All posts by Jen Thorpe

The Deal Between Audioboom and Triton Digital is Off



Earlier this year, Audioboom bought Triton Digital for $185 million dollars in a reverse takeover. Now, just a few months later, that deal has ended. I haven’t been able to find a direct announcement about this from either Audioboom or Triton Digital. That being said, there are other articles out there that have additional information about what happened.

Radio Ink reported: “Due to insufficient funds, that deal is off and Audioboom is in jeopardy of shutting down.”

Radio Ink also reported that Audioboom was now looking for new funding so it can invest in additional podcasting content and for working capital. In addition, Audioboom now owes Triton Digital a “Break Fee” of just under $1 million, which must be paid by June 13, 2018.

Radio and Television Business Report reported: “With the dissolution of the Triton deal, Audioboom CEO Rob Proctor remains in his role.” The article also included quotes from Rob Proctor. The most significant portion of those quotes is the following:

“The further reduction in the number of smaller, unsustainable podcasts on our platform will allow us to further reduce our monthly operating costs. Overall, Audioboom continues to run a tighter, more compact operation, which will ultimately lead to a stronger more vibrant business.”

The wording in that quote from Audioboom CEO Rob Proctor appears to be making some of the podcasters who have their podcasts on Audioboom a bit nervous. Will their show be considered “smaller” and “unsustainable”? Will their show be among the podcasts Audioboom wants to reduce?

If your podcast is on Audioboom, and you are anxious about what may happen to your show if Audioboom is unable to obtain new funding, it might be time to make a change. Start looking at other companies that host podcasts just in case you have to find a new home for your show.


Vocal Fry Studios has a Patreon



Vocal Fry Studios was created by Vicky Mochama and Katie Jensen, two Toronto-based journalists who wanted to create a safe, accessible and inclusive podcast workspace. You can help support Vocal Fry Studios by becoming a patron of their Patreon.

Vicky Mochama is the national columnist for Star Metro and a columnist for the Toronto Star. She has written for Vice, Globe and Mail and Hazlitt. She is the co-host of Safe Space and former co-host of Canadaland Commons.

Katie Jensen has produced audio for Metro News Canada, St. Joseph Media, Motherboard, Polaris Music Prize, Appcanary, The Imposter, and Canadaland. She currently works onThe Secret Life of CanadaSafe Space, Polaris Podcast, and Avocado Toast.

After years of recording in our bedrooms, living rooms, and weird offices, we decided to make our own podcast community hub.

We offer access to podcasting workshops, custom podcast creation, and studio space.

Vocal Fry Studios has a survey you can fill out if you would like to give them input about what “the podcast studio you always wanted” should be like. Vocal Fry Studios is creating a freelance podcaster roster right now. They also want to work with people from underrepresented groups. There is a form you can fill out if you want to be added to that list.

Vocal Fry Studios offers the following services:

Skills Workshops: From sound design to mic technique to RSS management, they will help you refine your audio storytelling craft

Custom Podcasts: They work with clients to create high-quality engaging podcasts that audiences will listen to and love.

Studio Rentals: They have a professional-quality podcast recording studio with affordable hourly rates and great gear.


Grammar Girl is on Stitcher Premium



The extremely popular Grammar Girl podcast is now on Stitcher Premium. The Grammar Girl podcast was the winner of Best Education Podcast in the 2017 Podcast AwardsGrammar Girl is a Quick and Dirty Tips podcast, which was founded by Grammar Girl host Mignon Fogarty.

Grammar Girl provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing. Covering the grammar rules and word choice guidelines that can confound even the best writers, Grammar Girl makes complex grammar questions simple with memory tricks to help you recall and apply those troublesome grammar rules. Whether English is your first language or a second language, Grammar Girl’s punctuation, style, and business tips will make you a better and more successful writer. Mignon Fogerty is the creator and host of Grammar Girl.

Stitcher Premium is offering a one-month free trial for people who want to try out the service. It also has a Premium plan that is $4.99 monthly, and a Premium Annual plan that is $2.92 monthly (and is billed annually).

Each of the paid plans offers the following features:

  • Stream and download all your favorite podcasts
  • 21,000 hours of premium podcasts
  • Bonus episodes and archives
  • Ad-free shows
  • 300+ comedy albums
  • Early access to new releases

Stitcher points out that some shows record their own ads which Stitcher cannot remove. Mignon Fogarty tweeted that people can sign up for Stitcher Premium and use the code GRAMMAR to get all those great ad-free Grammar Girl episodes (plus a monthly bonus episode). At the time I am writing this, it is her pinned tweet – so I am assuming that the code is still valid.

Some episodes of the Grammar Girl podcast are available on Apple Podcasts. The description of the show on Apple Podcast says that you can find the full, ad-free archive of Grammar Girl, as well as exclusive bonus episodes, only on Stitcher Premium.

What about the other places where people listen to the Grammar Girl podcast? Mignon Fogarty provided some clarity on Twitter, in response to someone who asked her if the podcast would still be broadcast on Tune In:


The New York Times Hired Amanda McCartney



The New York Times announced that Amanda McCartney has joined the New York Times advertising team as Director, Audio & Podcasts. This is a new role at The New York Times Company.

Amanda McCartney joins the New York Times from Slate Media, where she sold its selection of podcasts, including advice show Dear Prudence, Lexicon Valley, explainer show The Gist, and Trumpcast, shows for Slate’s Panoply network, and branded podcasts for three years.

Previously to Slate, Amanda McCartney was a national sales manager at The Washington Post and HuffPost. At The New York Times, she will be working collaboratively with client leads to sell The Time’s podcast inventory, like The Daily and Still Processing, as well as calling on direct response podcast agencies.

The Daily is hosted by Michael Barbaro. A new twenty minute episode about the news topics of the day is posted five days a week. Still Processing is a conversation between Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham, two culture writers for the New York Times, as they try to understand the pleasures and pathologies of America in 2018. Other podcasts from the New York Times include: Modern Love, The Book ReviewChange Agent, Dear Sugars, PopcastThe New Washington, and Caliphate.


Pocket Casts has been Acquired



Pocket Cast has been acquired by NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago, and This American Life. This unprecedented collaboration furthers public radio’s leading role as an innovator in audio discovery and distribution, while ensuring the continued support and growth of one of the most popular listening platforms on the market.

Audio veteran Owen Grover will serve as CEO of Pocket Casts. Grover previously served as Executive Vice President and General Manager at iHeartRadio, and before that as Vice President of Programming and Marketing at Clear Channel Music & Radio.

Pocket Casts will operate as a joint venture, with founders Philip Simpson and Russell Ivanovic in leadership roles and the existing staff and developer team remaining in place. To ensure development aligns with the mission-driven ethos of public radio, the board will be compromised of representatives of the public media leaders.

Shifty Jelly created Pocket Casts in 2008. Pocket Casts published a blog post titled “The Next Chapter” on May 4, 2018. The key part of the post states: “Today we’re excited to announce a partnership with some of the biggest producers of podcasts in the world to take Pocket Casts to the next level.” Pocket Casts reviews how important it is for them to keep the best interests of their customers in mind, and that they had turned down previous acquirement offers that they felt were not the best fit.

That’s why when a combined group comprised of WYNC, NPR, WBEZ, and This American Life approached us with the goal of partnering for the good of the entire podcast industry, we knew that this opportunity was something else entirely. Everything from their not for profit mission focus, to their unwavering belief that open and collaborative wins over closed walled gardens deeply resonated with us. Together we have the passion, scale, and laser focus needed to achieve some truly great things.

The blog post has a list of questions that Shifty Jelly figured customers would be asking in regards to the acquisition. On May 8, 2018, Shifty Jelly followed up with a post titled “Addressing Your Concerns”. In the post, users of Pocket Casts are reassured that Pocket Casts will not start tracking user locations, and that it will not start pushing invasive ad technology on people (among other concerns).


Spreaker Added Updated Scheduling Features



Spreaker has added something new to their Content Management System to help make podcasting even easier for Spreaker users. They updated their scheduling features. It is for podcasters who love to plan ahead and who hate leaving things up to the last minute.

From now on, once you record and create your show you will have the opportunity to create a scheduled episode page for future episodes, informing your audience of when they can expect your next episode to be released. How far in advance can you go? More than two years! The holding page will show your podcast’s image and will state the exact time and date of when the episode will go live.

Spreaker is aware of how much easier things are when you have the opportunity to get them done ahead of time. This is why they made it possible to share episode links, schedule social sharing, and embed episodes in your blog, all of which are unpublished and all in advance.

By having access to your show’s link, you will be able to share your unpublished episode with your audience, ahead of time, in whichever way you wish, for example via e-mail or website. It will also allow you to program your social media channels – offering you the chance to promote each episode to its maximum capacity. You can also insert unpublished episodes into your blog.


Pandora has Acquired AdsWizz



Earlier this year, Pandora announced that it would acquire AdsWizz. That same day, AdsWizz confirmed the acquisition in a tweet that linked to a press release on Business Wire. Pandora posted the same press release on their website.

Pandora is the world’s most powerful music discovery platform. AdsWizz has created the end-to-end technology platform that is powering the digital audio advertising ecosystem. From dynamic ad insertion to advanced programmatic platforms to innovative new audio formats, AdsWizz efficiently connects buyers and sellers in digital audio.

Pandora announced that the addition of AdsWizz will upgrade Pandora’s ad tech capabilities, provide its advertisers with greater audience reach, and expand the company’s revenue opportunities.

AdsWizz is one of the few ad tech firms that is completely dedicated to digital audio, serving some of the largest players in the industry. With digital audio advertising growing 42% year-over-year, according to the IAB, the combined offering of Pandora and AdsWizz will capitalize on this trend, making it easier for publishers to monetize their inventory and for advertisers to buy and measure their campaigns.

Once fully integrated, advertisers will be able to transact through AdsWizz’s global marketplace across Pandora and other leading audio publishers. Pandora will support the growth of AdsWizz’s core business and invest in technology development that serves all constituents.

The press release states that AdsWizz will become a subsidiary of Pandora. Alexis van de Weyr will remain the CEO of AdsWizz. Pandora agreed to pay $145 million in a combination of cash and stock, with a minimum of 50 percent paid in cash and stock (with a minimum of 50 percent paid in cash and the remainder to be paid, at Pandora’s election, in either cash or stock. This transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018.


Omny Studio Released Loudness Normalization Tool



Omny Studio has released a loudness normalization tool. Omny Studio customers can now apply loudness normalization settings to their published audio for each individual show or to their organizations as a whole.

The normalizations settings are configured by three values: integrated loudness in LUFS, maximum true peak in dbTP, and loudness range in LU. We also provide a range of presets based on various international standards and also service defaults. These include settings which adhere to Google and Amazon’s specifications for the Google Home and Amazon Alexa smart speaker devices.

Omny studios points out that Podnews conducted a loudness analysis of the top 100 podcasts. The analysis highlighted the lack of uniformity in regards to loudness across the podcasting space.

Omny Studio’s loudness normalization tool is intended to help address this lack of uniformity as well as adhere to the specifications that are required for smart speakers as they rise in popularity. You can listen to some clips on the Omny Studio medium post about this topic. Those clips give examples of the difference in loudness in audio.

On Omny Studio’s Medium post, you can listen to audio with Google’s loudness specifications, Amazon’s loudness specifications, and the EU’s loudness specifications. Compare those to the original un-processed audio, and a clip with the auto-leveling feature applies (and no loudness normalization).


The New York Times Launched the Caliphate Podcast



The New York Times has launched a podcast called Caliphate. It is a new audio series that follows Rukmini Callimachi, who covers terrorism for The New York Times. Caliphate focuses on the Islamic State.

Caliphate is not the first podcast released by The New York Times, and it probably won’t be the last. However, there are a unique thing happening in regards to how listeners can access this podcast. Each episode will be available to New York Times subscribers a week early. This is being done to thank subscribers for their support for this kind of reporting.

The team behind The Daily (another podcast from The New York Times) presents Caliphate. Rukmini Callimachi is a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, and has often appeared on The Daily. In Caliphate, she reports on the Islamic State and the fall of the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Rukmini Callimachi, with producer Andy Mills, journeys to the heart of the conflict to grapple with the most pressing questions about ISIS and to comprehend the power and global pull of the militant group. The New York Times makes it very clear that “this series includes language and scenes of graphic violence.”

While the subject matter of Caliphate may not be for everyone, it is worth being aware of. In this podcast, The New York Times is taking the standard way that journalism is reported – on websites and in newspapers – and adapting it to include the medium of podcasting. We have seen this before in podcasts like Serial. It is significant that a long established newspaper is now using podcasting as a medium for in-depth journalism.