Zeitfunk is coming…

Zeit-what? That’s right. We’re tallying up the numbers, licenses and listens for our annual Zeitfunk Awards. For the uninitiated, check out Zeitfunks past.

We’re doing things a little differently this year and will be announcing our nominees next week, with winners being announced February 9.

Who was the most licensed producer in 2014? Or the most listened-to show?

Stay tuned to find out if you’re a nominee!

What to Listen to During Snowmageddon 2015

Imagevia Shutterstock.
Image via Shutterstock.

If you’re in the Northeast then you’re (hopefully) aware of what is about to go down, weather-wise. It just started snowing here in Cambridge and it’s pretty light…FOR NOW.

In anticipation of being trapped in our houses, we’ve put together a playlist of stories for the snowbound.

Some of the stories celebrate snow while others celebrate…Hawaii. We’ve got entertaining listens as well as meditative ones. Some new Radiotopia episodes as well as the classic Joe Strummer’s London Calling which we highly recommend for cabin fever.

Grab a hot toddy and enjoy the full playlist here.

Reveal Launches as Monthly Investigative Series

Reveal with CIR_PRX
Wow.

For only the second time in its history, PRX is launching a new home-grown show today.

That show is Reveal and, like The Moth Radio Hour, it is designed in many ways to move the public radio landscape forward.

With our amazing partners at The Center for Investigative Reporting and various editorial collaborators (stations, investigative centers like the Center for Public Integrity, Bloomberg News and others…), Reveal does something public radio has not been able to do until now: deliver a regular investigative reporting program for public radio.

Risky? Yes. Needed? Now more than ever. And listeners and stations now it as news hungry audiences flock to original stories with meaning and depth.

We’re building a staff on top of the considerable reporting resources at CIR. Welcome Kevin Sullivan, fresh from Here and Now, as the executive producer.

Check out the video CIR did to intro the show.

The program, at last count, will air monthly on 200 stations. Reveal goes weekly in July.

Don’t forget to also subscribe to get the episodes via the Reveal podcast.

Listen. Send feedback. And join us on the next breakthrough program for public radio wherever you might listen.


PRESS RELEASE

CIR and PRX Launch Reveal as Nation’s First Monthly Public Radio Series Devoted to Investigative Journalism

Emeryville, Calif. – “Reveal,” the nation’s first public radio show and podcast devoted to investigative reporting, will begin airing on public radio stations nationwide in monthly episodes starting Jan. 24, marking a significant expansion of the show conceived and produced by The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX.

The hour-long “Reveal” show will feature investigations and storytelling from CIR’s own newsroom and from media partners around the world. PRX’s commitment to “Reveal” builds on its success in creating and distributing “The Moth Radio Hour,” one of the most successful launches in public radio history.

“Reveal” is hosted by Al Letson, creator of the award-winning public radio series “State of the Re:Union.”

“CIR is committed to creating the opportunity for investigative reporting to find its voice for a new generation of fans and communities while continuing to deliver the high-impact journalism that has helped define, challenge and preserve our democracy,” said Joaquin Alvarado, CEO of The Center for Investigative Reporting.

The January “Reveal” episode will feature investigative stories about poorly regulated day care centers, online currency trading, scientific integrity at the Environmental Protection Agency, and the surrogate baby industry. Reporters and freelance writers from CIR, Bloomberg Markets and The Center for Public Integrity contributed to the episode.

The series will air on nearly 200 public radio stations nationwide, including WNYC, KCRW (Los Angeles), WBEZ (Chicago), KQED (San Francisco), and WAMU (Washington D.C.)

CIR and PRX have produced three “Reveal” program pilots since September 2013. The first pilot won a George Foster Peabody Award, one of broadcasting’s highest honors, for CIR’s story about how the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs feeds prescription opiate addictions. The pilot episodes featured investigations by CIR, WBEZ/Chicago Public Radio, The Center for Public Integrity, St. Louis Public Radio, The Hollywood Reporter and others.

“Public radio listeners are hungry for meaningful journalism. ‘Reveal’ brings high-quality investigative stories from around the country to audiences nationwide,” said Jake Shapiro, CEO of PRX.

Significant funding for “Reveal” comes from The Reva and David Logan Foundation, which last year awarded CIR a three-year grant of $3 million for “Reveal,” citing its founders’ commitment to investigative journalism as the “guardian of the public interest.” The Ford Foundation awarded CIR a two-year grant of $500,000 for the show and its accompanying podcast. In awarding the grant, the foundation noted CIR’s commitment to multiplatform journalism, helping other newsrooms localize deeply researched investigative reporting on “Reveal” and engaging the public in seeking solutions to the issues raised by its reports.

About The Center For Investigative Reporting
The Center for Investigative Reporting is the nation’s first independent, multiplatform investigative reporting organization. Devoted to holding powerful interests accountable to the public trust, CIR creatively employs cutting-edge technology and innovative storytelling to reveal injustice, spark change at all levels of society and influence public dialogue on critical issues. CIR produces high-impact reporting across print, video, TV, radio and online platforms and is the recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, winner of a 2013 Emmy Award and a 2014 George Foster Peabody Award, and a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2012 (for local reporting) and 2013 (for public service).

About 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 “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 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.

Best Youth-Made Radio of 2014

Image via Shutterstock.
Image via Shutterstock.

Thank you to everyone who nominated their favorite youth-made stories of the past year. Young people are making a tremendous amount of radio and we want to highlight some of that work. Keep it up!

Thanks also to the amazing educators out there training the next generation of radio-makers.

Take a listen to these stories which range from a teen’s take on life in poverty to a story about Costa Rica’s culture of conservation.

We encourage you to reach out to these young producers and comment on their story to tell them what you think.

Happy listening!

The Future of State of the Re:Union

Dear Stations,

Seven years ago, the CPB-funded “Public Radio Talent Quest” went looking for new voices. A defining quality of the search was “hostiness,” people an audience would want to spend time with, and explore with. One of those voices was Al Letson, who created and has been producing State of the Re:Union since 2008 for NPR, PRX, and the more than 200 stations that have supported each season.

This winter, Al Letson will partner with PRX to host Reveal, a new, weekly investigative news program from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX. Watch for Reveal‘s debut in January 2015.

In turn, in Spring 2015, following the release of new Black History Month (February 2015) and National Poetry Month (April 2015) programs, State of the Re:Union will end production of its 10-programs-a-year seasons. However, Al and WJCT (SOTRU’s producing station) are exploring opportunities for additional SOTRU specials in 2015.

The 2014 fall season of five SOTRU programs is available now to all NPR Member Stations, on both Content Depot and PRX.org — have a listen now. It’s filled with the kind of work that won Al Letson and producer Laura Starecheski an Edward R. Murrow Award for the episode, “The Hospital Always Wins,” last season. SOTRU has been recognized with the Murrow two years in a row.

NPR and PRX’s collaboration with Al, CPB and WJCT/Jacksonville to share the program is something we’re all are proud of. Keep an eye out for more on Al’s new show, as well as details on possible SOTRU specials in 2015. We thank the stations who have and will continue to present Al Letson’s work, and the man himself for telling the story of America, one community at a time.

Sincerely,

Israel Smith, NPR
John Barth, PRX

Second Annual Gift Guide for Audio Producers

The holidays are right around the corner and we wanted to provide a little gift guide for the producers and audiophiles among us. You may be one of these people or you may know or love one. Producers, it might be a good idea to casually slip a link here to your friends and family, just in case they need a little help.

Let’s get started!

  • Gear! We love gear. Last year, Transom put together a really comprehensive list of equipment. Peruse the list and see if any of these microphones, monitors, cables and more may be up your alley.
  • Tivoli Radio Silenz Headphones. Enter to win!
    Tivoli Radio Silenz Headphones. Enter to win!
  • Tivoli Audio Radio Silenz Active Noise Canceling Headphones. So beautiful we could weep. Lucky for you, we are giving away a pair of these babies. Contest Ends December 18. ENTER NOW.
  • A battery tester. Thanks to Dave Goodman for the pro-tip!
  • A PRX membership. For $50/year, help that special producer in your life get their stories out into the world! Get in touch.
  • Pidgey beany (!!!) and lots of other great stuff in the Third Coast International Audio Festival merch shoppe.
  • Hindenburg editing software. Affordable, designed for radio producers and you can publish right to PRX. Seriously, these guys know what they’re doing.
  • AIR membership. The Association of Independents in Radio is a great place to learn, find gigs and connect with other indies. Get a gift membership!
  • IMG_0633_1024x1024

  • Listening to The Moth while drinking a warm beverage of choice from a Moth mug sounds like a great way to spend the holidays, no?
  • A donation is the gift that keeps on giving. Consider donating to their (or your!) favorite show, local public radio station, podcast network, or radio/audio non-profit.

Happy holidays! Let us know in the comments what you would add to this list.



Santa image by Page Dooley

More listeners and more listening

We’ve released an exciting change at PRX today: non-logged-in visitors to PRX.org will see our new story page, like this.

Why does the piece page (now a “story” page) look different?

For the love of listening. Millions of people visit PRX.org who want to hear your stories and we want them to have a simple and awesome listening experience.

We’ve been working on this experience for months — designing, coding, testing, and making changes so we can encourage more people to click play and listen for longer periods. The data we’ve collected so far shows that the changes we’ve made have resulted in just that.

When people visit PRX.org on their mobile phone, tablet, or desktop they’ll see a large play button that makes it simple for them to hear your story. We’ve also removed the bulky listener signup process, a high hurdle for most listeners that resulted in most of them not hearing your work. Moving forward it is dead simple: send someone a link to your PRX story and with a single click they can start listening.

I’m with a station or outside purchaser. How do I license?

You won’t be able to license just yet from the new pages. To license a story, just sign in, and you will see the old site with the “Buy” button.

story-page

I still see the old piece pages. Where are the new ones?

When logged-in — which is most station staff and producers — you will see the same look and experience that you are familiar with. Nothing is changing yet for people who are logged-in. We’re working on the whole site: improvements to uploading, how stories are curated and found, and so on. Stay tuned for updates.

For over 10 years PRX has been the distribution pathway for producers to have their work licensed by stations for broadcast. With updates like these we’re also making PRX a great place for listeners to hear your stories.

If you have questions, feedback or thoughts we’d love to hear them.

What to Listen To on Your Thanksgiving Road Trip

Via Shutterstock.
Via Shutterstock.

It’s Turkey Time! As you make your way to your mama’s house, here are some holiday travel picks from Audrey & Genevieve at PRX.

Simply amazing listens:

  • Best of the Best: all the Third Coast winners in one place.
  • Radiotopia! Subscribe to all of the shows and load up with episodes for offline listening for those train, plane and car rides.

To get you in the holiday spirit:

On America and travel:

On the best topic…food!

Happy travels!

Asteroid miners prepare to harvest outer space

Image credit: thespacereview.com
Image credit: thespacereview.com

Don’t get too attached to your real estate — human civilization may be headed toward space.

It currently costs $10,000 a pound to transport material from Earth into space. If humans want to live in space someday, those transport costs alone pose a major roadblock. Asteroid mining companies offer an alternative idea: support life in space with resources from space. That may sound like science fiction, but these companies are already scrambling to extract goods from space rocks — an average asteroid holds about $100 billion in water and minerals. In producer Audrey Quinn’s PRX STEM Story Project piece, we’ll visit a spacecraft facility and take a look into the business, the science, and the legality of the asteroid mining industry.

In September 2013, Quinn reported for Marketplace on NASA’s interest in asteroids. As part of that story, she interviewed Deep Space Industries’s Rick Tumlinson and was struck by how committed he and his company were to asteroid mining, a prospect that sounded like pure science fiction. Quinn reflects, “I thought it would be a great chance to dive deeper into this idea that seemed so fantastical to me.”

These space entrepreneurs are thinking beyond science fiction and are are banking on the idea that humans will live in space someday, that the future of human civilization is, in fact, in space. They are also preparing to have the technology ready to make that a reality within the next couple of decades.

Quinn hopes listeners will learn that a lot of the materials we rely on here on Earth are also out there in some form in asteroids: “That could make life in space might be more viable and imminent than you realized before.”

Finding Science in Speculation with Bayes’ Theorem

Image: "Bayes' Theorem MMB 01" by mattbuck (category) - Own work by mattbuck. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Image: “Bayes’ Theorem MMB 01″ by mattbuck (category) – Own work by mattbuck. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re not mathematically inclined, one look at Bayes’ Theorem – a parade of parenthetical A’s and B’s stacked on top of each other — can be a bit intimidating.

However, the theorem can be traced to many different parts of our everyday lives. First conceived around the time that Ben Franklin experimented with his infamous kite and key, it now helps us predict things like the weather, election results, health trends, even locating missing people and things.

Sydney Beveridge’s PRX STEM Story Project guides us through different ways the theorem is used, framing it with how it might be used to help someone find their missing keys.

When asked how she chose the topic, producer Sydney Beveridge responds, “This story was an opportunity to dig into the magic and manipulation behind the numbers that we encounter in our daily lives.” Outside of radio, she works with data at the demographic research and visualization website Social Explorer, which focuses on numbers to communicate trends and ideas. Also, she admits, she lost her keys last year.

“Even though numbers feel so concrete, the way we work with them varies and can be heavily disputed,” Beveridge reminds us. While researching the story, she was surprised to learn that the field of statistics is fraught with controversy; it even has warring factions within the field. No huge surprise there, especially with books like How to Lie With Statistics juxtaposing statistics and dishonesty, and general skepticism around exit polling during elections.

However, Beveridge hopes that listeners come away from the piece better understanding the difference between Bayesian statistics and classical statistics. “In some ways, the theorem is a common sense idea…but it is also conceptually rich in its handling of subjectivity, contradictory possibilities and iteration.”

That said, if you end up listening to the piece, the odds might just fall in your favor.