Meet Pop Up Archive — Easily Save and Search Your Audio

PRX is always looking for ways to improve distribution tools and platforms for producers.  While we have mostly focused on getting completed programs to audiences across broadcast and digital, we are also increasingly hearing from producers and stations that the task of managing audio archives is a constant challenge.

So when we first heard of the remarkable efforts of Anne Wootton and Bailey Smith – the dynamic duo behind Pop Up Archive (winner of the 2012 Knight News Challenge) – we knew we should join forces.

An awesome partnership was born, and for the last several months PRX’s development team has been working with Anne and Bailey to create an easy-to-use web application that archives audio and a lot more.

Today the official announcement of the Pop Up Archive beta site is out (see below), and interested producers can request an invite to take it for a spin.

Among other things, the Pop Up Archive:

  • Generates automatic transcripts and keywords so that audio is both searchable and easy to organize.
  • Provides access to an archive of sound from around the world.
  • Has options for both private and public storage.
  • Saves time and money for producers, creators, radio stations, media organizations, and archives of all stripes.

Pop Up Archive is integrated with PRX so members of both can use their existing accounts, and will have the option of publishing their audio to PRX for distribution.

The beta site is open to testers for a limited time! Request an invite here.

The official press release is below.

Contact: Anne Wootton, 510-463-4066,

Pop Up Archive to create open search and access for audio

Web platform stores, transcribes, and organizes digital media

We gather sound to tell stories. Memories fade and material can easily get lost or degrade. But when it’s easy to archive, it’s easy to find the threads that create stories when you need them.

OAKLAND, Calif. – (May 13, 2013) – Pop Up Archive and PRX are elated to announce the launch of Pop Up Archive, a web-­based system that brings audio to life. The service is a lightweight web application that allows users to search and access audio files from anywhere, opening a door for content creators and journalists to strengthen their work. It is currently being developed as an invitation ­only pilot, but will open to the public in summer 2013.

Pop Up Archive allows media creators to save, organize and find audio without installing any software or managing a server. The system is capable of ingesting large amounts of digital sound and providing automated transcripts with subject tags, timestamps and robust indexing for powerful search. Visitors to Pop Up Archive can also access a quickly growing database of international sound from oral history archives, universities, media organizations and individual collectors. With this audio comes the potential to liberate undiscovered histories, bring new voices into media, and make archiving an integral and painless part of production workflows.

“Most small and independent multimedia publishers have not developed good systems for archiving and sharing their work,” said Michael Maness, vice president for journalism and media innovation at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. “Pop Up Archive opens a real opportunity for these content creators to increase the value of their work by allowing them to organize and access audio content and preserve it for future generations.”

Pop Up Archive is a winner of Knight Foundation’s 2012 News Challenge.

Voices from archives around the world are waiting to be discovered in previously
unsearchable audio.

Interested producers can request an invite at to join the beta test. Pop Up Archive provides unlimited free public storage through the Internet Archive, a San Francisco nonprofit founded to build an Internet library with permanent access to historical collections that exist in digital format. For more sensitive material, private storage options are also available.

The entire Pop Up Archive system will be free for a limited time, with tiered service plans in the future. Planned future improvements to the service include editable transcripts and keywords, additional options for handling rights and access to audio, group memberships and enterprise services for digital audio collections.

For larger media organizations, Pop Up Archive acts as a layer on top of existing content management systems and production workflows. Its simple web interface integrates with reporter habits to strengthen newsrooms — no clunky software. A simple drag-­and-­drop functionality allows users to add audio that becomes immediately searchable with context beyond the typical YouTube search result. Pop Up Archive is building a dynamic archival body of content that can be easily searched and accessed via API, informed by related efforts such as the American Archive Content Inventory Project and the Public Media Platform.

Request an invite today at for a free account to start making your audio searchable. Archive entire collections of raw audio and completed work — save time and rediscover amazing material by revolutionizing how you organize it.

About PRX
PRX is an award-­winning public media company, harnessing innovative technology to bring significant stories to millions of people. PRX operates public radio’s largest distribution marketplace, offering thousands of audio stories for broadcast and digital use, including signature programs like The Moth Radio Hour. PRX mobile apps include This American Life, KCRW Music Mine, Radiolab, and Public Radio Player. Contact: Jason Gordon, 212­627­8098; jason [at] pkpr [dot] com.

About Pop Up Archive
Pop Up Archive is building a collection of sound from around the world with partners and clients from a growing body of media organizations, oral history archives, and journalists. Born at the UC­ Berkeley School of Information and supported by the Knight Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the system is a lightweight web application that makes audio searchable without requiring technical expertise from users. Contact: Anne Wootton, 510­463­4066; edison [at] popuparchive [dot] org.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. 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 Contact: Andrew Sherry, 305­908­2677; media [at] knightfoundation [dot] org.


Matter Announces First Class of Startups

We’re thrilled to announce the first class of Matter startups. Six ventures have been chosen to work together, elbow to elbow in Matters space in San Francisco, CA. The six teams were selected because of their potential to leverage scalable entrepreneurship to create a more informed, connected, and empowered society.

Read more about the selected teams and their members.

What the media’s saying about Matter One:

Also, GigaOM, Nieman Lab, and Current.

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.