PRX, a Cambridge-based public media company, is announcing Thursday that it’s spinning off a new company, RadioPublic, to develop a mobile, on-demand listening platform. So far, RadioPublic has put together more than $1.5 million in a first round of funding from non-profits, for-profit media companies and venture capital.
Investors include Project 11, The New York Times, Knight Foundation Enterprise Fund, American Public Media, Graham Holdings Company, UP2398, Matter Ventures, Homebrew and McClatchy.
Unlike PRX, a non-profit, RadioPublic will be a public benefit corporation. Jake Shapiro, who has been PRX’s CEO, is transitioning into the role of CEO for the new entity.
Shapiro told me in an interview: “PRX, we launched it at the dawning of podcast and at the moment of big change in internet and radio…We’ve worked closely with producers creating amazing content for a decade. We know what producers need and how they want to engage the audience. We’ve been at the tipping point where the adoption of mobile and on-demand media was shifting. PRX has been at epicenter of trends, so, to make a go of it, we had to have a separate company dedicated to it. It couldn’t just be another project within PRX…It needed to be a new entity – not a non-profit – that would achieve scale and would be able to access capital.”
RadioPublic’s founders say they aren’t abandoning PRX. The two companies will partner, allowing RadioPublic to create a modern listening experience on its platform. In addition to content discovery and listener engagement features, RadioPublic users will be able to tap into top podcasts and PRX’s full catalog with an app slated for later this year. The catalog includes The Moth Radio Hour and 99% Invisible.
“Podcasting is poised to be the foundation for a major shift in listener attention as the radio ecosystem becomes increasingly digital and on-demand,” Bob Mason, managing partner at Project 11 and founding CTO at Brightcove, said in a statement. “We’re excited by RadioPublic’s ability to be a transformative force, shifting an industry and creating aligned values between listeners and producers.”
“It’s a rare moment where an entire industry is up for grabs,” Shapiro shared. “I think investors saw that we’re better positioned than anybody else to take the lead.”
RadioPublic and PRX will work together on developing technology, using data and establishing revenue models. However, RadioPublic won’t be based out of PRX’s Harvard Square office. Instead, the new company will be working out of Project 11’s space on Kingston Street in downtown Boston.
Note: This story originally stated the amount raised was 1.5 million, not more than 1.5 million.