All posts by Jen Thorpe

Seneca Women and P&G Launch Women’s Podcast Network

Kicking off a landmark year for women and girls, global women’s leadership platform Seneca Women announced the launch of Seneca Women Podcast Network, a new women-led podcast network and app that will connect and amplify female voices around the globe.

Launched with the support of founding partner The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G), this new podcast network will produce original shows while providing a platform for the voices of established and emerging women leaders as well as organizations making a difference for women and girls. The network’s first podcast series, which debuted in late 2019, has already featured conversations with luminaries such as former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, Diane Von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, and Arianna Huffington.

Although women make up nearly 50 percent of podcast listeners, women’s voices are under-represented in the fast-growing podcast space. With 2020 bringing the centennial of women’s suffrage in the U.S. and the 25th anniversary of the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing, the podcast network will be oriented toward fixing that imbalance.

Building on Seneca Women’s thought leadership and its founders’ decades of experience in advancing women around the globe, as well as its first podcast series, Seneca Women Conversations on Power and Purpose, which debuted in 2019, the Seneca Women Podcast Network will be a trusted source for inspiring, purpose-driven and actionable content.

“Since the Seneca Falls convention of 1848, women in the U.S. have been on a journey to equal rights. That journey continues here and for women around the world,” said Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Chair and Co-Founder of Seneca Women. “The recent Global Gender Gap Report from the World Economic Forum predicts it will take another 99 years for us to get equality. We are launching the Seneca Women Podcast Network to accelerate women’s progress, as we believe, progress for women is progress for all.”

“We’ve partnered with Seneca Women for several years to change the narratives about women in the workplace and the world and shift the focus from ‘fixing the women’ to fixing the bias and systems that can hold women back,” said Carolyn Tastad, Group President – North America and Chief Sales Officer, P&G. “The Seneca Women Podcast Network provides an important new platform for conversations and content to help expose blind spots and embrace broader perspectives and solutions that can change the trajectory of gender equality and create a more equal world for everyone.”

The Adventure Zone and Dr. Death will be on NBC’s Peacock

The Adventure Zone is part of the Maximum Fun website (which has over 40 podcasts). The Adventure Zone is going to have an animated show that is based on the podcast. Wondery’s Dr. Death podcast will become a show based on the podcast. Both will appear on NBC’s Peacock Streaming platform.

The Adventure Zone is described this way: Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy from My Brother, My Brother and Me, have recruited their dad Clint for a campaign of high adventure. Join the McElroys as they find their fortune and slay an unconscionable number of… you know, kobolds or whatever in… The Adventure Zone.

The AV Club reported that The Adventure Zone marks a return to NBC-backed streaming services for the McElroys (who previously adapted their podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me for the short-lived Sesso). The AV Club also reported that it is not yet known exactly when The Adventure Zone will premier on Peacock.

Dr. Death is described as: We’re at our most vulnerable when we go to our doctors. We trust the person at the other end of that scalpel. We must trust the hospital. We trust the system. The podcast is about Dr. Christopher Duntsch, who was a neurosurgeon in Dallas that became a mass murderer. CNBC reported that Dr. Death will become a show on Peacock.

CNBC reported that Peacock is NBCUniversal’s streaming service. There will be a free, advertising-supported version of Peacock, a limited-advertising version for about $5 per month, and an advertising-free version for about $10 per month (according to sources). According to CNBC, Peacock will include more than 15,000 hours of content.

iHeartMedia Initiated a Round of Layoffs

Recently, iHeartMedia announced a new organizational structure that created a series of Market Groups. Those groups included the Regional Division, the Metro Division, the Community Division, and a Multi-Media Partnerships Division. Not long after that announcement, a series of layoffs occurred.

Rolling Stone has details about the layoffs, which it reported were “concentrated in small and medium markets, where staffs had already been reduced, striking another major blow to local radio.” Rolling Stone also wrote:

iHeartMedia, which controls more than 800 radio stations and paid its CEO more than $14 million in 2017, declined to comment on the specific number of layoffs. In a statement that echoed its email to employees, the company noted that “during a transition like this, it’s reasonable to expect that there will be some shifts in jobs – some by location and some by function – but the number is relatively small given our overall employee base of 12,500.” “That said,” the statement continued, “we recognize that the loss of any job is significant; we take that responsibility seriously and have been thoughtful in the process.”

If you want to get a look at how widespread the layoffs are, type “iHeartMedia layoffs” into the search engine of your choice. There are dozens of articles from local news sites reporting the names and (former) positions of people who have worked in radio for a very long time – and who are now unemployed.

Spotify Might Buy The Ringer

Vox reported that Spotify is in conversations to buy The Ringer. It seems to me that Vox would likely have some insight on the situation. Vox owns Recode, which has a commercial relationship with The Ringer.

According to Vox, The Wall Street Journal was the first to report about Spotify being in talks to buy The Ringer. The Wall Street Journal reported that Spotify and The Ringer teamed up in September to launch a podcast hosted by Bill Simmons, The Hottest Take. That podcast streams exclusively on Spotify.

The Wall Street Journal described The Ringer this way:

The Ringer, a sports and pop-culture outlet founded by former ESPN commentator Bill Simmons in 2016, has a podcasting network that attracts more than 100 million downloads a month. In addition to “The Bill Simmons Podcast”, the Ringer produces “The Watch,” a discussion show about TV and pop-culture; “Binge Mode”, which dives deep into pop-culture franchises, and “The Rewatchables,” a show that breaks down popular movies.

Vulture points out that these talks are early, and states that there is a good amount of details that probably need to be ironed out if a deal is to materialize. In other words, it is probably best to wait and see what happens, rather than speculate that this is already a done deal.

iHeartMedia Announced a Series of Automotive Integrations

At CES 2020, iHeartMedia announced seven new upcoming integrations with General Motors, Android Automotive, Panasonic, SoundHound, and others. To optimize and enrich the in-vehicle experience for drivers, iHeartRadio is rolling out a series of automotive integrations and concept demonstrations all designed to bring iHeartRadio’s library of audio content to listeners in a seamless way.

…By integrating with the most innovative automotive companies on the market, iHeartRadio enables consumers to access the music, podcasts and personalities they love, whenever and wherever they are, on any device. iHeartRadio is currently available on 250 platforms and 2,000 devices including on digital auto dashes, tablets, wearables, and smartphones as well as on virtual assistant, small speakers, TVs, gaming consoles and more.

Details on iHeartRadio’s new integrations can be found in:

Android Automotive OS: iHeartRadio is releasing a new, stand-alone version of its app for vehicles powered by Android with Google Play Store built-in. The app will be distributed via the Google Play Store and available in the first Polestar 2 and Volvo XC40 Recharge vehicle launches in 2020.

BMW ConnectedDrive: Building upon iHeartRadio’s existing BMW ConnectedDrive experience, the company is releasing a new app version that will be available in both Flagship Mobile clients, iOS and Android.

HARMAN Ignite: The new HARMAN Ignite Marketplace is supported through a strong partner ecosystem of in-vehicle apps and services. iHeartRadio announced it is an early ecosystem partner for the HARMAN Ignite Marketplace.

LG webOS Auto: LG’s webOS platform is now supported by the car. IHeartRadio on webOS Auto is based on its TV design and is available for rear seat use.

Panasonic: Panasonic Automotive built SkipGen – which is powered by Android 10. It features the iHeartRadio app designed for Android Automotive.

SoundHound / Houndify / Hound App: iHeartRadio and SoundHound are working together to bring iHeart Radio’s content to SoundHound Inc.’s Houndify voice AI platform and Hound app. Through this partnership, developers and partners using Houndify and Hound app will have access to iHeartRadio’s free suite of offerings through Live Radio (U.S. only), Artist Radio (U.S. only) and Podcasts (available globally except the U.K.), no login or authentication required.

Frogpants Studios is No Longer on YouTube

Frogpants Studio is not on YouTube anymore. (Or, at least three of the Frogpants Studios YouTube accounts have been suspended.) Fans of the podcasts can still likely still find video episodes on Twitch. The removal appears to have something to do with Copyright Strikes.

On January 11, 2020, Scott Johnson (creator of Frogpants Studios) posted a tweet that said: “I got trolled, also eff youtube.” The tweet included three screenshots that provided more details.The first screenshot is from YouTube. It said:

We’d like to inform you that your channel The Morning Stream has been terminated because we concluded that it was linked to a channel that was disabled for having three or more Copyright strikes. You can find more information by checking the email inbox of your linked account.

Please be aware that you are prohibited from accessing, possessing or creating any other YouTube accounts unless the linked channel is reinstated. For more information about copyright strikes and terminations, please visit our Help Center.

The other two screenshots are also from YouTube, and have the same wording as the first one. The difference is one of them is about The Instance YouTube channel and the other is about the Scott Johnson YouTube channel.

On January 15, 2020, Scott Johnson tweeted additional screenshots that appear to indicate that in addition to having his podcast’s accounts suspended on YouTube, he has also been suspended from viewing videos on YouTube. (Assuming I’m understanding that correctly.)

There are a few things here that I find troubling. First, anyone who has ever put a video on YouTube knows that what I think of as “false positives” regarding Copyright Strikes are entirely possible. Second, it seems that YouTube is taking a “scorched earth” approach, and disabling not only YouTube accounts who have had three Copyright Strikes, but also any YouTube accounts they are linked to.

I highly recommend that podcasters who produce episodes in video format make sure they have copies of all those videos somewhere offline (perhaps on an external drive). That way, if YouTube disables your channel – you won’t lose all the work you created.

Pod Save America and Lovett or Leave It Announce Tour

Crooked Media has several podcasts. Two of the most popular ones are Pod Save America and Lovett or Leave It. Billboard reported that the hosts of those podcasts have announced a tour.

Pod Save America: Live and Lovett or Leave It: Live on Tour will hit a collective 17 dates across the U.S. beginning with Lovett or Leave It: Live on Tour at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City, Iowa on Jan. 30. The shows will continue through San Diego, Seattle, Atlanta, Detroit, Nashville, and more.

According to Billboard, the podcast co-hosts, Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Tommy Vietor and Dan Pfeiffer, are aiming their election year tour towards battleground states, including Ohio, Kentucky, Detroit, Nashville, and more.

The Crooked Media website says: Crooked Media is hitting the road to a city / hamlet / fictional metropolis near you! Tickets for the 2020 Tour are on sale as of January 18, 2020. Tickets are sold for each, individual, show.

Pod Save America is described as: “A no-bullshit conversation about politics.” It is hosted by former Obama aides Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Timmy Vietor. It cuts through the noise to break down the week’s news, and helps people figure out what matters and how they can help.

Lovett or Leave It is described as: “A week in review recorded in front of a live audience. It’s great.” Each week, former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett and a panel of comedians, actors, journalists, and some of the many, many, famous Friends of the Pod appear before a live audience to break down the week’s biggest news.

Spotify is Reportedly Developing Sports Podcasts

Bloomberg reported that Spotify Technology SA is developing several daily sports shows “according to people familiar with the plans”.

One program will be a recap of the day in sports and run about 10 minutes, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the projects are still being developed. The Swedish company will probably start with a single show, and then ramp up. It’s considering a number of options, including audio programs tailored to fans of specific teams.

Personally, I am hesitant to rely on anonymous sources because I feel like things could change between when the news is reported and when something is eventually released to the public as a finished product. That said, I am aware that many news sites speak with sources who do not want to be identified.

It has been said that Spotify is interested in shifting its primary focus from music to podcasts. It is my understanding this is because Spotify has to pay royalties on the music it offers. Podcasts, on the other hand, have no such requirement. That makes acquiring podcasts relatively inexpensive for Spotify.

I imagine that Spotify could attract a lot of sports fans who would want to listen to whatever sports podcasts the platform comes up with. For one thing, it would be unique content from a well recognized company whose name most people recognize.

Casino News reported that Penn National is reportedly in talks to acquire Barstool Sports. The article states: While Barstool Sports enjoys big and devoted following due to its diverse, primarily sports-focused content, it has also found itself engulfed in big controversies and damning criticism on multiple occasions over the years.

Perhaps Spotify’s sports podcasts could be more attractive to people who aren’t fans of Barstool Sports. It will be interesting to see what kinds of sports podcasts Spotify produces. I wonder if they will have one that focuses on eSports.

Audioburst Introduces Audioburst Creators

Audioburst has introduced Audioburst Creators. It allows broadcasters and content creators to easily reach out to a wider audience and engage new listeners. You can join Audioburst Creators by signing up through the Audioburst website. It is also possible to request a demo.

Here are some things Audioburst Creators can do for your podcast:

Distribute: Expose your content to search engines and applications.

Audioburst’s technology automatically indexes and segments your show to create snippets, or what they call “bursts”. They then surface the best moments from your shows to new audiences on mobile apps, smart home devices, and in-car entertainment systems. With Audioburst Analytics, you can track user engagement and the distribution of your content.

On-demand: Extend the shelf life of your content.

Audioburst’s extensive library of short-form audio clips is centered around metadata tagging, making your content searchable by keyword. Bursts always link back to the source, making sure new listeners know where to find you. Content creators also get access to Audioburst’s Creators portal, a powerful product where you can edit your content and promote your brand on social media channels.

Monetize: Discover new revenue resources.

Bursts are easily searched, shared, credited, collected and linked to their original source, so your content has the ability to reach new heights. Discover new ways to distribute and monetize your content through promotions, sponsored playlists, and personalized offers.