The 13th Annual Zeitfunk Awards

zeitfunk

 

We wear a lot of hats here at PRX, from distributing podcasts of all stripes, to running our Podcast Garage training facility in Boston, to managing our open audio marketplace at PRX.org.

Since our founding in 2003, our PRX.org marketplace has grown to house over 100,000 audio pieces—uploaded from around the world—from short, artsy works to hour-long music specials. Creators post their work on our site, and public radio stations and digital networks shop there for new work for their local audiences. The goal is to give great audio a second home online, and ideally a third home on broadcast and digital, where it can reach even more ears.

To celebrate our marketplace, we host our annual Zeitfunk awards. Below you’ll find the list of producers, programs and stations who sold the most in the PRX marketplace in 2016. These numbers are calculated from individual licenses of audio pieces on PRX. (Subscription-only shows like This American Life and The Moth are not included in these results.)

Most Licensed Pieces
1. Best of the Best: The 2016 Third Coast Festival Broadcast
2. The Rose Ensemble: Christmas in Baroque Malta from The WFMT Radio Network
3. Ten From David: A David Bowie Appreciation from Paul Ingles
4. A Bow To Prince: An Appreciation of The Artist from Paul Ingles
5. The Pioneers of Punk – Please Kill Me: Voices from the Archives from Creative PR

Most Licensed Series
(This list does not include subscription-only series, like This American Life and The Moth)
1. Global Village with Chris Heim
2. Classical Guitar Alive!
3. The International Americana Music Show
4. Travelers In The Night
5. Blue Dimensions
6. The Bluegrass Review
7. Stuck in the Psychedelic Era
8. Strange Currency
9. The Stone Age
10. The Latin Alternative

Most Licensed Producers
These are individual creators on PRX who sold the most.
1. Tony Morris
2. Daniel Wargo
3. Michael Park
4. Al Grauer
5. Philip Nusbaum
6. Stephen R Webb
7. Vic Muenzer
8. Mat Kaplan
9. Chris Kuborn
10. Jamie Hoover

Most Licensed Groups
Teams of producers who sold the most.
1. With Good Reason
2. Deutsche Welle
3. Bluesnet Radio
4. BackStory with the American History Guys
5. Science Update
6. NPR Music
7. L.A. Theatre Works
8. The Steve Pomeranz Show
9. Great Lakes Today
10. Footlight Parade

Most Licensed Stations
Stations are huge creators of work, too. These are the ones that sold the most in 2016.
1. KMUW
2. The WFMT Radio Network
3. WMHT
4. WSIU
5. WBEZ
6. WOUB
7. South Carolina ETV Radio
8. WKSU
9. Kansas Public Radio
10. Louisville Public Media

Most Licensed Debut Producers
Producers who were new to PRX in 2016 who sold the most.
1. Brooke Halpin
2. Matt Davenport
3. Ryan Sweikert
4. Reade Levinson

Most Licensed Debut Groups

Teams of producers who were new to PRX in 2016 who sold the most.
1. Great Lakes Today
2. The World According to Sound
3. On Being with Krista Tippett
4. Safe Space Radio
5. Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Radio
6. Outside Magazine

Most Licensed Producers by PRX Remix
PRX Remix is our XM Station, app, and broadcast show that purchases work directly from PRX.org. These are individual producers from which Remix purchased the most.
1. Nate DiMeo
2. Eric Molinsky
3. (tie) Erica Heilman and David Green

Most Licensed Groups by PRX Remix
PRX Remix is our Sirius XM station, app, and broadcast show that purchases work directly from PRX.org. These are teams of producers from which Remix purchased the most.
1. The World According to Sound
2. RadioArt
3. Criminal
4. (three-way tie) KCRW’s Independent Producer Project, HowSound, and Out of the Blocks

Stations That Licensed the Most
We like to honor the stations that license (download for air) the most from PRX as well.
1. WOUB
2. WLPR
3. KMXT
4. WMUU-LP
5. KMRE-LP
6. KCMJ Community Radio
7. KSRQ
8. RadioFreePalmer
9. KKRN
10. KKWE Niijii Radio

Most Licensed Piece Lengths
Producers, these are the lengths of pieces on PRX that sell the most. You can see that hour-long and 5-min. or shorter pieces are the most popular.
1. 55-60 min. (20,275 individual licenses on PRX in 2016)
2. 5 min. or less (6,883 licenses)
3. 50-55 min. (4,735 licenses)
4. 25-30 min. (2,746 licenses)
5. 5-10 min. (2,416 licenses)
6. 30-35 min. (982 licenses)
7. 10-15 min. (466 licenses)
8. 40-45 min. (356 licenses)
9. 60-65 min. (350 licenses)
10. 15-20 min. (213 licenses)
11. 35-40 min. (182 licenses)
12. 10-25 min. (176 licenses)
13. 45-50 min. (84 licenses)

PRX’s Orbital Path with Michelle Thaller on Sky & Telescope

Orbital Path host Michelle Thaller
Michelle Thaller

PRX has a new collaboration with Sky & Telescope magazine, launching today. Each episode of our space podcast, Orbital Path, will be featured on Sky & Telescope‘s website. Starting with our next new episode in October, the entries will include a special op-ed piece from our host, astronomer Dr. Michelle Thaller.

Michelle will provide something different each time, from backstory about the episode to further exploration into a topic. Michelle travels the world for her work studying binary stars and as the Deputy Director for Science Communications at NASA, and her fascinating guests come from all fields of space science.

Sky & Telescope was founded in 1941 and has the most experienced astronomy staff of any magazine worldwide—check out the story of how they were founded.

Orbital Path looks at the big questions of the cosmos and what the answers can reveal about life here on Earth. Subscribe here and stay tuned to Sky & Telescope for Michelle’s editorials, starting with our next episode in early October.

 


Orbital Path is hosted by Michelle Thaller, produced by Justin O’Neill, and edited by Andrea Mustain, with direction and distribution from PRX’s Chief Content Officer John Barth and Content Coordinator Genevieve Sponsler. Support for Orbital Path comes from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science, technology, and economic performance. More at sloan.org.

Criminal in the Classroom

IMG_1782Steve Riccio (L) and his forensics students

Steve Riccio is a teacher at Oriskany Junior-Senior High School in Oriskany, New York, near Utica. This past school year, he used both individual episodes of Radiotopia’s Criminal and the first season of This American Life’s Serial in his forensics class for juniors and seniors. I talked with Steve about how he used the shows, and his advice for other teachers hoping to make use of podcasts in the classroom. Here are excerpts from a recorded interview:

Genevieve Sponsler: Let’s start with an overview of what you did.

Steve Riccio: We listened to an episode [of Serial in class] every Monday, and I had the students write up a little summary: what was new in the episode [compared with] the previous week, specifically trying to address forensic evidence. There was a heck of a lot of forensics discussed, and specific things the case missed. I tried to have the kids focus on the forensics side. Some weeks were better than others: when the show talked about phone calls, for example, there wasn’t a lot of forensic evidence, like physical evidence you would find at a crime scene. Every week we listened to another episode, which was cool because it kept the kids on their toes. They enjoyed it.

GS: Did some of them try to skip ahead and listen at home?

SR: There was one girl who, after the second week, had listened to the whole thing.

GS: That’s great they were so into it.

SR: Yeah! With Criminal, I would listen to [episodes], write up short summaries, and turn them into questions for exams. We also listened to an episode in class as part of an exam. I have two students who are looking to go into science, one definitely criminal justice and possibly forensics. Another student is thinking of biology, but possibly forensics as avenue. Both are female. To have two young ladies who have said hey, I want to do science, and possibly forensics, is pretty cool.

GS: I agree. Since Serial and Criminal both have excellent women hosts, I wonder if that inspired the students. It’s interesting for them to listen to, I imagine.

SR: Absolutely. I think it subliminally makes a huge impact. I think there are a lot of little tiny things that we don’t really recognize that have a on significant impact on our culture and the way students think. When you told me you wanted to chat about [podcasts in the classroom], I asked my students: what do you think? What did you like? What did you dislike? What should we do differently next year?

They said they really liked listening to the podcasts. One student said she didn’t like writing summaries every time [we listened to Serial]. She said she’d rather have a project on it. Which made me think: Is there some way I can design a project around this? I might be able to work with one of our history teachers, who does a government class, to perhaps host a debate examining the legal aspects of the show. A couple kids said that instead of listening to an episode of Serial every Monday, they would’ve rather listened every day for a couple of weeks. I’m wondering if I can do that as a real short unit. I could also have the students listen at home and come in the next day for an activity or a discussion. That way we’re not actually using class time to listen to it but they’re listening on their own.

GS: Having them listen at home sounds good, but it’s a tough choice because listening to audio together and watching people’s reactions is a unique and bonding experience.

SR: It’s funny that you mention that because I know exactly what you’re talking about. When we would listen to [Serial] together as a group, I knew what was coming since I’d listened ahead of time, but I’d watch the students’ reactions at the end and they would say, “No! What happened?!”

GS: If you knew another teacher in a different school who was interested in using podcasts in the classroom, what advice would you give?

SR: It’s a good way to engage students, and a different style of learning. A lot of times students will hear teachers talk, but they’ve never listened to just straight audio. It’s a really beautiful thing, because they’re bombarded by images all day, every day on their phones. [With podcasts] they’re taking a step back, listening and coming up with images in their own heads, and stimulating a creative part of their brains they don’t often use because they don’t have to. Take a chance — I did and I think it went pretty well. It wasn’t part of our curriculum, but it parallels the curriculum pretty well for forensics. It was a really good change of pace for the kids.

Ed. note from Genevieve: I’ll check back in with Steve in the fall to see how his new class is going. He has 20 kids signed up for fall, instead of the nine he had this past year! (Some were missing from the photo above.)

Steer Clear of These Five Science Reporting Pitfalls


Andrea Mustain

PRX has taken on big initiatives in the last few years to create original science programming, including our STEM Story Project open call for science audio ideas, our Transistor podcast which features many of those, the space podcast Orbital Path, and the Outside Magazine podcast on the science of survival.

We asked our science editor Andrea Mustain, who edited all of 2015’s STEM stories and is now also an editor for Orbital Path, to share her wisdom on science reporting.

Steer Clear of These Five Science Reporting Pitfalls
A (very short) guide for audio producers

by PRX Science Editor Andrea Mustain

Science reporting gives you entrée to a nearby yet rather mysterious country—a place with an arcane language all its own, that outsiders rarely get to visit. (This, to me, is what makes science reporting challenging and fun.)

It’s also a privilege that brings with it some pretty big responsibilities. You must bring back something of substance: a compelling narrative that is also informative, accurate, and clear. To that end, a few perils to note—and avoid.

1. The gee-whiz trap. Also known as the, “I just read the press release” trap.

This is a pretty obvious one. Always read the full journal article before you head into an interview. Press releases sometimes drift into dangerously hyperbolic territory. PR departments are tasked with drumming up coverage, and that can lead to scary words like “breakthrough” and “game changer.” This is not to say that communications departments are full of deceptive, conniving people. Many are staffed with deeply thoughtful and responsible science writers, steeped in the research that is coming out of their institutions. However, that is not always the case. Beware the too-good-to-be-true press release.

When you actually talk to the scientists behind a paper, their takeaways are sometimes very different from what you see in the press release. And if you haven’t read the research, you a) won’t be able to ask intelligent questions, and b) may come off as naive. PR departments are just trying to do their jobs. Make sure you do yours.

2. The scaredy-cat trap.

Scientists are people, too. Some are wonderful communicators, and others aren’t. Some are wonderfully gracious, and happy to explain something to you over and over; others may helpfully suggest you go take a physics class. So when you run into trouble understanding something, don’t get scared and give up after the third try. It never works to just drop some gorpy, technical tape into your story, and have the scientists “tell it in their own words.” If you don’t understand something, your audience won’t either. (If I’m running into trouble, I ask my interviewees to start over, and explain the concept as if they are addressing a 12-year-old.)

Keep asking for clarification or different explanations, even if you’re worried you’re being annoying or sound like a dummy—you must always be able to accurately explain every scientific concept in your story in your own words.

3. The trap that’s like a fried egg riding a watermelon airplane. Or, the terrible/wrong metaphor trap.

Metaphors are a powerful tool for science writing. A good one can instantly repackage a befuddling concept, and make the science both appetizing and digestible. A bad one can ruin your day.

A poorly constructed metaphor is dangerous. If it’s trite, or doesn’t conjure a helpful image, you’ve possibly bored your audience—or worse, confused them. If a metaphor is inaccurate, you have lied to your audience. It’s helpful to run through your ideas with researchers during your interviews, so they can help you fine-tune for accuracy.

Of course, it is your job to make sure that you also think the metaphor gets the job done. You can’t be entirely beholden to scientists. It is ultimately your decision; but you must be confident of your understanding of the science before you can craft an appropriate metaphor.

4. The “I’ll just Google it” trap.

The Internet is not a reliable fact checker. It certainly can’t take the place of verifying something with experts. If something in your notes strikes you as dubious, or if you are even the teeniest bit unsure of the meaning, check back with a researcher. To illustrate, a cautionary tale:

One of the stories created for PRX’s open call STEM Story Project in 2015 used a very impressive metaphor. Our producer got it from a scientist, and it was a great illustration of a particular phenomenon. But as we got closer to the final mix, something didn’t feel right. It was too impressive. But the dang metaphor appeared in several news stories; two different reporters couldn’t have gotten it wrong..right? And in fact, the producer insisted that, based on interview notes, the metaphor was accurate. I decided we had to triple check.

When I went back to the researchers, they said no, this comparison was actually not accurate at all. Reporters had (quite innocently) misinterpreted a simile the scientists had come up with themselves. As one researcher put it, “I think the science writer went a bit too far in the analogy.” Thankfully, they weren’t able to say that about the PRX story—we changed the script. The lesson here is, double-check your work during the reporting process. Find mistakes early.

5. The jazz hands trap.

In some hands, fancy production leads to incomparably beautiful radio. So it’s tempting to think that because some amazing shows (backed by a raft of talented staff) do this flawlessly, you should, too. A science audio story is just the place to bring your composer friend on board, and get crazy with the soundbeds. But be honest about the skills and tools you have at your disposal. You may be a phenomenal basketball player, but that doesn’t mean you can tap dance.

Besides, a story doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles to move a listener. At the heart of any great radio—whether it’s highly produced, or just you and some tape—is a powerful story supported by strong reporting, excellent writing, and an invested narrator. No jazz hands required.

PRX and Transistor Podcast Introduce Trace Elements Series

PRX is thrilled to welcome a new special series of episodes on its podcast, Transistor. The episodes, called Trace Elements, feature hosts Cristina Quinn and Alison Bruzek as they take us on an off-road trip into the science that connects us.

Each episode explores something new. Whether it’s a medical mystery, the future of social robots, or implanting foreign objects into your body — Trace Elements is on it.

The first episode introduces us to a man who woke up from a hospital procedure and no longer felt any fear. Learn more and listen here, and get the official press release below.


PRX and Transistor Podcast Introduce Trace Elements Series

Cambridge, MA (March 10, 2016)—Award-winning public media company PRX is launching a new series of episodes on its popular science podcast, Transistor. The five special episodes, called Trace Elements, are produced by and feature dynamic hosts Cristina Quinn and Alison Bruzek. The series is meant to be an off-road trip into the science that connects us.

The episodes are part of PRX’s commitment to creating and distributing new science programming, especially from women, on Transistor. The podcast is supported with funds provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Quinn and Bruzek both work as journalists in the Boston area.

“Cristina and Alison’s style is what attracted us to these episodes. They ask the right questions about science, and their curiosity and chemistry make science stories utterly engaging,” said PRX Chief Content Officer John Barth.

Trace Elements launches on Transistor March 10 with an episode titled, “The Reset”. The episode focuses on a man who no longer feels fear following a hospital procedure. It’s part medical mystery, part psychological quandary, and it urges listeners to reflect on how fears can define us.

Trace Elements will be featured on Transistor every other week. Subscribe to Transistor on iTunes or transistor.prx.org/subscribe.

PRX’s other science initiatives funded by the Sloan Foundation include the podcast Orbital Path with Michelle Thaller, Blank on Blank’s animated series The Experimenters, the Outside Magazine podcast, and entries from the STEM Story Project.

About PRX
PRX is shaping the future of public media content, talent and technology. PRX is a leading creator and distributor, connecting audio producers with their most engaged, supportive audiences across broadcast, web and mobile. A fierce champion of new voices, new formats, and new business models, PRX advocates for the entrepreneurial producer. PRX is an award-winning media company, reaching millions of weekly listeners worldwide. For over a dozen years, PRX has operated public radio’s largest distribution marketplace, offering thousands of audio shows including This American Life, The Moth Radio Hour and Reveal. Follow us on Twitter at @prx.

About Transistor
Transistor is podcast of scientific curiosities and current events, featuring guest hosts, scientists, and story-driven reporters. Presented by radio & podcast powerhouse PRX, with support from the Sloan Foundation.

About Cristina Quinn and Alison Bruzek

Cristina Quinn is a radio and TV journalist. She got her on-air start in Japan, hosting “Let’s English!” for FM-Aizu. Stateside, she’s been WGBH’s Weekend Edition anchor in Boston and became the station’s first midday news anchor. Cristina has done in-depth reporting on innovations in science, technology, and social issues. Her stories air locally on WGBH radio and TV’s Greater Boston, and have aired nationally on NPR News, PRI’s The World, and Innovation Hub. She has a journalism degree from UMass Amherst and a master’s in visual and media arts from Emerson College.

Alison Bruzek is a science writer and radio producer. Originally from the nation’s heartland, she has been known to occasionally reprise her Minnesotan accent. She is currently a freelance producer for WBUR in Boston. Prior to that, she worked as a video producer for WGBH. Before she came to radio, she developed science curriculum and science center programs with The HistoryMakers, an African American video oral history collection.

New Podcast: Orbital Path with Michelle Thaller

orbitalpath-500x500

Please welcome the newest podcast from PRX, Orbital Path.

Hosted by NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller, the series takes a look at the big questions of the cosmos and what the answers can reveal about life here on Earth. Space, stars, the universe, and us — for space lovers or just the curious.

The debut episode features the infamous Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy, as Michelle and Phil talk about why aliens get the credit for almost everything unexplainable. And episode two is in the works with another guest you won’t want to miss.

Subscribe on iTunes and beyond.

Orbital Path is produced by award-winning reporter Lauren Ober based at WAMU in Washington, DC. Many thanks to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for making the show possible, along with PRX’s STEM Story Project and Transistor, our podcast featuring science stories from reporters near and far.

Thank you, also, to Carl.

Announcing this year’s STEM Story Project grantees

PRX is pleased to announce the grantees for our third annual STEM Story Project, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The STEM Story Project is an open call for science, tech, engineering, and math pitches. Over the summer, we asked producers around the world to share their ideas with us. Then, a team of scientists in various disciplines, plus a team of radio professionals, screened the over 100 proposals we received. As you can imagine, the final decisions were incredibly difficult to make!

The stories below (titles subject to change) are being created right now, and will be available on PRX.org starting in mid-November. Stations and shows on PRX can license the stories for air, and they will also be featured in the upcoming season of our science podcast, Transistor.

Past years’ STEM stories aired on many stations, PRX Remix, Here and Now, All Things Considered, and Studio 360, to name a few. So don’t be shy if you’re with a show or station and not yet on PRX. Get in touch.

Without further ado, the grantees of our third annual STEM Story Project are…

The Words are a Jumble from Tobin Low.
Vissarion Shebalin was not a great composer. But his music could unlock an important truth about how the brain processes music and language.

Rodney Learns to Fly from Ari Daniel.
Rodney grew up selling dope and guns. But he’s always loved caring for birds. The drugs landed him in jail. The birds helped set him free.

Ovarian transplant is the surgery on infertility’s cutting edge from Robin Amer.
Twins Carol and Katie are physically identical in every way but one: Katie was born without ovaries. Carol donated hers to her sister so she could start a family.

Imagine All the People from Pien Huang.
Meet a four-year-old with a LOT of imaginary friends. What do fake friends do for us as kids and adults?

HIc Sunt Dracones: The Art of Polynesian Wayfinding from Lily Bui.
Ancient Polynesians relied on three core faculties to navigate: knowledge of the stars, understanding of the environment, and—above all—their memories.

Owning the Clouds: Fears, facts, and the future of weather from Steven Jackson.
Can we harness clouds to counter drought, stop storms, and fight climate change? And if we can, should we?

Peeing in My Pants, Everybody Does It from Lauren Whaley.
A personal and research-driven journey into the science, technology and emotional sides of pelvic floor dysfunction.

From Frogs To Wands of Destiny: The Evolving Science of Home Pregnancy Tests from Anne Noyes Saini & Amy Gastelum of the podcast Mother.
Trace the evolution of modern pregnancy testing from when tests entailed injecting frogs with women’s urine, to the first reliable home pregnancy test kits.

Many Humans, One Music? from Katie Burke.
Is music a universal language? A new study says music worldwide shares features like rhythm & group performance.

The Science of Protecting Cities from Floods from Jenny Chen and Ellen Rolfes.
Head to the scene of forensic flood science, where engineers are doing detective work to rebuild cities to be more resilient to climate change.

CSI Bee Squad from Megan Molteni.
A look inside a tiny crime scene — investigating a bee kill.

That Bowl Was Delicious from Hannah Marshall & Quentin Cooper.
Swear your coffee tastes better from your favorite mug? You may not be imagining it.

The Noisiest Species from Kerry Klein.
How our vrooms, clangs and thunks are harming natural ecosystems — and ourselves.

Tick Tock Biological Clock from Marnie Chesterton.
Women in their late 30s are told their fertility falls off a cliff. The truth is more surprising.

Three Letters Met on Broom Bridge from Samuel Hansen of the podcast Relatively Prime.
Every October, hundreds of devotees gather to walk across a bridge in Dublin — for math.

The Ghost in the MP3 from Emily Richardson-Lorente.
What’s lost when a song is compressed into an MP3? To the untrained ear — perhaps nothing. But to one composer, it’s the source of stunning and ghostly ‘lost sound’ compositions.

Cosmic Ray Catchers from Ross Chambless.
Something out there is hurling powerful particles at Earth, and a team of scientists have found a hotspot near the Big Dipper.

Meet The Sarahs: A New Audio Fiction Competition

It’s time audio fiction had its own red carpet

Introducing The Sarah Lawrence College International Audio Fiction Award

The Sarah Awards will celebrate and reward the best audio fiction works from around the world with $3,500 worth of prize money and an awards ceremony in New York in Spring 2016.

Get the guidelines, then get creative!

The early bird submission timeline is Nov. 23 – Dec. 21, so you have plenty of time to dig in and put your best fiction forward.

The Sarahs also includes:

BONUS: Winners of The Sarahs and the Very, Very, Short, Short Stories Contest will be featured on PRX Remix — PRX’s 24/7 stream of the best independently created audio stories — airing online, SiriusXM 123, and broadcast stations around the country.

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.

Introducing Transistor, A Science Podcast from PRX

PRX is thrilled to announce the launch of a new weekly podcast series Transistor (official press release). Three scientist hosts — a biologist, an astrophysicist, and a neuroscientist — report on conundrums, curiosities, and current events in and beyond their fields. Sprinkled among their episodes are the winners of the PRX STEM Story Project, a competition we held for unique science radio.

Just as the transistor radio was a new technical leap, this Transistor features new women voices and their science perspectives. We’ve launched with four episodes from our three scientist hosts:

  • Dr. Michelle Thaller, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, who studies binary stars and the life cycles of the stars.
    • We Are Stardust: We’re closer than ever before to discovering if we’re not alone in the universe. Astrophysicist Michelle Thaller visits the NASA lab that discovered that comets contain some of the very same chemical elements that we contain. Then, Michelle talks to a Vatican planetary scientist about how science and religion can meet on the topic of life beyond Earth.
  • Dr. Christina Agapakis, a biologist and writer based in Los Angeles. Her research focuses on the intersection of microbiology and design, exploring the symbiosis among microbes and biology, technology, and culture.
    • Food, Meet Fungus: The microbiome — the trillions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live in and on our body — is hot right now. We explore what we do know in the face of so much hope and hype, starting with food.
  • Dr. Wendy Suzuki, a Professor of Neural Science and Psychology in the Center for Neural Science at New York University, whose research focuses on understanding how our brains form and retain new long-term memories and the effects of aerobic exercise on memory. Her book Healthy Brain, Happy Life will be published by Harper Collins in the Spring of 2015.
    • Totally Cerebral: Untangling the Mystery of Memory: Neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki introduces us to scientists who have uncovered some of the deepest secrets about our brains. She begins by talking with experimental psychologist Brenda Milner, who in the 1950s, completely changed our understanding of the parts of the brain important for forming new long-term memories.
    • Totally Cerebral: The Man Without a Memory: Imagine never being able to form a new long term memory after the age of 27. Welcome to the life of the famous amnesic patient “HM”. Neuroscientist Suzanne Corkin studied HM for almost half a century, and gives us a glimpse of what daily life was like for him, and his tremendous contribution to our understanding of how our memories work.

Each scientist is working with a talented independent producer: Lauren Ober, Julie Burstein, and Kerry Donahue.

Subscribe to the show through iTunes or RSS, or you can stream it on PRX.org.

Follow us at @TransistorShow.

Transistor is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan foundation, enhancing public understanding of science, technology, and economic performance. Learn more at sloan.org.


PRESS RELEASE

For information, interviews, photos contact:
Patrick Kowalczyk, patrick@pkpr.com
Scott Piro, scott@pkpr.com
PKPR, 212.627.8098

PRX LAUNCHES TRANSISTOR – A NEW PODCAST

FUSING SCIENCE & STORYTELLING AND FEATURING WOMEN SCIENTIST HOSTS

Cambridge, MA (February 18, 2015) – Blending science and storytelling, a new podcast featuring three women scientists as hosts officially debuts today from PRX, the public media nonprofit that last week was named one of the world’s ten most innovative media companies by Fast Company.

Reporting on conundrums, curiosities and current events from across the scientific world, the “Transistor” podcast launches with four episodes exploring a wildly diverse range of topics from long-term memory and amnesia to the search for intelligent life in the universe and the role that trillions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses play in food and in our gut.

“Transistor” is part of a PRX science storytelling initiative supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. In addition to its scientist-hosted episodes, “Transistor” will include winners of PRX’s STEM Story Project, which has brought dozens of original stories about science, technology, engineering and math to public radio since 2013.

Three of the “Transistor” featured hosts are women scientists who have never done a podcast before: Dr. Wendy Suzuki, a Professor of Neural Science and Psychology at NYU and author of the forthcoming book Brain Healthy; Dr. Michelle Thaller, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center; and Dr. Christina Agapakis, a biologist and writer based in Los Angeles, whose work focuses on the intersection of microbiology and design.

“There is a growing audience for scientific news, and ‘Transistor’ meets that demand with original, captivating storytelling from the perspectives of women at the forefront of their fields,” said Jake Shapiro, CEO of PRX. “We are thrilled to bring this fascinating and addictive series to listeners worldwide.”

“‘Transistor’ explores the meanings behind scientific discoveries that we hear about everywhere in our lives,” said Dr. Suzuki. “Asking big questions humanizes science, and ‘Transistor’ opens up scientific fascination to audiences who don’t always look past the headlines.”

Listeners can subscribe to “Transistor” through iTunes and stream the show for free at transistor.prx.org.

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, Reveal, Snap Judgment and the Radiotopia podcast network. 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, PRX Remix, and This American Life.