The RadioPublic approach to podcasts and the future of radio

RadioPublic is a technology company, and a public benefit corporation, creating exceptional products, experiences, tools and platforms to help fulfill our mission. We are initially focused on building iOS, Android, and web apps for listeners. These are the new radios of our time.

We are continuously experimenting with advances in mobile platforms, audio formats, recommendation engines, connected car/home, location, contextual and situational awareness, and much more.

Our partners at PRX (home to Radiotopia and many other top podcasts) develop tools and services for producers, including the PRX distribution marketplace, the Dovetail dynamic audio ad insertion product, and an active repository of open source projects.

We are guided by an evolving set of concepts in support of our mission and strategy. We have begun outlining these ideas here and will continue to explore and expand them as we learn what is working.

Discover. Engage. Reward.

We love podcasts, public radio, and the Internet.

We believe there is unique power and connection in the spoken word, the human voice, and the conversations, stories, and information transmitted through the intimacy of sound.

Radio is shifting from broadcast to on-demand, much like video and music before it. Billions of mobile devices, connected cars and connected homes are the new transistors and receivers.

We believe podcasting — audio files delivered via the open protocol of RSS — will thrive as an open ecosystem for diverse and creative voices across entertainment, journalism, and communication of all kinds.

But we also believe podcasting must evolve to realize its full potential.

We want to fuse podcasting with the simplicity, serendipity, and community of radio. And we want to unlock the immense value of podcasting’s latent link economy — the embedded web of information, relationships, references and sharing that is currently trapped in audio files and limited data.

RadioPublic is dedicated to the transformation of radio into the open and networked world of podcasting and the Internet.

Welcoming First Time Listeners

10M people will start listening to a podcast for the first time in 2017. They aren’t looking to subscribe to feeds, download megabytes, manage lists, sort or filter. They ask questions like: I’m new to podcasts, what should I listen to? Can you recommend an episode about weird medical stuff, heavy on the science? RadioPublic is focused on streamlining first-time listening and discovery for new listeners, while vastly improving the experience for existing podcast listeners.

The Long Tail is Full of Surprising Talent

The barriers to entry in audio production are low, and new talent is surfacing across thousands of podcasts launching each year. While the podcast charts are dominated by a relatively small number of hits, we are entering a period of accelerated experimentation. There is an influx of creativity from adjacent media and continued growth of grassroots independent podcasters. RadioPublic’s task is to identify the best work and introduce it to curious listeners ready to reach beyond their handful of favorite shows.

Finding Your 1,000 True Fans

Kevin Kelly’s influential piece about “True Fans” who directly support creators they love has been a touchstone for both PRX and now RadioPublic, inspiring us to devise new modes of listener support, business models that follow, and ways to cultivate and connect true fans through authentic experiences.

How to Scale Curation through Distributed Discovery

Podcasting has an “embarrassment of niches” — genres and subgenres across a widening set of timely and timeless topics. We are finding new curators, influencers, and super fans playing a role in identifying great episodes, playlists across shows, specialized collections, and recommended entry points for new listeners. RadioPublic is tapping into this distributed discovery capacity through editorial, crowdsourced, and algorithmic methods.

Just-in-Time Radio

We love the experience of good radio. It is simple, easy to use, reliable and can be an awesome discovery tool. With podcasting we can tailor the experience to surface a new episode from your favorite shows, insert a timely local news update, a recommendation from a friend, or deliver a short story near the end of your commute. RadioPublic is a personal contextual radio station, assembled just in time, for you, every time.

Openness is a Value and a Strategy

Podcasting is based on the Internet protocol RSS (managed by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University), opening the door for anyone to publish a podcast, create a client/app to listen, and develop editorial, aggregation, and advertising layers on top of podcasts. This open architecture reflects the underlying principles of the Internet itself, which in many other domains is being displaced by proprietary “walled gardens.” RadioPublic embraces openness as a core value, and we believe podcasting will thrive by evolving its open standards rather than replacing them with private pathways. (Read RadioPublic Chief Architect Chris Rhoden’s post “Why Podcasting Still Needs RSS”).


We are past the early days of loading up episodes on an iPod. We now listen to podcasts on a plethora of devices in our pockets, our desktops, our kitchen counters, and our car dashboards. RadioPublic is developing apps for the leading mobile platforms, testing new functionality, then learning, improving and moving features that listeners love over to other platforms including the connected car and home.

Unlocking the Podcast Link Economy

The web is built on hyperlinks, with each link a pathway to discovery, an endorsement, a reference. Podcasts could be like that too. We believe that identifying and surfacing the links and references currently trapped in audio will lead to an explosion of episode discovery, engagement, and revenue opportunities.

Your Privacy and Value

Our advocacy for listeners’ privacy and autonomy is core to our mission. We are inspired by our friend Doc Searls and his vision of putting customers in control of the “intention economy.” As a listener your data is valuable — to RadioPublic as we improve the product experience, to producers reaching an audience, to brands and advertisers marketing products and services. We create transparent choices for you to offer your data in exchange for value. We do not require you to create an account to start using RadioPublic, and will not share your information with any third parties without your permission.

RadioPublic is dedicated to the transformation of radio into the open and networked world of podcasting and the Internet.

Stay tuned!

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