A Note of Thanks to Roman Mars and “99% Invisible.”
Ten years ago, PRX hired Roman Mars to help us curate a new channel, called PRX Remix, on the then newly formed SiriusXM. PRX Remix was an experiment; a showcase of audio gems surfaced through choice and technology. Roman instantly understood what we were trying to do and brought the special sauce that made it work — he acted more like a DJ than a programmer.
A few years later, we put our heads together to solve another problem, this time in podcasting. At the time, his podcast, “99% Invisible,” was gaining success as a one-person production, but there were many limitations: scale, financial stability, and managing multiple jobs to make ends meet. The model of success in podcasting was uneven, with a lot of technical friction and only a handful of advertisers who understood the space. “99% Invisible” became the anchor and inspiration for Radiotopia from PRX, a podcast network that empowers independent producers to do their best work, grow audience, and increase revenue. Roman leveraged his success to help expand several shows created by extraordinary independent audio creators.
Announced today, Roman has decided to sell his company, 99% Invisible Inc., to SiriusXM. All of us at PRX are grateful to have been an essential partner for 99% Invisible. Roman has demonstrated that podcasting can be every bit as sophisticated and artful as literature, filmmaking, or music, and in some cases, with greater reach.
We established Radiotopia together with the hope that there was a different way to run a creative business, prioritizing values including independence, creative freedom, producer-owned IP, and generosity over control. In a similar spirit of generosity, Roman is donating $1 million to PRX over four years. I’m incredibly moved by Roman’s continued investment and encouragement in PRX to continue the constant work of supporting creators, building and sharing innovative technology, and fueling stories with impact.
On a personal note, Roman has been an amazing business partner. I’m so proud of all the home runs we have hit together. I have a clear image standing in my backyard on the phone with one another when we decided to launch a yet-to-be-named network. Our friendship and working partnership have always favored creativity and ambition, with a can-do spirit.
Thank you, Roman, and 99% Invisible. Today we celebrate your success.