A reader asks: What’s Public Radio International’s future within WGBH?

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We recently wrapped up the latest voting round in our Currently Curious series, in which we try to answer questions submitted by readers about public media. The winning question was: “What is the future of Public Radio International within WGBH?”

CurrentlyCurious_lrgLOGOPublic Radio International is best known to listeners as the co-producer of programs such as The World and The Takeaway. It also distributes Science Friday. In 2012, it was acquired by WGBH, the Boston station and producer. Before the acquisition, PRI had seen declining revenue and an operating deficit for two years.

Former PRI employee Austin Federa posed the winning question to Current. Austin worked in a temporary position as a social media editor at PRI from December 2015 to March 2016 before he left for a job that provided health-care benefits, he said.

Austin now runs digital marketing for a robotics and technology startup in Cambridge, Mass. But he said he’s still interested in the future of his former organization.



“PRI is, I think, a really impressive organization with a huge number of very talented staff,” Austin said. “It’s something I really care about; that’s why I’m asking the question. I wouldn’t say I’m concerned about the future of it, but I’m curious about the future of it, and I want to make sure that it’s doing what it has to do to keep producing high-quality programming.”

Austin said he also wants to know more about the four-year-old relationship between PRI and WGBH. “How has PRI changed inside WGBH? How close is that relationship? What does it really look like?” he asked. He also asked whether the relationship has helped give PRI access to more capital to stay relevant, and how much editorial control WGBH has over PRI.

As part of our reporting on Austin’s questions, we’ll talk with Alisa Miller, president and c.e.o. of PRI, and her counterpart at WGBH, Jon Abbott. Do you have questions about PRI and WGBH? Or insights you’d like to share? If so, email me.

You can also submit a totally different question to Currently Curious using the form below. We might investigate it for a future story.

Correction: An earlier version of this post inaccurately stated that Austin worked at PRI from November to May. He started in December and left in March. This post was also updated to clarify that PRI is co-producer of The World and The Takeaway and distributor of Science Friday.

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