A look across PRX, Radiotopia, TRAX, and our incredible partners in the audio and podcasting world

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

When 2020 started, we were looking forward to the next decade of public media and podcast possibilities. A year in, it’s not the era we necessarily anticipated… and like most others, we had to adjust to the reality of 2020. Between numbers and narrative, this is a snapshot of the myriad ways our content, investments in talent, and technology fit into the year that was.

Content

What kind of year would it be without new podcasts? Our production partners and the newly launched PRX Productions team brought new shows to listeners, lengthening our podcast queues by hours and hours.

36: characters played by podcast creator Sharon Mashihi in the meta-fictional audio drama “Appearances.” …


Why and when to use these station resources

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Photo by OCV PHOTO on Unsplash

How does PRX’s distribution work?

Before we hop into the nitty-gritty of when and why to use the PRX Exchange versus the Station Services Info Site, it’s essential to understand how we categorize distribution relationships with programs. These relationships determine where you go to find information for specific programs.

There are two types of PRX distribution relationships:

Representative Relationship
The first kind of distribution relationship is one where PRX works on behalf of the program to place it on airwaves across the country. This type of distribution is facilitated by one of PRX’s station services representatives.

Independent Relationship
This kind of relationship is a technical one, in which independent producers and/or station producers self-distribute their programs using the PRX Exchange. …


Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from the final summary report, written by Prince Lobel Tye LLP and delivered to the PRX Board of Directors.

On August 3rd, a former employee of PRX sent an email to all staff in which they recounted what they described as the “systematic mistreatment” they experienced that prompted them to resign from their position. The PRX Board of Directors initiated an independent investigation into the former employee’s assertions. This is a summary of the investigation.

Background

The Board engaged the services of the law firm Prince Lobel to conduct the investigation, with Joseph Edwards as investigator. Mr. Edwards has extensive experience at MCAD, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, both as a Commission member and previously as a staff attorney. He also served as the Chief Diversity and Civil Rights Officer of MassDOT, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. …


These concerns have our full attention.

The Board of Directors apologizes to the Black, Indigenous, and people of color on our staff. You have bravely reached out to share your outrage about issues of systemic racism in our organization. We hear you. In speaking up, you have helped us to clearly see inequities. These concerns have our full attention.

We recognize that PRX has a lot of work to do to create an inclusive workplace where you can thrive as individuals and each have a sense of belonging.

To that end we are taking a series of concrete actions that directly address systemic racism at PRX, including, but not limited to, an independent investigation led by Joe Edwards (of the law firm Prince Lobel) to explore the specific issues raised by Palace Shaw in her letter of grievance. We anticipate this investigation will be completed by September 18th, and PRX will publicly share the conclusions of the report. …


We have committed to a rigorous process with staff addressing improvements to our culture, specifically through an equity lens. We are also committed to doing this work as transparently as possible, sharing with staff what we are doing and when.

In keeping with that commitment, here is an update on what we are doing:

  • Investigation — The Board oversight committee has hired Joe Edwards to look into the concerns raised by a former employee. As stated earlier, the work will be managed by the board to preserve the integrity of the investigation. In terms of scope, the board will ask the investigator to look into the details of the letter from the former employee. The investigators will establish their own list of people they want to interview and documents that they want to access, but we have confirmed that they will reach out to former staff. At the end of the investigation, PRX will share the findings with staff, regardless of the conclusions and recommendations. There is always a need to strike a balance between the privacy rights of individuals involved and the need to be transparent. …


We asked a few parents that work at PRX about how their children were introduced to podcasts and built listening into a habit.

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Podcasts are a great source of screen-free entertainment for anyone at any age, but many still don’t know when and how podcasts can fit into their day. This can be especially tricky for parents trying to engage their children through extended periods at home.

We asked a few parents that work at PRX, the company that brings you TRAX, about how their children were introduced to podcasts and built listening into a habit.

Here’s a big hint: when’s your next road trip?

How were your children first introduced to podcasts?

Brandon, father of three ages 8, 6, and 3: For my children, they were introduced to their first podcast as we were in a car. …


After COVID-19 completely dismantled the show’s original format, the Live Wire team made decisions that will change the show forever.

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Written by Live Wire’s executive producer, Laura Hadden, and host, Luke Burbank

Live Wire has been recorded in front of a live audience for 16 years. The energy and presence of a few hundred slightly buzzed Portlanders have been central to our identity as a show, our business model, and even our name. But when COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the remainder of our season of live shows, we realized we had two options: we could release reruns as if nothing had happened OR we could entirely reimagine the show.

Within days, we (Host Luke Burbank and Executive Producer Laura Hadden) were on the phone talking about what a new show could sound like. We recognized that our time slot on stations is a privilege and agreed that we had a responsibility to deliver the most responsive content during these wild and terrifying times. Out of this crisis, we found permission to experiment with what a brand new show could sound like and rebuilt the show from the ground up. And so the Live Wire House Party, a weekly series of episodes recorded from home (including announcer Elena Passarello’s actual closet), was born! …


Look around you, what if you could ask something in your bedroom or living room a question?

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Louis, Can of Cola. Fan art by Zach Both.

Look around you, what if you could ask something in your bedroom or living room a question? How might it respond? Have you ever even thought like this before? We know someone who does!

Meet Ian Chillag! He’s the creator and host of Everything is Alive, a podcast in which he interviews inanimate objects like soda cans, baseball caps, and stuffed animals. When Ian learned about TRAX from PRX, he knew immediately that our audience — that’s you! — would be just like him: curious, imaginative, and game to try something different.

Not every episode of Everything is Alive is appropriate for tweens and teens, but don’t worry. Ian has handpicked some of his favorite episodes that are just for right you. …


Teens have a lot to say about this complicated world — are you listening?

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Teens have something to say and they don’t just want their peers to hear it — they want adults to as well. Mic Drop is providing the perfect space for that.

Mic Drop is a CBC original podcast and new to TRAX from PRX. The show features first-person stories by tweens and teens sharing their mood-swinging, dream-chasing, rule-breaking dramas, adventures, and experiences — with no adult interruptions. Parents to teenagers themselves, producers Carrie Haber and Shari Okeke know first-hand the importance of assuring young people that their experiences and perspectives matter.

Check out their Q&A below to learn how they gain trust with the teens and their parents to create an open, honest, and healthy space for communication. …


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The death of George Floyd must be called out for what it is — outrageous and unacceptable. PRX stands with those who fight for a more just and inclusive society.

Public media is essential. Fair and balanced coverage, accessible to all, is a cornerstone of our democracy. We must ensure the media remains unbiased, and we have to actively and urgently work to expand our reach into underserved communities. Public media mostly serves — and serves well — an audience that is primarily white, well-off, and educated. …

About

PRX

PRX brings significant stories to millions of people. We make The Moth Radio Hour, This American Life apps, PRX Remix story stream, Radiotopia, and much more.

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