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.
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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.
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.