All posts by Jen Thorpe

Lawsuit Filed Against S-Town Podcast



S-Town is a very popular podcast. The show has won three Webby Awards (Best Series, Best Writing, and People’s Choice). It also won a Peabody award. Participant Media has acquired the rights to turn S-Town into a movie.

The latest news about S-Town involves a lawsuit.

S-Town is a podcast from Serial Productions and This American Life. It is hosted by Brian Reed. The S-Town podcast focuses on a man from Alabama named John who “despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it.” John asked a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder.

The lawsuit against S-Town was filed by Craig Cargile, the executor of John B. McLemore’s estate. The suit was filed in Bibb County, Alabama. The lawsuit contends that McLemore didn’t give permission to broadcast the intimate details of his sexual orientation, mental state or other aspects of his life.

Forbes reported that Alabama passed a right-of-publicity statute.

It says that it is fair use (and not a violation of the law) if the use of a person’s identity “is in connection with a news, public affairs, or public interest account, political speech or a political campaign, live or prerecorded broadcast or streaming of a sporting event or photos, clips, or highlights included in broadcasts or streaming of sports news or talk shows, or documentaries, or any advertising or promotion of the same (public interest work), or is part of an artistic or expressive work, such as a live performance, work of art, literary work, theatrical work, musical work, audiovisual work, motion picture, film, television program, radio program, or the like (artistic work), or any advertising or promotion of the same, unless the claimant proves…that the use in an artistic work is such a replica as to constitute a copy of the person’s indicia of identity for the purposes of trade.”

The statute also says: “It is not a fair use and is a violation… if a person’s indicia of identity is used, without such person’s permission, in a manner stating or implying that such a person has endorsed or supports a candidate for public office.”

The Associated Press received an emailed response about this lawsuit from Julie Snyder (S-Town’s executive producer). She said that she could not comment on the litigation other than to say it “lacks merit”. She also said, “S-Town is produced consistent with the highest journalistic standards and we intend to defend against this lawsuit aggressively.”

The Associated Press also reported that the lawsuit asks for compensatory and punitive damages.


Skype 8.0 Allows Call Recording



Skype is rolling out an updated version of Skype (version 8.0) for desktop that will replace Skype version 7.0 (which is also known as Skype classic). Skype is encouraging everyone to upgrade now to avoid any inconvenience. Only Skype version 8.0 will work after September 1, 2018.

Many podcasters use Skype to record shows that include more than one host, or that include guests. The most exciting thing in Skype 8.0 is that it will include call recording. Podcasters will no longer have to use third-party software in order to record their show through Skype.

Everything about this new version, from the underlying performance improvements to the usability enhancements, is designed to keep you connected to the people who matter most. We built Skype version 8.0 based on feedback from our community – adding exciting new features while ensuring it’s simple to use with the same familiar interface of Skype version 7.0.

New features include:

Free HD video and screensharing calls: Get together with 1 or 24 of your friends, families, or colleagues no matter what device they use Skype on. See everyone in high definition, view 1080px video, and share things together.

More productive messaging: Express how you’re feeling by reacting to messages in conversations. Use @mentions to easily grab someone’s attention in a group chat. Simply type the @ symbol followed by their name to trigger a notification for them. You can easily find all your @mentions and get back to people in the notification center.

Share photos, videos, and other files: Share up to 300 MB at a time over Skype just by dragging and dropping files into your conversation window.

Skype version 8.0 rolling out on iPad: Features such as quoted messages, personalized themes, chat list, @mentions, and more are now available on the Skype for iPad experience.

Call recording: Take call snapshots to the next level with call recording. Capture a special Skype calls with loved ones or record important meetings with colleagues. Call recording is completely cloud-based, and as soon as you start recording, everyone in the call is notified that the call is being recorder – so there are no surprises. Call recordings combine everyone’s video as well as any screens shared during the call.

Private Conversations: Have end-to-end encrypted Skype audio calls and send text messages or files – such as images, audio, or videos – with the industry standard Signal Protocol. Messages and notifications in these conversations will be hidden in the chat list to keep the information you share private.


Tess is Now Available for Download



Tess s a free and easy podcast creation, hosting, distribution, and listening service. The app is now available to download on the App Store and on Google Play. The Tess team includes three people: Tony Faieta, Nick Ruspantini and Taylor Shrum. Tess is located in Gainesville, Florida.

How is it that we can upload 8k videos onto YouTube for free but creators are still charged for podcast hosting and distribution?

Weird, right? We thought so too. The dream is simple, we feel that in order to help move podcasts forward we must break the cost barrier and provide easy and free creation, hosting, and distribution to all creators.

Tess explains how they will make money: “We make money by having strong creators who align with our mission come onboard our products. We need attention, buzz, hype, love of our product, once that happens, not only do will we make money but so will our creators.”

The phrase “once that happens” implies that Tess is not, at this moment, in the position to pay the podcast creators who put their podcast on Tess.

There are four podcasts listed on Tess as “Active Shows”. The Best Ideas Podcast is hosted by Taylor Shrum, who uses the tool of conversation with guests to analyze ideas that influence us today and have been valued across time. There is a link on the Tess website that brings you to Apple Podcasts.

IDK Podcast is described as: “There is something about a podcast studio that can make four friends feel the need to record a conversation about the things we want to talk about with each other. IDK is just that, a podcast where four friends dive deep into their favorite thoughts and opinions about their favorite and least favorite topics.” There is a link on the Tess website that brings you to Apple Podcasts.

Green Light Sports is described as: “Green Light Sports talk offers inside looks at all things sports, offers different perspectives on the hottest currents events and sports and aims to entertain whilst focusing on all of your favorite facets of the game.” Best of Gainesville Weekly has a “placeholder description.” Both of these podcasts appear to have a link that will take you to Apple Podcasts, but when you click on it, nothing happens.

Tess is clearly a new product, and is in the process of building itself up. I haven’t been able to find any clear information about what advertisers they are working with. Perhaps Tess can add that important information to its website in the future.


Spotify Announces Winners of Sound Up Bootcamp



Spotify hosted its first-ever Sound Up Bootcamp. It was a weeklong June intensive for aspiring female podcasters of color. The goal of the program was to bring more diverse voices into the podcast world – specifically voices belonging to women of color. Spotify has announced the winners who were awarded funding for their podcasts.

Sound Up Bootcamp featured daily sessions for 10 women of color who had been selected from over 18,000 applicants. Rekha Murthy, a podcast and radio veteran with over 20 years of experience co-taught the workshop with Graham Griffith. They led conversations on topics ranging from identifying an audience to honing a breakthrough message.

The attendees also learned from experts in the field about the art of podcast creation, from initial ideation to editing, producing, and marketing.

The women in attendance included: Titi Shodiya, Kristina Ogilive, Janina Jeff, Shonté Daniels, Amanda B, Tiara Darnell, Ivy Le, Doreen Wang, Gabriela Quintana, and Sun H.

At the end of the Sound Up Bootcamp, three women were awarded up to $10,000 each to fund their proposed podcasts. The winners are:

Titi Shodiya – Co-host of Dope Labs. (The other co-host is Zakiya Whatley). Dope Labs looks at the intersection between science and pop culture.

Kristina Ogilvie – Host of Your Job Seems Easy, an interview show which explores the working lives of women of color.

Janina Jeff – Co-host of In Those Genes. (The other co-host is Ashley Huderson). In Those Genes focuses on genetics and the black community.


Toronto Public Library has Recording Studios



The Toronto Public Library has recently added recording studios to the resources available to library users. There are recording studios at the following Toronto Public Library locations: Toronto Reference Library, Fort York, Agincourt (part time recording studio space), and Albion (part time recording studio space). The hubs at Downsview and Scarborough Civic Center do not have recording studios.

The studio spaces provides users a quiet environment and equipment and software to work on audio and visual projects: a new movie; shoot a commercial; work on a video for school; record a song; or create a podcast.

The studio is available free of charge during regular library hours. You can book the studio at either the Toronto Reference Library, or the studio at Fort York by calling the library location. A valid Toronto Public Library card is required.

Other things to know:

  • Reservations are limited to a maximum of two hours a day
  • Reservations can be made up to three business days in advance at Toronto Reference Library and a week in advance at Fort York Branch. No bookings on Sunday
  • Only 1 member of a group is allowed to book for the group
  • Reservations are held for 10 minutes, so make sure you arrive on time
  • Drop-in use is possible if the Studio is available
  • An adult must accompany children under 10 years at all times
  • The purpose of the Studio is for audio and video production. If you need to edit your project afterwards, please book one of the workstations available in the Digital Innovation Hub.
  • Be mindful of sound levels, the space is not soundproof

The library asks for your corporation in maintaining a welcome environment conducive to study and enjoyable use of the library. Staff make every effort to apply these rules in a fair, dignified and positive manner for the benefit for all.

Visit the Toronto Public Library website for information about the equipment available at the start of your booking and to find out what additional equipment can be signed out to your library card.


Listener Nominations for the 13th Annual Podcast Awards is Open



The Podcast Awards is an international event open to all podcasts in all countries regardless of language. The 13th Annual Podcast Awards Listener Nominations period is now open.

The Listener Nominations period will remain open until July 31, 2018. You can sign up now to nominate your favorite podcasts by filling out a form on the Podcast Awards website. Email verification is required. There is a separate login for people who already have an existing account.

The nomination page will remain online until July 31, 2018. You can start filling it out, and then come back to it later and finish your favorite show nominations.

Show registration will also remain open until July 31, 2018. Podcasters must be registered in order to be nominated. There is a registration fee of $10 per show. The purpose of the registration fee is to make Podcast Awards self-sustaining.

The official timeline for 2018 is:

  • Podcaster Registration Period: ends on July 31, 2018
  • Listener Nomination Period: ends on July 31, 2018
  • Slate Announcement: August 11, 2018
  • Slate Voting: August 12 – September 15, 2018
  • Awards Ceremony: September 30, 2018.

Gaslit Nation is a Podcast from DAME



DAME has launched its very first podcast: Gaslit Nation. It is a bi-monthly news podcast that slows down and explains the chaotic news cycle. You can subscribe on the DAME website. Gaslit Nation is also available on Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play.

With a focus on the intersection of foreign and domestic affairs, including foreign policy, election security, technology, economic development and innovation, education, sustainability and resiliency, public safety and justice, opportunity and equality, Gaslit Nation goes beyond the outrage headlines and hot takes, delving deeper into analysis, history, and context.

Gaslit Nation is hosted by Andrea Chalupa and Sarah Kendzior. Andrea Chalupa is a journalist and the author of: Orwell and The Refugees: The Untold Story of Animal Farm. She has written for TIME, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, and Forbes.

Sarah Kendzior is best known for her reporting on St. Louis, her coverage of the 2016 election, and her academic research on authoritarian states. She is the author of The View from Flyover Country, a regular commentator on MSNBC, and an op-ed columnist for The Globe and Mail.

This season of Gaslit Nation will explore the domestic conditions that gave rise to Trump’s presidency. The hosts will discuss the crisis of income equality that has created distrust of public officials and the media, the decline of voting rights and election security, the epidemic of fake news and far-right propaganda coming out of Russia and the U.S., and much more.


Rhapsochord is a Tool for Ad Management



The Washington Post’s Research, Experiment and Development (RED) team has released Rhapsochord. It is a software system that uses automation to monitor and dynamically insert ads into an entire category of podcasts, past and present.

The Rhapsochord technology ensures that a listener will hear the most updated ad no matter how they enter the podcast.

Rhapsochord separates the handling of advertising allowing journalists to focus on content, making production time faster. It manages a database of ads, and uses automation technology to find ads that best match the podcast by show, content, date, and ad type.

The ads are stitched into the podcast for pre-roll, mid-roll, or post roll placement. The Washington Post can then continue to distribute podcasts to listeners on whatever platform they prefer.

The very first podcast to be processed by Rhapsochord is The Daily 202’s Big Idea by The Washington Post. It is hosted by Washington Post correspondent James Hohmann, who provides an analysis of the biggest political stories of the day. Rhapsochord will eventually spread to other podcasts, after being tested out on The Daily 202’s Big Idea.

Ad Exchanger reported that advertisers who want to place their ads on podcast can still buy ads directly through salespeople. It also reported that the Rhapsochord’s technology complies with IAB standards for counting downloads of podcasts.


BBC Introduces First Version of BBC Sounds App



BBC has been discussing how to reinvent the BBC for a new generation. They announced the release of BBC Sounds. It is their first version of a brand new audio app from the BBC.

The BBC Sounds app is available to download from Apple, Google, and Amazon app stores. The app brings together the BBC’s live and on demand radio, music, and podcasts into a single personalized app.

BBC Sounds will provide every user with a unique experience because it is designed to learn from an individual user’s listening habits. It will provide one-tap access to the latest episodes of your favorite BBC podcasts and radio shows.

The app with introduce you to new audio you wouldn’t have otherwise discovered from the 80,000 hours of BBC audio.

What You Can Do With BBC Sounds:

  • Scroll the dial and listen to any of the BBC’s 18 national stations (and online-only station CBeebies Radio) or tap All Stations to listen to any of the BBC’s 40 local stations
  • Pick up where you left off with “Continue Listening” which surfaces part-listened podcasts and radio shows and next episodes for you
  • Enjoy hand picked collections of podcasts and on demand music shows to match your mood
  • Discover new audio via the “Recommended For You” section
  • Browse by category: from Crime to Science & Technology, from Classical to Hip Hop
  • Add any individual episode or clip to “My List” to listen to later
  • Subscribe to any podcast or program and get a personalized feed of the latest episodes in “My Sounds”