PRX to help five stations develop podcasts

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WGBH's investment in the deal provides funds to expand the PRX Podcast Garage to more cities.

Photo: PRX

PHOENIX — Public Radio Exchange will receive a $1 million grant to help five public radio stations develop podcasts.

Under the “Project Catapult” initiative, PRX will seek stations’ pitches for podcasts over the next six weeks. It will pick five stations to participate in a 20-week program that will help them develop the podcasts and offer guidance in monetization and audience engagement.

PRX CEO Kerri Hoffman said the network is looking for stations with a “demonstrated commitment to podcasting.”

“We’re looking for stations that have tried podcasting, and perhaps it has stalled,” she said.

The five stations that are selected will begin the program in January. They will follow the process of design thinking, which focuses on users and is based on iterative testing and adapting of products. PRX partner Matter uses design thinking as well. It can be “messy,” Hoffman said, so station executives must promise a strong commitment if they want to be considered.

The hope is that station participants will develop replicable strategies that can help them produce even more podcasts.

“The reality is that the audience of the future will be consuming our content largely on demand and largely on mobile,” Hoffman said. “How are are stations prepared for that?”

“Innovation is at the core of CPB’s support of public media stations across the country—this grant provides avenues for more stations to increase their multimedia offerings,” said Pat Harrison, president and c.e.o. of CPB, in a press release. “While public radio is an acknowledged leader in podcasting, not all stations have had the resources and expertise to participate. This program aims to build capacity that ensures more diversity and inclusiveness in multimedia platforms.”

Some funds will help stations pay for staff resources devoted to their projects and for traveling to PRX’s podcast garage in Boston, where some training will take place.

PRX will also hire a project coordinator.

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