Make Better Radio

We enjoyed a terrific web event last week for youth producers with guests Ben Trefny of KALW and and Michael May of Salt Institute for Documentary Studies on the topic Make Better Radio.

From the importance of nut graphs to the importance of dance parties, we heard lots of practical, inspirational guidance for youth radio groups of all levels.

You can find an archived video recording of the web event here.

And you can see some of the gems that participants took from the webinar using the hashtag #MakeBetterRadio – thanks to PRXer Audrey Mardavich, all are collected in this Storify.

Many thanks to our guests, to KALW, the Salt Institute, the Bay Area Video Coalition, and to all of the youth radio leaders out there for the amazing work you do.

Web Event Recap: Online Fundraising for Youth Radio Groups

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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:

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A New Chapter for Generation PRX

Evolution of the GPRX Logo

Evolution of the GPRX Logo

In 9 years of leading Generation PRX, I’ve watched this network grow from a handful of committed youth radio groups to something more closely resembling a movement. And though I’ll be leaving PRX to pursue a career in health at the end of the month, I’m so excited to see what comes next for the youth radio field.

We’ve come a long way! Thanks to dedicated youth radio producers, teachers, and stations, diverse stories from young producers are reaching millions of listeners. From 26 youth radio stories, the PRX catalogue now hosts over 2,400 pieces from 60 youth radio groups. Audiences are hearing young people report on topics ranging from politics to heartbreak, but they’re also hearing something else: young people’s capacity, vision, and insight.

GPRX’s Youth Editorial Board has proved to be a vital network of peer feedback, and our hour-long specials on topics as wide-ranging as immigration, parenting and the environment have created a new model of programming. This work demonstrates what I think of as the hallmark of youth-produced radio: the transformative power of both making and listening to stories.

But this isn’t goodbye! I’ll be staying on in some new capacities to help shepherd this important work forward, and we’ve got excellent partners that support new voices:

  • At PRX, we’ll continue to feature youth-produced radio on the website, newsletters and social media. And PRX Remix – our 24-hour satellite and broadcast stream – is always looking for great content from new producers. If you have work or news to share please let our editors know. We’re also planning to offer webinars to help youth radio groups build capacity in areas like fundraising, peer feedback and distribution. Details to follow.
  • Transom has recently launched online workshops (now in testing) to help new producers hone skills in a free, distance-learning format. From history, to interviewing, to equipment – keep your eye on this one.
  • HowSound podcast, from venerable radio teacher Rob Rosenthal, is an incredible tool for understanding how great radio gets made. Subscribe in iTunes.
  • Start planning now to go to Third Coast Festival, the best producer meet up in radioland. TCF is a chance to build skills, connect with new and veteran producers, and (of course!) show off your dance moves.
  • AIR – the Association of Independents in Radio – offers both student-discount memberships and mentorship programs that help individual producers focus on a particular skill and audio piece. Their New Voices scholarships help minority producers attend Third Coast. Contact Erin Mishkin (erin[at]airmedia[dot]org) to learn more.

I’m so proud of what the Generation PRX network has created, and excited to hear what comes next. I remain as inspired by young people’s stories  – and the producers, teachers and stations who bring them to the world – as I was ten years ago. The future is bright!

 

 

PRX at Ten / Where Are They Now: Kiera Feldman, Rockstar Journalist

This post is part of PRX at Ten’s Where Are They Now series about former PRX staff.

Back when Generation PRX started YouthCast in 2006 — a podcast to showcase the best in youth-produced radio — we decided to look for a smart host who could reach both youth and adult audiences. Kiera Feldman – who began in youth radio at KBOO and was a Brown University junior at the time – basically blew the lid off what we asked for and elevated the job to art form. Funny, talented and whip-insightful, we knew Kiera was destined for greatness. Now a freelance reporter for the Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund, we asked Kiera to share what she’s been up to since the good ol’ YouthCast days.

From Kiera:

Kiera Feldman, former YouthCast host, current rockstar reporter

I often find myself returning to something I read in a Transom essay some years back. “Radio is my first love,” wrote Gwen Macsai, “and like a first love, no matter how far you stray and no matter how badly it ended, your heart still skips a beat when it walks through the door.”

Back when I hosted PRX’s alt.NPR YouthCast podcast (2007-2008), I thought of myself first and foremost as a Radio Person. I’d be making annual pilgrimages to public radio conferences ’til I died, I thought. But these days, my shotgun mic is stashed away beneath my bed, still a treasured possession but more of a relic from another time. (It’s an AT835b, because I know you want to know.)

To recap: after graduating college in 2008, I moved to Brooklyn because it was a thing people did. I found a new extracurricular: producing segments for a progressive radio collective on WBAI called Beyond the Pale, and I’ve stuck with it ever since. (That first year, I also worked on PBS documentaries and as a fill-in producer at WNYC.) I was the only 20-something in the lefty radio collective, which meant I’d get goaded into doing all the stories that involved young people and going into the belly of the beast. I was a Radio Person working with print people on a volunteer-run show, and gradually I became a print person, too. It started with doing magazine versions of radio stories, like this n+1 story about Jews for Jesus.

The thing was, in the radio world, there just wasn’t much opportunity to do longform narrative storytelling of the muckraking variety–which I discovered was what really made me tick. But that’s a thing you can do in magazines, and I’m deeply indebted to radio: my ear for dialogue, being able to pull off the print version of the perfect tape-to-tape transition, being able to do interviews where you get people to recount events so that you can reconstruct it as a scene later (the Ira Glass “and then what did you say? And then what did she say? And what was going through your mind?” approach), and on and on.

Lots of my stuff is on my website, but here are some highlights:

+ The story I’m most proud of: “Grace in Broken Arrow,” about child sex abuse cover-up at an Oklahoma megachurch. (Over at the Nieman Foundation, I laid out some of my thoughts and working theories about trauma reporting, investigative narrative, and the tremendous honor and responsibility of being entrusted with vulnerable people’s stories.)
+ “The Romance of Birthright Israel” in The Nation. The story was funded by the awesome and amazing Investigative Fund, which is supporting a few of my current projects (thus making it possible to be a freelance investigative reporter).
+ The last radio story I did–a dispatch from the Birthright trenches–and it is pretty funny, I must say.
+ “Living the American Dream in the West Bank” for VICE: about New Yorkers who become West Bank settlers (“the long white flight,” I called it in a follow-up story).

What is PRX NXT?

Originally posted on Generation PRX.

At PRX HQ, we’ve been talking about how to improve PRX in a number of ways, including some exciting changes to profile pages, audio and, ultimately, listening. It’s a project we’re calling PRX NXT. We asked Director of Project Management Matt MacDonald, who heads up the project, to break it down.

GPRX: Take it from the top: What is PRX NXT?

Matt MacDonald, developer smarty man

Matt: PRX NXT is a significant refresh and update to the PRX.org website, improving the publishing process and creating brand new piece and producer profile pages with a focus on increasing listening.

GPRX: What are the biggest changes producers will notice as it rolls out?

Matt: Producers will notice that piece pages will be updated to make it much easier for people to listen to their stories and share their work. We know that visitors to PRX often first experience a producers work via a piece page, that essentially a piece page is a homepage for PRX and the producer. With that in mind we’re focusing on designing that page to encourage more listening. Right now when you visit a PRX piece page it is very much geared toward the marketplace, producers selling pieces and stations buying pieces. The most visible change will probably be how much we’re improving the listening experience.

GPRX: How will these changes help producers get audio work out in the world?

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Matt: I’d say the most important change that we’re making relates to the listening experience. PRX.org has always been an open and transparent marketplace and the listener community has just sort of come along for the ride. With PRX NXT we are creating a world-class listening destination for professional audio and storytelling producers. We want to make sure that when a producer points someone to their PRX piece or producer profile that they get a great listening experience.

GPRX: Anything else we should know?

Matt: We’d love to hear what producers at all stages of their career and experience level need to improve their work and build audience. Whether you are looking to become a professional producer or a skilled hobbyist, we want to make sure that PRX is the home for your audio stories.

Have an opinion? Fill out the PRX Producer Survey.

Bullied Takes Off

Way back in the fall of 2010, when we first started talking to the Generation PRX network about creating an hour-long youth special on bullying, we knew we were on to something.

Over the past several years, GPRX has collaborated with stations (KUOW, WBEZ, NHPR) and youth producers to tackle issues ranging from immigration, to parenting, to Black masculinity.  The shows – which bring a uniquely youth perspective to topics that young people experience first hand – have been PRX hits.

But this time?  We’ve been bowled over by pick up both on and off the radio.

GPRX's Jones Franzel talks "Bullied" on FoxNews.com

So far, Bullied: Teen Stories from Generation PRX has been licensed by 16 different stations.  It’s been spotlighted on the Third Coast Festival library, written about on FoxNews.com and GPRX Director Jones Franzel was interviewed on Jonathan Hunts’ show on FoxNews.com (true story!)

Bullied: Teen Stories from Generation PRX was funded by the Motorola Mobility Foundation and comes from (awesome, amazing) producer Catie Talarski, Connecticut Public Radio and PRX.  You’ll find the back story to how this ambitious special came together as well as individual posts from featured youth radio groups on generationprx.org.   We’re so proud of the work the whole team did, and gratified that the show is finding audiences far and wide.

Meet the GPRX Bullying Stories Project Producers

GPRX Bullying Stories Project Producers

Several weeks ago, we asked the Generation PRX network to send us pitches on stories about bullying – and did they answer the call!  We received a large pile of terrific submissions from youth radio groups around the country.  Our panel of youth and adult producers had the extremely difficult job of selecting just five finalists from the group.

And here they are!  Over on the GPRX blog, you can meet the producers and hear their pitches.  As thanks for their work (and with our thanks to the Motorola Mobility Empowerment Foundation), each group received a recording kit (including a Sony PCM-M10 recorder and an RE-50 mic, for the tech-curious among you) and Hindenburg Journalist audio editing software.

The team is already hard at work, collaborating with GPRX and producer Catie Talarski of WNPR to turn their pitches into stories that will become part of an hour-long special on bullying.

We’re delighted to work with all of these talented producers, and to share youth voices on bullying with the entire PRX network.  Want project updates?  Follow us here.

Emily Joins YouthCast!

We are super (SUPER!) excited to re-introduce Emily Corwin as the new host of YouthCast, the Generation PRX podcast and blog that is all about youth radio. Why re-introduce? Well, until a few months ago Emily helped hold down the PRX help desk – answering any and all questions from producers, listeners and stations alike. And besides hosting YouthCast, she is the Assistant Programmer of Public Radio Remix, PRX’s 24/7 radio service of driveway-moment storytelling. That’s right, Emily is a bonafide PRXpert.

But while Emily knows all there is to know about distributing radio, she’s also an up and coming maker of radio; you can hear some of her work here, or on PRX. And did we mention she’s also a wildly talented cellist? If she isn’t listening to, talking about, or making radio, you can find Emily running, biking, cooking, eating, or skyping with her tiny nephew.

Like we said, we are SUPER excited that Emily’s joining us on YouthCast, and we’re bidding a fond and grateful farewell to the amazing Molly Adams, who ably hosted the ‘Cast for two years. Keep your eyes on these two – they’re headed places.

Subscribe to YouthCast on iTunes

Scoop a Storytelling Kit! GPRX Announces Call for Pitches

With help from the Motorola Mobility Foundation, Generation PRX – the youth radio division of PRX – is very excited to launch a new and creative producing project: Bullying Stories, A Community Storytelling Project from GPRX.  For the first time, we’re asking youth radio groups to send us pitches for stories on the topic of bullying.

In return, we’re offering some terrific resources: an audio storytelling kit, training webinars, and possible inclusion in an hour-long special on bullying which will be shared nationally by PRX.

Are there bullying stories you’ve witnessed in your community? Have you created a story about bullying that you’d like to take further? Pitches should address a specific theme and make a concise, compelling case for the story. Please see additional details here and send pitches to generationprx[at]prx.org by midnight EST on Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All pitches will be reviewed by a panel of youth and adult producers. Selected pitches will receive:

  • Audio storytelling kit that includes a digital recorder, microphone, and audio editing software (a $500 value)
  • Training webinars on producing, refining, and distributing stories
  • Likely inclusion in a youth radio special to be broadcast nationwide via PRX

For all groups, the GPRX Bullying Stories Project is a chance to develop pitching skills and be part of a national movement of young people speaking up about bullying. As the project progresses, we’ll post updates and links on ways to be involved over on the Generation PRX blog.

Find all the details here and see the GPRX video we put together for the grant application.

Generation PRX Awarded Empowerment Grant from Motorola Mobility Foundation

Generation PRX was delighted to learn that our project, GPRX Community-Supported Bullying Stories, has been awarded an Empowerment Grant from the Motorola Mobility Foundation.  Funding will allow GPRX to provide youth producers with digital tools and training to create a catalogue of community stories about bullying. These stories will provide valuable teaching tools and will become part of an hour-long special to be shared with public radio stations nationwide. Our grant video submission is below:

Stay tuned for project updates! And please join us in extending congratulations to fellow winners, all non-profit organizations that leverage technology to help build stronger communities.  See the complete list.