Top resources for building a radio or podcast app

Open APIs for building the next generation of audio technology


No product is an island. Any complex software we use today is likely built upon the accumulated work of many programmers. Resources like code libraries and application program interfaces (APIs) are often used to create new products: for example, Foursquare initially pinpointed locations using the Google Maps API, countless e-commerce sites use the Square API to process payments, and The Echo Nest API provided music intelligence and recommendation capabilities to music platforms like Spotify.

When we talk about innovating new methods for sharing and discovering podcasts and other audio, there’s no need to start from scratch. Dozens of open APIs have been created in recent years to manipulate sound, search databases of content, and access metrics about listening patterns. The next big audio listening/sharing/searching app might emerge from the right combination of these tools.

Whether or not you code, this list of audio APIs might inspire you to think creatively about combining existing resources to create better tools for the future.

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Exploring the Rainbow History Project radio archive

Digging into audio archives: the trailblazing “Friends” radio program

D.C. Gay Pride March, Photo courtesy of the Rainbow History Project

History happens fast, and there’s not always time for archiving. A group of LGBT activists in Washington D.C. realized this firsthand: after decades fighting on the front lines for LGBT equality, they’d amassed thousands of historical artifacts in urgent need of preservation. In 2000, The Rainbow History Project was founded out to steward the many first-hand documents and recordings from D.C.’s vibrant LGBT community.

Among the founders of the Rainbow History Project was Bruce Pennington, who intimately knew the need to preserve this history: he had almost a decade’s worth of historic recordings on reel-to-reel and cassette tapes rapidly disintegrating in his own basement. That’s because Pennington was a founder of Stonewall Nation Media Collective, which created programs like D.C.’s groundbreaking “Friends” radio show.

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Listen to This! Why It’s So Hard to Share Podcasts Across Platforms

Why your friends don’t listen to your podcast recommendations

This week we bring you a guest post from Shindo N. Strzelczyk, a Pop Up Archive software engineer who’s hard at work on the problem of shareable audio. This post has been modified from his full article on Medium.

Image via Flickr: In Her World by Nana B Agyei (CC BY 2.0)

If you’ve ever tried to share a podcast with a friend, you know that it’s not only hard to figure out how to do it, but also nearly impossible to get anyone to click on whatever link you end up sharing. Even if you know your one friend will absolutely love this episode and it will change their life and make them laugh, dance, and cry all at the same time—good luck getting them to listen to it.

People share TV show and movie recommendations all the time. Why is it so much harder with podcasts?

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The Moth and NYPL launch collaborative audio storytelling project

Launching today! A new take on crowdsourced storytelling


This week we’re thrilled to announce the launch of a project many months in the making: a public transcript editor set to make thousands of stories accessible — and comprehensively searchable — online. Together We Listen is a collaborative transcript editor created by The New York Public Library Labs, The Moth, and Pop Up Archive with generous support from the Knight Foundation.

This project is the result of a Knight Foundation Prototype grant awarded to NYPL and The Moth in late 2015 to explore how the power of the crowd can help fine-tune automatic transcripts and metadata generated for their rich story archives.

NYPL’s Community Oral History Project has been collecting oral histories from neighborhoods around New York City since 2013, currently totaling over 1,000 personal stories. The Moth is a storytelling non-profit and podcast founded in 1997 which has presented over 20,000 stories told live to packed audiences around the world. For this project, they’ve started with more than 600 stories recorded at live Moth shows.

The result of this work is an innovative interactive transcript editor developed by NYPL Labs using transcripts generated by Pop Up Archive.

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