PRX, an online marketplace for public media, launched a new podcast network on Tuesday to help promote digital-first audio programming. Supported by $200,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Radiotopia brings together over half a dozen story-driven public radio shows.

Jake Shapiro, the CEO of PRX, said that Radiotopia and PRX were “flipping the model” of how radio content was produced, creating a digital platform for programs first, then “building a bridge back to broadcast secondarily.”

“We act somewhat like an independent record label,” he added. The producers who sign up for Radiotopia remain independent, but PRX helps them coordinate funding and publicity.

The podcast network will also be experimenting with new forms of crowdfunding and cross-promotion, Shapiro said. Presenters will mention other Radiotopia programs they think listeners might like, and PRX will encourage shows to collaborate on stories as another means of developing and cross-pollinating audiences. “We haven’t seen a lot of this in other podcast networks,” he said.

Radiotopia’s inaugural roster includes Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything, a mixture of journalism, philosophy, and fiction, Radio Diaries, which uses first-person diaries and historical documentaries to chronicle ordinary life, and 99% Invisible, Roman Mars’ popular podcast on design and architecture.

 

Edirin Oputu is an assistant editor at CJR. Follow her on Twitter @EdirinOputu