John posted on Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 | Station Newsletters | No Comments
This week’s picks for stations: Turkey Day, Veterans Day, and JFK.› Continue reading
Audrey posted on Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 | PRX | No Comments
In 2011, Kickstarter launched their Curated Pages feature. PRX was one of the first creative institutions chosen to feature projects that we love and we’ve seen many of those projects funded successfully. Check out our page.
There are two new projects that we’re particularly excited about.
99% Invisible, a tiny radio show about design hosted by Roman Mars has set out to fund their 4th season, and not only have they reached that goal, they’re just about to reach their second stretch goal.
There is still a lot of money to be raised in order to hire another producer (healthcare for staff was the first stretch goal, very cool) and MailChimp is putting up a challenge grant. So now is the time to pledge if you have not already. Even $1 helps.
Tiny Spark is a radio program that investigates the Business of Doing Good. Host Amy Costello has investigated organizations like Toms Shoes and medical volunteers in crisis zones. Help this indie outlet bring us more investigative stories via more frequent podcasts, new staff, and an enhanced website.
Lily Bui posted on Monday, November 4th, 2013 | PRX, STEM Story Project | No Comments
This post is part of PRX’s STEM Story Project series.
In elusive moments, we can often feel alone in the world — prone to disconnection. What if I told you that there was at least one whale out there who could understand exactly how you’re feeling?
52Hz is the name given to a mysterious whale that vocalizes at a higher frequency than other whales. Some refer to him as the world’s loneliest whale, but scientists aren’t convinced that its unique call has left the whale isolated. The producers of Everything Sounds investigate the 52Hz whale, marine mammal communication, and whether or not this whale is truly alone.
Making this piece come together was no easy task. Craig Shank and George Drake, Jr., decided to drive 15 hours from Chicago, Ill., to Woods Hole, Mass., to grab audio on-site in order to get a more complete view of the work that marine biologists do. (For those unaware, Woods Hole happens to bear significance for those with a love for both science and radio.) There, the producers spoke with Darlene Ketten:
“Maybe it was our exhaustion setting in, but we left that conversation feeling as though we had some of the most interesting audio we’ve ever collected together. We were amazed at how much we learned about marine life and we were eager to share it in our piece about the 52Hz whale. That conversation helped us to realize that the stories we tell ourselves about animals often aren’t anywhere near as fascinating as the facts and the process of making new discoveries. I expected to produce a story about one unique whale. However, I didn’t expect to come away with a changed perspective of the natural world.”
Lean in and listen to a story that will not only change your perspective on the world, but also one that sparked a change in the producers who ventured to tell it.
Image: Spectrogram of the 52 Hz signal, Wikimedia
Want to learn more about whale calls? Whale FM is a citizen science project that allows you to help scientists better understand orca and pilot whale sounds. You can listen to the sounds online and help identify matches.
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.
John posted on Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 | Station Newsletters | No Comments
This week’s picks for stations: Radio candy bag, November holidays and remembrances, and indie potpourri.› Continue reading
kerri posted on Thursday, October 24th, 2013 | Blog, PRX at Ten | No Comments
In the ten years since PRX launched, over 112,000 individual pieces have been purchased in the PRX.org marketplace. Just think about that. In our relatively small public media world, that is a lot of decisions regarding a lot of content.
Back in 2003, there was little to no market for the exchange and payment of non-network public radio content. We took a leap of faith in assuming stations were hungry for a diverse array of content and were willing to pay for it. PRX set out to reduce the friction of each transaction. That hypothesis has proved correct. PRX has distributed over $2M in payments to producers over this span of time. We can boldly claim that without PRX, this money would not have been paid to so many audio content producers.
Back in 2003 we introduced (and still use) PRX points. Stations pre-buy point packages (much like buying tickets at a fair) then they can spend those points on content that best suits their audience. The cost of points is on a sliding scale, so that small stations can get access to excellent content. PRX subsidizes royalties for some of the smallest stations.
As we reflect on our 10-year milestone, we are taking a thorough look at the economy we built. Today, the exchange of paid content is commonplace.
The first batch of royalties ever paid (January 2004) totaled $4,414. We pay almost 70 times that amount each year now. Back then we calculated each check individually and sent paper statements using mail merge. Looking at the first list of payees below, we are reminded that PRX was built for multiple users – individual producers, organizations and stations. I look at this list often – as a reminder of the producers who took the leap of faith with us and as a call to action to continue improving our service.
Many of these first royalty earners are still selling their work on PRX today:
- Paul Ingles
- Scott Gurian
- Eric Nuzum
- Paul Fenton
- Jake Warga
- Jackson Braider
- Jay Allison
- Helen Borten
- Lydon McGrath, Inc.
- Vermont Public Radio
- Atlantic Public Media
- Joe Bevilacqua
- Earth Chronicle Productions
- Radio Netherlands
- The Kitchen Sisters
- Making Contact
- Soundprint Media Center, Inc.
- Ira Glass
John posted on Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 | Station Newsletters | No Comments
This week’s picks for stations: New JFK special, Third Coast winners, and Veterans Day.› Continue reading
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.
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