Dear Friends of PRI,
I am thrilled to announce the merger of PRI and PRX (the Public Radio Exchange). Together we aspire to create a vibrant public media organization that is grounded in extraordinary storytelling and journalism, that is reflective of our complex, diverse nation, and that takes full advantage of rapidly changing technologies to reach and engage our audiences. When we approached PRX to merge, it was with the expressed desire to serve you even better.
Our combined portfolio will be one of the most expansive in noncommercial media, built around phenomenal programs like PRI’s The World, Reveal, This American Life, The Takeaway, Studio 360, On Being and The Moth Radio Hour, as well as genre-defining podcasts like 99% Invisible, Criminal, Ear Hustle and The Science of Happiness. Through broadcast and the web, we will reach 28.5 million people each month, while supporting 56 million monthly podcast downloads.
While our organizations could continue on parallel paths, there is urgency in our decision. The sheer volume of audio content produced today is dizzying. Or deafening. By one estimate, the number of podcasts in production has rocketed from 60,000 in 2015 to more than 600,000 today. The number of homes with smart speakers has more than doubled in the past year alone.
As the volume increases, it becomes harder and harder for essential voices to break through and find audiences – and for audiences to filter through the sea of content to find excellence, especially in these complex times.
Together, PRI and PRX will:
· Ensure that important new audio talents are supported as they grow;
· Deliver the highest quality journalism and storytelling to the broadest audience possible, without paywalls or conflicted commercial interests; and
· Be a leading partner to local public radio stations in broadcast every day and as they continue to expand beyond the dial and into podcasting and other digital spaces.
There is, of course, much more to say about this transformative merger, and you can expect additional updates in the coming weeks and months. For the moment, I invite you to explore these FAQs or to read our announcement press release. And if you are ready to invest in the future of public media, I invite you to donate now.
I also want to thank our excellent partners at WGBH Boston, who are making a transformative investment that will help fuel this merger, deepen our commitment to global journalism, and launch a new production studio. It is extraordinary. WGBH is a significant public media leader and their investment in our merger will greatly advance our field forward.
I hope you are as excited about this future as I am.
President and CEO
P.S. This change will enhance our capacity to deliver on our shared goals of supporting quality journalism, elevating new voices and investing in innovative technology, and ensures a vibrant, dynamic public media system. Help launch the next era of public media by making a gift to support the merger of PRI and PRX!