It’s no small thing to make a mobile app that people will use. Plus, the bar is constantly raising as a flurry of new apps are released each month.
PRX is fortunate to have an excellent development team and public media partners whose great content just begs to be appified.
But what if you’re just some guy or gal with an idea? How do you go about making and promoting an app? How do you not only avoid going broke, but possibly even make some money?
This story from NPR’s On the Media doesn’t have all the answers. But Rekha Murthy, who helps manage PRX’s mobile apps business, gave the producer Jody Avirgan a few things to consider. Her description of PRX’s app process provided a tinge of reality to Jody’s hopes for an app to make him rich quick.
It is commonly accepted that to make an app, you first need a good idea. Listen to the story to learn what Jody’s idea is, and how you can help.
As part of a Knight News Challenge invitation to write occasionally for the terrific MediaShift IdeaLab I’ve got a new blog post up: “Public Media Should Mind the Developer Gap“. This has been a frequent topic in conversations we have here at PRX and with our partners across public media, particularly as we’ve been building mobile apps and testing the limits of tech capacity at stations big and small.
Here are a few quotes, and you can find the full post here.
As public broadcasting goes through its own turbulent transition to a new Internet and mobile world, the technology talent gap is a risk that looms large. Yes, there are many other challenges: political and policy battles, business model pressures, cultural and structural obstacles, the need for strategic vision and leadership. And there are other recruitment needs across general management, content, fundraising. But the twin coins of the new digital realm are code and design, and with a few notable exceptions, public media is seriously lacking in both.
These days the competition for talent in media technology is fierce, from new ventures to mature enterprises. Public media should be the go-to place for aspiring and experienced technologists who believe in a public service mission, want to collaborate to build products, services and content for millions of people, and seek an alternative from the rapidly commercializing web. There should be natural alliances with open-source software communities, with leading nonprofit web giants Mozilla and Wikipedia, the growing number of web-based local news organizations, and the open/civic data movement.
To keep up with the latest from the PRX tech team make sure to check out the PRX Labs blog.
PRX continues to colonize California with a new iPhone app for KPBS in San Diego. Get the app now.
Listen and view the station’s radio and TV programs and programming schedules. Read up on the latest local, national, and world news. Enjoy KPBS’s extensive arts coverage including their blogs, Culture Lust and Cinema Junkie.
For those interested in local programming, check the on-air schedules in the app and tune in live to Midday Edition, Evening Edition, and Envision San Diego, or get past episodes in On Demand. If you’re looking for something to do in San Diego, take advantage of KPBS’s events picks.
And, while you’ve got local on the mind, KPBS wants to hear from you – submit text, photos, and audio in response to assignments and help shape their coverage. This feature is a version of PRX’s Assignments product, which you can also see in the WBUR, WGBH, and VPR apps.
What’s next? We’ve got a KPBS app for Android in the works, and as with all our apps, we’ll continue to partner with KPBS on ongoing improvements.
We know, this blog has a string of app release announcements. But don’t you want to know about the new KQED app for iPhone? Of course you do!
KQED serves Northern California, including the Bay Area. This app is going to keep you busy.
If you’re a KQED member, you can enjoy KQED Perks — discounts offered by local businesses — more easily than ever. Scan through a list of discounts, find them on a map, and redeem by launching a virtual member card in the app itself. Just show your device to the business and the discount is yours – no paper card needed! This feature is a result of our integration of member benefits and member validation into the PRX station app platform.
As with all of our station apps, this app makes it easy to support the station. And don’t you think, with all this content and technology goodness, they deserve it?
WNYC’s new iPhone app is now live in iTunes, the latest product of our mobile partnership with New York Public Radio. The WNYC app follows on the heels of its classical cousin, WQXR, whose iPhone app launched last month. We’re working together on Android versions for both, coming soon.
WNYC is one of the top public radio stations in the country, with an exciting mix of news, culture, and music. The app was designed to present this abundance of content in a way that’s appealing and easy to navigate. You can listen to programming, read blogs and news feeds, find local events, pledge your support, and more.
The app is powered by the PRX station app platform, which streamlines the development and updating process while letting WNYC’s unique identity take center stage.
Learn more about WNYC and the app in this press release.
Vermont Public Radio is now on the iPhone. The VPR app is based on the PRX station app codebase, and the result is very much a Vermont app. That’s because VPR is deeply rooted in its communities, with regular news, features, and services. Their coverage of Hurricane Irene’s impact on the state kept a lot of people informed when information was hard to come by, earning them strong praise (and we’re sure much gratitude).
The VPR app is an expression of the network’s desire to inform and include its listeners. The Tell Us feature is based on PRX’s Assignments product, which lets VPR staff invite people to submit audio, photos, and text in response to specific assignments and topics. The app also offers classical music programming and commentaries from Vermonters.
Get the app now. Whether or not you have direct connections to Vermont and VPR, it’s great to see another quality app for public media out in the hands of the listeners we serve.
Assignments for good times…
…and not-so-good times.
The newest mobile app from our able app-smiths is the WQXR classical music app for iPhone. It’s a fusion of everything classical from New York Public Radio’s WQXR station – and that means diverse streaming and on-demand music, plus program information and some fantastic reading material. We’re proud to collaborate with this classical music powerhouse, and help you:
Inside the app you’ll find a wealth of detail about what you heard and will hear on WQXR. Between feature stories and relevant events, you’ll be up on the latest news from the classical music world. You can set an alarm clock/sleep timer and wake up (or fall asleep) to your favorite music.
WQXR’s knowledgeable and passionate hosts make the airwaves classy from the top of the Empire State Building. PRX’s freshest app delivers their selections beautifully to your mobile device. It’s part of our ongoing efforts to get great public media into more hands.
An Android version of the app is on the way.
We’re still buzzing from the excitement of getting the KCRW Music Mine iPad app out into the wild. The app exemplifies our desire to bring public media to mobile and tablets in new and amazing ways. Mark Ramsey says it well in this review.
With the launch flurry settling down, we’ve had some time to reflect on how the app came about. It was quite a process. Head over to the PRX Labs blog for an interview with Matt MacDonald, PRX’s Director of Project Management, on the concept and design, where he says things like:
One goal for us was to encourage musical exploration and delight so some of our interaction decisions basically force you to try out music that you might not be familiar with. We made sure to encourage that by not adding features like search or sorting and filtering tools.
Read Exploring The Depths Of Music Mine on PRX Labs.
We’re thrilled to announce the launch of KCRW Music Mine, an iPad app that gives you a unique, exciting way to discover new music.
Music Mine is the product of a close partnership between PRX and KCRW, with design by Roundarch and music intelligence powered by The Echo Nest. Nearly a year in the making, the app developed from lengthy brainstorming sessions about what a next-generation station experience on the iPad should — and could — be.
KCRW excels at a lot of things — music, news, local Los Angeles culture, food, arts, film. But rather than attempt to recreate the KCRW.com website, or duplicate the station’s existing iPhone app on the iPad, we went further. We chose a focused concept that spotlights KCRW’s expertise in music discovery and pushes the limits of the iPad user experience.
PRX and KCRW certainly weren’t the first to come up with an app that lets you listen to music or even radio programs about music. So we pushed further, drawing upon the formidable design talents of digital agency Roundarch to wield user experience and graphic design to truly set this app apart. The Echo Nest was also brought in for their “music intelligence platform” which gathers music news and multimedia content from across the web.
The result is stunning. This video gives you an idea:
The app is beautiful and appealing. But we weren’t just going for beauty. We wanted to transform the music discovery experience from simply tapping a Play button and getting what you’re given (though that’s plenty great, too) into something much more active. With KCRW Music Mine, you want to pay attention. You want to explore, with the knowledge that KCRW DJs will make sure you only find good stuff. You can use the app simply to discover new music to like, or you can choose to go deeper to learn more about the artist and their work.
Or, you can just tap a Play button and get what KCRW’s Eclectic24 gives you.
Not only do we think Music Mine reshapes the music discovery experience, we think it exemplifies the kind of mobile/tablet presence public media should aspire to. At PRX, we believe that new platforms are opening up great possibility for fresh new expressions — not just reflections — of stations and programs.
KCRW Music Mine is a perfect incarnation of PRX’s mobile goals: To partner with innovative entities to create cutting-edge mobile experiences for public media.
This post was crossposted from the PRX Blog.
Welcome to the new PRX Apps site. Here, you can learn about all of our apps, including the Public Radio Player, the granddaddy of them all.
Watch this blog for updates on all of PRX’s app work – there’s a lot coming soon!