JonesWeb Event Recap: Online Fundraising for Youth Radio Groups

Jones posted on Thursday, March 6th, 2014 | Blog, PRX | No Comments

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 2.38.25 PM

On March 4th, we hosted a web event on Fundraising with Online Tools for Youth Radio Groups. We were lucky to have a conversation with two fundraising greats:

First, we spoke with Roman Mars of 99% Invisible about how to use tools like Kickstarter to raise money for youth radio groups. Roman’s Kickstarter campaigns broke records for crowd-funded journalism, and he’s set the standard for successful online fundraising. 

Next we heard from Carol Varney of the Bay Area Video Coalition about where audio groups can go to find funding online, and how to make the human connection to funders.

Most  of the hour-long PRX webinar was recorded and archived (due to a small glitch the 20-minute intro was not recorded). However, the complete slide presentation (including research and contact links) can be found below:

Fundraising For Youth Radio Groups with Roman Mars and Carol Varney from generationprx

AudreyUsing Facebook Interest Lists

Audrey posted on Monday, March 3rd, 2014 | PRX | No Comments

We’ve been trying out Facebook Interest Lists to make sure we’re getting public radio updates from our favorite pages.

When you create or follow a list, you’ll see the best posts from that list in your main News Feed. If you feel like you’re not seeing enough PRX posts thanks to Facebook filters you can create your own Interest List and add us, which will help you see more, if not all.

On the PRX Facebook page we’re sharing producer news + tips, training and job opportunities, calls for pitches and other cool public radio and media stuff. We are also featuring your work, so make sure to Like our page and consider adding PRX to an Interest List.

Erika LantzThis Is Criminal

Erika Lantz posted on Thursday, February 27th, 2014 | Blog, PRX, PRX Remix | No Comments

I admit it. There’s not much I love more than a good murder mystery. I’m a sucker for detective novels and forensics shows.

So I was instantly intrigued when I came across Criminal, a new podcast devoted to crime.

Lauren Spohrer, Phoebe Judge, and Eric Mennel worked together until this October on The Story with Dick Gordon at WUNC. When the host, Dick Gordon, moved back to Canada, the eight-year-old show went off the air.

“When the show ended, we had this sort of restlessness in us,” Eric told me over the phone. “The podcast was a great way to harness that restlessness.”

Lauren had the idea to start a show about crime. Because who doesn’t love a crime story? Breaking free from the broadcast clock with an indie podcast would let them dive deeper in the long form they’d come to love at The Story.

The three of them have day jobs, with Eric and Phoebe still working at WUNC. That means they’re making pop filters out of tights and coat hangers, recording in Lauren’s closet and mixing stories at one in the morning.


“I don’t think we’re reinventing the wheel,” Eric says. “Some of the oldest stories in print are crime and mystery stories.”

You hear that in Episode 1, “Animal Instincts,” which finds odd parallels in two crimes five hundred years apart.

But unlike typical whodunnits, Criminal isn’t interested in solving crimes. Once you dig into a story, Phoebe says, you realize it’s hard to pin down the truth.

“A lot of times, when we read crimes stories, we read headlines, we read just the facts: this man was convicted, this is the crime he committed, this was the victim,” Phoebe says. “It’s never simple. In crime stories, there’s victims, there’s perpetrators, there’s the other people who are affected. When you are able to give time to a complete story, you start to see all these different ripples, the ripple effect of it. We’re learning that you can’t just say this guy is guilty because of x, y, z. It’s always more complicated than that.”

With that mantra, and with the show’s slow, driving rhythm, Criminal is a little dark, a little playful, a little melancholy, and entirely engrossing. Episode 3 comes out Friday.

Erika LantzFour Takeaways from Media That Matters

Erika Lantz posted on Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 | Blog, PRX, PRX Remix | No Comments


I’m back from the 2014 Media That Matters conference at American University’s Center for Media and Social Impact. I got to spend the day there with experts in film, social media, games, comics, and interactive experiments.

I attended to take part in a panel on sound, but left buzzing with ideas that pushed me outside my radio comfort zone. Here are a few.

1. People pay attention to games, says Kunal Gupta, director of the games exhibition collective Babycastles—and failing to see that means losing potential audience. Too often, media makers don’t see games for what they can be: entire worlds, or art that empowers people and communities. If you want to make an impact, don’t discount a game.

2. “Games are not good for facts. Games are good for feelings.” Colleen Macklin warned against looking to social impact games to teach information, or serve as “Games for X.” A game is a system with moments of choice that create an emotional, visceral experience. Society’s biggest problems are systemic, she said, and games encourage systemic thinking — especially when players start to make their own rules.

3. To engage different age groups, use a variety of media.  Marissa Valeri says a comic can jumpstart engagement and mobilize a new audience. While some people will latch on to an image, others want to read information themselves. Greg Pak produced the graphic novel app Vision Machine, but pointed out that for all the fancy stuff you can make, sometimes a simple comic strip can reach the most people.

4. People are breaking the boundaries of their medium in new ways all the time. Take Operation Ajax, an interactive comic book for ipad that brings together all sorts of media — comics, sound design, video, archived documents — into what creator Daniel Burwin calls a “curiosity path for the audience.” The result is pretty magical.

How do you think we radio producers can use these ideas to make better stories? Let us know in the comments.

Get Your Car Talk Fix on Amazon
and Google Play

Rekha posted on Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 | PRX | No Comments

Some of you know that PRX is an iTunes label, aka content provider. That means that we can send public radio pieces to the iTunes Store for purchase and download. Car Talk logo We do this for a bunch of independent producers and leading shows, including The Moth, This American Life, and Car Talk.

PRX is proud to announce the arrival of Car Talk to Amazon and Google Play. You can find their albums, past episodes, and 50 of their favorite Car Talk Classics, just like you’ve been able to on iTunes. Car Talk’s Amazon and Google Play presence is thanks to PRX’s collaboration with DashGo, a direct distributor to these stores.

iTunes continues to dominate in music and audio sales. But for the revenue to add up, it’s wise to be in more places. We regularly track this shifting landscape, and Amazon and Google Play emerge as clear choices. Amazon has a significant share of the digital music market; based on our own limited sample, spoken word sales on Amazon are roughly 10% of iTunes. Google Play is nearly caught up with Amazon. Importantly, both are well integrated into the Android mobile experience, in ways similar to how iPhone owners use iTunes.

Digital sales distribution is another way that PRX forges new channels of revenue and reach for public radio makers. We think it’s a pretty great thing for listeners, too.

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

Audrey posted on Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 | Press Releases, PRX, PRX Projects | No Comments

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

AudreySix of Our Favorite Bits of Sound Design Advice

Audrey posted on Monday, February 24th, 2014 | PRX | No Comments

Prompted on Twitter by our friend Wayne Marshall, we’ve put together a list of essays and radio episodes that focus on contemporary radio sound design.

Here are six of our favorite bits of advice:

- The Truth’s Jonathan Mitchell wrote a Transom feature on the difficult choices a producer makes when using music in their pieces.

Whenever I have a hard time deciding what music to use or where to put it, usually that means I don’t really understand why I’m putting music there in the first place. But a good reason tells me so much: where it should be placed, what style it should be, what mood it needs to convey. If music really belongs in your story, it won’t be hard to find clues that tell you what kind of music to use.

- HowSound often touches on sound design. Here’s one episode that focuses on the amazing sound work that went into Kathy Tu’s piece “The Fighter Pilot.”

- Sound Design from Hell. Film sound designer Steve Boeddeker explores how sound can be used to enhance the emotional impact of a scene. Produced by Jonathan Mitchell for Studio 360.

- One of my favorite pieces discovered on PRX is from Paolo Pietropaolo, and while this one doesn’t directly comment on sound design, it boasts excellent design as Paolo explores the story of his tinnitus which affects his ability to enjoy silence.

- John Biewen praises the pause.

- Producer Julia Furlan, tipped us off to this Transom manifesto from Oscar-award-winning film editor and sound designer Walter Murch, who was behind such films as The Conversation, The English Patient, Apocalypse Now, Cold Mountain and Jarhead.

Conceptual density is something that should obey the same rules as loudness dynamics. Your mix, moment by moment, should be as dense (or as loud) as the story and events warrant. A monotonously dense soundtrack is just as wearing as a monotonously loud film. Just as a symphony would be unendurable if all the instruments played together all the time.

Check out Transom, Third Coast or PRX for more, then let us know what’s missing from this list.

Erika LantzRemix in Rhode Island

Erika Lantz posted on Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 | Blog, PRX, PRX Remix | No Comments

Big news! Starting March 1, you’ll hear two hours of storytelling radio from PRX Remix on Rhode Island Public Radio every weekend.

Remix’s Rhode Island debut is part of a whole new weekend lineup of superb shows, including some from PRX: The Moth Radio Hour from PRX, and Snap Judgment, a show from PRX and NPR that’s hosted by Glynn Washington, winner of PRX’s Public Radio Talent Quest.

We’re thrilled to start working with the folks at RIPR. Rhode Islanders, tune in Saturdays at 6 a.m. or Sundays at 8 p.m. for an hour of mind-bending interviews, found tape, cool sounds, and the some of the best radio stories from PRX and beyond.

Those of you living outside The Ocean State, take heart: PRX Remix airs on radio stations across the country. You can hear us streaming 24/7 at, on XM Channel 123, and in your pocket. And there’s no harm in asking your own public radio station to put some Remix on.

Indie Shows Join Forces For Radiotopia

Rekha posted on Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 | Press Releases, Radiotopia | 1 Comment

Radiotopia logo

At PRX, we think of podcasts as digital-first radio shows. These shows may or may not ever be broadcast on terrestrial radio but we want them to reach new audiences, enjoy an active fanbase, and earn money that lands somewhere between compensation for time spent and fabulous wealth. Right now, that’s not happening often enough.

Today, PRX is proud to announce the launch of Radiotopia.

With the help of seven top-notch producers and the Knight Foundation, Radiotopia will mine the possibilities of a space full of shining talent, eager listeners, and new technologies. Call it a network, a collective, a coterie of awesomeness, whatever. The point is that a group of great storytellers is stronger than any one on their own, and PRX wants to wield that combined power to the benefit of everyone.

The inaugural Radiotopia lineup is:

  • 99% Invisible by Roman Mars
  • Radio Diaries by Joe Richman
  • Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything
  • Strangers by Lea Thau
  • The Truth by Jonathan Mitchell
  • Fugitive Waves by The Kitchen Sisters
  • Love + Radio by Nick van der Kolk and Brendan Baker

Learn more about this dream team in the press release below. Subscribe to the shows via Radiotopia HQ.

And do the Facebook and Twitter thing for new episodes, new news, and to make us feel, well, heard.




Patrick Kowalczyk,, PKPR, 212-627-8098

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677,

PRX launches Radiotopia, new podcast network of story-driven public radio shows by industry’s best emerging and established talent

Knight Foundation funds new model for audience engagement and revenue growth in public radio

Cambridge, Mass. – Feb. 4, 2014 – To establish a model for sustaining quality, story-driven public radio shows, PRX, the award-winning public media company, today launched Radiotopia (, a podcast network of the best emerging and established talent. The launch is supported by $200,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

With Knight support, PRX will develop new audience engagement and revenue strategies toward a sustainable model for digital-first audio programming. The network will experiment with collaborative crowdfunding and new methods of sponsorship and cross-promotion, helping independent producers develop their programs over the long run. Together these insights will benefit PRX and the field as a whole.

“PRX is creating a platform where the art form’s innovators, risk-takers and most gifted producers connect with an audience, expand their own brands, and flourish,” said Jake Shapiro, CEO of PRX. “Radiotopia closes the gap between listeners who increasingly seek content on-demand and producers expanding the sound and experience of public radio.”

“PRX is responding to a demand for flexibility from listeners who are increasingly turning away from traditional news sources and platforms,” said Michael Maness, Knight Foundation VP/Journalism and Media Innovation. “With this as a basis, the network will create a model to reach and inform wide public audiences using digital platforms as a gateway to mainstream success.”

Radiotopia is anchored by 99% Invisible, the wildly popular design and architecture podcast hosted and produced by Roman Mars, who was named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in 2013. Mars is program director of PRX Remix, PRX’s 24/7 story channel available on XM 123 and public radio stations nationwide.

Radiotopia’s inaugural lineup includes: Radio Diaries, the ordinary made extraordinary through first-person accounts exquisitely crafted by veteran producer Joe Richman; Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything, a surprising exploration of philosophy using a mix of journalism and fiction; Strangers, a fascinating look at how people connect in the modern world created by Lea Thau, former executive and creative director of The Moth; Love + Radio, an otherworldly journey into the minds of characters both seedy and sublime; The Truth, a fictional series breathing new life into radio drama by Jonathan Mitchell; and Fugitive Waves, an audio historical journey from the pioneering public radio production duo The Kitchen Sisters. Full descriptions are below.

The Radiotopia network roster will expand as PRX enlists new producers and programs that push the boundaries of storytelling and adopt a wide digital distribution model. PRX has a track record of introducing innovative new programs such as The Moth Radio Hour, Snap Judgment and PRX Remix to millions of listeners across broadcast and digital, Shapiro said. Radiotopia will draw upon PRX’s technology, editorial, distribution and marketing expertise to cultivate a new generation of storytelling talent that resonates with today’s audiences.

Mailchimp has joined as a launch sponsor, and the network plans to test creative use of personalized email campaigns to support distribution, marketing and fundraising for Radiotopia programs.

Radiotopia’s inaugural roster is:

● 99% Invisible – With over 1 million downloads per month, 99% Invisible is one of the most popular podcasts in the world. The program explores design, architecture, and the 99%-invisible activity that shapes our world. The show is the brainchild of award-winning producer Roman Mars, who has been dubbed “the Ira Glass of design” by architecture and design columnist, Allsion Arieff of The New York Times. Ira Glass, host and producer of This American Life, calls 99% Invisible “completely wonderful…entertaining, and beautifully produced.”

● Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything – Combining drama, essay and interview the show creates a new kind of audio experience. Recent stories have ranged from “work at home art” to a story about a former prisoner from Guantanamo Bay, and a meditation on ephemeral images in the digital age.

● Radio Diaries –Extraordinary stories of ordinary life, Radio Diaries offers first-person diaries, sound portraits and historical documentaries from award-winning producer Joe Richman and team.

● Fugitive Waves – From powerhouse producers, The Kitchen Sisters (Lost & Found Sound, Hidden Kitchens, The Hidden World of Girls) this new show mines the Sisters’ deep archive of stories, lost recordings and shards of sound, along with new tales from remarkable people around the world. They are stories from the flip side of history.

● Love + Radio – Like nothing you’ve ever heard before, Love + Radio offers in-depth, otherworldly produced conversations exploring all of life’s gray areas on an eclectic range of subjects, from the seedy to the sublime. The show gets inside the mind of a rogue taxidermist, a Mafia associate turned investigative journalist, a woman who gives away her life savings every night, and countless other inimitable and fascinating characters.

● Strangers – The brainchild of Lea Thau, who earned a Peabody Award for her work with The Moth, Strangers features true stories about the people we meet, the connections we make, the heartbreaks we suffer, the kindnesses we encounter, and those frightful moments when we discover that we aren’t even who we thought we were.

● The Truth – The Truth brings a modern radio storytelling sensibility to traditional radio drama, resulting in rich, evocative pieces that could be described as short films without pictures. Produced by Peabody Award winner Jonathan Mitchell, the show combines excellent writing with authentic, often improvised performances and rich sound design.

About PRX
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, 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 such as Public Radio Player, Radiolab, This American Life, WBUR, KCRW Music Mine, and more.

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.

# # #

Audrey2013 Zeitfunk Awards

Audrey posted on Thursday, January 30th, 2014 | PRX, Zeitfunk | No Comments

Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 Zeitfunk Awards! 2013 Marked PRX’s 10th year and we’re excited to be celebrating with all of you.

Who is the coveted Most Licensed Producer or the Most Licensed Series? What about the Station that Licensed the Most in 2013? Check out our “top new artists” categories like Most Licensed Debut Group. Find all that and more!

We’ve gathered some useful stats and interesting facts about PRX, as well as a Staff Yearbook featuring pictures of PRX staff when they were about PRX’s age.

Thank you for making 2013 another record-breaking year at PRX. Here’s to many more decades!

Did you make the list? Tweet it, Facebook it, let the world know: use #Zeitfunk2013 on Twitter.

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