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!

Second Ear Producer Wins Third Coast Award

The annual Third Coast / Richard H. Driehaus Competition Awards were announced recently, and we were excited to see that one of the winners is Annie McEwen, for her beautiful piece Here I Am and Here Be Danger.

We had the pleasure of workshopping Here Be Danger with Annie for our Second Ear program, which is a chance for producers to meet with PRX staff to edit stories, brainstorm promotion, and get ideas. Annie sent us her perspective on the process. Here’s how to submit your own radio story to Second Ear.

Congrats to Annie and to all of the winners, whose specific awards will be announced on Nov. 9 in Chicago at the Third Coast Conference. And hey, stations: many of the winners are available now to license on PRX — and you can look forward to the annual Best of the Best broadcast coming in November.

PRX is Hiring a Software Engineer

This position has been filled.

PRX volunteer day at a local farm (click to enlarge)

PRX is hiring! We’re fun. You can see the details below and apply here.

What is the company?
At PRX you will find talented, passionate, and thoughtful people who create products that bring millions of listeners to shows created by public radio and podcast producers. We also work with top-tier shows like This American Life, The Moth Radio Hour, and 99% Invisible.

We’ve been around for 10 years, yet still have the entrepreneurial energy and opportunities of a much younger company. We genuinely care about a healthy work-life balance (we feel gross using buzzwords, but 40 hour weeks and flexible hours really are the norm around here).

What is the Software Engineer job?
We are looking for an enthusiastic and creative software engineer with a passion for building robust, scalable applications with simple interfaces. You’ll have the opportunity to work on a variety of projects and find your strengths across different technologies. We’re a small organization, so within a few weeks you’ll be expected take the lead and focus on a few projects while being comfortable with having an active support role for many of the other products we work on.

You’ll work closely with our other engineers, product managers, and employees on all phases of the development cycle including planning, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance. We don’t follow Agile with a capital “A”, but work on hitting the sweet spot, which means you’ll contribute to production code within a few days.

What do we build?
If you checkout our public GitHub repositories you’ll get a sense of the projects, team members, technologies and how we work: https://github.com/prx. Our core marketplace product http://www.prx.org is being upgraded to Angular.js and Rails 4 as an open source project. You can also see the iOS and Android apps we created and support https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/public-radio-exchange-prx/id312880534 and https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Public+Radio+Exchange.

Things we’re looking for

  • Relevant experience with frameworks like Rails, Sinatra, Django, Angular and/or a degree in Computer Science
  • Aptitude for learning new technologies/languages/platforms/APIs
  • Be a nice person
  • A design aesthetic and caring about how users interact with the things you build
  • Recommendations for public radio shows or podcasts that we might not have heard
  • Opinions you can back up are great. Opinions you want to experimentally verify are even better.

Key Information

  • Job title: Software Engineer
  • Location: Harvard Square – Cambridge, MA
  • Type of Position: Full-time with benefits
  • Start date: Immediately
  • Telecommute: No
  • Apply here: http://bit.ly/1hDA6ON

Coming Soon: Studs Terkel in Conversation with American Poets

Coming soon from The WFMT Radio network, a new series called Studs Terkel in Conversation with American Poets.

Celebrate National Poetry Month with a trio of short radio programs featuring some of America’s greatest 20th century poets in conversation with Studs Terkel. These programs explore how poetry channels voices from the past, propels fantastic voyages and dives deep into memory, childhood and the wild “backyards” of life. Robert Polito, president of the Poetry Foundation, guides this tour which features excerpts from Terkel’s archival talks with Allen Ginsberg, Gwendolyn Brooks, James Baldwin, Howard Nemerov, Elma Stuckey and John Ciardi.

They’ll be posted here for listening and purchasing later this week!

Second Ear is Open for Submissions

PRX’s Second Ear — a monthly idea-sharing session & mini-makeover for an audio piece — is open for submissions now! We can only take 15 submissions, so get ’em in early.

Head here for the application form, criteria, and FAQ.

Follow @prx and #SecondEar on Twitter for updates and to hear the before and after of the chosen piece.

If you have any questions, please comment on this blog post so others can see, or write to us.

Introducing PRX’s Second Ear

Introducing PRX’s Second Ear — it’s like a mini-makeover, without the reality television!

Are you a producer looking for perspective and ideas on an audio piece?

Each month, PRX will work with one producer on a piece to improve it. We’ll provide feedback based on criteria like music, transitions, script, hosting, etc. We’ll also help with the piece’s presentation on PRX — the image, description, your profile, and so on. Then we’ll go over our ideas with you, have you post the improved piece as an “after” to the “before”, and share it with the world.

Here’s how it’ll work:

  1. We’ll take submissions online starting the first of each month. Producers will have five days to submit a piece under 15 minutes in length and a little pitch about it. One submission per person only. Submissions will be capped at 15 per month. Plan ahead: Here are the fields you’ll have to fill out when you apply.
  2. From the sixth to the fifteenth of the month, PRX staffers will choose one piece from the 15 submissions, listen to it a ton, and take notes on items to improve.
  3. Once we’ve got all our suggestions, we’ll arrange a 30-min. phone call with the producer to talk ideas. Producers will get input from John Barth (Managing Director), Genevieve Sponsler (Content Coordinator), and Erika Lantz (PRX Remix Assistant Producer).
  4. Before the end of the month, the producer will post the improved piece. We’ll provide a homepage feature, a blog post, and social media shoutouts.

Check out the FAQ we made below. To participate, follow us on Twitter, where we’ll post the link to apply and more details April 1. We’re thrilled to start this new project and can’t wait to work with you.

Some anticipated FAQs:

  • Why are you capping it at 15 submissions?
    PRX is small, and we want to be able to make sure we can read all the submissions in a timely fashion and have time to work with the producer. If you miss it, apply the next month!
  • Can I submit more than one piece?
    No — only one piece per month per person. Since we are capping it at 15 submissions, we want 15 different producers to be able to apply.
  • Why do pieces have to be under 15 min.?
    Pretty much the same answer as above — we want to be able to provide feedback on the whole piece in a short amount of time. Additionally, we have stats that show stations are much more likely to buy pieces under 10 minutes if they’re buying short pieces, and we prefer pieces under 15 minutes for Remix.
  • Will you do one per month?
    Yes — our plan right now is to do one Second Ear per month. We’ll see how it goes and may adjust accordingly.
  • If my piece is chosen and I make changes, will it get licensed by stations?
    We wish we could guarantee that, but we can’t! We can guarantee that you’ll get valuable input from PRX staff that you can use to improve your piece.
  • If I work with you guys, do I have to credit PRX in the audio?
    Nope, it’s still your piece. But we would ask you to put “Part of PRX’s Second Ear” somewhere in your piece description so that others can learn about the project.
  • Does my piece have to be on PRX when I apply?
    Yes, submitted pieces must be on PRX before the application process. That way we’ll be able to do a before and after comparison with listen and license statistics.
  • Do I have to have a paid PRX account?
    No — but we will remind you that in order to get royalties, you’ll need one!
  • What are the criteria you’ll be looking at when choosing a piece?
    Sometimes the best stories are creative pet projects. Those stories deserve an editor as much as your daily news spots do. We’re looking for complete stories that you’d like to make even stronger by getting an outside perspective. We aren’t a school so we won’t be able to teach you how to do radio, and we aren’t looking for first drafts. We are interested in working with producers who want to get pieces on the radio or want them considered for Remix.
  • What’s the goal?
    Better pieces heard by more people! We are a team of experienced radio distributors and producers helping out. It’s about making good stories even better.

Image from Shutterstock.

First Annual Gift Guide for Audio Producers

Not an audio producer.

We couldn’t get ahold of Santa, but we did gather some ideas from other friends on what to get for the audio makers in your life.

The crew at Transom sent some suggestions (get more info in their equipment reviews):

More ideas from us and other places:

Satisfied bib customer.

Producers, what are some of your favorite gifts you’ve received or given? Jump on in with your ideas in the comments below!

(Kitten image from Shutterstock. Bib image from PRX’s Rekha Murthy.)

Pop Up Archive is Live

Pop Up Archive has arrived. The platform for archiving audio has been in beta since April of this year, and after months of feedback and tweaking, is open to all.

The service — a lightweight web application developed by Pop Up Archive with PRX — allows content creators to store, search, and access audio files from anywhere, with additional features like automatic transcription, keyword generation, and timestamped search.

Plans are available for both individuals and organizations (like public radio stations!). Indies, head on over to popuparchive.org to get started. (By the way, Pop Up Archive is integrated with PRX so individuals can log right in with their current PRX accounts.)

Media organizations, newsrooms, and archives: check out Pop Up Archive’s time-saving enterprise services.

Questions, comments, or anything audio on your mind? Let Pop Up Archive know.

Get the official word below in the press release, and see you in the Archive!


November 20, 2013
Media Contact: Anne Wootton, popuparchive.org, 510 463 4066, anne@popuparchive.org

Pop Up Archive lends a new (searchable) voice to sound

Oakland, CA ­­ The web is getting noisier — but sound is trapped on servers and hard drives, untranscribed and unheard. Pop Up Archive has built simple tools to help journalists and media organizations find and reuse sound.

Developed with the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) through support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Pop Up Archive is a workspace and audio search tool for journalists, archivists, and the institutions supporting them.

Pop Up Archive is:
● Immediate automatic transcription
● Keyword extraction and tagging
● Time­stamped search results
● Transcript refinement

Pop Up Archive enterprise features include:
● Mass ingest
● Archival processing and metadata creation
● Newsroom integration
● Team access
● Publishing to third­parties
● Long­term digital preservation at the Internet Archive (archive.org).
● Amara (amara.org) for perfect transcripts and translations.

Pop Up Archive is lightweight, designed to fit individual workflows and some of the biggest media collections in the world. Pop Up Archive began with rigorous user research across media industries and archives. Initial partners and clients of the service include Illinois Public Media, the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Pacifica Radio Archives, and the Studs Terkel complete radio archive, curated by the WFMT Radio Network and the Chicago History Museum.

“As radio and history lovers, we support the creators and archivists who make and preserve our collective memory,” said Pop Up Archive co­founder, Bailey Smith. “Around the office, we talk about the magic of serendipity — what we discover and create when voices from the present and past are searchable. Pop Up Archive liberates undiscovered sound.”

“PRX is excited to collaborate with Pop Up Archive to develop this innovative service,” said Jake Shapiro, CEO of PRX. “We share Anne and Bailey’s vision of preserving and expanding a diversity of voices from radio and beyond, and will use PRX’s distribution platform to ensure that exceptional stories reach audiences everywhere.”

“Pop Up Archive is the smart solution we’ve been waiting for. The team is ahead of the curve in ways that make our job easier and our team more effective,” said Joaquin Alvarado, Chief Strategy Officer, Center for Investigative Reporting.

“Archiving and preserving audio is an ongoing challenge for content creators; tackling the issue becomes even more important as technologies continue to evolve,” said Michael Maness, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism and media innovation. “With its entrance into the mainstream market, Pop Up Archive is filling a major gap—providing newsrooms, journalists and others with an easy way to apply audio to enrich the quality and breadth of their storytelling.”

About Pop Up Archive
Pop Up Archive inspires the next generation of media by giving a new voice to audio on the web. Co­founders Bailey Smith and Anne Wootton’s first challenge was thirty years of unsearchable audio from San Francisco producers The Kitchen Sisters. The result: simple tools that organize sound through automatic transcription, tagging, and search indexing. Pop Up Archive is a winner of the 2012 Knight News Challenge: Data and is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, in addition to serving on the Innovation Working Group of the Library of Congress National Digital Stewardship Alliance.

About PRX
PRX is an award­winning 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, 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.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation advances journalism excellence in the digital age through an array of media innovation projects and other initiatives. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. Because democracy demands wisdom, NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. NEH grants typically go to cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television, and radio stations, and to individual scholars.