All posts by Jen Thorpe

SiriusXM to Acquire Pandora



SiriusXM Holdings and Pandora Media today announced a definitive agreement under which SiriusXM will acquire Pandora in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $3.5 billion.

The combination of these two companies creates the world’s largest audio entertainment company. The combined company will engage in cross-promotion between SiriusXM’s base of more than 36 million subscribers across North America and 23 million-plus annual trial listeners and Pandora’s more than 70 million monthly active users.

The acquisition will enable leveraging of SiriusXM’s exclusive content and programming with Pandora’s ad-supported and subscription tiers to create unique audio packages while also utilizing SiriusXM’s extensive automotive relationships to drive Pandora’s in-car distribution. The press release mentioned “expanded monetization opportunities through both ad-supported and subscription services in and out of the vehicle.”

The press release says: “Following the completion of the transaction, there will be no immediate change in listener offerings.” I think the key word here is “immediate”. This is not a promise that things will not change.

The acquisition could bring up some issues for people who canceled their SiriusXM subscription because they strongly disagreed with the hiring of Steve Bannon. It may also be problematic for the people pushing SiriusXM to cancel Pearl Jam Radio. People who don’t want anything to do with SiriusXM, but who do want to continue using Pandora, face a moral dilemma.

Now might be a good time to find out if your favorite podcasts that are on SiriusXM or Pandora are available somewhere else. That will make it easier if the podcast disappears after the acquisition is final.


Buzzsprout Offers Transcription of Buzzsprout Podcasts



Buzzsprout is a podcast hosting company that makes it easy for podcasters at every level to upload, share and track a show, without any technical training. Buzzsprout will transcribe episodes of podcasts for podcasters who have a paid plan.

Buzzsprout allows people to get started on a free plan, which provides hosting for 90 days and allows 2 hours of upload each month.

All of Buzzsprout’s paid plans include:

  • Unlimited Storage
  • 250GB Bandwidth Per Month
  • The Podcast Migration Tool
  • No Advertising
  • Hosted Indefinitely

The $12/month plan allows 3 hours of uploads each month. Overage costs $4 per hour. The $18/month plan allows 6 hours of uploads each month. Overage costs $3 per hour. The $24 plan allows 12 hours of uploads each month. Overage costs $2 per hour.

Those with paid plans, and who have their podcast on Buzzsprout, can have their podcast episodes transcribed. The process starts via the Buzzsprout dashboard. First, select the episode you want transcribed.

It gets sent to Temi. They will send you an email when your episode has been transcribed. After that, the podcaster can update their Buzzsprout site to let people know that a transcript is available.

Transcripts are billed at 10 cents per minute. The charge will appear on your next Buzzsprout invoice.


Con Before the Storm Revealed World of Podcasts Participants



Con Before the Storm is a fun event that takes place the night before BlizzCon. Part of the Con Before the Storm event includes World of Podcasts. This year, over 55 podcasts are being represented for 2018’s World of Podcasts.

Full disclosure, I will be attending Con Before the Storm this year and representing the Shattered Soulstone podcast (which is about Diablo III) in a World of Podcasts panel. I am not being paid to attend the event. This is just for fun.

There are several World of Podcasts panels that will be happening before and after BlizzCon 2018. The first two panels will be live on Twitch.tv/conbeforestorm

Pod Before the Con – Blizzard (October 28, 2018, 4pm ET)

  • The Bard’s Tavern– Jay the Bird
  • Freezing Nomad Podcast– PerfectNomad
  • Kulle Story Bro– Dean
  • Off Curve – Steve Lubitz
  • Realm Maintenance– Rho
  • The Sundering– Ceraphus
  • Technically PVP – Andallyn
  • The Nexus Trolls– Aurumis

Pod Before the Con – Warcraft (October 28, 2018, 7pm ET)

  • All Things Azeroth– Medros
  • Dungeon Fables– Aliandras
  • FrazlCast– Frazley
  • Halfhill Report– Toshmifune
  • Unshackled Fury– Berzerker
  • WoW Challenges– Stone
  • WoW! Talk!– Nick Zielenkievicz

BlizzCon Kickoff & Podcasting (November 1, 2018, 5pm-6pm, Anaheim Hilton)

  • Azeroth Coast to Coast– Akari
  • Convert to Raid– Pat Krane
  • Well Met!– J.R. Cook
  • Dark Moon Herald– Kevin Oldscratch
  • Lagging Balls– Thyst
  • The Starting Zone – Spencer Downey
  • Westmarch Workshop– Leviathan

Heroes of the Storm (November 1, 2018, 6:15pm – 7:15pm, Anaheim Hilton)

  • CORE– Scott Johnson, Jon Jagger, and Beau Schwartz
  • Gankbush Squad– Bacon
  • Heroes News– Jules Scott
  • Lords of the Storm– Ryan Reider and Gizmo
  • Into the Nexus– Kyle Fergusson

Hearthstone (November 1, 2018, 7:30pm – 8:30pm Anaheim Hilton)

  • Around the Hearth– Adam
  • Blizzlet– Stormraige
  • Coin Concede– RidiculousHat
  • The Happy Hearthstone– Andrew Brown
  • HearthCasual– Kevin Ellis
  • Legend of the Innkeeper– Espo
  • Value Town– Chris Chan

World of Warcraft (November 1, 2018, 8:45pm -9:45pm Anaheim Hilton)

  • Azeroth Roundtable– Ben Bumhoffer
  • Countdown to Classic – Josh Corbett
  • For Azeroth!– Jocelyn Moffett
  • Merely a Setback– Shoeboots
  • The Training Dummies– Rob
  • The Tauren & The Goblin– Katie Grace
  • The Worgen’s Howl– Frostee

Overwatch(November 1, 2018, 10pm – 11pm Anaheim Hilton)

  • Enter the Iris– Icy
  • It’s High Noon Somewhere– Blevins
  • Omnic Lab Podcast – Rob May
  • The Owl Recap– Andres
  • Overwatch League Network– Totemlydrunk
  • Watchpoint Radio-Bob Schissler

The Storm (November 2, 2018 – Time and Location: To Be Announced)

  • Behind the Avatar – Leeta
  • The Cavalry– Melisaa Schissler
  • Corpse Run Radio– Grandnagus
  • The Game Case– Cuddles
  • Hero Power – Zerotio
  • PWNCast– Belle
  • Shattered Soulstone– Jen
  • Twister Nether Blogcast– Hydra

PodSquad is Seeking Beta Testers



PodSquad is a podcast app for growing audiences on social media. They are currently looking for podcasters who would like to be beta testers of the PodSquad app. PodSquad is for podcasters, producers, and influencers.

Engage in social media in step with your normal listening experience. Create memes and audiograms to turn social media followers into new listeners.

The founder of PodSquad is named John Lee. He is building PodSquad, a podcast app for indie podcasters to grow their audiences on social media. If you are an indie podcaster, then John is inviting you to get early access to PodSquad and help them shape the final product of the PodSquad app.

As you might expect, there isn’t a whole lot of details out there about PodSquad. That’s not unusual for something that is not yet in beta. The beta app is coming.

If you want to be a PodSquad beta tester, then you need to visit their website and enter your email address. Your email will be shared with Podo (the maker of PodSquad).


Blubrry Podcast Directory Tops 600,000 Shows



Blubrry Podcasting, a podcast services leader in the industry, recently celebrated 600,000+ shows in their directory. The directory, allows for anyone, Blubrry user or not, to listen to a podcast and see a list of the show’s episodes, all for free.

The directory, which was introduced in 2006, has seen significant growth in the podcasting industry since 2014. In 2017, the directory included more than 120,000 new shows; they project over 180,000 new podcasts this year, an increase of 50 percent over the previous year.

Podcasts are updated hourly, show hosts can claim their show, which includes a link to their show’s website. As opposed to other directories, there are also multiple ways for listeners to subscribe via Android or Apple devices and most importantly share the podcast.

“Surpassing 600,000 shows in the Blubrry Podcast Directory, which has been around since we launched Blubrry, provides infinite opportunities to podcast listeners and allows us to track ongoing in the podcasting space,” said Todd Cochrane, CEO of Blubrry.

Blubrry will continue to monitor trends in the market, release data and relevant information on the podcasting industry based on discoveries made analyzing the hundreds of thousands of podcasts and the near 50,000 podcasts measured by our IAB compliant Podcast Statistics.

As much growth as the industry has seen, however, there is a great deal of room to grow in specific categories.

“Many of the typical topics are covered well by various podcasts,” said Angelo Mandato, CIO of Blubrry. “But the directory, as large as it is, shows us that there are many categories that are underserved.”

“Categories such as ‘Kids and Family’, “Games and Hobbies’, and ‘Government and Organizations’ are severely underrepresented,” Mandato said. “This presents notable opportunities for podcasters to fill these topics.”

In fact, Mandato said, “The largest category is ‘Religion’. Many congregations have gravitated toward podcasting in recent years, and made it an essential component of their service.”


Anchor Adds Smart Background Music



Anchor has introduced smart background music that can be used in podcasts that are on Anchor. There are 100 background tracks to choose from that intelligently mold to your audio. In addition, Anchor added brand new Sound Effects and Interludes tools.

Anchor points out that the perfect blend of voice, music, sounds and transitions in a podcast can be difficult to pull off. It takes time to find the perfect music and to ensure that you have the rights to use it. Not everyone knows how to create unique sounds or to properly edit a podcast. This is why Anchor has added smart background music.

The smart background collection library had over 100 beautiful, podcast-ready background tracks, free to use with no restrictions. A lot of the new tracks come from Blue Dot Sessions. The library can be browsed by mood, name, or keywords.

Each track will intelligently adjust in volume so that it sounds natural with your recording. Here’s how it works: the background song automatically starts at full volume. Then after an intro, the music dips and your recorded audio comes in. The song loops until your segment is done, and then at right at the end, the music swells back up, and fades out. This means your background music sounds really polished, never outshines your voice, and takes just a second to apply.

The new Sounds and Interludes include sound effects or musical interludes. Many of the interludes are short “stingers” that match the background tracks. Anchor says that you can also import your own background music, sounds, or interludes to easily reuse whenever you want to.


Twitter is Launching Audio-Only Broadcasting on Periscope



Twitter announced that they are launching audio-only broadcasting on Periscope (on iOS). In other words, they are enabling podcasters to use Periscope as a way to do live podcasts for their listeners. It doesn’t appear that this was Twitter’s intended use for the audio-only broadcasting feature – but that’s how I suspect it will be used.

Richard Plom, Staff Engineer of Periscope, wrote the following on Medium:

Broadcasting with audio only in Periscope is something the community has been asking for, and have been doing already by covering the camera lens. Sometimes people are not comfortable being on camera, but they still want to broadcast and interact with others via Periscope’s powerful chatroom feature. It was requested that we build this feature for #HackWeek, but after some research and focusing on the core of the problem we realized we could get it done in three days.

His Medium post also has a brief explanation of how audio-only broadcasting on Periscope works:

The iPhone microphone produces the audio stream and we continue to use that as-is. The camera produces a video stream that we immediately discard, and instead we create dynamic video animations informed by the audio data that we render on the iPhone in real-time. The audio stream is sent to the audio visualizer renderer which takes the raw audio bits and generates the waveform and volume levels indicator. This new stream is sent to backend instead of the one from the camera.

And, there you have it. Periscope made it easy for podcasters who don’t use video to do an audio-only podcast on Periscope. I don’t think most podcasters will decide to switch to Periscope exclusively as a result of this new feature. But, I can see the Periscope audio-only broadcasts being used as something “extra” for fans to enjoy.


iHeartMedia to Acquire Stuff Media



With over a quarter of a billion monthly listeners in the U.S., and over 131 million social followers, iHeartMedia has the largest national reach of any radio or television outlet in America. Recently, iHeartMedia announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Stuff Media, LLC, the leading for-profit publisher of entertainment and informative podcast content, which includes HowStuffWorks (HSW) podcasting platform.

iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia’s all-in-one digital music, podcast, on demand and streaming radio service, is already partnered with all major publishers and features more than 20,000 podcasts ranging from NPR to WNYC to ESPN and Gimlet, and the iHeartRadio Podcast Network hosts more than 750 iHeartRadio Original shows.

The acquisition will enable iHeartMedia to leverage Stuff Media’s original content, programming, and experienced podcast management team and to further expand its podcasting platform. The Wall Street Journal reported that a value for the deal of $55 million. The transaction is subject to bankruptcy court approval.

Conal Byrne will join iHeartMedia as head of its podcast division. Stuff Media’s podcasts will maintain their branding and remain headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with Byrne continuing as President and CEO of that studio as well. Byrne will report to Darren Davis, President of the iHeartMedia Networks Group and iHeartRadio.

Chris Peterson has been promoted to EVP of the podcasting division for iHeartMedia, and will oversee the full slate of iHeartRadio Original podcasts, as well as manage the affiliate relationships for the company, and will report to Byrne.


Stitcher has a Brand New Look



Stitcher announced that they have a new look. They are no longer using their previous logo, and have replaced it with one that has new colors. Stitcher has also been investing in its app, and has become the primary brand for E.W. Scripps Company’s podcast operations.

The new look embodies our history and where we’re headed in the future. The bars are reminiscent of sound. The colors are meant to be energetic and exciting, and together they demonstrate our commitment to all listeners, all creators and all types of podcasts. Used as mirrors of one another, they can create a “window” that opens up into the podcast world.

Stitcher has been investing in the Stitcher app. Their newest iOS release literally moves the app’s navigation options to your fingertips, making it easier for you to get what you want with fewer taps. Similar updates are on their way for Android.

Midroll Media announced the following on the Midroll blog:

Stitcher, a leader in podcast content creation, distribution, and advertising, today unveiled a new logo and brand identify, reinforcing its place as a leading player across the podcast ecosystem as it becomes the primary brand for The E.W. Scripps Company’s podcast operations.

The same blog post says that Stitcher is now the parent company to Midroll and Earwolf. Other networks of original content also fall under the Stitcher umbrella. Stitcher is a wholly owned subsidiary of The E.W. Scripps Company.