Kickstarter enabled Radiotopia to add four new shows: “The Mortified Podcast,” “Criminal,” “The Heart” and “The Allusionist.” They joined Radiotopia’s roster of envelope-pushing podcasts, including anchor program “99% Invisible” by Roman Mars, “Radio Diaries,” “Theory of Everything,” “Strangers,” “Fugitive Waves,” “The Truth” and “Love + Radio.”

“Our main goal with this expansion is to provide structure and support for the Radiotopia producers and pilot new programs to increase the scope and diversity of public radio podcasts,” said Mars. “I can’t wait to hear what’s created in the years to come. This is only the beginning.”

Along with announcing the search for Radiotopia’s first executive producer, Radiotopia plans to announce new shows, initiatives and partnerships in the coming months.

For more information on Radiotopia visit radiotopia.fm.

About PRX
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 tens of thousands of audio stories for broadcast and digital use, including This American Life, The Moth Radio Hour, 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 was created through a collaboration of the Station Resource Group and Atlantic Public Media, and receives support from public radio stations and producers, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and Knight Foundation.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. knightfoundation.org

About Roman Mars
Roman Mars is the host and creator of 99% Invisible, a short radio show about design and architecture. With over 40 million downloads, the 99% Invisible podcast is one of the most popular podcasts in the world. Fast Company named him one of their 100 Most Creative People in 2013. He was a TED main stage speaker in 2015. His crowd funding campaigns have raised over $1.16 million, making him the highest-funded journalist in Kickstarter history. He is also a co-founder of Radiotopia, a collective of ground-breaking story-driven podcasts.

Hi, I’m Alex! (=^_^=)

Lewiston Middle School Students with Claire Holman, head of Blunt Youth Radio, and two Portland High School students. The show aired  on March 30th from WMPG in Portland, ME and featured selections from students' interviews with Lewiston community members.
Lewiston Middle School Students with Claire Holman, head of Blunt Youth Radio, and two Portland High School students. The show aired on March 30th from WMPG in Portland, ME and featured selections from students’ interviews with Lewiston community members.
Hi, my name is Alexandra Morrow (but you can call me “Alex”). I’ll be here at PRX as an intern through the end of August. I’m an only-child born and raised in Southern Maine, 4 houses over the border from New Hampshire (but that still makes me a Mainer, right??). I just finished my Junior Year at Bates College in Lewiston, ME where I’m a self-designed Narrative Studies Major. I’m interested in using stories and public media to organize communities and connect people across lines of difference. In Lewiston I run an after-school workshop for Middle Schoolers – helping to guide them through the process of conducting audio interviews to learn more about their community.

Last summer I interned at Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole, MA. I spent the summer making Sonic IDs and produced a 6-minute feature about the upcoming 400th Anniversary of Plymouth Plantation (in 2020) from the perspective of Native Wampanoag. I’d played around a little with audio editing before getting to APM, but didn’t realize just how much work goes into production until I was sitting at a desk, staring at hours upon hours of audio, and trying to find those golden 30-60 seconds.

Recording Sonic IDs on a Farm in Rochester, MA for Atlantic Public Media (Summer 2014)
Recording Sonic IDs on a Farm in Rochester, MA for Atlantic Public Media (Summer 2014)

My appreciation for public radio and audio-storytelling increased exponentially in those moments. It’s hard work, people!! It takes a long time to really figure it out and get it right. I can’t count how many times I read Ira Glass’ quote about creativity that summer. It’s going to take a while, it’s going to take a while… just gotta fight through it. Nothing I produce at this stage in my life is actually going to feel good enough. Just. Have. To. Keep. Trying. Ahhh.

I spent August – December 2014 in Kathmandu, Nepal living with a host-family and learning Nepali. I worked with the phenomenal power-couple Jaya Luintel and Madhu Acharya, two incredible and renowned radio-Journalists in Nepal. I worked mostly with Jaya doing some writing for her organization The Story Kitchen. I didn’t produce a radio story in Nepal for a number of reasons, but largely I was trying to figure out ethics of recording in a cultural context completely different from my own. I did a final project on Women Exercising in Nepal. I was inspired by a group of women from the Siddhipur Jogging Group. I met them while on one of my early morning runs with a friend and we were graciously welcomed into their community and their homes. These women became family. I returned in late-December to a world of snow, and ice, and closed-off New England homes. It was a hard transition to say the least and I miss my family every day. We talk on the phone often.

With the Siddhipur Jogging Group
With the Siddhipur Jogging Group

The recent earthquake in Nepal has been devastating. To learn that the people who so graciously shared their lives and their culture, who became both my family and my friends are struggling in ways that are difficult to fathom is heartbreaking. My host-family and many of the women from the Siddhipur Jogging group lost their homes. Many lives have been lost and countless more will be threatened as the situation continues to worsen. I’m trying to find ways to effectively assist in recovery efforts from afar. Nepal and its people have a long road ahead in terms of recovery. I had been planning to return in June with my parents (this would be their first time out of the US!), but we all agree the money can be better used to support relief efforts.

I’m really excited to be here at PRX this summer. I’ll be here in the office once a week, on Tuesdays. When I’m not at PRX I’ll be working at Brandmoore Farm in Rollinsford, NH. At Brandmoore I’m doing a combination of farm Brandmoore Farmwork and media production. Becky and Phil Brand so graciously invited me to work as a Digital Media Producer / Outreach Coordinator this summer. I’ll be creating content to showcase their farm and also look into the ways that local farms and food systems can reach a wider range of the population through public media. The content I produce might also be used for a Kickstarter Campaign they’re organizing in the near future. I’m hoping to integrate that work into something I do here at PRX. What that will look like, however, I’m not sure!

In my spare time I like to run in the woods, bike long distances, and experiment with fresh ingredients in the kitchen. :-)

If you read all the way to here, you’re a trooper! I definitely wrote way too much – but hey, that’s me.

Questions? Comments? Fantastic story?! Shoot me an email. alexandra@prx.org

 

The Birth of Rice-A-Roni and the Power of Podcasts

This week, as people observe the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the Fugitive Waves podcast published a story about Rice-A-Roni. The genocide and the ubiquitous rice mix are linked in an unexpected way: A young couple rent a room from an old Armenian woman. The older woman, Pailadzou Captanian, teaches her young, pregnant tenant how to cook, and shares her personal stories of the Armenian tragedy – stories that she published in a book decades earlier. From these kitchen sessions comes a delicious pilaf that eventually becomes Rice-A-Roni.


Read more and view photos.

Nikki Silva of The Kitchen Sisters, which produces Fugitive Waves, shared some thoughts about the piece:

“The Birth of Rice-A-Roni” was originally a shorter piece for NPR’s Morning Edition. It absolutely killed us that we couldn’t include more than a quick mention of Mrs. Captanian and her rare eyewitness account. I’ve been sitting here listening back to the tapes and crying – because of the stories, but also because it’s taken us so long to get them out there. So, finally, we’re able to include extended interviews with the librarian in Germany who translated the book, and with Mrs. Captanian’s grandson, and can begin to piece together the story of this woman’s experiences and accomplishments.

Hooray for podcasts!

Hooray, indeed. Listen to the episode, and subscribe to Fugitive Waves. Listen to all the Radiotopia shows at Radiotopia.fm.

Producer Spotlight: Conor Gillies of Stylus

Each month we’ll be highlighting a different PRX producer to find out what they’re working on and hear about the challenges they face as indies as well as the stuff that gets them stoked.

How long have you been using PRX?
Been using it for three years or so.

What are you working on right now?
Producing a weekly show and podcast for Radio Open Source and working on a couple new podcast pilots, too. Trying to get Stylus on the airwaves, as always.

Can you tell us more about your show, Stylus?
Stylus is a radio series about big ideas in sound, music, and listening. It started when my coproducer Zack and I and a cadre of people in and around WBUR pitched the show and produced a pilot, which led to the station funding us for a four-episode first season: “Silence,” “Seeing and Illustrating Music,” “Songs of the Earth,” and “The Sound of Science Fiction.” It’s a kind of left-field, non-narrated documentary show for music people and art fans, but also anyone who’s interested in the links between sound, place, history, and society.

What is your biggest challenge with that project?
Finding new listeners through the Internet. Of course, everyone doing community radio or longform audio faces that challenge—largely because social media isn’t designed for sound or not-for-profit content. But also I’m just bad at tweets. [Editor’s note: aren’t we all, Conor.]

What are you most excited about in public radio or podcasting?
For shows, I’m excited about Reveal. I hope it gives old-school muckraking a shot in the arm. Wicked excited Scott Carrier is podcasting. Also, I’m excited about the serial format generally. I’m listening out for the big return of radio drama.

Want to learn more? Sam Greenspan of 99% Invisible wrote a nice little thang about Stylus and the first episode, Silence, was featured on HowSound.

The Top Poetry Audio

I’ve made the claim before that poetry is for everyone, especially radio lovers and I stand by that! I wanted to dig a little deeper and see what poets were doing with audio, whether it be podcasts, broadcast programs or archival audio recordings. There’s so much amazing poetry to listen to on the web, here are some of my favorites.

Studs Terkel in Conversation with American Poets
“Poetry doesn’t deal in ideas, it deals in the experience of ideas.” – John Ciardi, in his interview with Studs Terkel.

The News by Wendy Xu via WFMT and the Poetry Foundation
We repeat a process of hoping our bodies
to the future though for now mine
eats cucumbers in bed. I had a dream
about a crystal blue pool.
I felt stupid when I saw the ocean.

The Gift
Imagination is the seed of empathy – a centrally important function – and both the gift and burden of the writer, argues Kwame Dawes in The Gift from WBEZ.

What is Poetry?
One of my all-time favorite pieces on PRX is this Carl Sandburg remix produced by Barrett Golding called “What is Poetry?”

State of the Re:Union Poetry Month Special
Host Al Letson tells his personal stories of how poetry influenced his life and features some incredible slam poets from around the country.

Woodberry Poetry Room Recordings
The Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard contains a landmark collection of poetry readings that have taken place at Harvard. You can listen online to many of them. Here are a few of my favorites:

Video

  • Steve Roggenbuck’s “Make Something Beautiful Before You Are Dead.” Start at 10:24.
  • Steve Roggenbuck from LUMA Foundation on Vimeo.

  • Allen Ginsberg’s “Father Death Blues.”

Podcasts

Got a favorite poem recording, poetry radio program or podcast I’ve missed? Let us know in the comments.


PRX Raises $7M for Earkat

relaxed-serval-2

PRESS RELEASE

PRX Launches Earkat, Raises $7M for Live Audio Streaming App

Cambridge, MA (April 1, 2015) – PRX, the Public Radio Exchange has just launched a new live audio streaming app called Earkat. Playing off the success of Meerkat and Twitter’s Periscope, they have launched the app which is quickly climbing the iTunes charts.

“We’re in the golden age of audio. Live audio streaming is the next logical step to further democratize shareable audio,” said PRX Chief Content Officer John Barth.

With $7 million dollars of funding at launch, Earkat is making waves in the tech and podcasting world.

“We only have to solve half the problem that Meerkat had with video, so we only need half as much money,” says PRX CEO Jake Shapiro.

Earkat is currently available on the iTunes Store.

Zeitfunk Award Ceremony

We have come together today to celebrate the winners of the annual Zeitfunk Awards, bestowed upon the winning-est producers and stations from across PRX.org. These winners made it to the top in each of our 13 categories. Check out all of the winners here.

We want to also give a shout out to Hindenburg Systems who have generously offered each winning producer and station a copy of either Journalist Pro or Broadcaster. Thanks, Hindy!

PRX Remix's Erica Lantz and PRX Community Manager Audrey Mardavich celebrate Zeitfunk
PRX Remix’s Erica Lantz and PRX Community Manager Audrey Mardavich celebrate the ‘funk. Image credit: Chris Kalafarski

Our Producers and stations have worked very hard for this honor and we wanted to give them the opportunity to accept their award and say a little something to the audience.

Congrats again to all of our winners! Now, take a listen to the speeches.

Clay Ryder, Most Licensed Debut Producer



A1F_8167 copy

KALW, Most Licensed Station by PRX Remix

Zeitfunk-2

Mighty Writers, Most Licensed Debut Group



IMG_1824

David Schulman, Most Licensed Producer by PRX Remix

Collecting Carriage Gets a Whole Lot Easier

Stations, starting today, you might notice a change when you license a piece on PRX. We are now requiring carriage information for each program that you purchase. This has been a highly requested feature on PRX.org and we’re excited to finally launch it.

The details:
On the buy page, you can choose the first day and the time that you will air the program and add any additional airings. If you’re not sure yet when you will air it, you can choose “I don’t know” and fill that info in later. You will also be prompted to update your contact info so that we know who to follow up with about carriage information.

Producers spend a lot of time tracking down carriage info and we wanted to make that process smoother for everyone. By working together, producers can help you promote the work you’re airing on your station.

Below is a screenshot of what the purchase page looks like now. Contact us at prxhelp@prx.org if you have any questions at all.

prx____purchases____new