Winners of the 2018 British Podcast Awards



The British Podcast Awards have been created to highlight the best podcasts of the year, all made in Great Britain. It was established in 2017. The winners of the 2018 British Podcast Awards have been announced.

You can find a link to, and a logo of, all of the winning podcasts on the British Podcast Awards website. Many categories named a Gold, a Silver, and a Bronze winner. I’m including the Gold winners from each category here.

Podcast of the Year 2018: Griefcast– Cariad Lloyd

Listeners’ Choice Awards 2018:Kermode &Mayo’s Film Review –Somethin’ Else for BBC Radio 5Live

Podcast Champion 2018: Helen Zaltzman

Family – Gold: Once Upon a Time In Zombieville –Bigmouth Audio [for BBC Radio Scotland]

Best Culture Podcast – Gold: The Two Shot Podcast – Thomas Griffin and Craig Parkinson

True Crime – Gold:The Assassination – Owen Bennet-Jones & Neal Razzell [for BBC World Service]

Branded Content – supported by Muddy Knees Media – Gold: The Discovery Adventures – Land Rover

Best Comedy– supported by Podiant – Gold: Beef & Dairy Network Podcast – Benjamin Partridge

Fiction – Gold: Imaginary Advice – Ross Sutherland

Smartest Podcast – Gold: The Allusionist –Helen Zaltzman

Represent – supported by Twitter – Gold: Carousel Radio – Davot, Fran, Ewan, Jonny and Sam

Best Radio Podcast – supported by UK Radioplayer – Gold: Short Cuts – Falling Tree Productions for BBC Radio

Best New Podcast – Gold: The Tip Off –Maeve McClenaghan

Sport – Gold: Fight Disciples – Fight Disciples

Acast Innovation Award – Podcast Pingback –Aiir

Best Interview – supported by ipDTL – Gold: Griefcast – Cariad Lloyd

Current Affairs – supported by Reportex.io – Gold: The Foreign Desk – Bill Leuty, Joleen Goffin and Andrew Muller [for Monocle]

International Award – Gold: Where Should We Begin? With Esther Perel – Audible

Entertainment with Sony Music’s 4thFloor Creative – Gold: Griefcast – Cariad Lloyd

Most Original Podcast – supported by Audible: The Discovery Adventures – Land Rover


Parcast Adds Great Women of Business Podcast



Parcast is the premier podcast network focused on creating scripted, story-driven programming that is engaging, informative, entertaining. They have added the Great Women of Business podcast. The trailer is available now.

The wage gap. The motherhood penalty. The glass ceiling. From Coco Chanel to Mrs. Fields, Julia Child to Martha Stewart, business-savvy women have fought sexism all the way to the executive suite. Every Tuesday, Great Women of Business spotlights inspiring careers, savvy decisions, and catastrophic failures. Each episode tells a different woman’s story, and teaches the business principles they used to find success.

Great Women of Business is a Production of Cutler Media and part of the Parcast Network. The first episode of this twelve episode series premiers June 5th. The Trailer is out, and can be listened to on the Parcast website, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Tunein, and Stitcher. Midroll is currently seeking advertisers for the Great Women of Business podcast.

Vanessa Richardson is the host of Great Women of Business. She is also on two other Parcast hits: Serial Killers and Historical Figures. She is joined by Molly Brandenburg, co-host of the chart-topping Conspiracy Theories.


The Deal Between Audioboom and Triton Digital is Off



Earlier this year, Audioboom bought Triton Digital for $185 million dollars in a reverse takeover. Now, just a few months later, that deal has ended. I haven’t been able to find a direct announcement about this from either Audioboom or Triton Digital. That being said, there are other articles out there that have additional information about what happened.

Radio Ink reported: “Due to insufficient funds, that deal is off and Audioboom is in jeopardy of shutting down.”

Radio Ink also reported that Audioboom was now looking for new funding so it can invest in additional podcasting content and for working capital. In addition, Audioboom now owes Triton Digital a “Break Fee” of just under $1 million, which must be paid by June 13, 2018.

Radio and Television Business Report reported: “With the dissolution of the Triton deal, Audioboom CEO Rob Proctor remains in his role.” The article also included quotes from Rob Proctor. The most significant portion of those quotes is the following:

“The further reduction in the number of smaller, unsustainable podcasts on our platform will allow us to further reduce our monthly operating costs. Overall, Audioboom continues to run a tighter, more compact operation, which will ultimately lead to a stronger more vibrant business.”

The wording in that quote from Audioboom CEO Rob Proctor appears to be making some of the podcasters who have their podcasts on Audioboom a bit nervous. Will their show be considered “smaller” and “unsustainable”? Will their show be among the podcasts Audioboom wants to reduce?

If your podcast is on Audioboom, and you are anxious about what may happen to your show if Audioboom is unable to obtain new funding, it might be time to make a change. Start looking at other companies that host podcasts just in case you have to find a new home for your show.


Vocal Fry Studios has a Patreon



Vocal Fry Studios was created by Vicky Mochama and Katie Jensen, two Toronto-based journalists who wanted to create a safe, accessible and inclusive podcast workspace. You can help support Vocal Fry Studios by becoming a patron of their Patreon.

Vicky Mochama is the national columnist for Star Metro and a columnist for the Toronto Star. She has written for Vice, Globe and Mail and Hazlitt. She is the co-host of Safe Space and former co-host of Canadaland Commons.

Katie Jensen has produced audio for Metro News Canada, St. Joseph Media, Motherboard, Polaris Music Prize, Appcanary, The Imposter, and Canadaland. She currently works onThe Secret Life of CanadaSafe Space, Polaris Podcast, and Avocado Toast.

After years of recording in our bedrooms, living rooms, and weird offices, we decided to make our own podcast community hub.

We offer access to podcasting workshops, custom podcast creation, and studio space.

Vocal Fry Studios has a survey you can fill out if you would like to give them input about what “the podcast studio you always wanted” should be like. Vocal Fry Studios is creating a freelance podcaster roster right now. They also want to work with people from underrepresented groups. There is a form you can fill out if you want to be added to that list.

Vocal Fry Studios offers the following services:

Skills Workshops: From sound design to mic technique to RSS management, they will help you refine your audio storytelling craft

Custom Podcasts: They work with clients to create high-quality engaging podcasts that audiences will listen to and love.

Studio Rentals: They have a professional-quality podcast recording studio with affordable hourly rates and great gear.


Grammar Girl is on Stitcher Premium



The extremely popular Grammar Girl podcast is now on Stitcher Premium. The Grammar Girl podcast was the winner of Best Education Podcast in the 2017 Podcast AwardsGrammar Girl is a Quick and Dirty Tips podcast, which was founded by Grammar Girl host Mignon Fogarty.

Grammar Girl provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing. Covering the grammar rules and word choice guidelines that can confound even the best writers, Grammar Girl makes complex grammar questions simple with memory tricks to help you recall and apply those troublesome grammar rules. Whether English is your first language or a second language, Grammar Girl’s punctuation, style, and business tips will make you a better and more successful writer. Mignon Fogerty is the creator and host of Grammar Girl.

Stitcher Premium is offering a one-month free trial for people who want to try out the service. It also has a Premium plan that is $4.99 monthly, and a Premium Annual plan that is $2.92 monthly (and is billed annually).

Each of the paid plans offers the following features:

  • Stream and download all your favorite podcasts
  • 21,000 hours of premium podcasts
  • Bonus episodes and archives
  • Ad-free shows
  • 300+ comedy albums
  • Early access to new releases

Stitcher points out that some shows record their own ads which Stitcher cannot remove. Mignon Fogarty tweeted that people can sign up for Stitcher Premium and use the code GRAMMAR to get all those great ad-free Grammar Girl episodes (plus a monthly bonus episode). At the time I am writing this, it is her pinned tweet – so I am assuming that the code is still valid.

Some episodes of the Grammar Girl podcast are available on Apple Podcasts. The description of the show on Apple Podcast says that you can find the full, ad-free archive of Grammar Girl, as well as exclusive bonus episodes, only on Stitcher Premium.

What about the other places where people listen to the Grammar Girl podcast? Mignon Fogarty provided some clarity on Twitter, in response to someone who asked her if the podcast would still be broadcast on Tune In:


The New York Times Hired Amanda McCartney



The New York Times announced that Amanda McCartney has joined the New York Times advertising team as Director, Audio & Podcasts. This is a new role at The New York Times Company.

Amanda McCartney joins the New York Times from Slate Media, where she sold its selection of podcasts, including advice show Dear Prudence, Lexicon Valley, explainer show The Gist, and Trumpcast, shows for Slate’s Panoply network, and branded podcasts for three years.

Previously to Slate, Amanda McCartney was a national sales manager at The Washington Post and HuffPost. At The New York Times, she will be working collaboratively with client leads to sell The Time’s podcast inventory, like The Daily and Still Processing, as well as calling on direct response podcast agencies.

The Daily is hosted by Michael Barbaro. A new twenty minute episode about the news topics of the day is posted five days a week. Still Processing is a conversation between Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham, two culture writers for the New York Times, as they try to understand the pleasures and pathologies of America in 2018. Other podcasts from the New York Times include: Modern Love, The Book ReviewChange Agent, Dear Sugars, PopcastThe New Washington, and Caliphate.


Pocket Casts has been Acquired



Pocket Cast has been acquired by NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago, and This American Life. This unprecedented collaboration furthers public radio’s leading role as an innovator in audio discovery and distribution, while ensuring the continued support and growth of one of the most popular listening platforms on the market.

Audio veteran Owen Grover will serve as CEO of Pocket Casts. Grover previously served as Executive Vice President and General Manager at iHeartRadio, and before that as Vice President of Programming and Marketing at Clear Channel Music & Radio.

Pocket Casts will operate as a joint venture, with founders Philip Simpson and Russell Ivanovic in leadership roles and the existing staff and developer team remaining in place. To ensure development aligns with the mission-driven ethos of public radio, the board will be compromised of representatives of the public media leaders.

Shifty Jelly created Pocket Casts in 2008. Pocket Casts published a blog post titled “The Next Chapter” on May 4, 2018. The key part of the post states: “Today we’re excited to announce a partnership with some of the biggest producers of podcasts in the world to take Pocket Casts to the next level.” Pocket Casts reviews how important it is for them to keep the best interests of their customers in mind, and that they had turned down previous acquirement offers that they felt were not the best fit.

That’s why when a combined group comprised of WYNC, NPR, WBEZ, and This American Life approached us with the goal of partnering for the good of the entire podcast industry, we knew that this opportunity was something else entirely. Everything from their not for profit mission focus, to their unwavering belief that open and collaborative wins over closed walled gardens deeply resonated with us. Together we have the passion, scale, and laser focus needed to achieve some truly great things.

The blog post has a list of questions that Shifty Jelly figured customers would be asking in regards to the acquisition. On May 8, 2018, Shifty Jelly followed up with a post titled “Addressing Your Concerns”. In the post, users of Pocket Casts are reassured that Pocket Casts will not start tracking user locations, and that it will not start pushing invasive ad technology on people (among other concerns).


Spreaker Added Updated Scheduling Features



Spreaker has added something new to their Content Management System to help make podcasting even easier for Spreaker users. They updated their scheduling features. It is for podcasters who love to plan ahead and who hate leaving things up to the last minute.

From now on, once you record and create your show you will have the opportunity to create a scheduled episode page for future episodes, informing your audience of when they can expect your next episode to be released. How far in advance can you go? More than two years! The holding page will show your podcast’s image and will state the exact time and date of when the episode will go live.

Spreaker is aware of how much easier things are when you have the opportunity to get them done ahead of time. This is why they made it possible to share episode links, schedule social sharing, and embed episodes in your blog, all of which are unpublished and all in advance.

By having access to your show’s link, you will be able to share your unpublished episode with your audience, ahead of time, in whichever way you wish, for example via e-mail or website. It will also allow you to program your social media channels – offering you the chance to promote each episode to its maximum capacity. You can also insert unpublished episodes into your blog.


Reality Check of RAD or Podcast Pingback Adoption



Let me state from the beginning that I am an avid supporter of the RAD initiative by NPR. Many of you may not be familiar with RAD, but to break it down in the simplest form it’s the measurement of client-side aka app playback data of podcast. RAD provides the ability for podcast measurement platforms to get info like when a listener starts, stops, scrubs ahead or back, and most importantly did an ad get played within the content.

The high majority of playback globally happens on a variety of apps of which most are well under 1% global listening marketing share on both Apple and Android. The exception is the Apple Podcasts App which dominates a huge percentage of the global consumption.

Since podcasts inception in 2004, podcast downloads are measured/filtered with server log data. Over the past several years, the IAB Podcast Measurement committee has worked with 30 plus podcasting companies to ratify podcast measurement guidelines that the podcast measurement industry uses today in reporting podcast downloads. While podcast metrics have been measured since 2005 with initial standards put in place in 2008 through the now-defunct Association for Downloadable Media, companies like Blubrry, Libsyn & Podtrac set those early standards of which many are rolled into the current guidelines.

Many of the companies in the podcasting space are not yet satisfied with the data provided with the current IAB guidelines and think that more advertisers will enter the podcast advertising space if this client-side data can be obtained through RAD.

I do not see Apple participating in RAD or any other initiative that exposes listener listening habits. With privacy concerns raging across the digital space plus the forthcoming GDPR regulations I see no way that some of the other big bigger players will be willing to participate in RAD even if the IP data is tokenized (anonymized).

I am all about data, and as a true data junky/podcaster, the more data we have to help podcasting as an industry move forward I’m behind. I will always support getting more information for podcasters to make informed decisions on their content to include information that they can use to monetize their shows. The lingering question I have is when do we have enough info, when do we go to far. Anonymizing the listeners is critical in any of these efforts.

So let’s assume that Apple is not going to play ball with RAD. Then that leaves us with 30-35% of the remaining global consumption across apps, websites and third-party sites that could be measured by RAD. This is assuming that 30+ podcast apps on iOS and Android add the RAD protocol to their apps. Which will take considerable development time on each app, plus testing with no financial benefit for the app developer. This will add overhead to their app, add data traffic load to their users. Plus each app will have to develop new TOS to inform users of this collection of play data, plus GDPR compliance for EU listeners. I cannot imagine them not giving a listener the option to opt out of this data collection.

I am not even addressing if Google, Pandora, and Spotify decide to play ball. Spotify, Pandora & Google Play are streaming platforms versus on demand.  Spotify has some of these play metrics already which helps but the data from them is unique in it’s own way and does not fit the download narrative or fit nicely into billing for advertising. Google based on recent interviews may not even have a mechanism to add RAD until they develop their own app as it appears Google Plays days are numbered.

One thing for sure the download is still and will remain king for a long time, and if we are lucky we will get a 10-15% participation rate in RAD which is still great information as it comes to data sampling and helps build the sales story confirming what we actually already know through other analysis methods. Any podcast measurement company worth its salt already can already trend how many subscribed listeners are listening and staying subscribed.

Add to this discussion a new entrant in the space has just introduced a competing protocol to RAD so while I applaud efforts of the Podcast Pingback group, in my opinion, they would have been better served to have added their voice to the RAD committee as all of their ideas are already on the table and have been for some time with the coalition of companies already working on the RAD spec.

I will say it again, I am a RAD supporter but do not want to sugar coat the hard work ahead to get us to the 10, 20, 30% adoption rate. 30% adoption would be a major win. I remain focused on improving the listener’s experience, that will drive listener volume. I would love to hear your thoughts on RAD in the comments below.

Todd Cochrane

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash