All posts by Jen Thorpe

The Michelle Obama Podcast First Season Not Exclusive to Spotify



Higher Ground and Spotify announced that following the first season’s chart-topping exclusive run on Spotify, The Michelle Obama Podcast will be made available on a number of additional platforms as of September 30, 2020.

The series debuted exclusively on Spotify in July, and features Michelle Obama in deeply personal discussions with former President Barack Obama, Michele Norris, Dr. Sharon Malone MD, her brother Craig Robinson, Conan O’Brien, Denielle Pemberton-Heard, Kelly Dibble, Valerie Jarrett, and her mother Marian Robinson. Listeners will be able to enjoy the first season featuring former First Lady Michelle Obama and her candid conversations with these extraordinary guests.

Speaking about the podcast at its launch, Michelle Obama commented, “My hope is that this series can be a place to explore meaningful topics together and sort through so many of the questions we’re all trying to answer in our own lives. Perhaps most of all, I hope this podcast will help listeners open up new conversations—and hard conversations—with the people who matter most to them. That’s how we can build more understanding and empathy for one another.”

“As a chart-topping smash hit, Spotify could not have asked for a stronger or more distinctive first entry in our multi-year partnership,” said Spotify Chief Content and Advertising Business Officer, Dawn Ostroff. “Millions of listeners across the globe have already embraced The Michelle Obama Podcast and we look forward to growing that audience as we build anticipation for future Higher Ground series.”


Podcast Movement Virtual Announced Keynote Speakers



Podcast Movement Virtual has announced their list of Keynote Speakers. To find out when each Keynote Speaker will be speaking, you should check the Podcast Movement Virtual Schedule. The entire schedule will display in your local time zone.

Keynote Speakers include:

Keynote Talk: The Rise of Daily News Podcasts (In an Election Year!)
Neal Carruth (NPR), Martine Powers (Post Reports – The Washington Post), Seab Raneswaran (Today, Explained – Vox)

Keynote Talk: It’s About Time: Fast-Tracked Podcasts Optimized to Read the Room
Julián Castro (Former Democratic candidate for president), Paige Cowett (The Daily – New York Times), Mary Harris (What Next – Slate), DeRay Mckesson (Pod Save the People, The Untold Story: Policing), Andy Slavitt (FMR Admin for CMS under Obama, Host of In The Bubble), Stephanie Wittles Wachs (Chief Creative Director Lemonada Media)

Keynote Talk: International Emerging Markets in Podcasting
Norman Chella (Podcaster – Podlovers Asia), James Cridland (Podnews), Núria Net (La Coctelera Music), Paula Rogo (Kali Media / Africa Podfest)

Keynote Talk: Live Conversation with Mark Cuban
Mark Cuban (Mark Cuban Industries),

Keynote Talk: Intellectual Property & Podcast Creator Rights
Misha Euceph (Dustlight Productions), Nora McInerny (Host of Terrible, Thanks for Asking), Manoush Zomorodi (Host of TED Radio Hour and ZigZag, Founder of Stable Genius Productions)

Keynote Talk: Mental Health and Podcasting: How Podcasting Improves Our Mental Health Through Empathy, Vulnerability, and Connection
Pat Flynn (CEO Flynndustries & SPI Media, Host of the Smart Passive Income Podcast),

Keynote Talk: Lilian Garcia
Lilian Garcia (Host of Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia)

Keynote Talk: The NewsWorthy
Erica Mandy (Founder & Host of The NewsWorthy)

Keynote Talk: Tom Webster

Tom Webster (Senior Vice President Edison Research)


Google Podcast Creator Program Selected 20 Podcasting Teams



The Google Podcast creators program selected 20 podcasting teams for 2020-21. Thousands of creators from nearly 120 countries applied to this year’s Google Podcasts creators program. To make a hard decision even more difficult, Google and PRX were only looking for creators who had an existing podcast.

The selected teams will participate in 12 weeks of free, virtual training conducted by PRX alongside international industry experts. During that time they’ll get regular feedback on all aspects of their production; work on storytelling, sound design, marketing, and more; equipment and software to help meet independent production needs amid the COVID-19 pandemic; and $12,000 in funding.

The 20 Selected Creators Are:

  • A3deh — قعدة (“Gathering”) — Amman, Jordan — Arabic. Based on a monthly support group where participants connect and share their personal experiences and stories as non-binary and queer individuals from the Middle East and North Africa region.
  • Beyond the Newsroom — San Antonio, Texas and Orlando, Florida — English. Veteran broadcast journalists Crystal Chavez and Renata Sago convene inspiring conversations devoted to disruptors redefining how journalism is done.
  • Buddha and the Beard — Brooklyn, New York — English. From navigating mental health journeys and the emotional complexities of miscarriages to stretching the boundaries with BDSM and polyamory, Buddha the 4th and Hugh Zeau define and identify toxic and healthy love frameworks, and more.
  • Contes et légendes du Queeristan (“Tales and Legends from Queeristan”) — Toronto, Canada — French. In this bi-monthly fiction podcast, intersectional storyteller and comedian Jo Güstin weaves fantastic tales and legends from the land of Queeristan. Jo Güstin’s multimedia work has been featured by the Paris International Lesbian & Feminist Film Festival and at the Paris Lesbian Book Fair (Salon du Livre Lesbien).
  • El Estornudo (“The Sneeze”) — Havana, Cuba — Spanish. A sound-rich narrative podcast in Spanish that catches the common time of ordinary people contrasted with the clock of power.
  • FAXINA — Boston, Massachusetts and Brasília, Brazil — Portuguese. A Portuguese word signifying thorough cleaning, raising the rug to examine what lies beneath, “FAXINA” shares the ignored, forgotten, unheard, and first-person accounts of Brazilians and Portuguese-speaking immigrants who are domestic workers in the U.S.
  • Indomables (“Indomitable”) — Panama City, Panama — Spanish. Journalists Melissa Pinel and Leila Nilipour craft intimate stories of the human experience, revealing the intricacies of cultural, historical, and social issues while bringing us closer together.
  • K’nın Sesi (“Voice of K”) — Istanbul, Turkey — Turkish. The letter “K” carries multiple meanings, referring to concepts such as Kadın (woman), Kuir (queer), Korona (corona), Karantina (quarantine), Kavga (struggle), and Keşif (discovery). Raising queer voices and women’s voices from Turkey, “K’nın Sesi” will feature empowering audio dramas and conversations reaching those who might feel isolated and underrepresented.
  • Leading Ladies — Lusaka, Zambia — English. Featuring historical, hidden narratives of women leaders in Zambia who held prominent positions of power, pre-colonialism, “Leading Ladies” challenges existing ideas around women and leadership vital to Africa’s development. “Leading Ladies” is a podcast from the Women’s History Museum of Zambia.
  • Letters to Boys — Lagos, Nigeria — English. “To be a man is not a day’s job,” the age-old proverb says, and the journey from ‘boyhood’ to ‘manhood’ is complex. “Letters to Boys” is a podcast that explores issues on manhood, diving into the workplace, relationships, marriage, and more.
  • Literacy Kings — Houston, Texas — English. Musician Corey Paul and entrepreneur JaMorcus Trayham grew up in a neighborhood with a 30% school drop-out rate, and didn’t start reading books until adulthood. Together, and with a mix of education and entertainment, Corey and JaMorcus break down popular financial books in a way that resonates with people of color and marginalized communities while also sharing their own life experiences.
  • On Spec — Istanbul, Turkey — English. Reported from different corners of the world, “On Spec” features documentaries from independent journalists about global issues through the lens of local communities.
  • Pequeños Viajes Sensoriales (“Little Journeys for the Senses”) — San José, Costa Rica — Spanish. Through experimentation and evocative sound, “Pequeños Viajes Sensoriales” visits fantastic settings that stimulate the senses and emotions, inspiring creativity and taking the power of imagination to the limit.
  • Prato Cheio (“Full Plate”) — São Paulo, Brazil — Portuguese. Based on rigorous research and investigation, “Prato Cheio” promotes a democratic debate on a fundamental issue of the 21st century: food. A team of journalists with a diverse background — ranging from sustainability to human rights — examines all things food politics with a systemic approach to the topic, aiming to spark interesting conversations among those who listen to the show.
  • Self Evident: Asian America’s Stories — Brooklyn, New York and Oakland, CA — English. “Self Evident” presents reported stories, audio documentaries, and conversations from Asian diaspora communities across the United States, to reveal and challenge the narratives that shape our lives.
  • Tales of the Text — Chicago, Illinois — English. An unfiltered audio fiction podcast for teens and young adults and wrapped in Black culture, “Tales of the Text” features stories of relationships, friendships, peer pressure, drugs, sex, secret societies, drama, secrets, and plot twists.
  • The Food Griot Chronicles — Brooklyn, New York — English
    A special series from The Food Griot & Market Road Films delving into American food and drink history, The Food Griot Chronicles delivers history from the perspective of those responsible for our foodways more than any other: Black culinary architects whose legacies carry through today.
  • Tres Cuentos (“Three Stories”) — Georgia and Texas — English and Spanish. With episodes in both Spanish and English, “Tres Cuentos” is dedicated to Latin America’s literary, historical, and traditional narratives while bringing to life literature and reflecting on it from various cultural and historical perspectives.
  • Valle de Cielo Gris (“Valley of the Grey Sky”) — Tijuana, Mexico — Spanish. An audio drama about love, revenge, prejudice, and the things we fear most, “Valle de Cielo Gris” is a cosmic horror fantasy satirizing the absurdities of the human condition and our everyday monsters, while also shining a light on our need for hope and humor in our darkest of times.
  • Vietnamese Boat People — Montclair, New Jersey — English. Almost two million Vietnamese risked their lives to flee oppression and hardship after the Vietnam War, in one of the largest mass exoduses in modern history. Escaping by boat, many were captured and brutally punished, many were denied asylum in neighboring countries, many died along the journey, and hundreds of thousands eventually resettled in western countries. This population of people are known as the ‘Vietnamese Boat People.’

Hindenburg Offers Free Workshops for International Podcast Day 2020



Hindenberg is offering free podcast-focused workshops on International Podcast Day 2020. They also are offering discounts all day on all Hindenburg home-user products.

What could be more relevant today than staying connected by sharing stories while we self-isolate and social distance?

Connect with storytellers from around the world for a day of free hands-on podcasting workshops and get 40% discounts all day on all Hindenberg home-user podcasts.


Hindenburg’s Free Workshops include:

  • The Art, Science and Technology of Podcasting – A short description of International Podcast Day events.
  • Webinar: Introduction to the language of podcasting – Experienced Hindenburg trainers will contextualize the concepts, formats, and processes behind recording, editing, and publishing a podcast to make each production challenge more meaningful and manageable for you.
  • Workshop 1: In a few words – framing your podcast – You’ve got great stories to tell, but don’t feel confident that you know enough about podcasting forms and workflows to get your message out? The process of creating, recording, editing, and publishing a podcast can seem daunting… but it doesn’t have to be! This hands-on workshop will provide a framework to understand the forms and tools of podcasting to help you get started.
  • Workshop 2: More than words – riveting audio! – High audio quality is key to keep listeners engaged! If you are ready to take the quality of your audio and production process to the next level, don’t miss out on this deep-dive workshop.

Visit the Hindenburg website to sign up for the Webinar or Workshops you are interested in. Each event will have limitations on how many people can actively participate on Zoom. After the maximum is reached, everyone can join in via Hindenburg’s Facebook page, where they will stream the full workshop and make downloads and activities available.


Australian Podcast Awards Announce 2020 Partners



The Australian Podcast Awards (APAs) has announced its list of 2020 partners, showcasing the growing support for premium Australian on-demand content both locally and globally.

Supporting big and small, eight Gold Partners have joined this year’s event, including podcast industry leaders Acast, iHeart Podcast Network Australia. Nova Entertainment, Omny Studio from Triton Digital, PodacstOne Australia and Spotify; podcast production house Piccolo Podcasts; podcast marketing platform Podfollow and podcast industry news publication Podnews.

Matt Deegan, Director at the Australian Podcast Awards, said: “While it’s been a tough year for the creative industry, podcasting content and listen numbers continue to skyrocket. The overwhelming support shown by our Award partners is testament to the strength of the industry and its faith in Aussie-made content. We cannot wait for this year’s awards – an opportunity to celebrate some of the best and brightest local podcasting content and talent there is.”

The Australian Podcast Awards launched in 2016 as a way to showcase the amazing podcast talent and content Australia has to offer. Now in its fifth year, the awards continues to recognize the local industry’s most listened to, innovative, and emerging podcast content with over 20 award categories.

Submissions for the Australian Podcast Awards are now open. Nominees will be selected by a judging panel of industry experts before the category winners are announced at a virtual event in November.


Plosive Productions Announces Unmute Online Festival



Plosive Productions are delighted to announce the initial line-up for their first ever online podcast festival, Unmute. The festival will take place from 20th – 24th October and will be streamed from the Unmute Podcast Festival official website. https://unmutepodcastfestival.com/ Tickets are available now on the Unmute Podcast Festival website.

During these Covid times, prepare to be swept away by a host of award-winning, hugely popular podcasts from some of the UK and Ireland’s most talented names in comedy and TV, all live from the comfort of your own home. The line-up consists of some of the highest charting podcasts in the UK including Off Menu with Ed Gamble and James Acaster, The Adam Buxton Podcast, Nobody Panic, Cuddle Club with Lou Sanders, Films to Be Buried With with Brett Goldstein, and The Blindboy Podcast. Further podcasts are set to be announced in the coming weeks.

Ben Williams, founder of Plosive Productions and Unmute, said: “Podcasts have been a source of comfort and company for many of us during this strange ol’ year with more people listening than ever. And with live performances only just starting up again, we wanted to give podcast fans a fun way to feel part of a live podcast experience again – so we’ve launched an Online Podcast Festival. We couldn’t be more chuffed with the line-up so far.”

Ed Gamble from Off Menu said: “We’re looking forward to bringing Off Menu live and uncut to the internet, mainly because it means that The Great Benito can’t edit out James’s Diet Coke story.”

Stevie Martin from Nobody Panic added: “We are so psyched about doing Nobody Panic live online. Not only does it give us an opportunity to get changed out of our pyjamas, but we will both be enjoying fine brandies throughout. Very excited to announce our super special guest too (it’s not the fine brandies) (or 90s pop situation Brandy).”


Stitcher Launches “More Sauce” Network Dedicated to Championing Black Voices



As a part of its commitment to amplify diverse voices, podcast industry leader Stitcher has announced the launch of More Sauce, a podcast network created to empower Black voices to be completely authentic and unapologetic in their storytelling.

The network, which has been curating and developing popular shows like Imani State of Mind over the last year, officially launches today with a slate of new shows including The Salon and Porsha4Real.

T. Square, Stitcher’s executive producer of original programming, said the mission of More Sauce is to create and nurture a space for Black voices in podcasting to discuss everyday lifestyle topics. She said Black creatives can be overlooked and pigeonholed into conversations that are tied to race, but their experiences are all-encompassing and can speak to love, arts and culture, family, current events and more.

“More Sauce aims to create memorable content through the lens of Black experiences to help listeners have a community they can go to, to take a break from daily routines and the harsh realities society is facing today,” said Square.

More Sauce also will partner with Issa Rae’s audio platform Raedio [theraedio.com] to incorporate its curated music library featuring new and established artists, sound design and scores into future shows, beginning with The Salon and Portia4Real.

As the More Sauce network continues to expand, it will maintain a focus on working with other companies lifting Black voices as well as creators of color.

The slate of shows under More Sauce aims to provide advice and inspiration through each host’s life experiences. New shows debuting under the More Sauce network this fall include:

  • The Salon – Actress and social media influencer Lala Milan welcomes listeners into her “beauty salon” as she and a revolving door of guests share their perspectives on everything including sex, “situationships” and getting to the bag – nothing is off-limits at the salon. The Salon premieres on Oct. 5, 2020.
  • Porsha4Real – Media personality and TV host Porsha Williams gives listeners a taste of the “World of the Williams,” where she, her sister Lauren and mom Diane explore all facets of love, life and motherhood. Coming this fall.

“Stitcher is a great fit for me because they understood my vision. I wanted to bring a nostalgic feeling of the hair salon with a fearless new touch of radio to podcasts,” said Lala Milan, host of The Salon. “I didn’t want to be limited in my conversations nor guests. Stitcher understood my new approach and was open to it along with allowing me to keep my creative rights.”

Lala and Porsha join psychiatrist Dr. Imani Walker, whose show Imani State of Mind is currently under the More Sauce network. Imani State of Mind breaks down mental illness and mental health through pop culture and news and, in the process, normalizes what getting your mind right really looks like.

“Being a host of a podcast focusing on mental health has allowed me to reach more people than I normally would by treating patients,” said Dr. Imani. “During these trying times, I’m happy to know that I’ve helped my listeners to know that they’re not alone and that mental health is just as important as any other health-related issue. Being able to share my experience and expertise by breaking down pop culture shows has been fun and informative, and I’m glad that More Sauce has enabled me to have this platform.”

More Sauce joins a growing slate of Stitcher networks, including Earwolf, the largest comedy podcast network, Stitcher Premium Originals, and Witness Docs, an investigative podcast network with hit shows like Verified, which was produced in conjunction with the Scripps Washington Bureau.


Wondery Explores a Potential Sale



Bloomberg reported that Wondery, the company behind Dr. Death and Dirty John, has hired financial advisers to explore a potential sale. According to Bloomberg, Wondery is expected to garner at least $200 million if it pursues a sale and could fetch a much as double that, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Bloomberg article stated that this matter has not yet gone public. Personally, I become a bit skeptical about news that is announced in this way. I’m not doubting that Bloomberg spoke to people that had inside information about the potential sale. My concern is that situations like this one, that are not yet made public, have the potential to fizzle.

Wondery was founded by Hernan Lopez in 2016. Previously, he was the former CEO of Fox International Channels. He left his job running 350 international TV channels for Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, Inc. in order to build a new podcast network. Wondery teamed up with ART19 to help with distribution and infrastructure and dynamic ad insertion across multiple podcasts.

In 2019, Wondery introduced Wondery + a subscription service that auto-renews monthly or annually. Subscribers get behind the scenes content, as well as brand new, unreleased, episodes. According to Bloomberg, Wondery+ enables Wondery to not be entirely dependent on ads for revenue. Wondery launched the Wondery Podcast App this year, which is free to download. Wondery+ is accessible through the Wondery Podcast App.

Bloomberg pointed out that one potential hurdle in a Wondery sale is a “legal issue”. CEO Hernan Lopez was indicted in a FIFA bribery case in April of 2020. Hernan Lopez has pleaded not guilty. Another problem is that, according to Bloomberg, Wondery doesn’t own the intellectual property for some of its shows.


Spotify and Chernin Entertainment Announce Multiyear First Look Partnership



Spotify announced that they are partnering with Chernin Entertainment. The partnership will help accelerate the embracing of podcast content as foundational intellectual property (IP). The agreement will include access to more than 250 Spotify originals around the world.

Both Spotify and Chernin Entertainment are already in collaboration with Pineapple Street Media on the forthcoming adaptation of the acclaimed podcast series The Clearing.

“At Spotify, we believe that the extraordinary growth of audio will continue to attract the world’s great creators and make podcasts a premier destination for original IP,” said Spotify Chief Content and Advertising Business Officer Dawn Ostroff. “As we continue to expand our content ambitions, we are thrilled to collaborate with Peter Chernin, who, along with his exceptional team, are the perfect partners to help us share these stories with audiences across mediums and around the world. Together, we can usher in a new era for podcasts as source material.”

The partnership will build on the foundation of Spotify podcast adaptations to date including Homecoming for Amazon’s Prime Video and continue with a reimagining of The Two Princes for HBO Max and The Horror of Dolores Roach for Prime Video. With movie titles like Ford v Ferrari, The Planet of the Apes Trilogy, The Greatest Showman, and Hidden Figures, and TV series like New Girl, See, and Truth Be Told, Chernin Entertainment is well positioned to realize the extraordinary potential in adapting audio content for visual mediums.

“Audio is by far the fastest-growing medium in the entertainment business, and with over 250 originals and thousands of hours of content, Spotify has one of the largest libraries of unattached IP that exists in the world today—and that library is being added to daily,” says Chernin Entertainment Chairman and CEO Peter Chernin. “This treasure trove of content plus the acceleration of new voices and stories provides an enormous opportunity to transform these addictive stories and IP into content for the screen.”