Hello, I am Eve

Hi everyone, I’m Eve, the new software engineer at PRX. I started learning to program about a year ago after finishing up my English degree at Kenyon College. I was obsessed with public radio, and I thought to myself, “Maybe if I learn to program, I can work somewhere cool, like PRX.” So, I decided to go to Launch Academy here in Boston, and now, here I am. I’m excited to learn from the awesome tech team here at PRX!

Now’s the part where I list my radio nerd credentials. As a child I looked forward to Car Talk and Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! all week. In junior high I streamed BBC Radio 4 while writing HTML for my various websites. (I was very popular.) Then I discovered podcasts, and loaded up my iPod with The Sound of Young America and This American Life to make it through gym class. When I got to Kenyon, I tried to replicate shows like You Look Nice Today and Jordan, Jesse GO! with my own silly show on WKCO. I was lucky enough to intern at Studio 360 after my junior year. For my final project at Launch Academy, I made a social network for podcast listeners called Pod People. (Good name, right?)

But there’s more to my life than just listening to podcasts. I also make podcasts! I have a show about Disney Channel Original Movies where my friend and I use our liberal arts degrees to overanalyze them. It’s called The DCOM Podcast. (Good name, right?) The next episode will be about Johnny Tsunami. Check us out on iTunes.

Radiolab App is a Webby Nominee. Please Vote!

Radiolab icon Another year, another Webby nomination, win, and/or honor. We’re proud to be recognized this year for our user experience design and development work on the Radiolab app for iOS and Android.

Please vote now to help us get a People’s Voice Award!

We worked closely with the Radiolab team and design gurus One Trick Pony to build a beautiful app that also does things. Listen to the entire archive, read the blog (yick alert: latest post is about eating cicadas), and even submit audio, text, or images in response to various assignments.

The sound of other people’s laughter is indeed contagious. This and thousands of other audio submissions can be heard here.

Did you vote yet?

(Originally posted on our PRX apps blog.)

PRX Tech Team Discovers iOS 6 Bug

PRX’s tech team is in the news today for their discovery of an iPhone/iPad iOS 6 bug that is causing large overage charges for podcasters like This American Life and probably for their listeners with limited mobile data plans as well.

Get the details and the original post from our tech team at the PRX Labs blog.

News/blogs covering our team’s discovery (still being updated):

PRX to launch Public Media Accelerator with $2.5 million investment from Knight Foundation

I have exciting news to share, for PRX and public media.

PRX has evolved considerably over the past several years, focusing our strategy on three areas: Content, Distribution, and Leadership/Innovation.

In Content we are seeing great success with The Moth Radio Hour and other signature programs; in Distribution the PRX content marketplace is thriving, Public Radio Remix is a growing national format, and our mobile apps for public media are taking off with This American Life, KCRW Music Mine, Public Radio Player and top station apps.

But it is in the third area of Leadership and Innovation – where projects like the Public Radio Talent Quest first emerged –  that I am bringing you news of a significant development we are announcing today: a new $2.5 million effort to spur innovation to advance public service media.

The press release below lays it out, and you can learn more at http://www.publicmediax.org and by following @publicmediax.

We will soon be recruiting advisory board members and mentors, and are interested in key partnerships and sponsors. More on that front coming soon.



CAMBRIDGE, December 8, 2011 – A new effort will provide funding and expertise to entrepreneurial teams with innovative ideas for increasing the impact of public service media.

Called the Public Media Accelerator, the project will be launched and operated by PRX, and is supported by a $2.5 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Modeled on technology startup incubators, the Accelerator aims to strengthen public media’s essential role in meeting community information needs across new platforms and devices.

“Forty years ago, public broadcasting harnessed the technology of the time to engage audiences with high quality content that was otherwise inaccessible,” said Jake Shapiro, CEO of PRX. “We are expanding this vital service to include today’s pervasive and participatory media, particularly mobile.”

“Through funding more than 200 community information experiments, we’ve found that the models with the best success are nurtured through outside advice and expertise,” said Michael Maness, Knight Foundation’s vice president for journalism and media innovation. “We hope the Public Media Accelerator will bring public media’s quality journalism into more people’s lives, by using technology to expand its reach.”

The Public Media Accelerator will invest in both nonprofit and for-profit ventures, building apps, services and media products. It will showcase successful projects to additional funders and investors, and receive support through a partner and sponsor network.

The Public Media Accelerator will formally launch at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) conference in March in Austin and will name a director and advisory board early next year.

For more information and updates about the Public Media Accelerator visit http://publicmediax.org and follow @publicmediax on Twitter.


PRX is an award-winning nonprofit public media company, harnessing innovative technology to bring significant stories to millions of people. PRX.org is public radio’s largest distribution marketplace, offering thousands of audio stories for broadcast and digital use. Listen to Public Radio Remix, our continuous stream of the best radio stories, on XM123, PublicRadioRemix.org, and a growing number of broadcast stations. Our apps for public media include This American Life, KCRW Music Mine, and Public Radio Player. Learn more at PRX.org.

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.

IdeaLab post on “the developer gap”

As part of a Knight News Challenge invitation to write occasionally for the terrific MediaShift IdeaLab I’ve got a new blog post up: “Public Media Should Mind the Developer Gap“. This has been a frequent topic in conversations we have here at PRX and with our partners across public media, particularly as we’ve been building mobile apps and testing the limits of tech capacity at stations big and small.

Here are a few quotes, and you can find the full post here.

As public broadcasting goes through its own turbulent transition to a new Internet and mobile world, the technology talent gap is a risk that looms large. Yes, there are many other challenges: political and policy battles, business model pressures, cultural and structural obstacles, the need for strategic vision and leadership. And there are other recruitment needs across general management, content, fundraising. But the twin coins of the new digital realm are code and design, and with a few notable exceptions, public media is seriously lacking in both.

These days the competition for talent in media technology is fierce, from new ventures to mature enterprises. Public media should be the go-to place for aspiring and experienced technologists who believe in a public service mission, want to collaborate to build products, services and content for millions of people, and seek an alternative from the rapidly commercializing web. There should be natural alliances with open-source software communities, with leading nonprofit web giants Mozilla and Wikipedia, the growing number of web-based local news organizations, and the open/civic data movement.


To keep up with the latest from the PRX tech team make sure to check out the PRX Labs blog.


Exploring the Depths of KCRW Music Mine

KCRW Music MineWe’re still buzzing from the excitement of getting the KCRW Music Mine iPad app out into the wild. The app exemplifies our desire to bring public media to mobile and tablets in new and amazing ways. Mark Ramsey says it well in this review.

With the launch flurry settling down, we’ve had some time to reflect on how the app came about. It was quite a process. Head over to the PRX Labs blog for an interview with Matt MacDonald, PRX’s Director of Project Management, on the concept and design, where he says things like:

One goal for us was to encourage musical exploration and delight so some of our interaction decisions basically force you to try out music that you might not be familiar with. We made sure to encourage that by not adding features like search or sorting and filtering tools.

Read Exploring The Depths Of Music Mine on PRX Labs.

Mobile App Picks from the PRXperts

We’re pretty into our phones over here at PRX. And that’s as it should be, I suppose, as many of us spend our days conceiving, coding and promoting mobile apps for public radio.

A couple months ago Radio Diaries producer Joe Richman — equipped with his first-ever iPhone — asked me what PRX’s favorite apps are. I put the question to my colleagues, and return with the following list of our favorite mobile apps.

First, meet our team of mobile app enthusiasts:

Matt John Robert Rekha Jake Chris Farski Kerri Roman Jones

Our big list of favorite apps:

App Recommended by Description Device
Ad Hoc Helper App Matt The Ad Hoc Helper allows developers to create a special version of their apps that can be run on anyone’s iPhone outside of the normal AppStore channels. iPhone
Amazon Kindle John Kindle books on your phone including thousands of free books. Android
Amazon.com Robert iPhone
Android API Browser
Chris Not amazing as an app, but the first android app on the market written 100% in Ruby. Android
AnyStop Robert Real-time MBTA bus schedules. Android
Audible John “This free app features the most comprehensive audiobook experience ever, including Wi-Fi delivery of your Audible.com library.” Android
Beluga & GroupMe
Farski Group texting, even with feature phones. Maybe the best thing ever. 
Bloom Jake, Robert “Part instrument, part composition and part artwork, Bloom’s innovative controls allow anyone to create elaborate patterns and unique melodies by simply tapping the screen.” iPhone
Boston Bus Map
Robert Real-time MBTA bus schedules. Android
Camera (on the device) Matt, Kerri
Catch The Bus Matt, Rekha
More GPS-driven MBTA bus schedules.

I love/Hate this one. – Matt

I feel the same way about it on Android – Rekha
iPhone, Android
Chirp! for iPhone
Rekha Look up birds from any region and play their songs. John (hubby) and I use it to freak out birds from other regions.
Clock/Stopwatch (on the device) Robert
Congress for Android
Chris Indispensable. One reason to be on Android. – Chris

Track elected officials’ activities, read the latest bills and laws…
Cut The Rope Robert A game that’s easy to start and hard to finish. iPhone
doubleTwist AirSync
Chris Keep your music synced without ever plugging in. Android
Dropbox Farski Instant Cloud for photos and files.
Epicurious Rekha, Kerri Great recipes, and it generates a shopping list for you.
Enjoy Sudoku
Robert Has the best Sudoku hint system. iPhone
FIP for iPhone
Rekha Amazing Paris radio station – every song is a winner.
Facebook Kerri, Rekha Socializing without all that nasty human interaction.
iPhone, Android
Flash Player 10.2
Chris Browse the whole web. Android
FlightView John Real time flight info.
Genius Scan
Jake, Kerri Genius Scan turns your iPhone into a pocket scanner, enabling you to quickly scan documents on the go and email the scans as JPEG or PDF. iPhone
Roman Space shooter game.
Gigstar – Music Guide
Chris There *are* shows you don’t know you’re missing. Android
Google Latitude
Farski Share your location with friends.
Google Maps (on the device) Kerri, Chris, Rekha The BEST google maps experience ever is the one on Android. Same  deal for GMail. – Chris

I don’t know, I think Google Maps are more usable on iPhone, strangely. – Rekha
iPhone, Android
Google Voice
Farski Phone service with cheap international rates, and helps organize your calls and texts.
Jones Take photos with an analog feel.
Huffington Post
Rekha As much for the decent UI as for the content. Not a lot of great news apps on Android yet.
IMDB Kerri Movie information.
Inception Jake Also from RJDJ, this app plays music based on the ambiet information it receives through the phone’s mic.
Robert Great for finding good Netflix instant streaming movies. iPhone
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Jake “Award-winning Childrens’ app.”
KCRW Radio John Live stream and on demand.
Library Books
Robert Alerts when your books are due. iPhone
Farski Free turn-by-turn navigation and driving directions. iPhone
Jake “Melodica is a revolutionary music application that mixes lights and sounds in a unique way, allowing anyone to compose music intuitively creating amazing visual effects just with the tips of your fingers.” iPhone
Mobile Mouse Matt Remote trackpad.
Mobile Safari (on the device) Matt, Robert iPhone
MotionX GPS
Farski Tracks your path and gives you a bunch of extra data. Great for cycling.
Farski Explore space through videos, images and more.
NPR News for Android NPR News for iPhone
John, Kerri Android, iPhone
NPR Music
Farski, Kerri First listens, interviews with artists, and good lists and mixes iPhone
NYTimes John, Kerri
Netflix Matt, Robert, Kerri, Farski Instantly watch TV shows & movies streaming from Netflix. iPhone
Notes (on the device) Robert iPhone
Osmos Jake, Robert “Asteroids meets a lava-lamp.” iPhone
Pandora Matt, Robert, Kerri, Jones, Farski Personalized radio streams.
Papa Sangre Jake A video game without the video.
Public Radio Player for iPhone
Rekha From PRX! Find your favorite public radio stations and shows, streaming and On-Demand.
RDIO Chris, Robert Mounds of music for $10/month. – Robert Android
RJDJ Roman, Robert Reactive music, the next step in the evolution of music. I did a story about it a couple years back. http://bit.ly/e274XK. – Roman iPhone
Remodium Farski Allows you to remotely access Adium on your Mac. iPhone
Shazam Kerri Discover new music through your friends.
Robert Read lyrics while using Pandora or RDIO. Android
Soundcloud Jones Record, listen and share your sounds on the go. iPhone
Speedtest Matt Measure the network speed of your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. iPhone
Square Up Matt Reads credit cards.
SynchStep Robert Automatically finds music to match your pace. iPhone
TestFlight Matt Beta testing on the fly.
The Weather Channel
Robert The weather!
This American Life Kerri, Robert Developed by yours truly!
Tiny Wings Roman, Farski Move over angry birds.
Trace Robert Free, and my 8 year old son enjoys it. iPhone
Twitter Matt, Kerri, Rekha iPhone, Android
Unblock Me
Jake A puzzle-ey block game.
WeatherBug John Get the weather.
WhiteNoise Matt Ambient sounds for sleeping.
Yelp Jones, Rekha Restaurant and other business reviews. Monocle on the iPhone is pretty cool.
iPhone, Android

PRX 3.12. New release, new goodies.

Since November 2008 when we rolled out the “new” PRX 3.0, our team of developers has been working hard to make the site faster, easier and more useful for everyone who uses it: that’s producers, stations and listeners, too. Last night we released PRX 3.12, which includes some exciting changes.

  • The My PRX page (like an accounts dashboard) has been reorganized to help you find what you are looking for. And not only is the activity graph easier to read, but the data being reported is more accurate — thanks to complicated technical changes our Tech Director Andrew Kuklewicz will be documenting on our techie blog, PRX Labs.
  • Group, station and PRX Network administrators can now add members in fewer steps from their Manage Members page.
  • Audio processing has been improved along with error reporting for unprocessed audio.
  • Illinois Public Media’s public radio station WILL will hitherto show up in search results as a station rather than the stop-search word for the future tense of the verb “to be.”
  • And lastly (and more seriously), we are pleased to introduce some new sharing options for Facebook and Twitter. You can now share playable 30-second previews of PRX pieces on Facebook, and include PRX short URLs in Twitter updates. Consider these features a preview of the more advanced sharing options we’ll be rolling out soon — which will allow paid PRX producers to make their full pieces playable on Facebook, and embeddable on blogs and websites. Interested in trying out the advanced sharing options as a beta tester? Give us a holler.

PRX.org 3.11 released

On Friday night we released version 3.11 of PRX.org.

The biggest user-facing enhancement to PRX.org with this release is the addition of popup audio players to the pieces and playlists on the home page (and other pages) of our site.  This allows users to listen to audio right from the home page of the site and to keep the audio playing in the popup player while browsing other pages.  It is our first step in the creation of an embeddable widget audio player that we hope to make available to producers.  This would allow producers to embed their pieces on their own websites and promote them on social networks like Facebook.

There is also an exciting change behind the scenes.  In this release we’ve added support for single sign-on to PRX.org from our extended family of PRX.org apps.  For many PRX.org users this won’t change anything.  But station members using the Networks app to share content or the Billboard app to manage programming and schedule data can now have a single username for all of the sites.

We hope you enjoy the enhancements!

bandwidth conundrum

We keep our tech team way too busy for them to blog about the incredible work they’re doing every day, but I’m glad when they find moments to advise producers and stations on questions that come up. Here’s one from today that Robert and Andrew jumped on when a PRX producer with a WordPress site asked for advice on preparing for a potential big spike in traffic from being featured on a major national show.

The question:

Subject: Re: Bandwidth Conundrum
From: Ian Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 2:19 PM

Hi Andrew and Robert,

Our current monthly bandwidth is pretty low, around 1.7GB out of an 1000GB limit. Our package includes 100GB of storage and we’re using about 57GB currently (the majority of our videos are hosted by Vimeo/Youtube and embedded to lessen our footprint.)

Our concern is the traffic spike we’re expecting with the launch of our new season, particularly when a segment of our show will air nationally.

Even though our usage is low at the moment with that type of exposure and all the content we have available for streaming (audio and video podcasts, short video documentaries, etc.), we’re afraid we could easily eat up our 1000GB (at which point it’s .50 per GB used.) In your experience does that seem likely or are we worried about the sky falling?

and the response:

Subject: Re: Bandwidth Conundrum
From: Andrew Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 3:08 PM
To: Ian

I would like to be optimistic that you will have the kind of success that will require some changes to handle a large number of concurrent users.

It also is pretty easy to chew up bandwidth if you are serving media files, so I agree, there is a real possibility of using up your TB of bandwidth if you get a hit on your hands.

There are several things to worry about here. Continue reading bandwidth conundrum