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PRX Had $46 Million In Revenue Last Year. The Biggest Chunk Went To Supporting Creators.

Nearly half of PRX’s operating revenue last year came from underwriting announcements, while its biggest expense was support for creators. The public media company has released its first digitally-formatted annual report which shows PRX had total revenue of $46,259,000 during 2021. Of that, 49% or $22.7 million, came from underwriting announcements. Another $12.2 million came from its operating activities. It also received $4.4 million in grants.

When it came to spending that money, administrative costs were just a small fraction of PRX’s expenses. The annual report says $23.1 million was spent on supporting creators -- including $19.5 million that went to independent audio creators -- with another $21.1 million going to content production and distribution. Administrative costs including salaries added up to $2.4 million last year.

PRX says it now reaches more than 28 million people on-air and online each month with its radio shows now heard in 99.4% of the U.S. with nearly 1,000 radio affiliates in the U.S. and Canada. That includes shows like “Reveal” that airs on 544 stations reaching 1.1 million people weekly, “The World” which is carried by 330 stations and reaches 2.2 million each week, and “The Takeaway” which airs on 290 stations and reaches 2.7 million weekly.

PRX also notes that it consistently ranks among the top 10 podcast publishers in the U.S. The company now hosts more than 200 podcasts and it saw 66,950,000 downloads in 2021.

One new development that came last year was the creation of PRX Dovetail, its suite of applications designed to optimize and streamline the post-production process for podcasters. It incorporated inventory management into Dovetail, which allows PRX’s Ad Operations team to increase the inventory on ads sold by 10% to 15%. The report says rather than matching programmatic ad sales to add to the listener's or user’s metadata, PRX has built an exchange of vetted ads that matches advertisers with shows, and protects listeners’ private data. PRX says podcasts hosted on PRX Dovetail reached 18.7 million unique listeners each month in 2021.

The Boston-based PRX Podcast Garage, which opened a second location at KQED San Francisco last year, also continued its efforts to bring new producers to the medium. Working with sponsor Google Podcasts, PRX says it has so far trained more than 60 creators from 15 countries. Those participants have produced 32 podcasts in six different languages.

CEO Kerri Hoffman points out that when PRX was created in 2003 it was designed to address a particular challenge of the time — great stories were produced for radio, aired once, and then disappeared. PRX solved this problem by creating the first open, searchable, digital marketplace devoted to audio — The PRX Exchange. She also notes that through the years PRX has put $100 million into the hands of creators.

“Prior to this, public radio stations had only two content choices — to either air national programs or to make content themselves. PRX created a middle option giving independent producers local and national broadcast reach, and public radio stations the access to choice. In doing so, we unlocked opportunities for diverse voices and opened an otherwise closed system. PRX also became one of the first places you could listen to public radio on the internet,” says Hoffman. “In those early days, PRX had a rebel vibe. We disrupted the status quo to create something new, efficient, and more accessible. Today that nonconformity has led to expansive impact. We see our work as a catalyst for change — turning problems into opportunities, reframing difficulties, and empowering people and teams to expand the story of public media.”

Read PRX’s full annual report HERE.

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