Trumpets? Seriously?

The first striking thing about this story is that it starts with 30 seconds of trumpets.

The second striking thing is that suddenly James Franco is copping to it. “You’re probably saying to yourself, seriously? Is this for real? Trumpets? And I’m saying, yeah.”

But of course it only gets stranger from here. In no time at all, Franco is conjuring images of horses galloping through thunderstorms, and surreal dialogue happening in parking lots that might or might exist–all while extolling the virtues of the medium of radio.

And then Franco admits to you, “gentle listener,” that he is the Angel of Death.

This strange piece of radio fiction is part of The Organist, a new podcast from The Believer magazine and KCRW. The Organist is an odd mix of arts reporting, celebrity interviews, and other audio oddities, all told with the McSweeney’s moxie that we all know and love. Listen for The Organist on PRX Remix (stations, download it for your audiences here).


Lots of News from PRX Remix

There’s lots happening at PRX Remix these days.

PRX Remix logo

Welcome, new Assistant Producer!
We are thrilled that Erika Lantz is joining Roman Mars and Sam Greenspan to make Remix even more awesome. Read her introductory blog post (a rite of passage for all PRX newbies) and say hello sometime.

Thanks to all who applied – it was quite a group!

We went mobile.
Many of you know that we recently launched a new name, new look, and new mobile apps. And a new website: http://prx.mx Short and sweet, so you can tweet

Roman, Erika, and Sam are Facebooking , tweeting twitter-bird-white-on-blue, and blogging recent Remix additions and general audio faves.

We’ve updated the license terms.
The new terms more clearly capture Remix’s expanding cross-platform nature. Please go here to review the new language. You can always manage your Remix permissions in My PRX under Outside Purchaser Preferences, or in Edit Piece.

PRX treats your work with respect and care. Remix is breaking new ground in the public radio and story listening experience, and we’re grateful for the role your work plays in this effort.

Any questions? Contact us.

Introductions

Hello! I’m Erika, the new Assistant Producer for PRX Remix. I feel very lucky to join a team of such imaginative people.

I grew up in Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes and Minnesota Public Radio. I spent a lot of time making music and thinking about words, and feeling torn between the two. Then it hit me that words and sound work together all the time. I turned to radio.

I got my start at KFAI in Minneapolis. Since then, I’ve spent time at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, APM’s Performance TodayState of the Re:Union, and, most recently, WBUR.

I’ve worked in other media, but sound affects my emotions more than any other thing I perceive. There’s no better way to get drawn into a story, a perspective, a place. Good radio makes me feel connected, in some new way, to the world around me. It seems to me most of us spend our lives looking for connections like that.

PRX Remix lets you roam a sonic world more immersive and surprising than you find on traditional radio stations. There’s a whimsy to the random curated stream. You can bump into subjects you might not have thought to learn about, trip over shows otherwise unencountered, and get lost in archival sounds from the past. I’ll be spending my days scouting for new producers and sounds. I’ll share the best on PRX Remix.

Beyond building new platforms, PRX keeps looking for ways to push the medium while supporting storytellers. In the few days I’ve been here, I’ve already learned about upcoming projects I think you’ll want to hear about. I’m excited to get to work. Stay tuned.

Pigs. Deal With It.

Nearly three minutes of uninterrupted squealing. It’s challenging. It’s painful. And it’s total genius.

HARK!, a documentary by Chris Brooks, Paolo Pietropaolo, and Alan Hall, “investigates the acoustic world of Early Modern England.” Even though the historical record may give us some clues as to what the Elizabethan era might have looked like, we have almost no inkling what it sounded like.

Almost. This stunning work takes us back 400 years into a long-extinct sonic world–a world absent of the noise of cell phones, car traffic, household appliances, and recorded music. A world where the “sonic event” of the day might be the livestock getting fed.

So when you start hearing pigs around the 22-minute mark–and you keep hearing pigs through 25-minute mark–don’t fast-forward. Let the pigs take you through a time warp. And then be glad that you don’t have to clean up after them.

Listen for HARK! on PRX Remix.

An Auditory Unghosting

How can one make sense of an untimely death? Especially the death of someone who spent his life working to make his country a more fair and compassionate place?

In 1963, NAACP Field Secretary Medgar Evers was assassinated by Byron De La Beckwith. Evers’ life and legacy has been commemorated in song, film, and TV. Now, author Frank X. Walker gives a new take on Medgar Evers’ story in poetry.

In this hour-long special, “The Unghosting of Medgar Evers,” Frank X. Walker and WUKY producer DeBraun Thomas present a stunning remix of poetry, music, and historical context.

Chicago Gets Curious

Have you ever wanted a radiophonic go-to source for info on legends, rumors, and lore about your city? If you live in or love Chicago, then you’re in luck.

Curious City, based at WBEZ, is a new project from AIR‘s Localore initiative. It invites listeners to ask questions about The Windy City. Upcoming episodes will have WBEZ staffers investigating queries such as, “What is it like to live on a minimum-wage job in Chicago?” “What economic impact do local colleges and universities have on the city’s economy?” “What is the average income of a street performer in Chicago per year?”

So far, my favorite stories have been about how Chicagoans speak. On a request from a listener, the Curious City team produced a story about the origin of the Chicago accent. But after hearing that story, another listener pointed out that Chicago is really home to more than just one accent–there’s also the Chicago “Blaccent” (as in, black accent). Take a listen.

If you’ve got some curiosity about Chicago, find out how your question can become a radio story over at wbez.org/curiouscity.

Episodes of Curious City are making their way onto PRX, and you can also catch them on PRX Remix.

Seeking PRX Remix Assistant Producer

Job Description
PRX Remix Assistant Producer

This position has been filled

THE OPPORTUNITY

The PRX Remix Assistant Producer will seek, find, screen, and recommend great story-driven audio for use on PRX Remix. If you are a critical and even somewhat obsessive listener to public radio, podcasts, intriguing sound of various kinds, and can pick out the most compelling audio from the mediocre and mundane, your curatorial ears might be just the right fit for PRX Remix.


Working under the direction of PRX Remix Program Director Roman Mars, and coordinating with PRX editorial staff, you will also get your hands dirty writing, producing, recording, editing, voicing and interviewing to create short-form interstitial content for use on PRX Remix. You will be in frequent touch with producers and podcasters about using their work, and communicate closely with the PRX team.

Strong candidates should have:

  • Great ears and great taste – you’re open-minded but discerning, and in sync with the PRX Remix sensibility.
  • Great chops – you can quickly edit audio using your favorite tools of choice like ProTools, Hindenburg, and know your way around PRX.org and tools like Dropbox, SoundCloud.
  • Great writing – you can whip up short copy for promos and pieces, fire off well-composed emails to producers, collaborators, partners, and occasionally contribute to the PRX blog and social media presence.
  • Great personality – collaborative, enthusiastic, adventurous, with the maturity to work with minimal direct supervision and communicate across a busy team.
  • Great balls of fire!

We strongly prefer that the producer work out of our Cambridge, Mass. office. However, if you are interested and do not live here, you may still apply. This is a part-time opportunity with some flexibility in scheduling. Exact hours and days per week will be dependent on the chosen applicant.

To apply, upload your cover letter and resume here. Application deadline is 11:59 PM ET on Friday, August 16.

Please email jobs [at] prx [dot] org with any questions.

About PRX Remix

PRX Remix is for people who love to listen to great stories. We handpick the best short works from shows like The Moth, 99% Invisible, and Snap Judgment, from independent radio makers on PRX.org, and from podcasters everywhere. Then we mix it up in a never-ending stream. PRX Remix can be heard on XM 123, mobile apps, and stations around the country. Learn more.

PRX Spotlight: Stylus Episode #1: Silence

This week, PRX saw the debut of Stylus, which producers Conor Gillies and Zack Ezor describe as a “host-less documentary show navigating ideas, artifacts, histories, cultures, and places along the mysterious terrain of sound and music.”

Episode one is meditation on the idea of silence. It drifts seamlessly from John Cage to Beethoven to Zen Buddhism to The Shining, creating a dreamy landscape of voices and ideas and music.

Stylus began as an academic project while Conor was studying history and journalism at Boston University. At the time, Conor was also interning at WBUR’s Here and Now, which is where he met Zack, the station’s Member Services Coordinator. The two collaborated on the show’s pilot episode with help from WBUR’s Innovation Lab.

Like many young producers, Conor points to This American Life and Radiolab as the shows that got him interested in radio. But it was the work of Canadian producer  Paolo Pietropaolo who helped Conor realize the kind of sound that he wanted for Stylus. “I really love the idea of an hour long show, with no host, to curate voices together with interesting music,” Conor told me over the phone.

Alas, this is but a teaser of what Stylus will become. The show will go on hiatus for a year while Conor and Zack create a six-episode  season. Conor says he’s excited. “This will be a first step into a longer journey of sound and music and listening cultures.”

Take a listen to the first episode:

PRX Remix App Gets Some Twitter Love

On Tuesday we launched the PRX Remix app for iPhone and Android devices. We wanted to create a story-driven app for our beloved stream which is on XM 123 and broadcast stations. It’s an app for people who don’t want too much choice, just great stuff. For people who don’t download podcasts because it’s too much work. For people who love stories.

The app has gotten a lot of shout-outs on Twitter and we wanted to share some of those with you with this roundup of our favorite tweets from this week.

Are you enjoying the PRX Remix app? Let us know in the comments or tweet @prx.

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PRX Remix App:
The Best Stories, In Your Pocket

Remix-app-playPRX is brimming with audio stories. A few years ago, we launched an XM satellite radio channel (XM 123) to showcase the best short pieces from PRX.org plus select podcasts. The channel quickly went from satellite to internet to broadcast. It’s listed in our Public Radio Player app, too.

But we feel this amazing channel deserves its own app.

Say hello to the PRX Remix app!

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It’s simply the beloved PRX Remix stream, the title and producer of each piece, and a couple of buttons for basic audio player things. It’s an app for people who don’t want too much choice, just great stuff. For people who don’t download podcasts because it’s too much work. For people who love stories.

Mostly, you put it in your pocket, or in the console between the front seats of your car (unless you have a really old car), and let curator-in-chief Roman Mars take care of that ‘What should I listen to?’ problem. Roman, by the way, is host of 99% Invisible among many other things, so he knows what he’s doing.

Special thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts for funding this app – it’s one of their early forays into mobile.

(Cross-posted from our PRX Apps blog.)

The official press release is below.


To download photos and screen shots: http://imgur.com/a/YNG9l

PRX REMIX APP FOR iPHONE & ANDROID SHOWCASES CURATED MIX
OF THE BEST RADIO STORIES, AND PODCASTS FROM
THE MOTH, 99% INVISIBLE, SLATE’S GABFEST, STORYCORPS, AND MORE

PRX Remix serves up stories handpicked from
all corners of the audio universe
by Roman Mars, one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People,”
and PRX editorial team

Cambridge, MA (Embargoed until July 9, 2013) – A new app launching today brings listeners a curated mix of the most compelling radio stories, fascinating interviews, audio documentaries, and intriguing sounds from popular shows to podcast gems like The Moth, StoryCorps, 99% Invisible, The Kitchen Sisters, and WTF with Marc Maron.

Aiming to be the greatest radio station of all time in your pocket, PRX Remix for iPhone and Android showcases a virtually endless stream of ear candy handpicked from all corners of the audio universe by PRX program director Roman Mars, who was recently named one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People,” and the respected editorial team at PRX, the award-winning public media company. Creating a completely new listening experience that is fresh, thoughtful, and highly addictive, PRX Remix confirms that the digital era has sparked a new golden age of storytelling.

Drawing from PRX’s growing catalog of over 40,000 audio works by independent producers as well as local stations, PRX Remix offers over 2,400 short audio pieces, with new selections added on a weekly basis. At any given moment, listeners might journey seamlessly from Texas, where the Kitchen Sisters chronicle the history of the Frito, to the sounds of a Los Angeles intersection captured by Random Tape, a radio show dedicated to “the finest auditory ephemera.” In between, listeners will meet raconteurs from The Moth, be dazzled by the world’s brightest minds from PRX’s STEM Story Project, and be moved to tears and laughter by StoryCorps.

To mark the launch of the PRX Remix app, Mars selected his list of must-listen audio stories, all of which are in regular rotation on PRX Remix (see Mars’ list below).

With PRX Remix, listeners can hit play, lean back, and enjoy a steady stream of audio delights or skip through the selections to discover new favorites. The app keeps an archive of all listened-to stories so users can enjoy again, easily share with friends and post to social media. And for people on the go, in the subway, or on a remote stretch of highway, the app preloads up to one hour of audio without a network connection.

“We are all story-driven by nature, so we designed PRX Remix to be the single best source for your awesome audio fix,” said Jake Shapiro, CEO of PRX. “This isn’t yet another aggregator app – there are stories in PRX Remix you won’t find anywhere else.”

In addition to the iOS and Android apps, PRX Remix streams 24/7 on satellite radio (XM Channel 123), online at www.prxremix.org, and on a growing number of public radio stations across the United States, including Boston, Seattle, Cincinnati, and Charlotte. The PRX Remix app was developed by PRX with funding support from the National Endowment for the Arts. It is among the first mobile projects to receive a grant from the NEA’s Arts on Radio and Television fund.

With the launch of PRX Remix, PRX continues to build on its track record of harnessing digital media and technology to bring compelling audio stories to a wider audience. PRX also created the Public Radio Player app, which offers access to 500+ public radio stations and 1000+ public radio programs and podcasts, and has developed apps for a roster of public radio superstars that includes Radiolab and This American Life. PRX is also a founding partner of Matter, the new media startup accelerator fusing the values of public media with Silicon Alley entrepreneurship.

Roman Mars’ Must-Listen Stories on PRX Remix

Ben Franklin death ray – The Memory Palace

Birth of the Frito- Kitchen Sisters

Red, White and Blue Bus – Third Coast

NIKKO- Concrete Commando – 99% Invisible

The Ground We Lived On – Sound Portraits

Beep, Beep – David Weinberg

Talk to Me About Love – Jill Dorothy Summers

Thao Nguyen Grandma – Stagedive

Nick: Home School to High School – Radio Diaries

About PRX
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 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.

PRX was created through a collaboration of the Station Resource Group and Atlantic Public Media, and receives 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 Knight Foundation, and the Open Society Institute.

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