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Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is affair 248, anachronous March 3, 2020.
My faculty is that the basal cerebration abaft Pocket Casts has remained the aforementioned aback that acquisition. You can apprehend all about that here.
All the annual that’s fit to Mailkimp. Who are we if we are not annoyed about The New York Times?
Ben Smith, the above editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News, began his administering as the David Carr-descended media columnist over at the Gray Lady this accomplished Sunday, and his countdown cannonball is…well, about the Times. Specifically, it’s about how the Times’ accretion success as a atypical journalistic academy may able-bodied be a damage to the annual business as a whole, absolutely aural the ambience of an added circumscribed ambiance in which everybody’s accomplishing aggregate — a bi-weekly is additionally a podcaster, a blog is additionally a Hollywood IP machine, Vaulter is affiliated to a cruise band — and area a acceptable end aftereffect is an insurmountable abysm amid a audible diversifying amateur and everybody abroad — which is abundant for the Times but not so abundant for the annual business.
(This ambiance additionally puts media columnists in a awe-inspiring situation, aback aggregate they address about could complicate the assorted activities of their employers. Afresh again, maybe that’s the point.)
First, Smith confirms Ben Mullin’s address over at The Wall Street Journal that Serial Productions has been exploring a sale. Afresh he specifies that the Times is in “exclusive talks” to admission the This American Life aftereffect podcast studio. He additionally gives a number: Serial Productions — which houses Serial and S-Town, forth with assorted projects in development that aren’t This American Life — was admired at $75 million, admitting if a accord absolutely gets done, the Times is accepted to pay beneath than that.
That $75 actor cardinal is absolutely curious, accustomed that we’re talking about one of the best admired podcast studios on the market, which owns what is conceivably the best acclaimed podcast of all time. That cardinal would additionally abode the accord vaguely in Parcast territory, which was $56 actor affirmed additional $47 actor in incentives. But I wouldn’t go too far with that comparison; The New York Times is fundamentally a altered affectionate of client than Spotify, which is in a position to be absolutely added advancing with its deals, and an accretion of Serial Productions would allegedly crave added assignment about the canning of culture, identity, and cast power.
Second, the cavalcade additionally highlights what would be the cardinal alleyway for the Times deal: “The deal, forth with The Daily, the accepted weekday podcast at The Times, could anatomy the abject for an aggressive new paid artefact — like the company’s Cooking and Crossword apps — that admiral accept could become the HBO of podcasts.” In added words, we could absolute able-bodied be talking about an absolute spinout paid podcast app congenital about the Times’ audio assets.
Yes, the actuality that yet accession affair had invoked the archetypal “HBO of podcasts” assemble triggered groans in some podcast corners, but I dunno — I kinda feel it would absolutely be appealing apt in this context. Afterwards all, we’re talking about a deeply curated portfolio of exceptional — in the 18-carat faculty of the word! — podcasts that are monetized as a array aural a broader, accurate business model.
Of course, this absolute abstraction raises the achievability of a cosmos area The Daily could be abject abaft a paywall, if doesn’t end up actuality deployed as a top-of-the-funnel draw. But whatever the scenario, this abstract NYT Audio app would in ample allotment be marketed appear a demographic that’s already absorbed to pay for added NYT stuff. Consider the system-level upside of what happens next: This could advice get added bodies acclimated to advantageous for podcasts. Added so than Luminary, anyway.
I’d achievement my chin, but we’re not declared to be affecting our faces appropriate now. Oh, speaking of…
Outbreak. Abundant like the beachcomber of allegation pods that advance above the United States a few months ago, a beachcomber of coronavirus pods feels imminent. Over the accomplished few days, CNN and ThreeUncannyFour accept both launched new audio projects that will awning the outbreak, and they about absolutely will not be the last.
The radio listserv in 2020 [by Caroline Crampton]. If you’re complex in audio assembly in a able or semi-professional way, you’re allegedly a affiliate of at atomic one email listserv about it. There are lists based on geographic area — of which NYC Radio is allegedly the best accepted to a U.S. admirers — as able-bodied as those adherent to added kinds of affiliation or identity, such as Ladio, Gaydio, and Producers for Assortment in Attainable Media. Like lots of readers, I use lists like these everyday, but it’s alone afresh that I started cerebration about why they’re so important to this industry and how they can acclimate to the alteration demands of assignment in 2020.
For the purposes of this piece, I’m appliance the appellation “listserv” generically to accredit to the class of software that allows letters to be broadcast clearly to a annual of email addresses aloof by sending a audible email, rather than acceptation the specific trademarked appliance of the name. Listservs are ancient internet technology, aboriginal acclimated broadly in the 1980s and adapted through a array of iterations over the decades. These days, the easiest way to actualize and advance one is through article like Google Groups, although affluence of added old-school options still abide as well.
Given that so abounding added means to affix and anatomy communities now abide — from Facebook Groups to Slack to Twitter and so on — why do listservs abide so vital? There are abundant projects actuality run alfresco of them too, don’t get me amiss — the PoC in Audio database is one that springs to mind. But affluence of burning messaging accoutrement accept promised to abbreviate or alike annihilate email from our workflow, and yet this simple email-based arrangement is still thriving, with busier audio-related listservs seeing dozens of posts a day.
On a axiological level, I anticipate listservs accept ashore about absolutely because email is so ubiquitous. It’s an acutely attenuate actuality these canicule who doesn’t accept an email annual they use regularly, so an email-based affiliation is a appealing attainable one. There’s no charge to download a new app or apprentice the rules and amenities of a new platform. Any of those added examples would automatically exclude bodies who don’t use Facebook, say, or aren’t absorbed in adopting Slack, admitting email is a accepted presence.
In some ways, the lo-fi attributes of a listserv is a audible advantage in the avant-garde age. Unless moderators so choose, there doesn’t charge to be an accessible front-end attendance for the list, acceptation that new associates are mostly alien by chat of aperture and accordingly tend to be absolutely absorbed in accommodating in the community. It doesn’t crave huge amounts of absorption from associates to abide either — no connected notifications or updates needed. From a abstruse standpoint too, it’s appealing low maintenance, with little time-consuming budget appropriate from a webmaster or moderator.
However, for a listserv to be added than aloof a administering annual acclimated to advance job requests, there’s added assignment involved. Affluence of the examples I’ve already mentioned assignment absolutely able-bodied for this purpose, with companies and assembly houses appliance them to antecedent stringers and producers in added locations for freelance work. But I’ve additionally acclimated the chat “community” a few times in affiliation to this affectionate of organizing, and in some cases that’s what a listserv becomes, with approved chat on abundant broader accommodation that over time breeding a faculty of belonging, and can alike advance change in the added industry.
With this in mind, I bent up backward aftermost anniversary with Lily Ames, who founded the UK Audio Network listserv. She started it in August 2017, aggressive by assorted U.S.-based groups and absent to accommodate the basement for greater accuracy for those alive in audio in the U.K. Added than two years on, Ames is now active a assay about the approaching of this accumulation with the ambition of architecture on the basal foundation to enhance the community’s offering.
As a appointment for job callouts, UKAN is alive well, she said. But there’s added it could be doing: “I anticipate I would like bodies to accord aloof as abundant as they take. That’s what needs added assignment from me to accomplish happen.”
She elaborated: “Taking is aloof announcement band syncs aback you charge them afterwards announcement absolute jobs or bigger affairs for your show. Demography is aloof announcement band syncs afterwards demography the time to get to apperceive that ambassador who you’ve assassin for the day — they could be, you know, a absolutely absorbing applicant who aloof is freelancing appropriate now. Aback you’re in a college up position — if you run a company, you’re a commissioner, you’re a chief ambassador — and you’re abacus inferior bodies to the list, you accept to accomplish abiding that you’re absolutely afresh in about-face announcement opportunities to the list.”
At the moment, “I can see that it’s askew added appear taking,” Ames said. But it takes assignment to animate added kinds of activity, which Ames herself doesn’t consistently accept time to do (she’s the arch of assembly at Chalk and Blade, a London-based boutique authoritative shows for the BBC, Pushkin, Audible, and others). “You accept to affectionate of breed a faculty that this is a thriving, agitative community, and that’s done through assignment like bombastic the values, through reinforcing rules through outreach, through accession area possible.”
UKAN has already done some admired assignment to advice alike out the asperous adeptness dynamics in the U.K. audio arena — we appear on a pay assay facilitated via the annual aback in May 2019, for instance, and there accept been some advantageous conversations about assortment (or the abridgement of it) aback it comes to awards lineups. Alongside the email list, UKAN has a assets area with flat and accessory appoint databases, acknowledged factsheets, assembly templates and added accessible documents.
However, Ames has empiric what she thinks is some cultural differences that sometimes anticipate the U.K. annual from actuality as cellophane or absolute as its U.S. counterparts (she herself is a Canadian who confused to the U.K. in 2014). “It affectionate of acquired absolute differently, I anticipate mainly because of the aberration amid British adeptness and American culture. Bodies affectionate of attending to me to run it as against to it actuality self-run,” she said.
And sometimes there’s a reticence to column about that can be frustrating. “A column goes up and it’s arguable in some way — those posts are affectionate of important because they can alpha a conversation. They can active anybody to what the botheration is and why it’s a problem. On the American ones, bodies jump in appropriate abroad say, ‘This is ambiguous and this is why it’s problematic.’ And I was assured that to appear for the British one, but bodies aloof accelerate me a absolute anxious alone email aback I was assured a reply-all to the accomplished group.”
That’s why the assay can advice beacon the group’s approaching — armed with advice about what the 1,400 and counting associates appetite from UKAN, Ames says she can accomplish affairs to advance things. In an audio arena that to date has been absolute bedeviled by the BBC and its big providers, it’s admired to accept an accessible chat in a abode anybody can access, like their email inbox. “I anticipate it’s absolutely important aback you’re abolition adeptness dynamics that anybody is complex in the conversation. The higher-ups are reading,” Ames said. “They’re watching those posts. They’re watching closely.”
UKAN is a almost adolescent listserv, and the different aspects of the U.K. audio arena allegedly accomplish it careless to apprehend above too abundant to added communities in added places. But as a case abstraction for what a listserv can action in 2020, it’s a alluring archetype of how an ancient technology is still facilitating innovation. At a moment aback there’s a movement in some abode appear greater unionization, listservs can accommodate some of that adherence and absoluteness to those who don’t accept added options to organize.
PRX changes. The attainable media organisation PRX has added four new associates to its lath of directors: Jene Elzie of Athletes Aboriginal Partners, Rima Hyder of FactSet, Tanya Jones of Aya Global, and Claudia Palmer of WGBH in Boston. In addition, Jon Abbott, the admiral and CEO of WGBH, has completed his eight-year appellation on the board. Ma’ayan Plaut, aforetime the podcast librarian at RadioPublic, has additionally abutting the PRX business aggregation to assignment on admirers development.
This anniversary in politics, and all the weeks afterwards that. It’s Super Tuesday, folks, one of the added consequential dates on the American presidential elections calendar, so it’s alone applicable that we do a brace things on backroom and podcasts.
First things first. Ahead of today’s big occasion, I wrote a diffuse article for Vulture aftermost anniversary on the ever-healthy acclamation podcast subgenre, revisiting its bang during the 2016 aeon and exploring how the subgenre has acquired aback then.
It’s mostly a contempo history piece, one area I approved to altercate the means in which the 2016 acclamation aeon helped pushed podcasting appear accession and industrialization in specific ways. But it was additionally an befalling to mull over article I’ve continued wondered about: As we move added into the 2020 cycle, can we say actually that backroom podcasts, far from actuality tech oddities, are appropriately allotment of the added media ecosystem with the accommodation to absolutely affect society, political opinion, and balloter outcomes?
However you access that question, I anticipate we can at atomic accede that the accord amid backroom and podcasting has developed acutely added complicated aback 2016. Consider Joe Rogan’s endorsement of Bernie Sanders, and how that was advised with seriousness. Aforementioned goes for the advancing abnormality of Chapo Trap House, the prime abbey of the “Dirtbag Left.”
Speaking of, Chapo Trap House was the accountable of a Nellie Bowles account in The New York Times that acquired a activity over the weekend. It’s the array of writeup that tends to draw able (typically negative) reactions from all sides, whether it’s Chapo followers affronted about the way they’re portrayed or affiliation alert about those followers and what they advance about assertive corners of the Sanders movement. For what it’s worth, I anticipation the allotment did its job, activity bigger as an analogy of a abnormality than an assay of it, admitting it does accident accession the podcast and its followers as ever adumbrative (synecdochal?) of the Sanders base. And what a agrarian account it paints of Chapo Trap House: frustrating, brindled with centralized contradictions, and a little scary, but additionally resonant, avid in its beliefs, and acute in its anger.
Meanwhile, 2016 continues to not end. On Thursday, Politico appear that Hillary Clinton is allegedly planning to barrage a podcast with iHeartMedia. I should agenda that the writeup doesn’t acknowledgment that this won’t be the aboriginal time Clinton is hitting the podcast well: that account goes to With Her, the agitprop-ish official attack podcast that was produced by Pineapple Street (now an Entercom company).
But there’s nonetheless some meat on this bone. Abundant is fabricated in the Politico allotment about one of the key inspirations for the new Clinton pod: Howard Stern, the allegorical radio aptitude whose on-mic ability, persona, and multiyear absolute arrangement basically laid the foundation for SiriusXM. Additionally absorbing are the bodies who will allegedly be bearing the show: Kathleen Russo, accustomed as the architect of WNYC’s Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin, and Julie Subrin, the above controlling ambassador of audio at Tablet.
Not that anybody’s asking, but I acquisition the best to accomplice with iHeartMedia somewhat unexpected, accustomed the actuality of Crooked Media, the berserk accepted accelerating media aggregation founded by a aggregation of above Obama staffers — which is now accretion above politics, by the way — and College Ground, the Obamas’ assembly aggregation that has a podcast affiliation with Spotify, which is absolutely sexier. Afresh again, maybe a abutting affiliation with the Obama administering isn’t article the Clinton affected finds agreeable, and conceivably alive with an old-school radio behemothic that’s alive adamantine to annoyance itself out of a defalcation and reposition itself as a next-generation audio aggregation is more…appropriate.
Anyway, Clinton’s reentry into the podcast apple raises accession question: What’s the over/under on the bulk of time afore we get a Buttigieg/Klobuchar pod? A Yang pod, meanwhile, feels imminent.
Transmission electron microscope angel of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, via the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Rocky Mountain Laboratories.
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