Public Radio International is throwing more muscle behind podcasting with the launch of SoundWorks, a podcast network incorporating PRI shows and other talent from public radio.
SoundWorks launched Thursday with four podcasts, and PRI plans to add more in the coming weeks, said spokesperson Julia Yager. The network is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Sara & Evan Williams Foundation and Maureen and Michael Ruettgers.
Three of the podcasts at SoundWorks’ launch are based on PRI properties. The World in Words, a language-focused podcast host The World’s Patrick Cox, already debuted in 2008. Sideshow, which covers Internet culture, is hosted by Studio 360 producer Sean Rameswaram, who also writes a blog of the same name for the program's website. And Radio Ambulante: Unscripted is an interview series from Daniel Alarcón, whose Latino-focused storytelling program Radio Ambulante struck a deal to produce content for PRI in September.
New to the lineup is Farai Chideya, former host of NPR’s canceled news show News and Notes and occasional guest host for PRI's The Takeaway. Her SoundWorks podcast, One with Farai, is a "deep-dive conversation with innovators around the world," as she explains in the first episode (below). The debut features an interview with writer Tanya Selvaratnam about fertility and feminism.
PRI hopes to use SoundWorks “to develop content for the potential of broadcast and to make people with unique viewpoints a platform to be discovered as traditional distribution opportunities are evaluated,” Yager said.