All posts by Jen Thorpe

NATJA Announced their 2016 Winners

The North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) announced the winners of its 2016 NATJA Travel Media Awards Competition.

Awards were given to publications, travel journalists, and photographers whose work was published in print and online media from September 2015 through August 2016. This year, NATJA included awards for audio as well.

The awards included several categories, all of which included a Gold winner (First Place), a Silver winner (Second Place) and a Bronze winner (Third Place). The 2016 Grand Prize winners included the following categories: Publication, Photography, Travel Journalism, and Destination Marketing Organization.

Category 161 was titled “Travel Broadcast – Audio”. The winners were:

Gold: Chris Christensen, “Travel to Far West China (Xinjiang) – Amateur Traveler Episode 515”,

Silver: Tonya and Ian Fitzpatrick, “Exploring Malta”, World Footprints Radio Show

Bronze: Efrain Villa, “NPR Morning Edition -Travel Nightmares: Mistaken for a Deity”, NPR Morning Edition 


Tonya and Ian Fitzpatrick, “Life along Paris’s rue des Martyr”, World Footprints Radio Show

Tonya and Ian Fitzpatrick “Magical Martinique: The Island of Flowers,” World Footprints Radio Show

Winners (from all the categories) will be recognized at the 2017 NATJA Conference & Marketplace which will be held on May 16-20, 2017. The Conference will be hosted by the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

StarTalk Playing With Science has Joined Midroll

Midroll announced that the StarTalk Playing with Science podcast has joined the Midroll roster for exclusive representation to advertisers. StarTalk Playing with Science originally debuted on the StarTalk podcast network.

StarTalk Playing with Science is hosted by comedian Chuck Nice and sportscaster and professional soccer player Gary O’Reilly. The podcast is described as “where geeks and jocks collide.” Each episode investigates one incredible moment in the history of sports, bringing together scientists, product designers, coaches, pundits and professional athletes to use science to shine a light on just what made it so great.

Episodes include an explanation of the technology that helped Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt become the fastest human ever, and the physics behind NBA player Steph Curry’s 40-foot-set-shot. Other upcoming guests include world-class athletes such as Lance Armstrong, Hope Solo, and Odell Beckham Jr.

StarTalk Playing with Science is produced in partnership with Midroll and Stitcher. The podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play, and SoundCloud. Shows will be available to watch ad free on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku for subscribers to StarTalk All-Access.

Player FM Introduces a Gold Plan

Player FM announced some of what’s coming in 2017. They are introducing a Gold Plan for users who want to use the app but do not want to see any ads.

The Gold Plan is a subscription plan that will cost $9.99/year. Player FM wants to build a real premium experience with their Gold Plan. They are planning on introducing features that “would be too niche or costly to produce as part of the free version.”

That makes it clear that Player FM will continue to offer the free version of its app. The free version will not have the premium features that come with the Gold Plan. The free version will include ads. One purpose of the Gold Plan is to give users a way to opt-out of ads (if they want to). Player FM is going to continue to support and improve the free version of its app.

The first feature coming to Gold Plan subscribers will be custom, cloud-sync’d playlists. This gives subscribers a way to build a list of episodes in any order and optionally to keep it offline. The playlist can also be made public. Building and viewing these lists will be supported on both web and Android.

The initial Gold Plan will include file management. Subscribers will have the ability to import media from the file system and manage and play it in the app.  Later this year, the Gold Plan will include full play position and play history sync. Another feature, that will be added later, is the ability to import private/premium feeds. The Gold Plan will launch in beta and users can provide feedback.

iTunes Featured Podcasts for Black History Month

February is Black History Month. This year, iTunes chose to put together a list of podcast, books, TV, and more to “shine a light on current and historical leaders”. The selection is called The Black Experience. The list is a good place to find a podcast to listen to that is new to you.

Here is a quick look at some of the podcasts that iTunes featured:

Intersection is hosted by New Republic editor Jamil Smith. In his podcast, he explores how race, gender, and all the ways we identify ourselves and one another intersect.

Errthang Show! is hosted by Al Letson In his latest project, he takes all the things that are floating in his head and turns it into a mixtape of delight for you.

Another Round is from BuzzFeed. Hosts Heben Nigato and Tracy Clayton cover everything from race, gender and pop culture to squirrels, mangos, and bad jokes, all in one boozy show.

The Read is hosted by Kid Fury and Crissle, who share their weekly “read” of hip-hop and pop culture’s most trying stars.

The Friend Zone is hosted by Dustin Ross, HeyFranHey, and Assante. They explore mental hygiene. You can send questions and inquiries to their show.

Our National Conversation About Race is from Panoply. Co-hosts Anna Holmes, Baratunde Thurston, Raquel Cepeda, and Tanner Colby host a lively multiracial conversation about the ways we can’t talk, don’t talk, would rather not talk, but intermittently, fitfully, embarrassingly do talk about culture, identity, politics, power, and privilege in our pre-post-yet-still-very-racial America.

The Combat Jack is described as the undisputed #1 HipHop podcast. The show features interviews with HipHop icons and the most in-depth conversations about music, news, culture and Race.

Race Wars is hosted by Kurt Metzger and Sherrod Small, who cut through all the layers of politically correct media spin to deliver hysterical and truthful opinions on social, racial and global topics.

So Well Spoken is hosted by Angelus, Mike, and Morris. They have a round table format to discuss race relations, current events, entertainment, and pop culture.

Hi-Phi Nation Turns Stories into Ideas

Hi-Phi Nation is a podcast about philosophy that turns stories into ideas. It is the first story-driven, narrative podcast on contemporary philosophy. Each episode is about the compelling stories of ordinary and extraordinary human experiences, and transforms them into an examination of philosophical ideas.

Season one of Hi-Phi Nation is available now through iTunes and Google Play. You can also listen to the latest episode on the podcast’s website. At the time I am writing this blog, the podcast has released a Season One trailer, three preview episodes, and three official episodes. New episodes are released every Tuesday for 10 weeks.

Some of the topics covered in Hi-Phi Nation include stories from war, politics, public health and policy, science, and history. These topics raise philosophical questions, which are answered with the help of contemporary academic philosophers.

Hi-Phi Nation is hosted and produced by Barry Lam. He is an alum of UC Irvine and former program director and general manager KUCI 88.9FM. Barry Lam has a PHD in Philosophy from Princeton University, and is currently an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Vassar College and is Humanities-Writ Large fellow at Duke University.

Episode One is titled “The Wishes of the Dead”. It follows the story of the Hershey fortune to show how a 19th century industrialist constructed the oddest business structure to ensure that his idiosyncratic wishes would be fulfilled hundreds of years after his death. The story raises questions about why we give the dead so much power in our lives, and what that says about how we find meaning in our own lives.

Veritone Partners with TuneIn

Veritone and TuneIn have announced a partnership that provides TuneIn with a license to Veritone’s Cognitive Media Platform (CMP). This is Veritone’s first step into audio streaming.

Veritone has developed the proprietary Cognitive Media Platform (CMP) that unlocks the power of AI-based cognitive computing so that unstructured audio and video data can be processed, transformed, and analyzed in a seamless, automated manner to generate actionable intelligence. The cloud-based open platform integrates an ecosystem of a variety of best-of-breed cognitive engines, which can be orchestrated together, to reveal valuable multivariate insights from vast amounts of audio and video data.

TuneIn enables people to discover, follow and listen to what’s most important to them – from sports, to news, to music, to talk. TuneIn provides listeners access to over 100,000 real radio stations and more than four million podcasts streaming from every continent.

RAIN News explains more about what this partnership means for TuneIn (and the radio and podcasts that TuneIn provides:)

Veritone’s CMP is unique in the audio market, using cognitive computing to intelligently preserve audio (and video) content and make it searchable by keyword, all in near-realtime. For radio, this platform can analyze and store every word spoken into a microphone, offering verification of brand mentions, for example, and native advertising spoken content, verifying advertiser agreements that would be otherwise difficult to do, and potentially unlocking new value.

RAIN News continues to note that for radio (and I’m going to assume for podcasting as well), the archiving “opens the door to repurposing on-the-air segments and smartly redistributing them.”

There are many news articles about podcasting in which an advertiser complains because they want more data that would tell them exactly how many listeners actually heard their ad in a particular podcast episode. It appears that Veritone’s CMP can give them that.

In addition, Veritone’s CMP can make audio searchable by keyword in near-realtime – which should soothe those who have expressed concerns that podcasting has as a problem because it is not searchable.

L.A. Theater Works Partners with Wondery to Launch Podcast

L.A. Theater Works (LATW), in a partnership with Wondery cultivated by Golden Citizen Entertainment, has announced the launch of its scripted podcast series, The Play’s The Thing.

L.A. Theater Works is a non-profit media arts organization based on Los Angeles whose mission for over 25 years has been to present, preserve, and disseminate classic and contemporary plays. Wondery is a media company specializing in mobile and on-demand storytelling, that connects wonders and brands to a world of knowledge.

The Institute Inc.’s Entertainment development arm, Golden Citizen Entertainment, develops original and branded content, products, and experiences for brands, studios, non-profits, and global leaders in live-event audio and streaming content.

This partnership has resulted in The Play’s The Thing.  The podcast will feature LATW’s notable, recent dramatic productions. The series will be hosted by Susan Lowenberg and will spotlight a variety of prominent plays throughout the season. The premiere episodes focus on Becky Shaw, the Off-Broadway comedy hit about a series of cataclysmic events stemming from a blind date.

LATW Producing Director Susan Lowenberg says “We’re delighted to partner with Wondery to bring our fantastic audio plays to the widest possible audience. We’ve curated a selection of edgy, modern work with talent such as Sarah Drew from Grey’s Anatomy, Josh Stamberg from The Affair, and Brittany Snow from Pitch Perfect, who helped us to bring to life the words of contemporary playwrights. From the chaotic family in Pulitzer Prize finalist Becky Shaw, to the couple finding romance in higher math in Completeness, to the courageous title character in the gender identity drama Boy, we know you’ll love what you hear.”

The Play’s The Thing premiered on February 7, 2017, on Wondery’s Secrets, Crimes, and Audiotape thread for a special launch. The episode is now available on an individual thread for The Play’s The Thing, with new episodes to be released every Thursday following.

We’re All Mainstream Now! – PCN 040

PCN iTunes artworkIn this episode, Shawn and Jen give you a round-up of articles that predict what will happen in podcasting in 2017.  We discuss what we think about the potential rise of “walled gardens”, the future of advertising in podcasts, and what it means that we’re all mainstream now.

Links mentioned in this episode:

* Podcasting set to go mainstream in 2017
By Richard Brooks on TechCentral

* Why branded podcasting could more than double in 2017
By Max Williams on Digiday

* Podcasters of color are striving to amplify ‘the actual voices of marginalized folks’
By Charles Pulliam-Moore on Business Insider

* 2017: Podcasting’s Breakthrough Year
By Dave Van Dyke for Bridge Ratings

* Behind Scripps’ Podcasting Bet
By Michael Depp on TVNewsCheck

* For Black History Month, iTunes has put together a collection called The Black Experience. It features several podcasts with Black hosts.

* Women in Podcasting: Interview with Fariha Roisin and Zeba Blay
Fariha Roisin and Zeba Blay are the hosts of Two Brown Girls. They did an “email interview” with Jen for Podcaster News in 2015.

You Can Now Register for Werk It 2017

Werk It is described as “a women’s podcast festival”. This year, it will take place on October 3-5 in Los Angeles, California. Registration is now open.

Werk It is for women in all stages of their careers currently working in or hoping to break into audio and digital media. Podcasters are welcome. Women who are not a podcaster right now are welcome, too. The daytime sessions of Werk It, including the Podcast Bootcamp, are created by and for women only. Men are welcome to purchase tickets to the tapings in the evenings.

Early registration for Werk It is open now. Discounted festival passes are available in limited quantities until May 1, 2017.

All-Access Pass – $499 (regular $550) includes:

  • Podcast Bootcamp (October 3)
  • Two-Day Werk It Festival (October 4-5)
  • Tickets to all 3 live podcast tapings (October 3, 4, 5)

Festival Pass – $450 (regular $499)

  • Podcast Bootcamp (October 3)
  • Two-Day Werk It (October 4-5)

Werk It Pass – $299 (regular $350)

  • Two Day Werk It (October 4-5)

Podcast Bootcamp Pass – $175 (regular $200)

  • Podcast Bootcamp (October 3)

Werk It offers a limited number of scholarships in order to ensure a robust mix of participants such as students, freelancers, and nonprofit employees who would otherwise be unable to attend. Scholarships will cover the cost of the sessions. Recipients will be responsible for travel expenses and tickets to the live tapings. Those who want to apply must do so before March 1, 2017.

Right now, Werk It is seeking pitches for Session ideas. Sessions typically run 45-60 minutes and will be recorded and edited in the Werk It podcast feed. Some are also streamed and shared as video.

When pitching a Session, consider the audience. Werk It attracts women in various stages of their careers and from around the world, all looking to meet others in the field and be challenged and inspired, and to walk away with new ideas.

In the past, Sessions have covered vocal fry, reporting vs. storytelling, social media and marketing, interviewing skills, sound design, talent management, career advice, editing, and more. They encourage you to think outside of the conference box. Anything to do with producing audio while female is fair game.