The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has awarded PRX $1.5 million to fund a second round of Project Catapult, the podcasting development project that identifies and develops new talent while building public media’s capacity to create content across platforms.
The grant to fund Project Catapult, with a focus on rural, Southern and Western public media stations, was announced Thursday at the Public Media Development and Marketing Conference in Chicago.
“Podcasting is storytelling, and no one tells better, more authentic stories than public media,” said Pat Harrison, President/CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. “PRX through Project Catapult, with CPB funding, is helping stations take their storytelling talent, utilize technology and engage new audiences. This new CPB grant will build on public media’s podcasting successes and increase the numbers of participating stations.”
Seven public media stations participated in the inaugural Project Catapult following a 20-week curriculum that incorporated design thinking, digital content development, cultivating diverse talent, audience engagement and monetization.
Starting with a boot camp at the PRX Podcast Garage in Boston in January 2017, the stations worked with PRX and with each other to develop and nurture new podcasts. Among the successful podcast launches was WYPR-FM in Baltimore’s “Out of the Blocks,” which won a 2018 National Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association.
The second round of Project Catapult will focus on rural, Southern and Western stations to ensure that public media stations across the country can become multiplatform content producers. This round will include two cohorts of five stations, each following PRX’s 20-week curriculum. PRX will cultivate networking across the participating stations and offer three years of distribution and support for the podcasts developed through the program. CPB’s grant will support stations to cover travel, training and production costs.
“We are grateful for CPB’s support and investment in the growth of stations in local communities,” said PRX CEO Kerri Hoffman. “We’re excited to offer all we’ve learned as a leader in content and technology to stations who want to successfully make on-demand audio.”
Applications for the Project Catapult cohorts are expected to open in August 2018 and March 2019. Interested public media stations will be invited to submit podcast ideas and demonstrate management support for the program. Through the open RFP process, PRX, with input from CPB and an expert panel, will select the stations.