Los Angeles Podcast Festival is a Celebration of Podcasts

Los Angeles Podcaste Festival LogoThe Los Angeles Podcast Festival will happen on September 18 – 20, 2015. This year, it includes live podcasts, panels about podcasting, a standup show, an art show, and a place where podcasters can meet and mingle.

There are around 40 podcasts involved in this year’s Los Angeles Podcast Festival. The list includes WTF With Marc Maron, With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus, Girl on Guy with Aisha Tyler, Doug Loves Movies, and many more.

The Squarespace Podcast Lab is described as a safe space where podcasters of any experience level can go to record their own podcasts straight from the heart of LA Podfest. Podcasters must bring their own recording gear to the Podfest. Squarespace will provide the power.

It is also a meeting place and hang out room for podcasting. People who attend the festival can go to the Squarespace Podcast Lab to meet with a fellow podcaster and potentially do a quick interview. There will be refreshments and giveaways provided by Squarespace. Admission to the lab is included with your LA Podfest ticket purchase.

Tickets are available for either the live event or the live stream (for those who can’t make it to the event itself). You can buy a ticket for a specific day or a Weekend Festival Pass. Whatever fits your schedule. The live stream ticket is $25.00 for the entire three day event. All LA Podfest performances will take place at the Sofitel Los Angeles in Beverly Hills, California.

Huffington Post Needs an Audio Editor

Huffington Post LogoIf you’ve got the right qualifications, it’s a good time to be in the podcasting industry. With each passing week, more and more podcasting jobs are hitting the classifieds. And it’s not just startups looking for podcasting-savvy talent. Earlier this month, digital media juggernaut Huffington Post put up a listing on its website for an Associate Audio Editor. The position is available at Huffington Post’s New York office and it is a full-time job:

We are looking for someone with audio editing chops and editorial sensibilities. The Associate Audio Editor will be in charge of taking HuffPost Podcast episodes from tape to polished shows. Reporting to the Senior Producer and working closely with the SP, Audio Engineer and Hosts, the Associate Editor will be in charge of assisting with recordings and field recordings; editing episodes and feature stories; helping to steer episode development and execution; and overseeing research. The Associate Editor will help hone our existing shows, and shape the future of our young program.

The Associate Audio Editor will participate in editorial planning, edit interviews and create rough cuts, second cuts and final cuts, perform production tasks including writing, editing, reporting, booking and arranging, work on other special projects and administrative tasks as needed, and more.

To get further information on this job and apply, head over to the Huffington Post website.

SoundCloud Takedowns Trigger Massive Purge

SoundCloud LogoI’ll admit that I’ve never been a big fan of SoundCloud. With that being stated, I have no ill will towards the service or its users. Still, it seems we write about SoundCloud here fairly regularly and the news usually isn’t positive. That brings us to the latest SoundCloud-related tidbit. Earlier this month, the company began a massive purge of files in response to takedown requests from the major record labels. These deletions don’t appear to have yet affected any podcasts hosted by SoundCloud. But it seems inevitable that this will happen.

The story on SoundCloud is pretty familiar by now. The company began as a collaborative tool for musicians and then evolved into its current platform as the so-called “YouTube of audio.” SoundCloud’s early adopters were mostly DJ’s and other artists who relied on samples to round out their mixes. As SoundCloud’s popularity grew, it got onto the radar of the big players in the music industry. Those players wanted to know how SoundCloud would compensate them for using their intellectual property. Since then, SoundCloud has taken on more venture capital funding, and engaged in equity sharing talks with the big record companies. All this on top of reports that the company is hemorrhaging  money, and now SoundCloud is removing sounds by the truckload.

So far, SoundCloud has managed to keep the music and podcasting sides of its operation separate. But that can’t last forever. SoundCloud is responding to these takedown requests swiftly and without appeal from its users. If you’re using SoundCloud as your primary media host, you’ll need to be vigilant about not including any copyrighted sounds in your podcast. But even that’s no guarantee against your episodes disappearing due to an errant takedown request. Indeed, it might be a good time to start formulating an escape plan should these aggressive takedowns make their way to SoundCloud’s podcasting accounts.

Off The Cuff Reactions to “The Netflix of Podcasting”

Howl logoMy (mostly) unedited reactions to a recent Fast Company article called Is Howl The ‘Netflix Of Podcasting’ We’ve Been Waiting For?

1.) No one’s been waiting for a “Netflix of Podcasting.” Any app with access to a directory of podcasts (in other words, pretty much all of them) is already a “Netflix of Podcasting.”

2.) People who are “generally into podcasts” already know how to listen to them. They already have easy access to whatever they want to listen to.

3.) No single platform can or will “blow up the audience for podcasts.” A platform that puts content that can easily be found for free behind a paywall seems even less likely to do this.

4.) Podcasts have been proliferating for twice as long as “five plus years.”

5.) “iTunes is an à la carte experience” that allows users to collect all of the podcasts they want in one location. But somehow it isn’t a “true one-stop, all-you-can-eat shop” for podcast consumption. True, some podcasts aren’t listed in the iTunes directory but they can still be manually added fairly easily to the application’s podcast aggregator.

6.) Howl is a product of Earwolf/Midroll and will contain all of the Earwolf shows along with “licensed” content like Marc Maron’s WTF. I’m unsure how a tightly curated list of shows will “build a model to advance the medium as a whole.”

7.) “$4.99 per month… at launch, Howl includes access to the full archives of every show on the network plus WTF and a large library of Comedy Central specials, behind-the-scenes photos from each episode, and host commentary and Twitter streams.” Adding premium content thru a paid subscription is a nice touch. It’s a process that more podcasters would use if it were easy to implement.

8.) “One limiting factor is that if you want to create a viable podcast, you really need to create a show that is long running, has a cost structure where the costs can stay relatively low and you can do 30-50 episodes per year, build up an audience, get ad sponsorships.” At least he didn’t say you could become rich overnight by starting a podcast. Granted, most shows probably won’t reach a point where they can get a Midroll sponsorship even if they publish 50 (or more) episodes in the first year.

9.) “We have documentaries that are a single episode of an hour and five minutes long, and there is only going to be a single episode… You could never afford to make an audio documentary that was just an hour long because you would never be able to monetize that with ads.” A good point here, when you’re creating content for the sole purpose of monetization. But, if Howl’s subscription revenue will help to fund things that are experimental in nature, that could be good. But then, if that content is only available to Howl subscribers, is it truly “advancing” the medium?

10.) “You still get people that just aren’t in the habit of listening to podcasts… They always say, ‘I’m late to the party…’ I think access is a big thing, and it’s really one of the few mediums where there’s a huge possibility for growth.” We’ve been saying this since 2005. But somehow, a closed platform with a relatively small catalog is going to bring podcasts to the masses?

IAB Podcast Upfront Planned for September

IAB logoThe term “upfront” comes from the television industry. Upfronts are meetings that are usually held a few months before a new TV season is about to begin. In these meetings, TV networks commune with potential sponsors to hammer out advertising deals for the coming season. Thus, giving those ad buyers the ability to purchase their ad spots “upfront.” In September, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) will hold its first ever podcast upfronts in New York.

IAB’s upfront will be a one-day event that will consist of a series of presentations as well as a “celebrity keynote speaker” that has yet to be announced. The following companies are scheduled to attend the upfront:

  • NPR
  • WNYC
  • Panoply
  • Podtrac
  • AdLarge
  • Midroll

IAB is hoping this event will drum up more interest in the medium of podcasting as a solid platform for advertising. IAB is also hoping to attract ad buyers from both the traditional radio space and the digital media space. Representatives from both groups are often tasked with buying podcast ads, which is unique to podcasting’s position of being a purely digital medium that often (especially in the case of NPR) repurposes radio broadcasts.

You can learn more about IAB’s upfront event and request an invite at the IAB website.

What Makes a Video Go Viral?

Harvard Business Review logoHarvard Business Review has an article titled “Why Some Videos Go Viral”. It mentions an analysis done by a company called Unruly that included about 430 billion videos. Unruly is a marketing technology company. Some of the results of that analysis could be useful to video podcasters.

What day do you post your video podcasts? Unruly found that the day you choose to post a video actually makes a difference. The most sharing of videos happens on Wednesdays. Thursdays and Fridays are also good, but Wednesday is best. The article doesn’t specifically state why Wednesday is the best day of the week for sharing videos. One can speculate that maybe it is because Wednesday is halfway through the work week and people are bored at work.

Unruly also found that the more shares a video generates during the first two days after it was launched, the higher the viral peak and the greater the overall volume of shares. So, if your video gets a ton of shares the first day it is launched, it might go viral. After that first day, it gets less and less shares.

Unruly noticed a group that share videos excessively. It calls them “super sharers”. They make up nearly 18% of the internet and share videos at least once a week. About half of the “super sharers”, 9%, share videos daily. It is the “super sharers” who have the most impact on whether or not a video goes viral. Ideally, podcasters will want to attract a lot of “super sharers”.

There’s more information about the reasons why people choose to share a video in the first place. The biggest reason is “opinion seeking”. They have an opinion about something in your video, and care enough about the topic to find out what their friends and family think about it.

If all else fails, include a cute puppy. Unruly found that one reason why people share a video is because it caused them to have an emotional response to it. The Harvard Business Review article included Unruly’s data regarding a video called “Puppyhood” that was created by Purina Puppy Chow. Everybody loves looking at videos of cute baby animals, right?

Tips for Presenting News on Your Podcast – PCN Show 020

A stack of newspapers by Daniel R Blume on FlickrOne way to add some content to your podcast is to bring in a news article. How you present that news story is important.

In this episode, I give you five tips that will help you to present news in your podcast. Do it well, and your listeners may be inspired to send you their thoughts about the news article you talked about. Listener interaction is a good thing!

You can find me on Twitter @queenofhaiku.

Image by Daniel R. Blume on Flickr.

Nintendo Fires Employee for Appearing on a Podcast

PartTime Gamers Podcast logoThere have been situations where a person has gotten fired after posting an unfortunately worded tweet or an unpopular rant on Facebook. I think most of us are aware that what a person posts on social media can cause that person’s employer to fire them. Podcasts, however, have been mostly exempt from this type of scrutiny…. until now.

Forbes reported that Chris Pranger was let go from his job at Nintendo after the company discovered that he had appeared on a podcast. Pranger worked for Treehouse, a localized division of Nintendo.

Chris Pranger appeared on episode 76 of the Part-Time Gamers podcast. The co-hosts are Neil Jimenez and Matt Lane. Forbes reports that the two of them have 30 Twitter followers between them. This relatively small podcast ended up getting a lot of attention because of the interview with Chris Pranger.

Gaming websites picked up some of the things that Pranger said and commented on them. Apparently, that was how Nintendo discovered that one of their workers talked about the company on a podcast. As a result, they fired him.

I think the key concept to take from this for podcasters is that podcasts are no longer a safe little space that your boss will never discover. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should stop podcasting. Instead, it means that you should probably check to see what your employer’s rules are about discussing things about the company on the internet.

What about the guests that you want to interview? There’s no way for you to know what, exactly, their employer’s rules are about sharing work related information online. It is up to the guest to figure that out beforehand. In general, though, if your guest works for a gaming company, it is probably not a good idea to push them for more information than they can give.

The interesting, and perhaps scary, thing about this situation is that it does not appear that the co-hosts of the Part-Time Gamers podcast tried to pull information out of Chris Pranger. The problem could be that Pranger needed Nintendo’s permission to appear on the podcast, and did not realize it. Overall, this incident could be the sign of things to come with big employers who want to control everything that their workers say about them online.

Panoply has Acquired Audiometric

Panoply logoPanoply announced that it has acquired the Audiometric software platform. Panoply will use Audiometric technology to provide its partners with analytics, ad insertion, distribution and sales. This is the first acquisition for Panoply.

Podcasters who are interested in getting involved with Panoply and Audiometric can request a beta invitation. The beta will launch this fall. The Panoply website asks interested podcasters to register their podcast with Panoply if they would like to be notified of when their platform comes online.

Panoply launched in February of 2015 with 12 partner shows. Those podcasts were from The New York Times Magazine, Real Simple, The Huffington Post, and others. Since then, Panoply has become a full-service podcast network that is operating more than 20 partner programs, in addition to 15 Slate podcasts.

Audiometric’s co-founders, Jason Cox (CEO) and Darren Cox (COO) created the technology in 2012. They were searching for a way to insert ads into Darren’s own podcast. Audiometric is based in Sydney, Australia. The Audiometric team will continue to improve the software in collaboration with Panoply’s own developers, content creators, and sales team.

Here are some of the things that Audiometric’s technology will enable Panoply to do:

* Manage all content – ads, podcast episodes, feeds, and distribution – in one place through a focused content management system

* Seamlessly insert pre-, mid-, and post roll ads in real time

* Leverage back catalog content, capturing ad revenue whether an episode is one day or three years old

* Measure the performance of ad campaigns running across multiple episodes and shows

* Distribute podcasts as widely as possible, integrating seamless with new apps as they come on line. Panoply does not limit distribution to proprietary technologies.