PRX Wants To Redefine Radio

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PRX stands for Public Radio Exchange. It’s an online marketplace for distribution, review, and licensing of public radio programming. The nonprofit has distributed radio programs including This American Life, The Moth Radio Hour, and Reveal. As podcasting grew in popularity, PRX built mobile listening apps for its exploding user base. And, over the past year, PRX has been working on a project it says will reimagine the way listeners spend their time with audio content. The new company is called RadioPublic and it is building a mobile listening platform for on-demand radio and podcasts.

A Public Benefit Corporation, RadioPublic has secured funding from some very recognizable names, including Project11, The New York Times, Graham Holdings Company, UP2398, Knight Foundation Enterprise Fund, Matter Ventures, American Public Media, McClatchy, and Homebrew.

Jake Shapiro, founding chief executive of PRX, will lead the new venture as CEO. Shapiro tells Poynter, “We believe RadioPublic can be radio rethought. We think that there’s something extraordinarily powerful and simple and beautiful and coherent about radio that needs to be transformed for how people are using and accessing information.” The idea behind RadioPublic is to provide a one-stop shop for all kinds of audio, including news, entertainment, and storytelling.

When RadioPublic’s first mobile apps launch later this year, listeners will have access to 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 ad product, Dovetail, which powers Serial and other signature shows. Shapiro said, ““We are at a clear inflection point in the shift to on-demand radio through mobile devices and the connected car and home. 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. ”

Shapiro also tells Poynter that audio storytelling defies the trend of consumers taking in their news on social media. “Listeners want to consume audio in a native app that allows them to listen to podcasts and other radio when they’re in the car, out of sync with their data connection, or otherwise on the go. He and his team see vast and largely untapped potential in the current base of audio consumers. Having billions of radios, essentially, in people’s pockets, is an enormous channel for distribution that is still, in many ways, up for grabs.”

New York Times Executive VP of Product and Technology, and editor of Innovation and Strategy Kinsey Wilson said, “News and entertainment radio is at a moment of profound transition as broadcast and podcast listening moves to simple on-demand digital listening. And The Times sees opportunity there.”

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