Joining PRX

beccaOne month after joining PRX as a Web Application Developer, I’m happy to report that I’m having a great time, learning rapidly, and already beginning to make some improvements on  I’m Rebecca Nesson, PRX’s newest technical staff member.

The PRX offices are only a short distance from my old digs in the Computer Science department at Harvard from which I am receiving a Ph.D. in Computational Linguistics on Thursday.  (Really, who doesn’t want computers to learn to speak English?)  And I feel right at home sharing space with the Berkman Center where I studied cyberlaw when I was a law student at HLS and worked on educational technology as a research fellow after I graduated.  After many years in academia I wanted to work in a production environment where I could improve my engineering skills.  But I didn’t want to go just anywhere.  It had to be an organization that was doing something really cool.  Enter PRX…

PRX is leading the way in helping public radio to flourish at a time when many other forms of media are struggling to remain current.  In my view, the key to our success is figuring out how to streamline the best parts of what public radio already does and envision new ways that public radio can serve and grow its audience.  We do that by building the technology to make it happen.  As a programmer at PRX my work is to build the media environment I want to live in.  That is cool.

In the near future I’ll be contributing to PRX by working on the core web application.  As I get more experienced here I hope to be able to bring some of my computational expertise to bear on our technology and to help integrate PRX content creatively into online educational experiences.

When I’m not at PRX I’m generally hanging out with my family, which has grown from two to four people in the last year and a half.  I’m also a big supporter of local farming and I volunteer as a board member at Waltham Fields Community Farm.

Greetings From A New PRXer

The rumors are true: PRX now has the best Director of Projects + Partnerships it’s ever had!

Hi everyone, I’m Rekha Murthy, PRX’s first Director of Projects + Partnerships. I’ve worked in public radio, Web, and mobile media for the past 12 years. My public radio career began with an internship at WFCR in Amherst, MA (thanks guys!). In 1998, NPR brought me to Washington DC to be a writer and editor for their Online division. Then, from 2000 to 2003, I was a producer for “All Things Considered”. I’ve since freelanced for “On Point”, “Day to Day”, and “The World”, and I helped design and teach a radio documentary course for MIT undergrads.

Before, after, and sometimes during my public radio life, I have been a user experience designer (aka information architect) as well. I’ve worked for Web and mobile startups and consulted on my own. Past clients include France Telecom R+D, Bank of America, IEEE, and

It used to feel like I was jumping between two different worlds, but now I know that good things come from crossing media. MIT’s Comparative Media Studies program, where I got my Masters, affirmed this belief. While there, I designed a multimedia walking tour of Paris for handheld devices. I also spent a lot of time (read: thesis) analyzing how people use the streetscape for everyday communication.

I enjoy radio documentaries while I’m cooking and knitting, and first-person narratives when I’m at the gym. I surf the Web a lot, tracking fads and trends and guessing which ones will endure. I blog occasionally, too.

As for PRX, I like to think about it in terms of movement. Producers and stations use the framework we provide to keep public radio pieces moving, bringing greater exposure and revenue to an ever-growing pool of content.

Much of that movement has been in radio broadcast. But now we’re also thinking beyond broadcast, to a myriad of rapidly evolving ways to distribute and consume audio. These include satellite radio, HD radio, mobile devices and, of course, the Web. At PRX, we believe public radio has a major role to play in this dynamic media world.

That’s where I come in. As Director of Projects + Partnerships, I’m here to move your content further. With your input, I’ll evaluate which platforms are worthwhile, and what kinds of content work best on each. I’ve already helped send dozens of albums to iTunes, eMusic, Amazon, Napster, and Rhapsody, where people are paying to download public radio content to their own players.

PRX on iTunes
Actual iTunes placement of a real album from Click for context.

I’m a firm believer that old and new can co-exist in mutually supportive ways. Broadcast radio will be around for a long time. But the content it airs can go all sorts of places, reaching new people. A digital presence might lure people back to their radio dials. Or it might develop a following in a new medium. Maybe some followers will become producers themselves, bringing a fresh perspective to the field.

All this movement can be overwhelming, but we at PRX see it as an opportunity, and we want to make it easier to navigate. I am looking forward to getting to know you all, and hearing your thoughts on how to keep your work moving in this exciting media world. Feel free to message me from my profile on

A Short Story from Emily, the new “Help” girl.

I was probably on the San Diego Freeway (I was always on the San Diego Freeway,) sealed tight in my car and inching forward in that jaw clenching, hair-pulling gridlock between Los Angeles (home) and the Valley (work) when, despairing, I hit the “FM” button on my stereo. I had come to LA as a music student, and stayed to play in a rock band and teach cello. Despite musical inclinations, I had long since exhausted my CD collection, moved on to my library’s books-on-tape shelf––inexplicably reminiscent of my 8th grade reading list (think: Emily Bronte, Nathaniel Hawthorne)––and had even listened to 18 lectures on the History of Linguistics. (Sound desperate?) And because driving in Los Angeles always put me in some kind of apocalyptic, existential mood, I was probably meditating on the carbon dioxide rising up from my exhaust pipe, or the clumsiness of a cello in combating abuse of power on Capitol Hill, as I scanned through the local radio stations. Jay Z, The Monkeys, Everlast. . .then, (angelic choir sounds please!) KPCC. That is, Air Talk, Patt Morrison, The Story, Talk of the Nation, Morning Edition, StoryCorps, All Things Considered. From that moment until I left Los Angeles 9 months later, I turned off the radio––dial set permanently on 89.5FM––only while teaching, sleeping, or on the phone. I dreaded the moment between parking my car and turning on the radio in my apartment. With an iPod strapped to my arm like an IV, I brought Terry Gross with me on my morning jogs. I was an NPR junkie.

What is it about the voice that is so comforting? Why do stories move us so? Is it embedded in our culture? Encoded in our DNA? Storytelling is fundamental to our perception of ourselves and each other. Through public radio, we transmit the real and complex stories that inform and create real and complex communities. But healthy communities need all kinds of different voices and stories. Can the handful of local and national public radio shows I love so much sustain a nation of 300 million? A world of 6.5 billion?

That’s why I was so excited to discover PRX last May, and why I am downright thrilled to be starting work here today. That’s right! I can’t wait to help you producers get your pieces up on our site, or help you stations license them for broadcast, because really, I can’t wait to turn on my radio and hear some mindblowing radio!

Hello from Larissa!

New intern reporting for duties!

It’s been a month since I discovered that PRX lives down the street from me, and after a couple meetings and some emails, I’ve landed in one of the coolest public radio projects around. Not that I’m basing this off of a lot of experience, but I discover something cool about PRX every time I come to work. This blog, even, is super informative. I’ve spent most of my radio time in the dungeon-like (but still lovable!) abode of WHRB, Harvard’s radio station. I interned for the radio show “Pacific Time” at KQED, which was an eye-opening and awesome experience. I got to go to Ozzfest to interview the first Asian band to perform there. (You can also find my own stories in the PacTime archives)

I got hooked on public radio during high school and thought that it would be SO FUN to be on the other side, working for radio. My favorite shows include This American Life (of course), KCRW’s Good Food, WGBH’s On Point w/ Tom Ashbrook, Wait Wait!, Science Friday w/ Ira Flatow, The World (and its GeoQuiz), Car Talk (here’s my favorite Car Talk segment ever– too bad there’s no audio) the list goes on… I love the really quirky stories, the personal ones that can’t quite be stuffed into a category. I’m coming to discover that PRX is a great place to find these off-the-beaten path stories. The aural medium is so accessible that everyone would fall in love with producing their own stories if they gave it a try. I did.

So, I’m really looking forward to the upcoming months with PRX. I’ll be helping out with BallotVox and other campaign coverage, looking out especially for fresh youth voices. And I’ll also be pitching in with general PRX business. It’s great; I get paid to be immersed in something that I really love (in addition to cleaning the bathrooms and refilling parking meters, of course). Just kidding!

Introducing the PRX campaign curators

Contact: Jake Shapiro, Executive Director
617 576-5455

PRX is pleased to introduce two Campaign Curators who will help lead PRX’s contribution to the recently announced Public Media Election Collaboration.

Campaign Audio Curator
Charles Lane is a freelance radio and print reporter who files frequently with WSHU, NPR new magazines such as Justice Talking, Here & Now, as well as VOA, Radio Netherlands, and Soundprint. He also writes for the Religion News Service, Catholic World Report, and Penthouse (!) among others. His fourth full-length radio documentary will be distributed by Soundprint this spring, and his fifth will be distributed on PRX in mid-March 2008.

Charles’s reporting has been funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media, and the PRX/NEA Reversioning Fund. He studied Patristic History at Oklahoma State University. He now lives in Harlem with his wife and her cat.

As Campaign Audio Curator Charles will work with PRX to find, select, annotate, and promote public radio and other audio material on Campaign ’08 and related issues. The collection will include produced pieces, interviews, raw audio from campaign appearances, issue-based and local or regional stories that can be edited or excerpted for re-use by stations and other project partners. An initial campaign collection is underway and located here:

Social Media Curator
Katherine Bidwell is a producer and writer who most recently worked for Open Source, the pioneering public radio program that actively integrated blogging and “web 2.0” approaches in the production, presentation and promotion of the show. She was also a producer for NPR’s “The Connection” and has worked for a number of environmental nonprofits and as a freelance editor. Katherine lives in Watertown, Massachusetts.

As Social Media Curator Katherine will work with PRX to discover, review and promote citizen media and “user-generated content” from blogs, YouTube, podcasts and other sources. Selected content will be showcased on local and national public media websites.

About the project

Public media has a unique opportunity to cover Campaign 2008 and elevate public engagement around critical issues at stake nationally and locally.

The democratization of the tools for creating and distributing media has resulted in an explosion of conversation, connection and content. This in turn creates a critical need for ways to sift, filter and find value amidst irrelevant or even harmful expression.

One important role is to use public media’s presence and journalistic values to showcase and highlight examples of the diverse range of content and conversation already taking place online.

While the CNN/YouTube debates are the highest profile attempt so far to incorporate participatory media into coverage of Campaign 2008, there are few focused efforts to help audiences navigate the growing ocean of “user-generated content” to find relevant, important and revealing voices and perspectives.

This social media curating project is an experiment to explore approaches to this task, in the context of a critical national moment of a presidential election.

For the election audio project, we will help bubble up stories that otherwise might get lost in the shuffle, create an collection for timely use during the campaign season as well as a helpful archive for further evergreen and “long tail” opportunities in the future.

With the proliferation of audio on-air and online there’s a critical role to play in sifting, sorting, curating and promoting the best of what’s available. The PRX campaign collection will be a vital resource for public broadcasting stations, partners and the public.

About PRX

The Public Radio Exchange is an online marketplace for distribution, review, and licensing of public radio programming. PRX is also a growing social network and community of listeners, producers, and stations collaborating to reshape public radio. The mission of PRX is to create more opportunities for diverse programming of exceptional quality, interest, and importance to reach more listeners.

Read more about PRX here

PRX is a collaboration of the Station Resource Group and Atlantic Public Media, with 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 Open Society Institute, the Surdna Foundation, and Google Grants.

New Administrative Associate

Hi PRX-world! I joined PRX two weeks ago as the new administrative associate. I’m loving PRX and the whole giant-college-campus feel of Boston (school without the homework can never be bad).

I just graduated from college with a major in government and a minor in dance, so naturally the first job I got this summer involved writing help documentation for a technology startup. Several user manuals later, I feel prepared to take on your help questions, which is one of the things I’ll be doing for PRX.

Before graduating and becoming a “real person,” I soaked up all the unique intern experiences I could from the D.C. area, where I grew up. (If you’re from the area you know that the Beltway commute = a lot of public radio listening time.) I conducted interviews for College Media News and braved a scary abandoned hospital for an indie horror film. I wrote a restaurant review and a “Rocky Horror Picture Show” event preview, plus worked on the Shakespeare in Washington festival feature for’s City Guide.

A friend introduced me to PRX, and I am lucky to have a job that combines working for a cause and being surrounded by unique journalism and broadcasting. While I couldn’t pick just one piece on PRX that I like the best, as a performing arts lover, I really enjoyed Designing Dance.

I’m looking forward to the months ahead here at PRX!

Hello, Hello!

My name is Carman, the one of the two new Public Radio Exchange interns this season.

During my very first day here, I was advised to stroll down the street to apply for a position with Car Talk, elsewhere in “our fair city.” Name puns aside, I’m happy to have my first public radio experience be at PRX. As an aspiring independent radio producer, I hope to help and absorb all I can. Much like the PRX site, everyone is full of curiosity and hidden talents.

Having spent eight months wandering and volunteering through Asia, meeting new friends that treated me like family, I love how good radio can teach me so much about our wide-world while holding me so close. I have fond memories of hearing short-wave broadcasts of the CBC or BBC at sunrise in dusty, remote villages. I appreciate Hearing Voices (plus blog) and Re:sound for the cross-border narratives they bring to my ears.

Other audio artists I enjoy include: Joe Frank, Benjamen Walker, Scott Carrier, Jake Wargo, Ben Adair, Mira Burt-Wintonick, Song and Memory (from Ann Heppermann, Rick Moody and Kara Oehler and c/o Weekend America)

I played a small part in the re-launch of Generation PRX, our youth-radio online community. Take a look and spread the word! Any radio newbies should check out the handy Guide to Peer Feedback that our own Johanna (Jones) Franzel created.

Explore, celebrate with a new podcasts or even sit down for some Buffalo Turkey Butt.

Feel free to e-mail me: carman at prx [dot] org

Hello, world!

I’m not sure whether to call this a rite of passage or an initiation ritual, but regardless, here it is: the requisite introductory blog post from a new PRX person.

I’m Chris, the new intern at PRX, and I’m thrilled to be here. I’m completely dedicated to the goal of re-democratizing public radio, by bringing diverse and unique radio to new audiences; and in my mind, the social-networking approach that PRX takes is a fantastic way of doing that. I am so dedicated, in fact, that I will make any number of photocopies and blog posts and soy lattes, so long as it seems to be helping.

I’ve been involved in public/community radio just over a year, during which time I’ve held about 5 different positions at Brown Student and Community Radio and one internship at my local NPR affiliate. You can hear the first radio piece I ever produced if you dig around in the archives of the local news show I used to contribute to. But I swear, I am a much more interesting person than the story (about an ugly building in Pawtucket, RI) would suggest.

PRX is a huge, potentially frightening place. At the moment I can tell you that I’m really into Benjamen Walker’s “Theory of Everything” series, WNYC’s “Radio Lab” (and pretty much anything with Robert Krulwich involved), the spastic piece “Stress Test“, and, being an indie-rock nerd, the initimable “Lord God Bird” by Long Haul Productions. Still, there is a simply overwhelming amount of audio here, and I’ve only just begun to look around. If you ask me in a month, I’ll probably have an entirely different set of favorites.

So I urge you: don’t be afraid to explore! Listen to new and unreviewed pieces! And please, If there’s anything I can do to make your time here with PRX more comfortable, please don’t hesitate to press the call button above your seat get in contact with us. We’re here to make PRX better, faster, stronger. (No, not harder.)

Thanks again and I wish you a pleasant journey.