Happy 2nd Birthday Radiotopia

Two years ago this month we launched Radiotopia under PRX as an experiment. Last year, I wrote an anniversary blog post reflecting on the incredible success from our first year. Every day since then, we’ve been building, learning, fixing, reaching, celebrating, and doing it all over again. Albert Einstein once said, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” This rings true for us, and we built Radiotopia with talented producers who share that ethos. Even in the light of our success so far we continue to ask questions and seek feedback.

Radiotopia, year two, by the numbers:

  • 10M monthly downloads (up from 5.7M this time last year)
  • 13 total shows (up from 7 last year)
  • 50% of our shows produced and hosted by women (women are also sound engineers, producers, researchers and in leadership positions throughout the network)
  • 20,097 donations to our fall fundraising campaign
  • 82% chose to become monthly donors
  • $52.95 average yearly donation ($28.45 average one-time donation last year). Nearly double from our last campaign, plus the money will recur yearly.
  • 98 donors elected to be part of our internal committee that vets new shows
  • 11,000 donors will be receiving hand-minted, hand-painted challenge coins
  • 60 countries represented in our donor pool
  • Countless love letters
  • 1 exclusive Breakmaster Cylinder remix

There were many other notable milestones for us in 2015. The Knight Foundation gave us $1M over two years, allowing us to improve our capacity and infrastructure, and hire our first executive producer, Julie Shapiro. The grant also provided the means to establish a show Pilot Fund, which will be launching soon and will help bring new, diverse talent into the podcast environment.

For more than a dozen years, PRX has distributed the work of independent producers. Long before the iTunes store was launched we built a podcasting tool to listen to the RSS feed of your local public radio station on demand (we called it ‘TiVo for radio’). Our PRX Remix channel, a 24-hour stream of stories on rotation, has introduced podcasts to bigger, broadcast audiences. We were monetizing audio content before it had a supportive economy. All of these stepping stones, combined with lessons we learned from our partner Roman Mars, led PRX to the development of the Radiotopia network.

As fierce champion of new voices, new formats, and new business models, PRX has become a magnet for awesome shows, as evidenced by this network we’ve curated. Two years in, we can safely say Radiotopia has evolved from an experiment into a thriving audio community of listeners and makers. Now we’re busy planning and executing what comes next.