All posts by Jen Thorpe

Big Sky is Seeking Audio Documentaries



The Big Sky Film Institute nurtures and elevates non-fiction films that have the power to transform our world, our culture, our youth, and ourselves. Big Sky is seeking submissions of audio documentaries for the 2018 Big Sky Film Festival.

While Big Sky will always be a film festival, it cannot go unnoticed that audio documentary has recently been the fastest growing medium in the documentary field, with radio and podcasts enjoying a proverbial 21st century renaissance.

For the 2018 festival, Big Sky will hold an open call for audio documentaries, seeking submissions from around the globe. There is a $10 entry fee for all entries (any length). Submissions will be open through November 5, 2017. All submitters will be notified of selection status via email or through Submittable in December of 2017.

Big Sky defines an audio documentary as: “Audio docs are considered radio-format, non-fiction, narratives that typically feature interviews or commentary with creative sound to dramatize, elaborate, or otherwise paint a sound-picture for the listener.”

Entries should consist of an individual documentary and must range between 3 and 25 minutes in length. Entries must be produced in English (or a combination of English and translated voice over). Each entry should be a single MP3 audio file.

To be considered for selection, entries should be produced after January 1, 2015, and should not have been played publicly for the first time via terrestrial radio or in a public setting in Montana before February 26, 2018. In short, Big Sky wants fresh content that will be new to Montana audiences.

Some of the submitted AudioDocs may be played in front of feature films at the festival. They are also planning collective listening events where audiences can participate in a variety of activities (or just relax) while listening.


Spotify has Hired Courtney Holt



Spotify previously confirmed that it had parted ways with Tom Calderone. He was Spotify’s Head of Video and Podcasting Operations. Since that confirmation, Spotify has hired Courtney Holt to oversee its video and podcasting division.

Daniel Elk is the CEO and Founder of Spotify. Courtney Holt is the former head of Maker Studios. He replaces Tom Calderone as VP and head of Spotify Studios. Hollywood Reporter states that “A Spotify spokeswoman says Holt will lead development of Spotify’s efforts in video, podcasts, and other audio content. Courtney Holt will be based out of Los Angeles, and will report to chief content officer of Spotify, Stefan Blom.”

Bloomberg reported that Spotify is “about to announce a new slate of original podcasts”. Bloomberg also stated that Holt “will try to bring order to Spotify’s efforts beyond music, an ongoing struggle for the popular on-demand music streaming service.”


WPP Invested in Gimlet Media



WPP is the world’s largest communications services group. WPP stems from “Wire and Plastic Products”, a UK manufacturer of wire baskets which became the foundation company in which Sir Martin Sorrell invested following his search for a public entity through which to build a worldwide marketing services company. WPP has invested in Gimlet Media.

WPP announced that it invested $5 million (USD) for a minority stake in Gimlet Media Inc. Gimlet is an award-wining global podcasting company based in the US. It is based in Brooklyn New York, was founded in 2014, and employs 85 people.

The investment continues WPP’s strategy of focusing on three key areas that differentiate the Group’s offering to clients: technology, data, and content. The Group has invested in digital content companies like Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital, Fullscreen, Indigenous Media, Imagina (a content and media company based in Spain), MRC, Mic, Mitú, Refinery29, Uproxx Media Group and VICE.

About a month previous to WPP’s investment, Gimlet Media raised $15 million in Series B financing led by investment firm Stripes Group. Recode reported that previous to that $15 million, Gimlet had raised $7 million. It looks like Gimlet Media is doing quite well!


Anchor Adds More Options for Adding Music to Your Station



Anchor currently allows users to add music to their station. The idea was to enable people to have fun being a DJ and sharing their favorite songs (that were found via Anchor). Now, Anchor is giving people more ways to add music to their station.

To be clear, Anchor separated the music that users select from the podcasts that users created. You could pick a song and add it to your station – but you could not use that song in a podcast episode on Anchor.

Until now, songs could only be added to Anchor stations and always expired after 24 hours. We heard from a lot of musicians, DJs, and music lovers – whose content heavily relied on the music they included – that they couldn’t really use episodes effectively. So we’ve made it possible to save songs, permanently, to your Anchor episodes. (Note that songs will not sync to your external podcast if you have one set up.)

Anchor has always had the ability to allow users to add full songs to their station with Spotify and Apple Music. Now, Anchor is allowing people to connect their own playlists so they can easily browse through them and add their current favorite songs to their Anchor station whenever they want.

You can add multiple songs from a single playlist in a row. If you find a song you like while listening to an Anchor station, you can tap to add that song to your Spotify or Apple Music account.


TASCAM has its own Podcast



TASCAM has developed products for every segment of the sound and music industry. TASCAM is well known for producing the most comprehensive line of audio recorders, mixers, and related equipment in the audio industry. It makes sense for TASCAM to have a podcast.

From a leader in products for every segment of the sound and music industry, comes a podcast for podcasters and streamers. Eagerly immersing itself in this booming audio/streaming/voice realm, TASCAM is delivering this show every other week to speak to beginner, intermediate, and advanced broadcasters.

TASCAM Talkback is hosted by Bruce Wawryiak (the host of the Now Hear This Entertainment podcast.) TASCAM Talkback is a show designed to speak to both podcasters and streamers.

The new podcast will come out every other week. Content will include in-depth How To, News, Tips, Tricks, and spotlights on Hardware and Software. The show will also feature podcasters, gamers, content producers and hardware designers – the very people who make podcasting happen.

At the time I am writing this, TASCAM Talkback has released two episodes. The first episode is titled “Introducing TASCAM Talkback”. Episode two is titled “Podcasting’s Popularity and Chris Krimitsos interview”. Chris Krimitsos is the producer of “The Messengers: A Podcast Documentary”.


MOME Created a Report About the Podcasting Industry



The New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) created a report called “New York City, The Podcasting Capital”. It mainly focuses on New York City’s podcasting industry. Here are some facts from the report.

This report, from the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), celebrates the expansion of MOME’s portfolio into the podcast industry. It tracks the rise of podcasting generally, details the emergence of New York City as an epicenter of the industry, and highlights both the industry’s challenges and opportunities for continued growth.

New York City’s podcast networks are growing rapidly, reflecting the huge national audience of 42 million weekly listeners. According to the report, employment at the top New York City podcast networks has increased over the past several years, from about 450 people in 2015 to about 600 people in early 2017.

In 2015, the top four New York City networks alone produced about 115 podcasts. That number has exploded, and today, these networks are responsible for almost 200 podcasts, an increase of nearly 75 percent.

Those four networks represent over 1.3 billion downloads in 2016. This represents an enormous increase from 2013-2015, when there were 199 million annual downloads.

In 2017, an estimated 112 million people over the age of 12 had listened to a podcast at least once, representing 40% of the American population. There are an estimated 67 million monthly podcast listeners, most of whom are between the ages of 18-54.

65% of podcast listeners remember advertisements they’ve heard in the past day.

Between 2015 and 2016, podcast advertising grew at a rate of 72 percent. It is estimated that the total advertising spend in podcasting in 2017 will near $220 million.

There are an estimated 67 million monthly podcast listeners, mostly of whom are between the ages of 18-54. This is a twofold increase in listenership from 2013, when only 23 million Americans had listened to a podcast in the past month.

The most engaged podcasts consumers – weekly listeners – numbered about 42 million people in 2017. On average, these consumers listen to five podcasts a week, for over five hours a week.


EFF Won Court Ruling Against “Patent Troll”



The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) won a court ruling against Personal Audio (a company many have described as a “Patent Troll”.) The key thing to know about the ruling that the court affirmed “…that an infamous podcasting patent used by a patent troll to threaten podcasters big and small was properly held invalid by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).”

The case called Personal Audio, LLC, v Electronic Frontier Foundation was heard by a three judge panel at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In a thirteen-page ruling with plenty of detailed explanation given, the judges concluded: “The decision of the PTAB holding claims 31-35 of the ‘504 Patent unpatentable is affirmed.” The EFF points out that this will keep podcasting safe, for now.

This case started in 2013, when EFF filed a petition at the USPTO challenging the so-called podcasting patent owned by Personal Audio, and asking the court to use an expedited process for taking a second look at the patent.

EFF’s petition showed that Personal Audio did not invent anything new and, in fact, other people were podcasting years before Personal Audio first applied for a patent.

In April of 2015, the Patent Office invalidated all the challenged claims of the podcasting patent, finding that the patent should not have been issued in light of two earlier disclosures, one relating to CNN news clips and one relating to CBC online radio broadcasting.

Personal Audio challenged the Patent Office decision, but the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed with EFF that the patent did not represent an invention, and podcasting was known before Personal Audio’s patent was applied for.


International Podcast Day is September 30!



International Podcast Day takes place every September 30. It is an international celebration of the power of podcasts. It is a great day to connect with fellow podcasters, podcast listeners, podcast enthusiasts, and leaders in the podcasting industry.

In 2014, National Podcast Day was celebrated with 6 hours of live broadcasting. After quickly realizing the power of podcasts internationally, we rebranded into what we are today – International Podcast Day. In 2015 and 2016, we broadcasted around the globe for nearly 70 hours inviting podcasters and industry leaders from 40 different countries to share their podcast journeys, personal stories, and expertise with the podcast community.

International Podcast Day has suggestions on how you can get involved. Here are a few:

  • Use #InternationalPodcastDay to engage with others worldwide talking about the event.
  • Grab your mic and camera, ask someone about their favorite podcast. Share the response on social media.
  • Change your social media image to the International Podcast Day logo.
  • Share your favorite podcast with someone (coworker, friend, teammate).
  • Send feedback to your favorite podcasters and tell them thank you.
  • Provide a rating and review in Apple Podcasts and other platforms.
  • Explain to someone what a podcast is and get them hooked.


Spreaker’s All New Revenue Sharing Program



Earlier this year, Spreaker launched their Revenue Sharing program that allowed podcasters to earn money for every listen or impressions. The program is now out of beta, and has become a fully fledged sophisticated ad revenue system.

Ad injection is when you earn money from audio and visual ads getting automatically placed throughout an episode at different intervals. These ads are provided by Spreaker’s trusted partners. Spreaker’s Revenue Sharing program allows ads to be automatically inserted into both downloaded episodes and stitched onto on-demand streaming.

Every time an ad gets an impression, meaning that it was listened to by your audience, you’ll earn a specific amount of money. In Spreaker’s case, you’ll get 65% per Cost per impression or CPM (1,000 impressions), depending on a variety of factors, like who is providing the ad.

You remain in control of the exact conditions of the ad insertion (which you can edit at any time). Spreaker’s new Revenue Sharing System allows you to chose the position of the ad (pre-rolls and/or post-rolls), how many ads to include and how often, and the maximum duration of the ad to be injected.

Spreaker has more details on their blog. A portion of the blog walks podcasters through how to set up Spreaker’s Revenue Sharing Program on one or more of their shows.

Shows must meet the following criteria in order to be accepted into the Revenue Sharing Program:

  • Meeting the necessary legal and quality requirements
  • Be signed up to one of Spreaker’s Pro Plans
  • Recognizing that your hard work is worth it