Monday, May 23, 2016


New noncommercial media initiatives sometimes are slow to surface and take a long time to become sustainable, if they do become sustainable.  Public Radio Exchange (PRX) is a notable exception.  Since it began in 2003, PRX has redefined noncom radio networks, perfected new ways to distribute content, brought many independent producers into the mix and created podcast provider Radiotopia [link]. 

 On Friday 5/20/16 PRX announced a new major for-profit initiative called RadioPublic [link]. The mission of RadioPublic is to fuse the simplicity and reach of radio with the excitement and versatility of podcasts, particularly for mobile devices. RadioPublic is developing new apps that will expand the circulation of PRX’s huge catalog of work from independent producers, public radio programs and podcasts.

[Disclosure: I have worked as a paid consultant for PRX but I have no involvement with RadioPublic.]

Jake Shapiro
Founding PRX CEO Jake Shapiro is the new CEO of RadioPublic. Shapiro told the Poynter Institute:

“We believe RadioPublic can be radio rethought. We think that there’s something extraordinarily powerful and simple and beautiful and coherent about radio that needs to be transformed for how people are using and accessing information.”

Kerri Hoffman

The way most people are using and accessing information today are smartphones and tablets, the primary destination of RadioPublic’s new apps. 

Longtime PRX executive Kerri Hoffman is replacing Shapiro as PRX’s CEO.  PRX's focus will be to shape the future of public media content, talent and technology. John Barth, Chief of Content and Andrew Kuklewicz Chief Technology Officer will continue their leadership roles at PRX.  

RadioPublic is a public-benefit corporation that merges the sense of purpose of a noncom with the fundraising potential of traditional corporation. The goal is to do good work while maximizing profit for shareholders.

RadioPublic is being funded by private investors.  Businesses that have pledged undisclosed sums include The New York Times, Knight Foundation Enterprise Fund, Project 11, Graham Holdings and McClatchy Newspapers. This will allow Shapiro and the company to access substantial investment capital necessary for the process of developing and testing apps.

RadioPublic is led by Shapiro, chief product officer Matt MacDonald, and Chief architect Chris Roden. In addition to surfacing more content the apps also provide analytics data that was not previously available to audio producers.

RadioPublic's app is currently being in development for beta-testing on iOS and Android devices.


Keith Goldstein, the award-winning news director at KCSN-FM 88.5, Northridge passed away from complications from influenza on Friday 5/20/16. He was one of best news reporters and teachers I ever met.

Keith Goldstein
Goldstein moved to Los Angeles in 1987 and remained at California State University – Northridge (CSUN) for almost three decades. Keith and I became friends when I joined KCSN in 1989 as General Manager. At that time KCSN was in bureaucratic gridlock because CSUN filled the station with “problem” employees whom they couldn’t fire.

Goldstein was not a part of the riff-raff.  Instead he focused on his work reporting news on KCSN while training hundreds of journalists. He had a zen-like quality that I admired.  You knew you could trust Goldstein and he delivered results.

Over the years of his work at CSUN he and/or his students received around 500 radio news awards, often beating entries from news giants such as KNX, KFWB and KABC.

CSUN spokeswoman Carmen Ramos Chandler, who knew Goldstein for decades, called him “priceless, irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind [who] trained hundreds of journalists now in newsrooms across the country and the world.”

Goldstein was an old-school journalist, a purist who focused on the facts, told stories and put news into context. In 2015 the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (CPJ) honored him with its prestigious Distinguished Journalist Award.

After I left KCSN in 1991 Keith and I kept in touch.  Every year of two he would ask me for advice about an open news position somewhere in the country. A part of him wanted to get back into doing what he enjoyed the most: reporting. Over time I realized that Goldstein really didn’t want to relocate. Los Angeles, CSUN and KCSN were his homes. I will miss Keith Goldstein.

Goldstein was a native of Philadelphia, who graduated from Temple University.
He honed his on-air chops by reading newspapers to the blind. Some his best work was about the 1994 Northridge earthquake despite the fact the earthquake damaged the apartment where he and his family lived. CSUN is organizing a tribute to him.

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