Our Technology

PRX's technology enables talented creators and engaged institutions to bring compelling audio stories to millions of people.

 
 
 

In 2003, PRX developed public radio's first online content exchange, and we've been public media's center of R&D ever since. We've pushed the limits of possibility in media distribution, monetization and technology. For us, innovation is not just a mandate — it's part of our DNA. 

Today, PRX Exchange has grown into a vibrant community of independents, stations and major broadcast networks on public radio’s largest open distribution platform. Every week it delivers shows like This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour automatically to hundreds of local public radio stations around the country and abroad.

Broadcast is our foundation, but it's just the beginning. We've evolved our publishing platform to include high-performance podcast distribution with dynamic ad insertion, real-time metrics and easily shared players and pages.

Dovetail, our ad insertion technology, maximizes publisher revenue with sophisticated sponsorship campaigns across shows and episodes, for new episodes or the entire catalog.

 

PRX Exchange
Public radio broadcast marketplace with automated distribution


PRX Publishing Platform
Content management and publishing, analytics, and scalable dynamic ad serving

 
 
 

CASE STUDY

PRX's Dovetail on Serial and S-Town

 
 
 

The launch of Serial's second season put our dynamic ad server to the test. With the largest audience in podcasting anxiously awaiting each episode, their enthusiasm translated into unprecedented downloads. We built Dovetail to scale, but Serial proved it, bringing us to new levels of performance and dependability. As rapt fans woke early for episode drops, Dovetail gave every download request its own consideration, its own announcements and its own sponsorship messages stitched in along with the ground breaking show.

But if each Serial episode was a mountain of demand, then S-Town releasing their entire season at once was the Himalayas — initial morning traffic was roughly quadruple Serial’s, and just kept going, with binge listeners raising the load in the evening, peaking above the initial burst.

S-Town and Serial were unprecedented in all ways, not including their strain on Dovetail. Battle tested by these giants, it's ready for however big a show or podcasting listening may grow.

 
“On Serial season two, we had so many campaigns governed by different variables — date, impression goal, episode, etc. — coupled with a very high rate of downloads, that it would have been impossible to flight the creative without a super flexible ad serving system. PRX pulled it off with Dovetail. It had a huge effect on our ability to monetize the season’s 100M+ downloads. And on S-Town PRX used Dovetail to help us solve another puzzle—namely, how could we maintain seamless music under dynamic postrolls? PRX's creative solution preserved the sound of the show through the last second of the credits. ” — Seth Lind, director of operations at This American LifeSerial and S-Town
 
 
 
 

A History of Innovation

Fifteen years ago, PRX created the Public Radio Exchange (now PRX Exchange) to solve a problem. Painstakingly produced radio stories often aired once and were lost. No one had created an efficient, cost-effective, streamlined archive or licensing mechanism to get the work out, both to local stations and beyond. PRX solved this problem, building a custom distribution marketplace that used innovative technology to smooth the friction of uploading and licensing. The result is diverse choices for program directors and more opportunities for creators.

In 2005, before iTunes even included podcasts, stations needed a way for listeners to easily find and download their podcasts. Using open source technology, and with support from the Surdna Foundation, we built "Pubcatcher", a desktop podcasting app for stations to curate lists of podcasts for their listeners, helping them subscribe and listen on their computers and iPods.

After the iPhone launched, PRX innovated by building the industry's first iPhone application, the "Public Radio Player". We built iPhone and Android apps for public radio's largest shows including This American Life, Radiolab, and The Moth and for the largest stations including WBUR, WNYC, WGBH, KCRW and KQED.

In 2012, PRX launched a delivery service for broadcast shows, handling subscription, carriage billing, automated delivery and integration with station automation systems. Recently, PRX introduced Dovetail, a dynamic ad-serving platform for podcasts, built on our streamlined publishing platform and audio metrics application.

PRX is a founding partner in Matter Ventures, an accelerator program helping mission-driven entrepreneurs start media companies that inform, connect and empower society. PRX's latest venture is RadioPublic, a public benefit corporation building a mobile audio platform that rewards producers while driving listener discovery and engagement.