PRX Podcast Garage in 2018
What does a community space for audio storytelling look like two years in?
The PRX Podcast Garage, which opened in August 2016, is busier than ever before. Our space overflowed this year with over 100 events and trainings, over 700 hours of recording, and deeper connections to podcasters, audio journalists, and media makers in Boston.
At PRX, we believe public media is strengthened with diverse voices, which is why we’re committed to making our Podcast Garages even busier and better in 2019. Already, we’re looking forward to welcoming the first cohort of the Google Podcasts creator program, raising walls on a new space in Washington, D.C., and bringing on two new full-time staff at the Garage in Boston!
When we reflect on what went well this year, and what we want to grow into, three themes really stand out.
2018 was the year of…
1. Making podcasting more accessible to all
We love our neighborhood in Boston. (Did you know that Allston claims to be the only community in the United States named after an artist?!) We also recognize the importance of entering new spaces, especially given the transportation and development issues that divide communities in Boston. This year, we hosted our podcast training and community events in venues across the city.
For the first time, we took our popular monthly orientation,“Is This Thing On?”, on the road, teaching podcasting basics to sold-out crowds at Cambridge Community Television, The Record Co. in Roxbury, Q Division Studios in Somerville, and Brookline Interactive Group.
We partnered with the Pao Arts Center and Dudley Cafe to develop a free, four-week workshop, “Personal Storytelling for Social Change” for ten participants with connections to Roxbury, Dorchester, or Chinatown. Over those four weeks, participants told, analyzed, and reshaped their personal stories while learning the basics of audio production. The class ended with two live shows in Chinatown and Roxbury that blended live storytelling, audio, and musical performances.
In our neighborhood, we also worked with the Harvard Ed Portal to pilot a weeklong storytelling course for high school students that included a visit to our recording studio:
With support from the Barr Foundation, we are looking to expand our reach city-wide in 2019 with partners like the Boston Public Library, plus online courses from PRX. Stay tuned!
2. Opening our doors for community conversations
In 2018, we worked with more than 35 local and national organizations to host more than 100 community gatherings and workshops in our space.
Some events focused on podcast makers and fans, like our monthly Maker Mingle with AIR, the annual Film/Audio Potluck with Sonic Soiree and the LEF Foundation, the MaxFun Meetup, a conversation with Tracy G. in partnership with BREAD (Boston’s Racial + Economic Activated Dialogue), and the Podcast Brunch Club.
Many other events focused on local celebration, connection, and conversation, like a gathering of hispanic journalists, an e-book launch about women of color leaders in Boston, a training on salary negotiation and the gender pay gap, an open-mic on culture shock and assimilation, and a conversation on climate change.
One of our favorite nights featured a conversation among five incredible women shaping the future of Boston’s art community:
3. Bringing podcasts to life in and outside the studio
With a growing monthly membership of more than 30 shows, close to 700 hours of recording in our studio this year, and many more rentals of our field kit gear, it’s clear that Boston’s podcasting scene is stronger than ever.
We launched the Neighborhood Podcast List, a crowd-sourced list of of more than 90 local podcasts, and welcomed shows like Dear Young Rocker, TempahZone Podcast, Iconography, and Coming in Hot to our membership.
We also saw an explosion of shows that have an interest in recording live episodes, launching a new season, or hosting conversations in our space. Local and national pods — like Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, 70 Million, Go Creative Show, In the Thick, Detox & Chill, HerMoney, and more — brought friends and fans together for great conversations. We also heard incredible reporting from Afghanistan and Puerto Rico with journalists from PRI and WBUR.
There’s nothing quite like the buzz of a live show:
We were particularly excited for the launch of Mass Exoneration by the New England Innocence Project, which tells the stories of Massachusetts men who spent decades in prison for crimes they didn’t commit. For six months, we supported their team with free studio time and training through our Community Hours program. Podcasters, friends and families of exonerees, and criminal justice activists gathered for the launch to listen to their first episode.
Thanks to everyone who has been part of preserving, reshaping, and sharing the stories of our city this year.
As always, we love hearing your feedback and ideas at email@example.com. Let us know how we can serve you in 2019!