Inside the Podcast Studio: HerMoney with Jean Chatzky

On this month’s edition of Inside the Podcast Studio, we sit down with Jean Chatzky, financial editor at NBC’s TODAY Show and creator of the HerMoney with Jean Chatzky podcast. Learn more about how Jean got into podcasting, and why her longtime television format has translated so well.

On the Show

Tell us about how the podcast came to be.
It came up in a brainstorming session with some terrific hermoney-3000x3000women I’ve been working with at Fidelity Investments. We were talking about ways to get more women talking about money, not just on special occasions, but on a regular basis. Someone (not me!) said podcast. And off we went.

What is your team like? How do you work together?
My internal team consists of a very small but dedicated and collaborative group of women. We get together to brainstorm show ideas, guests we want to book, topics we need to cover, then divide and conquer to make sure that we cross off every item on our lists.  What I love most about my team is that every person is willing to dive in and do whatever is needed to get the work done!  This is important because the podcast is just one of the things we do together—we produce a monthly in-school magazine called Your $ for two million fourth through sixth graders, research and write segments and stories for TODAY and, and created educational financial content for our corporate partners including Fidelity Investments and Pepsi-Co. On the podcast side, we’re highly supported by (and grateful to) our colleagues at PRX.

Where do you find stories for the show?
Life. Friends. Other media. The Internet. Seriously—I learned a long time ago to always have my ears tuned to that frequency. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been out to dinner with friends telling stories about their older parents, or insurance woes, or college tuition challenges or the fabulous TED Talk they saw, and I think: Story!

Tell us about your show and what makes it unique. Why are you so passionate about your subject matter?
HerMoney with Jean Chatzky is a continuing conversation to learn about money. Asking the questions I had to in-the-know people put me (as a woman) in the driver’s seat of my own financial life. It made me feel more confident, comfortable and in control. I want to help our listeners through the exact IMG_0184same experience. What I’ve also learned is that money is like a thread that winds through pretty much all aspects of life. So we won’t just talk about 12B-1 mutual fund fees and other boring minutia—we talk about relationships, kids, parents, work, life, fun, fear, challenging situations and using money as a tool to get what you want.

We love the fan questions section of the podcast. What questions do you get asked most often? What worries people the most?
I get a lot of common questions. Some of them include:
Do I have enough for retirement, college, emergencies, my first home (fill in the blank(?
Who can I trust to help me? And how can I find that person?
What’s the smart way to repay my student loan, mortgage, credit card bills (again, fill in the blank)?

Women are most worried about running out of money before they run out of time.

Spring Clean Your Finances
Jean on The TODAY Show

How do you think the podcast episodes can complement your presence on the TODAY Show?
I love the fact that I have more time! The wonderful thing about podcasting is that although we try to stick to a clock, we aren’t slaves to it. We can give our interviews time to breathe. In addition to answering the questions, I get to ask them. I’m a very good interviewer (three decades of practice will do that), but you don’t get to see that on TODAY!

Arianna Huffington
Jean with Arianna at HuffPo

What makes your show ideal for the podcast format?
The podcasting format gives us freedom to keep asking questions until we actually get a satisfactory answer—that’s very important in the world of money. Also, we’re featuring fascinating women—Arianna Huffington, Gretchen Rubin, Joanna Coles—we want to hear their stories, and we have plenty of time to do that.

On the Space

Where do you literally do your work? Can you walk us through that space?
I’m laughing because I work wherever I am. My most important tool is my MacBook Air. I bought my first one—when Apple launched it—because it enabled me to replace the six-pound laptop I was never without with a three-pound laptop. It saved my shoulder. I do a lot of different things, but they all involve writing: books, scripts, etc.

Do you have a thinking or reflection space—somewhere you go outside the studio to gather creative inspiration?
I like to tell people I get my best ideas when I’m on a run or in the shower.  Interestingly, I learned from this week’s episode that there’s science behind the fact that people get great ideas in the shower. Linda Kaplan-Thaler and Robin Koval, authors of the new book Grit to Great (and inventors of the “Aflac duck” among other campaigns) explained that when there is hot running water hitting your head, the blood vessels in your brain open up and you get creative.  That was the inspiration behind their commercial for Herbal Essences where the woman stood under the shower saying, “Yes, yes, yes”. (Well, that and other things).

Charles de Montebello of CDM Sound Studios

How do you record your show? What type of equipment does your team use for in-studio or at home recording vs. in the field? 
We record in CDM Sound Studios in Hell’s Kitchen—unless our guest needs us to come to them. Charles de Montebello of CDM does our editing. We’ve been in the studio at AOL on lower Broadway with Arianna Huffington, a WeWork conference room with a freelance producer to interview Giada DeLaurentiis, and at Milkboy The Studio in Philly with Jennifer Weiner.

On Podcasting

What can the podcast medium achieve that other media forms like broadcasts cannot?
Intimacy. It’s just me and you (and my guest) in your car, or in your ears, while you’re walking the dog (or swimming, or IMG_0178running). That’s very helpful when you’re talking about an intimate subject… and money is nothing if not intimate.

What do you think makes a great podcast host? Tell us more about what makes you unique as a podcast host?
A great podcast host is someone you want to jump out of the headphones and sit down with you for a cup of coffee. I think people see me that way — they feel like they know me from 20 years on TV. This is our opportunity to take our relationship to the next level.

How do you envision the future of podcasting landscape?
I think the future of podcasting is so exciting because it’s one more step in the democratization of content. My father ran network affiliated television stations during my childhood and there was such limited capacity that there were always terrific programs either never making it on the air or being cancelled too quickly.  Today, there are so many more homes for content that good programming has a greater opportunity to make it on the air initially and find its audience.  I am hopeful that we’re headed toward a rise in quality content that is more meaningful to the people who tune in.

Follow Jean Chatzky on Twitter @JeanChatzky. Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes here, and look out for new episodes every Wednesday.

What’s in My Buds? With Catherine from The Moth

This month, we chatted with Catherine Burns, longtime artistic director of The Moth. As one of the lead directors on the Moth’s MainStage for more than a decade, Catherine has helped hundreds of people craft their stories, including a Nobel Laureate, a retired New York City cop, a jaguar tracker and an exonerated prisoner. Along with Jay Allison she is the producer of The Moth Radio Hour, and the editor of the international best seller The Moth: 50 True Stories. Here’s what she’s listening to now.


What show do you wake up to?
On my best days, I start with a very early morning workout. My constant companion is the radio show/podcast On Being, which is hosted by the ethereal Krista Tippett. In 2010 I became a parent for the first time. Those first months are a precious time in your life, but also completely exhausting and kind of isolating. But then one morning, Krista’s voice came over my public radio station (WNYC), and I was mesmerized.

The show features interviews with physicists, novelists, musicians, you name it-–all discussing the “Big Questions”. Why are we alive? How do we live into our questions and create a life for ourselves that is in tune with our deepest values? This was just what I needed. On the longest nights when I was up with my beloved infant son, barely staying awake and hanging on, I knew that if I could just make it until Krista’s voice came on the air, everything would be okay. I subscribed to the podcast and haven’t missed an episode since.  


What show do you fall asleep to?
I adore The Memory Palace podcast. I tend to listen to it at night when I’m getting ready for bed, trying to wind down from my day, because the host, Nate DiMeo, has a very soothing voice. Each episode takes you into a specific time in the past, as if you are a person living in that time. 

I first got hooked on an episode about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. I grew up in Alabama, but have lived in New York City for nearly two decades, and I’m obsessed with stories about the city’s past. I knew a lot about the building of this iconic bridge, and honestly didn’t think there was much more I could learn. I was wrong. 

Catherine and her son

Nate pulled me into the perils and challenges of that construction site in a completely fresh way. You feel like you are there, deep under the water, digging through the muck. More recent episodes cover a show lion named Leo, and what it was like to be a homesteader in the late 1800s (me and my now six-year-old son listened to that last one together as we’re currently reading all the Little House on the Prairie books, and are fascinated with that time period.)

What is your favorite listening environment?
I do much of my listening while commuting by foot and train. Like most of our artistic staff, I listen to 2-3 hours of audio a week, screening stories from The Moth’s 500+ annual live storytelling shows to determine what we’re going to put on The Moth Radio Hour and podcast. I have a 15-minute walk to the subway, and then a half hour ride to get to our office. I love listening on the go because I figure most of our fans also listen to The Moth in this way, so if I have trouble following a story while crossing the street or transferring trains, then so will they. We sometimes call this “the laundry test”: Can you fold laundry and follow this story? It’s important because few people listen to a podcast while sitting, staring at a blank wall with fancy headphones.

What’s a podcast that doesn’t currently exist that you think should?
Hands down–one hosted by Sharon Salzberg. She’s one of the greatest meditation teachers alive. She is so wise and funny (I’ve heard people refer to her as a “sit down comic” ). She has this way of humanizing meditation and Buddism, and making it easy to understand and put into practice. She’s one of the greatest storytellers alive (we’re working on getting her on The Moth stage.) She’s also a columnist for On Being’s website. Maybe they’ll do a spin-off with her!
*Editor’s note: it turns out, Sharon does have a podcast! Take a listen here

How do you envision the future of the podcasting landscape?
What I love about podcasting is that you can create a beautiful piece of audio that appeals to a very specific group of people, and give them access to that audio in an easy way. It’s so different from the 1970’s and 80’s when I grew up, where, if a TV show didn’t have millions of viewers, it was considered a failure. Nowadays, you can create art for a niche audience. You don’t need Games of Thrones or even Serial-level numbers to find an audience and be a success. I hope that we’ll continue to see more podcasts that take on micro-cultures and explore them in an original way.

We’re living in this magical time where many people have unprecedented on-demand access to media. I find a lot of inspiration in the author Seth Godin (another person who should have his own podcast!). He talks about making a product that you love, and going out and finding every single person in the world who would want it, and getting it to them. It’s the opposite of the Mad Men-era thinking, where they would first create a product and then try to convince everyone they had to have it IMMEDIATELY. It’s about finding the people who genuinely want what you are creating.
Moth Radio Podcast Logo

At The Moth, we take our podcast subscribers very seriously. Our broadcast numbers are much higher, but those 650,000+ podcast listeners? They are our core audience. They are the people who have signed up to get every new story we put out, sent directly to them. They are the backbone and the heart of our organization.


For more stories, subscribe to The Moth podcast in iTunes here.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Your Podquest Semifinalists

Earlier this year, PRX’s Radiotopia launched Podquest—an open call out for new podcast ideas, aiming to grow and diversify the network, nurture fresh talent and reach new audiences. Podquest is one of a series of new initiatives funded by girl-podquest-darka $1 million grant received in May 2015 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Podquest is additionally supported by Hindenburg Systems, the media talent network, and Blue Microphones.

We suspected we’d get a lot of submissions—seems like everyone has an idea for a podcast these days, right? Apparently so.

Check out the numbers!

  • Podquest submission window in months: 1
  • Total Podquest entries: 1,537
  • Submitter home countries: 53
  • Entries submitted in the final 24 hours: 1,000+
  • Entries submitted by:
    • Women: 43.1%
    • Men: 50.9%
    • Couldn’t tell (either unisex names or not obvious): 6%


11 reviewers (from PRX and Radiotopia) worked to identify 10 semifinalists, or the “PQ10” from the 1,537 entries, with these criteria in mind:

  • Originality and strength of idea
  • Diversity of producer: background, voice, age, geography
  • Production quality and/or potential demonstrated by audio clip
  • Sustainability of idea
  • Sparkle factor—how/why did an idea stand out?
  • Relevance and uniqueness for Radiotopia network

Each semifinalist will receive:

  • $300
  • Office hours with Radiotopia producers
  • Two-year PRO account + Field Recorder app from Hindenburg Software
  • One-year membership to the media talent network AIR
  • Yeti microphone by Blue Microphone
  • Two-year PRX account

PQ10 by the numbers:

  • Pitches from women: 5
  • Pitches from a woman/man team: 2
  • Pitches from outside the US: 3
  • Pitches from diverse makers: 7
  • Pitches from people who are not audio producers by trade (yet): 5

Meet the PQ10!

Click to hear their voices, see their photos and read more about the semifinalists.

Dear and Sincerely, by Genevieve Kersten
Unemployed, depressed, and living in her parent’s basement, Genevieve decides to ask the smartest* person she knows for advice… herself.
*Indicates questionable judgement

Do Over, by Kelly Jones, Chioke L’Anson and Claire Tacon
Do Over is the real fake story of how your life could have turned out if you’d just done that one thing differently.

Ear Hustle, by Nigel Poor, Antwan Williams and Earlonne Woods
Ear Hustle brings you the hidden stories of life inside prison, told and produced from the perspective of those who live it.

Meat, by Jonathan Zenti (ITALY)
Meat is a podcast about our bodies and the lives we live because of them.

Reflected Message by Jon Tjhia (AUS)
Perched at the edges of music and radio storytelling, Reflected Message is like an update of ‘folk’—pop-sized experiments with voices, memory, repetition and the everyday.

The Difference Between, by Jericho Saria and Hadrian Santos
The Difference Between dives into the world of “information doppelgängers”—the stuff you always confuse for that other thing—to find out what makes them truly unique.

The Stoop, by Leila Day, Hana Baba, Julie Caine and Chris Hoff
The Stoop is a space where race, identity, fun, funk and journalism come together in a tightly produced podcast that will go deep into issues about black identity that aren’t always openly discussed.

Third Culture, by Naima Sakande (UK)
Third Culture celebrates those who are from everywhere and belong nowhere, unearthing stories of juggled identities.

This Isn’t Working, by Susie Cagle
This Isn’t Working is a show about “making a living” in the U.S. in an age of corporate domination, industrial transition, and general labor weirdness.

Villain-ish by Vivian Le
Villain-ish is a show about gaining new perspectives on dubious figures that we’ve been taught to revile, and exploring the hidden details we may have never considered.

What’s next?

While we recover from whittling down the entries, our Radiotopia producers have been busy conducting “office hours” with the PQ10 and will continue to interview over the next few weeks. We’ll choose three finalists who will each receive $10,000 and editorial and technical support, to produce three episodes of their proposed shows between July – October. This fall we’ll invite at least one finalist to join Radiotopia… don’t worry, we’ll let you know all about it then.       

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Announcing: RadioPublic

PRX is proud to announce a new partnership: the formation of a hybrid enterprise called RadioPublicRadioPublic-Red

The company is focused on truly re-inventing radio, and bringing listeners and creators closer together. Its first task is to build a mobile listening platform that makes listening to podcasts as simple as radio. RadioPublic is aiming to create a new listening experience, featuring content discovery, exclusive offers, and fan engagement.

PRX has been working on podcasts for over a decade, sFullSizeRender-14o the hybrid mobile enterprise seemed like a natural fit for us. In fact, we inherited our conference table from
the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard, where podcasting itself was invented. Over the years, we’ve been at the center of the podcasting wave, having built the first public radio mobile app, the Public Media Platform, and This American Life app. These were early experiments that gave us insight and prepared us for this moment. Kerri and Jake have spent the last year on this path towards RadioPublic, and are beyond excited to finally get it out the door.

807A9985-2Jake Shapiro, founding chief executive of PRX, will lead the new venture as CEO. Kerri Hoffman, who has also been with PRX since its start, will become PRX’s CEO

RadioPublic: when you listen, everyone benefits.

Learn more at and in the official press release below.

PRX Forms RadioPublic, a Mobile Listening Company, with Investment from The New York Times, Project11, McClatchy, Knight Enterprise Fund, American Public Media, and Homebrew

Jake Shapiro to Lead RadioPublic as CEO; Kerri Hoffman Becomes CEO of PRX.  

Cambridge, MA  (May 19, 2016) PRX, the award-winning public media company, announced today it has formed RadioPublic, a new company building a mobile listening platform for on-demand radio and podcasts. A Public Benefit Corporation (PBC), RadioPublic has secured funding from leading investors, including Project11, The New York Times, Knight Foundation Enterprise Fund, UP2398, American Public Media, McClatchy and Homebrew. Jake Shapiro, founding chief executive of PRX, will lead the new venture as CEO. Kerri Hoffman, who has also been with PRX since its start, will become PRX’s CEO.

Built on PRX’s decade of leadership, trusted producer relationships, and its reach of over 15 million monthly listeners across platforms, RadioPublic is partnering with PRX to create a new listening experience, featuring content discovery, exclusive offers, and fan engagement. When it launches later this year, RadioPublic listeners will have access to top podcasts as well as PRX’s full catalog, including The Moth Radio Hour, 99% Invisible, Reveal, the Radiotopia podcast network, and the Remix story channel. RadioPublic will also integrate with PRX’s dynamic ad product, Dovetail, which powers Serial and other signature shows. As a hybrid enterprise, RadioPublic and PRX share founding values of public service and openness, and will collaborate on technology, data, and revenue models.

“We are at a clear inflection point in the shift to on-demand radio through mobile devices and the connected car and home,” said RadioPublic CEO Jake Shapiro. “PRX has been public media’s engine for talent and technology from podcasting’s earliest days, and now together we’re rethinking radio and transforming the way listeners connect with the shows they love. ”

With Jake Shapiro’s transition to CEO of RadioPublic, Kerri Hoffman will take the reins as CEO of PRX. Kerri will continue to be a fierce champion of new voices, new formats and new business models. She played a key role in the building and evolution of PRX, and headed up the launch of Radiotopia. Hoffman is a proven advocate for a strong and vital public media service, and diversity in the industry. Under her direction, more than 50% of all Radiotopia shows are female produced, engineered and hosted.

“PRX has advanced programming, talent development, and technical platforms,” said Kerri Hoffman. “We proactively solve problems producers face, which has led to the strategic formation of RadioPublic. We’ve been simultaneously pioneering new services and strengthening others to help producers and stations grow audience and revenue.”

RadioPublic is entering the fast growing market for on-demand audio, podcasts, and spoken word content. The audience for podcasts has grown 23% in the last year, to over 57 million monthly listeners in the U.S.

“Podcasting is poised to be the foundation for a major shift in listener attention as the radio ecosystem becomes increasingly digital and on-demand,” said Bob Mason, managing partner at Project11 and founding CTO at Brightcove. “We’re excited by RadioPublic’s ability to be a transformative force, shifting an industry and creating aligned values between listeners and producers.”


About PRX: PRX is shaping the future of public media content, talent and technology. PRX is a leading creator and distributor, connecting audio producers with their most engaged, supportive audiences across broadcast, web and mobile. A fierce champion of new voices, new formats, and new business models, PRX advocates for the entrepreneurial producer. PRX is an award-winning media company, reaching millions of listeners worldwide. For over a dozen years, PRX has operated public radio’s largest distribution marketplace, offering thousands of shows including This American Life, The Moth Radio Hour, and Reveal. Named one of Fast Company’s ‘Ten Most Innovative Companies in Media’ of 2015, the company pioneered new approaches to talent and technology, built the first public radio mobile app and the Public Media Platform, and co-founded the media startup accelerator Matter Ventures. Follow us on Twitter at @prx.

About RadioPublic: RadioPublic is a mobile listening platform for on-demand radio and podcasts founded by PRX. RadioPublic creates a new listening experience, featuring content discovery, exclusive offers, and improved fan engagement. As a Public Benefit Corporation, RadioPublic shares public media’s educational, artistic, and journalistic mission, and the democratic values of open access to information. Learn more at, and @radiopublic.

On Dovetail: PRX’s Ad Insertion Product

PRX Dovetail Logo

Dovetail is an audio publishing system built from the ground up to serve leading podcasts. PRX, the award-winning pioneer of new talent and technologies for the podcast industry, built Dovetail for producers to increase revenue and options for podcast sponsorship. Originally created for the Radiotopia network and PRX shows, such as The Moth and Reveal, Dovetail was successfully used to serve ads in the second season of Serial, the fastest growing podcast of all time.

With Dovetail, previously static ads can be scheduled and prioritized, capped and balanced, paired or separated. The rules consider a listener’s location, time, and device as well as if the requested episode is old or new, part of a network, or tagged for special handling, all providing maximum flexibility in controlling the ad experience.

To handle massive scale and complex ad serving, Dovetail relies on best-in-class content serving and traffic systems, integrated into a leading-edge media server to address some of the most pressing problems facing podcast producers and sponsors: dynamically delivering ads, and real-time reporting.

Podcasts have proven to be a successful medium for advertisers. They are selected media – chosen explicitly by the listener, making fan loyalty and engagement extraordinary. 

“On Serial Season Two, we had so many campaigns governed by different variables date, impression goal, episode, etc. coupled with a very high rate of downloads, that it would have been impossible to flight the creative without a super flexible ad serving system. PRX pulled it off with Dovetail. It had a huge effect on our ability to monetize the season’s 50M+ downloads,” (Seth Lind, Director of Operations at This American Life and Serial).

PRX has seen up to 40 percent of listening occurring on older episodes, especially for shows with large back catalogs and evergreen topics. There’s no single way for Radiotopia fans  to listen: some binge listen and some cherry-pick, but with Dovetail, PRX serves timely and varied ads to the entire catalog. Beyond improving revenue, the listener experience is also better when ads are relevant and fresh—no more promotions for fundraising drives that have ended or coupon codes that have expired.

PRX brings more than a decade of experience in digitally distributing hundreds of thousands of audio files around the world. In building Dovetail, the team pulled from this vast technical and sales experience, matched with the goals and needs of highly successful publishers.

Welcome Millennial!

PRX is proud to announce that as of today, Radiotopia will millennial-bluebe welcoming Millennial as the 14th show in our award-winning lineup. Millennial is a show that chronicles the life of host Megan Tan, as she learns to maneuver her 20s.

To listen to the latest episode of Millennial, which documents the drama and excitement of joining Radiotopia, go to or Listeners can also subscribe to Millennial in iTunes, or listen via podcast players like Stitcher or TuneIn.

Check out all of the details in this press release below.


Radiotopia Welcomes Millennial’s Fresh, New Voice to the Podcast Network’s Award-Winning Lineup

Real life in real time: Producer Megan Tan reveals the next chapter for her show—and her life—on the May 17th episode of Millennial.

Cambridge, MA  (May 17, 2016) Radiotopia, the award-winning podcast network from PRX, welcomes Millennial as the 14th show in its award-winning lineup. In real time, Millennial follows the trials and tribulations of host and producer Megan Tan as she chronicles a subject rarely taught in school—mill_logo1maneuvering your 20s. To listen to the latest episode of Millennial, which documents the drama and excitement of joining Radiotopia, go to or Listeners can also subscribe to Millennial in iTunes, or listen via podcast players like Stitcher, Spotify or TuneIn.

Tan’s accessible, honest and candid accounts of life, love and career have been played over 540,000 times by listeners of all ages since she launched the show from her closet in January 2015. By the end of the year, The Atlantic picked Millennial as #14 in their top 50 podcasts of 2015, noting, “Serialized podcasts are still relatively rare, especially memoire-style ones like these, and especially ones that are this good. Be warned: you’re going to want to binge season one.”

Tan has been called “more likeable than anyone in Girls” by The Guardian. “I am so excited to join the Radiotopia family and to continue doing what I love: making a podcast with honesty and sincerity while I grow and experiment,” said Tan. “This certainly doesn’t mean I’ve figured out my 20s, but I am feeling pretty good about this podcast thing right about now.”

Anchored by the wildly popular 99% Invisible, Radiotopia is a curated network of 14 extraordinary, story-driven podcasts, including Criminal, Song Exploder, and Strangers. Radiotopia empowers independent producers to do their best work, grow audience and increase revenue. The network now sees over 12 million downloads per month, and its recent talent search for new podcasts resulted in 1,537 entries from over 50 countries. Radiotopia is a partnership between PRX and Roman Mars, creator of 99% Invisible, supported by the Knight Foundation, and led by Executive Producer Julie Shapiro. In 2015, the network was named one of Fast Company’s ‘World’s 10 Most Innovative Companies Backed by Kickstarter’.

“Radiotopia exists to support creative and independent voices across the podcast landscape, and Millennial fits in perfectly,” said Shapiro. “Megan is a talented and passionate producer, who has impressively built up her show all on her own so far. Now we are excited to offer Radiotopia’s support in helping Megan do her best work, increase revenue and grow her audience—both among traditional podcast listeners and with a younger demographic, who will hear their own experiences reflected in Millennial.”


About PRX: PRX is shaping the future of public media content, talent and technology. PRX is a leading creator and distributor, connecting audio producers with their most engaged, supportive audiences across broadcast, web and mobile. A fierce champion of new voices, new formats, and new business models, PRX advocates for the entrepreneurial producer. PRX is an award-winning media company, reaching millions of listeners worldwide. For over a dozen years, PRX has operated public radio’s largest distribution marketplace, offering thousands of shows, including This American Life, The Moth Radio Hour, and Reveal. Follow us on Twitter at @prx.

Song Exploder Live at the Sydney Opera House

On Monday, May 30th, Song Exploder will make its international debut at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Vivid LIVE Artist Talks program.

Song Exploder host Hrishikesh Hirway will interview Hiatus Kaiyote as they take apart one of their Gsongexploder-logo-2rammy-nominated songs, piece by piece, in a live session. The session will reveal how their music is made and the
personal stories behind the lyrics and melodies.

Melding electric jazz virtuosity with the beat-making dexterity of Flying Lotus and Madlib, Hiatus Kaiyote are a future-soul
quartet formed in Melbourne, Australia. Self-described as ‘multi-dimensional, polyrhythmic gangster sh*t’, singer-guitarist Nai Palm leads with her soul-driven force that unites R&B lovers, hip-hop heads and heavy music fans alike.

vividHrishikesh is also the leader of the electronic pop group The One AM Radio, one half of avant-rap outfit Moors along with American
actor/rapper Keith Stanfield, a producer, designer and composer for film and TV.

If you’re in Sydney and want to attend the live taping for free, get your tickets here.

Radiotopia Live: A Recap

Photo credits: Gadi Creative

On May 4th, 2016, Radiotopia presented its first live show at the Ace Theater in Los Angeles, to a sold out room. The event was Radiotopia’s first foray into live performance as a network, and we were thrilled to take the stage in front of more than 1,500 friends and fans. Nine of our 13 shows performed. Throughout the evening we laughed, we cried, and cheered together as Radiotopia hit a new milestone in its two-year history.

The Show

The Memory Palace

The Memory Palace- “This Room, Right Here”
Nate set the stage for the evening by telling the history and founding of United Artists and the Theatre at Ace Hotel itself.

Fugitive Waves with The Kitchen Sisters- “Nobody Can Soldier Without Coffee”
Nikki and Davia told the story of coffee in the Civil War- the most popular topic in soldier’s letters to home.

The Allusionist

The Allusionist- “Making a Mark”
After some banter with Roman, Helen gave us a humorous recap of the history of penmanship.

Radio Diaries- “Juan’s Diary: Undocumented”
Founder Joe sat down with past teenage diarist Juan Rodriguez to talk about living in the US undocumented.

Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything- “UFO’s Are Real”
Benjamen took the audience through a story of outsider art, UFOs and modern-day drones.


Criminal- “The Finger”
Phoebe and Lauren told the story of a man who loves giving police officers “the finger”. Check it out on the latest episode of their podcast.

Strangers- “Love Hurts, The Prequel”
In a moving first-person story, Lea revealed the prequel to her ‘Love Hurts’ series.

Mortified- “Stairway to Winnipeg”
Past diarist Johanna diarist performed a history report on Winnipeg/Led Zeppelin cover song she wrote in high school, meant to woo her crush.

99% Invisible

99% Invisible- “Anchorwoman”
Accompanied by live music, Roman, Avery and writer Jon Mooallem wove the tale of an earthquake in Alaska and how one news station persevered.

Song Exploder- 
Throughout the night, interstitial music provided by Hrishi helped pull the evening together.

Coin Check

Coin check!

Radiotopia Live further proved we have the most passionate fans in the world.
Hands down. At the end of the evening we pulled off the largest coin check of the year, asking the audience to pull out the popular
99% Invisible-inspired premium from our 2015 fundraising campaign. As we looked out at the crowd and saw a theatre full of fans holding coins in the air, we were truly humbled. We couldn’t possibly have made our live show happen without our sustaining donors.

What We Learned

A big challenge in planning the show was figuring out how to weave stories from nine very diverse shows into one cohesive program. We realized Radiotopia podcasts cover a wide range of subject matter, but still feel connected and relevant to each other through their high-quality, sound-rich styles and formats. With Roman Mars as master of ceremonies, we created a physical representation of Radiotopia, and transported the audience to a place where “everything is radio, and everything is very good” (quote from now EP Julie Shapiro when she coined the name “Radiotopia” years ago at a conference).

As producers and radio makers, we’ve never had to think about stagecraft, but in order to put on a good live show, technical production is vital. We hired anamazing team of professionals, led by our friend Lynn Finkel who has worked on TED, the Grammys, the Emmys and more. Having a stellar production team

Team bow
Team bow

allowed our producers to focus on their stories and performances, rather than the dirty details. From the captivating lighting in Lea Thau’s story of heartbreak, to the perfectly timed smoke machine choreography, to the media clips played throughout the night, Lynn’s team made sure our show looked as good as it sounded.

We continue to learn that if our stories are compelling, our listeners will follow; even to new mediums. During the show, what felt like magic was actually love and energy from our fans, both in-person and online through social media. We can’t thank you enough for your support, and to those who missed our first show… we’re already talking about when and where the next Radiotopia Live show will happen!

Huge thank you to our amazing sponsors, including Poo-pourri, A1-Array, Kind, Hint, KCRW, Knight Foundation and Mailchimp. And another enormous thank you to Gadi Creative for capturing these amazing photos and video! 

What’s in My Buds? With Chris from TuneIn

On this month’s edition of “What’s in My Buds?”, we chat with Chris Peterson, Content Partnership Manager at TuneIn. Chris has a long, successful career in the audio space. He told us:

My love for radio started early, as it did with many in our industry. I was the kid calling into radio stations and annoying the DJs until I got on air, and the kid who argued about which station was the best. I started my career working at Premiere Networks with numerous talk shows and sports programming: Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, The Glenn Beck Program, Bobby Bones and more. I moved to the digital side of content with the launch of TheBlaze Radio Network, which quickly became one of the most-listened-to networks in the country. Later, having worked in multiple formats in terrestrial and digital, live and on-demand, I found myself wanting to combine all of that experience; TuneIn was just about the only place to do that. Now I’m helping content creators, from podcasters to live radio hosts, tell their stories, and maximizing their exposure to our 60 million active monthly users.

Here’s what Chris is listening to now.

What is your go-to podcast and why?
Can I pick more than one? My “must listen on the day they come out” are: WTF CP headshotwith Marc Maron, The Nerdist, and The Bill Simmons Podcast. Bill Burr, 99% InvisibleIAMRAPAPORT and StartUp are also in heavy rotation.

What is your favorite listening environment? 
I get the majority of my podcast listening done while commuting on BART into San Francisco each day, which is about the only thing that helps me cope with the overcrowding and delays. I also enjoy stacking up a playlist of podcasts for long flights, they really help the time fly by much quicker than staring at SkyMall for hours on end.
What show do you rave to your friends about? 
Mike Rowe started a new podcast recently called The Way I Heard It with Mike Roweand I’ve been telling everyone about it. It’s a really quick five-minute podcast that tells stories in the style of the legendary Paul Harvey. For high consumption podcast listeners, and newbies alike, I think this is a strong candidate to add into your rotation.
If you’re not listening to a podcast, what do you put on to listen to? Everything from Howard Stern to a punk playlist. I’ve also been really getting more into jazz lately… trying to class it up a bit. We just got an Amazon Echo, which makes my eclectic tastes really easy to satisfy by just saying “Alexa, play ____ on TuneIn” while I’m cooking dinner or doing a project around the house. Also, with my wife and I expecting our first baby any day now, I have tried to have some kind of music on in the background during the last nine months, so there is always something on in our house.
What do you think makes a great podcast host?
It’s the same as it is with a terrestrial host: be genuine with your audience. Even though I’ve never met Chris Hardwick or Marc Maron (yet), I feel like I know them through the hundreds of interviews I’ve heard them conduct. They aren’t doing anything other than being themselves during their podcasts and doing their best to really get to know their subject in the time they have. Same thing goes for great radio interviewers like Elvis Duran and Howard Stern—they aren’t just trying to force an answer to get a headline like so many people do these days. They take their time with a guest, make them feel comfortable and have an honest conversation.
Podcasts on TuneIn

What can the podcast medium achieve that other media forms, like broadcast, cannot?
There are no barriers in podcasting, which make it one of the most open and available ways for anyone in the world to create content; which is pretty awesome. Anyone with a smartphone or computer can record their story, opinion, or whatever idea they have, and make it available for the world to hear by distributing it (for free) on platforms like TuneIn. Pretty amazing.

How do you think podcasts will continue emerge and grow?
I see more and more terrestrial radio companies/stations looking at podcasting as a way to build new audience and, possibly more importantly, new talent. Because of that, I believe they’ll start looking at current podcast creators for content as well. If I were programming a terrestrial station, why wouldn’t I consider bringing in content from a team like All Things Comedyor a radio show with the creators of Criminal? It’s great content and I think both sides would greatly benefit from using each other a little more.

For further listening, check out Radiotopia podcasts on TuneIn, the team’s Editors Picks for Radiotopia, or other PRX shows in TuneIn.

Inside the Podcast Studio: Reveal

On the latest edition of Inside the Podcast Studio, we sit down with the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR)—the team behind the Reveal podcast and broadcast show. Reveal is an investigative journalism show that uncovers hidden stories, reveals injustice and holds the powerful accountable. Kevin Sullivan, the show’s executive producer, walks us through how and where Reveal is created.

On the Show

Tell us about your show and what makes it unique.
Reveal combines gritty investigative reporting with on-the-edge-of-your-seat storytelling. Our stories expose wrongs and bring about real change. We report on stories that matter and give people a reason to care.

Why are you so passionate about your subject matter?
I’m passionate about our show because we are uncovering stories that no one is following. Our stories touch people’s lives around the country and around the world. We call out people in the wrong and shine a light on those who are fighting to make things better.

What makes your show ideal for the podcast format?
I love podcasts because the stories are just the length that they need to be, and you can listen to them on your own schedule. Those are both great reasons why Reveal is ideal for the podcast format.

Wide shot
The team in their office

How does your remote team work collaboratively?
Video conferencing is huge in our office. We have team members located around the country and it’s important to stay connected. We use video conferencing for meetings big and small, and stay in constant contact. We also use tools to collaborate on scripts, which allows us to have a running conversation on all the work we do.

How do digital teams work in the context of a radio show?
We have a dedicated digital producer, who heads all of our digital content. She works with producers to come up with the best online features for our stories—from photos and illustrations, to interactive quizzes and embedded videos. Our digital content is a huge part of the planning process and we see it as an extension of the podcast.

What is your relationship with fellow news organizations? What is the value of those relationships in producing your episodes? Any interesting stories there?
We have strong relationships with dozens of news organizations, so we are able to break stories with them. These relationships are extremely valuable and have led to some of our best shows. Last year, we worked with several partners, including Frontline, the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, KQED and Univision to produce an investigation into sexual assault against female janitors. We called it Rape on the Night Shift. Since that show first aired, a grassroots movement has sprung up to change the laws in California to ensure better security for women who clean offices at night.

We also collaborated with New Hampshire Public Radio to produce a one-hour show investigating allegations of abuse and neglect at a neurorehabilitation center. As part of the show, we uncovered the roots of the company, and discovered a disturbing cycle: these types of facilities would get in trouble, shut down and then re-open under new names. The show was a finalist for a Scripps Howard award and brought to light a problem most people never even knew existed.

On the Space

Cozy town

Where do you literally do your work? Can you walk us through that space and how it is laid out? Why is it designed the way it is?
I work in a beautiful office with high ceilings and floor to ceiling windows. It’s open, bright and invigorating. The office is about half a city block and is a combination of cubicle space, an audio/video studio, open conference rooms, and offices. The kitchen area is the center of the space, and is affectionately known as “cozy town.” People break out of their offices and cubicles to work together in cozy town and in other nooks around the office. It’s a great space to work.

Do you have a thinking or reflection space—somewhere you go outside the studio to gather creative inspiration?
I’ll take a walk around the block and soak in the California sunshine!

How do you record your show? What type of equipment does your team use for in-studio recording vs. in the field?
Reveal is fortunate to have a built-out studio and separate control room at CIR that accommodates recording of up to four people on individual mics.10688258_738954426195478_2720193502000008427_o Our host Al uses a Shure SM7B partnered with a CL-1 Cloudlifter to help get this low-gain, excellent broadcast dynamic microphone to a more useable level for our audio interface. We also use Electro-Voice RE20s for our other broadcast voice mics. In the studio, we record 2-ways with Al onsite, and guests in-studio or over ISDN. At times, we will record a guest over the phone, and sync up tracks recorded at the remote studio. Sometimes Al will be at his home in Jacksonville where we record over the phone, and he’ll share his tracks with us via Dropbox.

For remote situations, we have a blend of reporters/producers who favor their own kits (the pricey Sound Devices’ 722 and 744T recorders are our favorites) and some of our own, mostly Tascam DR-100mkii’s. We are also phasing in Zoom’s H6 over time. We have a selection of field microphones from Sennheiser (ME-66 and ME-67 shotguns with K6 capsule, MKH40 cardioid), Audio Technica (AT897 shotgun), Electrovoice (RE50 dynamic omni) and Beyerynamic (M58 dynamic omni).

We mix in Pro Tools with plugins from Waves, Soundtoys, iZotope (RX5 Advanced—an invaluable tool), on Adam A7 monitors. We do sound design in Pro Tools and Ableton Live.

On Podcasting

What can the podcast medium achieve that other media forms like broadcasts cannot?
I feel that both platforms are incredibly important. With broadcast, you reach the masses. With podcasts, the masses reach for you. This gives you the opportunity to form a stronger connection to the audience, because you know the people listening really want to hear your show.

Reveal host Al Letson

What do you think makes a great podcast host? What makes your host unique?
We have the best podcast host ever! Al Letson has a unique way of speaking right to listeners. He helps break down really complicated stories in a way that makes them instantly relatable to people everywhere. He’s also super handsome (I am contractually obligated to say that whenever I refer to our host).

How do you envision the future of the podcasting landscape?
Wow—big question. I see the landscape getting more and more niche. Just like blogging, everyone can find their passion in a podcast. Whether it’s gardening, 16th century literature, or investigative news, podcasting is a medium that’s growing by reaching new, and increasingly more targeted, audiences. It’s a great time to be in podcasting—the competition is intense, but also incredibly inspiring!

Follow Reveal on Twitter @reveal. Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes here and look out for new episodes every Monday.