Best Local Radio Host

Roman Mars, 99% Invisible

Roman Mars’ hugely popular “tiny radio show about design” has earned the praise of public-radio heavyweights like Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad — and the endorsements are much deserved. A unique radio show centered on design and architecture, 99% Invisible grew its devoted national audience through a successful crowdfunding initiative in 2012; that Kickstarter campaign attracted more than 5,000 supporters who raised more than $170,000 total. Those numbers more than doubled in a second Kickstarter campaign last year. The show got its start as a collaboration between San Francisco public-radio station KALW and the American Institute of Architects and is now distributed by PRX on public radio stations around the country. All the while, the radio show has raised all of its funding from underwriters and listeners. The project started small, with Mars doing production right out of his bedroom. But more recently he’s deepened his roots in Oakland, moving the operation to the offices of Arcsine Architecture on 13th Street in the heart of downtown Oakland. So in addition to elevating independent public radio, the show deserves accolades for helping to put East Bay-based radio on the map, too.


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