PRX podcast network will seek to ‘reach young audiences where they are’

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CPB has awarded PRX a $1.6 million grant to create TRAX, a podcast network that will aim to cultivate a new audience for pubmedia by appealing to preteens and teens.

The network is expected to premiere next year and offer both new podcasts and some already in production, according to PRX CEO Kerri Hoffman.

High-quality audio content for tweens is lacking, Hoffman wrote in an email. “With TRAX, we’ll help to set standards for excellence in audio for 9-13 year olds while making public media meaningful and relevant to a new generation of listeners,” she wrote. “In addition, research suggests that mobile devices and smart devices are becoming more ubiquitous among preteens and teens and in households. We intend to reach young audiences where they are, which, as a medium, podcasting makes distinctly possible.”

CPB CEO Pat Harrison said in a statement that the grant will help public media reach a new audience of 9- to 13-year-olds. “Reaching untapped audiences on the platforms they access most is essential and CPB is pleased to collaborate with PRX in the development and launch of TRAX,” Harrison said in a statement.

PRX will work with several organizations to produce TRAX programs, including Gen-Z Media, which specializes in scripted podcasts for kids, and Night Vale Presents, producer of several fiction series. PRX has worked with the two organizations since 2018

Other partners include the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and Cocotazo Media, which produces Timestorm, an audio fiction series. PRX EP Michelle Smawley will lead TRAX.

TRAX’s sources of revenue will include sponsorship, listener support and licensing, Hoffman said.

CPB previously gave PRX $2.5 million for Project Catapult, which helps producers at public media stations develop podcasts.

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