PRI and PRX to unite in major audio industry merger

Public Radio International and PRX, an audio and podcast platform, have announced a merger. The resulting public media company will support the next generations of both creatives and listeners. It is expected to reach a monthly audience of more than 28.5 million over both broadcast and digital channels. The merger is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Both parties have well-established reputations in the podcast and audio space, and their combined forces could be beneficial for furthering the media form to larger audiences as well as seeking greater artistic and financial successes.

Kerri Hoffman, CEO of PRX, will helm the new organization as its CEO. “We believe strong media is anchored in trusted journalism, strengthened by new voices and amplified by innovative technology,” she said of the union. “This merger intensifies our focus on helping creative producers and institutions build audience and grow revenue.”

PRI CEO Alisa Miller will also take a leadership position in the new entity as executive chair of its board of directors for the first year. “Our field – for all its excellence and success, and the passion of its core constituencies – must respond to a profoundly changing marketplace to meet the heightened needs of the public,” Miller said. “By approaching PRX, PRI opened the door to the promise of joining together. Working with our stations, producers and partners, we can ensure that public media is a vibrant source of inspiration, fact, and empathy, especially in these complex times.”

The joint public media entity, which does not have a new name yet, will have some financial backing from WGBH, a public media outlet in Boston. WGBH is investing $10 million for new content development, creation of an audio production studio, and for the launch of additional PRX Podcast Garage locations for education and training.

“Our support of this bold merger extends WGBH’s commitment to a strong public media system and as a champion of creative collaborations and content production,” WGBH CEO Jon Abbott said. “Both PRI and PRX are innovators, and we know that together they will have a transformative impact at a time when there is tremendous hunger for new ideas and approaches in media.”

Anna Washenko