MacArthur has made a $350,000 grant to the Station Resource Group in support of a new Internet-based service, Public Radio Exchange (PRX), which is designed to bring new voices and perspectives from diverse sources to communities across the country. Public Radio Exchange is a collaboration of the Station Resource Group and Atlantic Public Media.

"Public radio is an important and trusted source of information for a growing number of people in the United States," said Jonathan F. Fanton, President of the MacArthur Foundation. "In fact, in the past 10 years, the number of public radio listeners has more than doubled. We expect that this trend will continue as new technologies, such as Public Radio Exchange, make it easier for radio stations to further diversify and enrich their programming."

"We are honored by the vote of confidence this significant grant represents," said Jake Shapiro, Executive Director of Public Radio Exchange. "Support from the MacArthur Foundation adds great momentum to the project and its mission to create new opportunities for producers of compelling radio."

Public Radio Exchange is an online service that gives public radio stations the opportunity to select programming from a collection of audio files created by independent radio producers and producing stations. Producers submit their pieces digitally and organize them by searchable categories in the PRX online database (www.prx.org). They can set prices within established ranges, review other pieces, view ratings of their work, and receive payment through the PRX service.

Public radio stations pay a yearly fee to subscribe to PRX. As members, they are able to search, audition, and download audio pieces for use in their local markets. They can also make programming they have produced available to other stations as well as review, rate, and discuss pieces with other industry professionals. PRX will manage and monitor transactions and rights, and maintain the website.

Examples of available content include:

  • "Anatomy of a Wrongful Conviction," a 30-minute documentary by New California Media that examines how a wrongful conviction takes place and its impact on those affected;
  • "What Can I Say: Culture of Patriotism and Dissent," a 60-minute documentary by New York City public radio station WNYC examining how concepts such as loyalty and treason have been portrayed in cultural expressions, including in movies, songs and comic strips; "
  • The Pol Walk," a 4-minute feature by independent producer, Barrett Golding, about a Montana politician going door-to-door to meet voters.

Reviews are posted on the PRX website to help station managers select programming and to give producers a forum for peer review. A paid editorial board writes regular feature reviews and news pieces about the PRX programming; selected member radio station personnel regularly provide anonymous reviews; and any member of the site can submit an attributed review.

Public Radio Exchange is a collaboration of the Station Resource Group and Atlantic Public Media. In addition to its funding from MacArthur, PRX has also received support from The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Ford Foundation, and NTIA's Technology Opportunities Program.

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