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RadioPublic aims to capture the 'Serial' podcast crowd

Backed by the New York Times and other groups, it'll release an app this year.
Steve Dent, @stevetdent
05.19.16 in AV
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Public Radio Exchange (PRX), the non-profit that delivers podcasts like The Moth Radio Hour, is launching RadioPublic, a company that aims to capitalize on the popularity of podcasts like Serial. The first goal for the organization is to build an app that helps users find and listen to audio programs, including "spoken-word stories, news, information, journalism and entertainment," according to the company. Investors include some serious media players, including the New York Times, Graham Holdings and the Knight Foundation Enterprise Fund.

It will operate as a public benefit corporation, allowing it to make money while still retaining a public service mission. RadioPublic will focus on building mobile apps, which it says will come "later this year" on several platforms. Meanwhile PRX (which has its own Public Radio Player app) will continue working with producers to develop podcasts and other audio content.

Having billions of radios, essentially, in people's pockets, is an enormous channel for distribution that is still, in many ways, up for grabs.

Jake Shapiro is now CEO of RadioPublic, having handed the PRX leadership reins to Kerri Hoffman. He tells Poynter that podcasts like Serial and This American Life are bucking the trend of content being consumed on social media. "Having billions of radios, essentially, in people's pockets, is an enormous channel for distribution that is still, in many ways, up for grabs," he says. He adds that it will differ from rival apps like NPR One by having more diverse content selection. "We absolutely see that there's a much broader definition of high-quality, interesting, relevant audio that has yet to be served well by the podcast world."

Update: This article previously said that PRX was behind This American Life, but the producers of that show say that PRX simply delivers its audio files to radio stations. We've corrected the post and apologize for the misunderstanding.

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