All posts by Jen Thorpe

Spreaker Introduces Follower Tracking



Spreaker has launched follower tracking. It is a new data point that is intended to give you another statistic to help you attract and keep followers. The blog post about follower tracking says: “If you podcast, they will follow.”

One thing that Spreaker’s new follower tracking feature can do is enable you to trace spikes in followers back to actual episodes and marketing decisions. If you see a spike in followers, you can backtrack to potentially determine what caused it. It might be related to your killer social media campaign, or an episode where you interviewed someone famous.

Another thing that Spreaker’s new follower tracking can do is give you more information about your follower count. A random person might play one episode and never return. Your followers, on the other hand, are committed and want to return to hear more. Spreaker’s follower tracking can show you if you’ve kept up with the high-quality content, consistent schedule, and engaging materials your listeners want.

Spreaker’s new follower tracking can also help you get to know your audience really well.

A Spreaker follower is an actual person with a profile you can look at. So, whenever you see a sudden upshot in numbers, find out who else that follower follows and who follows them back, and discover a whole network of communities to tap into.

If your podcast is on Spreaker, and you have a Broadcaster plan or higher, then you can make use of Spreaker’s new follower tracking and the information it provides. The Broadcaster Plan cost $19.99 a month (or $199 billed annually).


HowStuffWorks Launches Comedy Division



HowStuffWorks is a leading publisher of informative podcast, video, and editorial content. HowStuffWorks has announced that Jack O’Brien has joined the team to launch the company’s West Coast operations out of Los Angeles. O’Brian is the founder of Cracked.com. He is tasked with HowStuffWorks’ expansion into comedy, a quickly growing podcast genre.

Jack O’Brien joins HowStuffWorks after 11 years as founder and editor-in-chief of Cracked.com. During his tenure, he cultivated the distinct, satirical voice that Cracked is known for, led creative hiring for the publication and hosted The Cracked Podcast. O’Brien’s unique experience makes him the ideal choice to lead HowStuffWorks’ west-coast growth and move into comedy.

HowStuffWorks is excited to invest in comedy as the first step in expanding the types of new shows launching in the coming months. Chief Content Officer at HowStuffWorks, Jason Hoch, said:

We have grand plans for growing and expanding our audience and leadership position in the podcast space. We started by bringing on creative geniuses from iconic brands and our move into comedy is the first of more genres to come. So much of HowStuffWorks listener base has grown up with us and we aren’t slowing down anytime soon.

O’Brien’s hire comes on the heels of Mental Floss co-founders Will Pearson & Mangesh Hattikudur’s addition to the HowStuffWorks family and the launch of the new podcast Part-Time Genius. Earlier this spring, HowStuffWorks debuted the premier of FoodStuff and released the second season of The Stuff of Life.


Gimlet Ended the Twice Removed Podcast



Twice Removed is a podcast from Gimlet that has now come to an end. It was a family history podcast that released a total of six episodes. The last episode was posted on June 16, 2017, and served as a Father’s Day episode.

Twice Removed was hosted by A.J. Jacobs, author of several New York Times best sellers. People who are interested in genealogy and family history might recognize his name from the Global Family Reunion (which he was the founder of).

The Global Family Reunion took place on June 6, 2015. The main concept behind it is that everyone is a cousin to everyone else. This notion raised some controversy among professional genealogists.

The description of Twice Removed touches on that concept: “A new family history podcast hosted by A.J. Jacobs. They say we’re one big family: this is the show that proves it. You will be filled with delight…or abject horror. You never know. It’s family”.

On June 16, 2017, the Twice Removed Facebook page included a post that announced that the podcast had come to it’s end. It stated that the podcast was not coming back for a second season.

…Twice Removed, was one of the most ambitious shows we’ve launched to date. Each episode included months of research, story scouting, genealogy and production. We set a high bar for what we wanted the show to achieve creatively, and the team met that bar consistently. We couldn’t be prouder of what they accomplished.

Ultimately, Twice Removed proved to be too complicated to produce on a consistent basis. As part of our commitment to making the best podcasts possible for our listeners, we decided it was best to sunset Twice Removed, and refocus our efforts on making other great shows. …

The final episode of Twice Removed is titled “Ginny”. Its description says: “A 93-year-old man takes a DNA test, and everything changes.” At the time I am writing this blog, all six episodes of Twice Removed are still on the Gimlet website.


Microsoft and Gimlet Launch .future



Microsoft Story Labs and Gimlet Creative have teamed up to launch a podcast called .future (which is pronounced “dot future”). Each episode will focus on technologies across a variety of sectors. The first episode was released on June 28, 2017.

The future isn’t random; it’s the result of the choices we make now. Choices about how we think, work, communicate, and learn. Join Microsoft Story Labs and Gimlet Creative for .future (dot future), a new branded podcast that explores tomorrow’s technology today and how it will affect generations to come.

The host of .future is Cristina Quinn. She is a science and technology reporter. She is also the co-host of Trace Elements (from PRX).

As of the time I am writing this blog post, a Trailer has been released for .future. The first episode is titled “Securing a Digital Battlefield”. The episode is hosted by Cristina Quinn, and features five guests. The episode is described as: “In this episode, we examine a new battlefield: The cloud. The information we store in the cloud makes it especially vulnerable to attack. So, what it takes to create a safeguard against bad actors? We explore how a digital Geneva Convention could be the solution.”

An upcoming episode of .future will focus on Minecraft. It is a popular video game that launched in 2009 that allows players to build things. Today, the game has being used in education, communication, and relationships for many people. This episode features poet Victoria Bennet, who used Minecraft as a way to express her grief over her mother’s illness and as a way to preserve her mother’s memory.

Another upcoming episode will focus on Health. It features Chris Dancy, who believes it is possible to know more about your health than your doctor does. He describes himself as a “mindful cyborg” and he has rebuilt his own health by collecting data about himself.


Tidal Launches Tidal On Air



Tidal, a music and entertainment company owned by Jay Z, has launched Tidal On Air. It will feature new podcast playlists hosted by influential names in music and comedy.

The newly launched initiative Tidal On Air will feature the likes of Angie Martinez, Elliot Wilson, Brian “B.Dot” Miller, Stefi Chacon, Cipha Sounds, and Luis Jimenez. The first episodes of “In Real Life”, “Rap Radar”, and “En La Mira” are available for subscribers to the service today.

In Real Life is hosted by Angie Martinez, the iconic voice of hip-hop radio, and Miss Info, hip-hop web’s Voice of Reason. They let listeners into their longtime friendship as they tackle life, pop culture, politics, and everything else that happens off the clock.

Rap Radar  is hosted by Elliot Wilson and Brian “B.Dot” Miller. The podcast is a relaunch of the home of hip-hop’s most revealing interviews. Both Wilson and Miler are true journalists who do an immense amount of research, know how to listen and are driven to get the answers to the questions hip-hop fans want to know.

En La Mira is hosted by Miami-based radio personality Stefi Chacon. She is a producer who interviews the most talked about artists in the Latin pop and Latin urban genres. Stefi Chacon is credited for jumping on the Latin hip-hop wave early by providing a platform for artists when it wasn’t as relevant as it is now.

The Guest Spot is “coming soon” to Tidal On Air. It is hosted by Cipha Sounds. A “guest spot” is a comedy industry term for when a comic who is not booked on the show performs an unannounced set. This podcast will be a conversation between Cipha Sounds, experts on a particular subject (mostly comedians), and a “guest spot” – a person who is not an expert in the field, but still has opinions.

Luis Jimenez is the title of another podcast that is “coming soon” to Tidal On Air. It is hosted by Luis Jimenez, one of the most influential and controversial Djs in radio history. In special-themed episodes, Jimenez will bring his unique perspective and humor to cultural events like Hispanic Heritage Month, Columbian Independence Day, and more.


Midroll Media Notable New Hires



Midroll Media announced that it had added three leaders to its growing team. The notable new hires include an executive producer for Midroll’s award-winning content group, Midroll’s first-ever head of marketing, and a new leader for Midroll’s financial operations.

Amy Fitzgibbons joins Midroll as vice president of marketing. She will be responsible for driving significant consumer growth and engagement for Midroll. Previous to joining Midroll, Amy Fitzgibbons was vice president of marketing at PhotoShelter. She also led PhotoShelter’s customer acquisition and retention efforts, as well as social media and public relations.

Laura Mayer joins Midroll as an executive producer. She will be responsible for the development, production, and launch of new podcasts for Midroll’s comedy-focused Earwolf network, as well as its Stitcher label. Previous to joining Midroll, Laura Mayer worked at Panoply, where she launched dozens of shows and led the production of the first season of Revisionist History.

David Murray joins Midroll as vice president of finance and strategy. Previously, he held the role of finance business partner and helped oversee the financial organization of E.W. Scripps’ local and national digital businesses.


What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law Podcast



Does the news today make you wish you knew more about Constitutional Law? It turns out there is a podcast that focuses on it. What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law  is a Radiotopia podcast.

What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law is hosted by Roman Mars. He is the host and creator of 99% Invisible. He is also the co-founder of Radiotopia, a collective of ground-breaking independent podcasts.

Professor Elizabeth Joh is the person who explains Constitutional Law on the What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law podcast. She is a law professor at University of California, Davis, School of Law, where she teaches constitutional law and criminal procedure. She has written widely on law and emerging technologies.

Professor Elizabeth Joh teaches Intro to Constitutional Law and most of the time this is a pretty straight forward job. But with Trump in office, everything has changed. Five minutes before class Professor Joh checks Twitter to find out what the 45th President has said and how it jibes with 200 years of judicial branch interpreting and ruling on the Constitution.

A introduction episode was posted on June 7, 2017. Since then, there have been three full episodes. Episode one, titled “Judicial Legitimacy” reminds us when Trump tweeted a criticism of a “so-called judge” who blocked enforcement of his travel ban. The episode includes information about when President Truman and the court strongly disagreed.

Episode two is titled: “The Appointments Clause and Removal Power”. It focuses on a clause in the Constitution that describes how the president can hire certain political appointees with the advice and consent of the Senate. The clause doesn’t say when the president can fire someone. The episode discusses Trump’s firings and puts them in the context of relevant Supreme Court cases.

Episode three is called “Pardon Power”. This episode focuses on the Constitution’s presidential pardon power that could potentially be used to absolve members of the Trump administration – or Trump himself. It reveals what the Constitution says about how a pardon has to be presented.


Periscope Launches Super Hearts



Periscope (which is owned by Twitter) has launched Super Hearts. It is part of their Super Broadcaster Program. The program will enable (some) people who broadcast live on Periscope to earn money. Right now, the Super Broadcaster Program is only available in the United States, but will roll out internationally “soon.”

Periscope provides an easy way for podcasters to do a live show. People who watch the show can give the podcaster hearts – that flutter over the screen. It is a way to show that you love what a podcaster who is broadcasting on Periscope is doing.

Super Hearts are new types of hearts that are larger, animated, and more fun to give. To give Super Hearts when your watching a live broadcast, tap on the Super Hearts icon right from the broadcast to change which types of hearts you send – then tap away to your heart’s content.

The Super Hearts are not replacing the original hearts. Those will still be available for viewers to give out. You can only send Super Hearts to a broadcaster when they’re live.

If you want to send your favorite Periscope broadcasters Super Hearts the first thing you need to do is tap “get coins” on Periscope to purchase a coin package from the App Store or Play Store. Each package allows you to send Super Hearts until the coins run out. Once you stock up, you can select and send any of the Super Hearts.

What do Super Hearts do for Periscope broadcasters? “Each Super Heart is worth a different star value, and when a broadcaster receives Super Hearts, it contributes to their star balance.” That’s all.

Periscope has launched their Super Broadcaster Program. The program allows select broadcasters who have applied and been approved to exchange their star balance from Super Hearts for cash. In order to apply for the Super Broadcaster Program you must meet certain requirements.

Here are a few of the requirements:

  • You must be a resident of the United States.
  • You must have an active Periscope account for at least 30 days before applying.
  • You must have a minimum star threshold of 185,000
  • You must have created at least 5 broadcasts that are publicly available over the course of the last 30 day before applying.
  • You must have an average of 50 live viewers and 75 replay viewers per public broadcast.

I cannot think of a more confusing, complex, way of putting together a system that was intended as a way to enable viewers to support Periscope broadcasters. It takes several steps in order to obtain Super Hearts, and it not entirely clear from the announcement whether or not it costs real-world money to obtain the Super Hearts.  Viewers who go through all that can send Super Hearts to the Periscope broadcasters, or podcasters, they want to support. However, doing so won’t actually give real-world money to the broadcaster until and unless he or she is part of the Super Broadcaster Program.


Youth Radio Seeks a Podcast Producer



Youth Radio produces top level media and provides education and career opportunities for diverse youth. Youth Radio is seeking a Podcast Producer.

The Podcast Producer will join Youth Radio’s media team to take our podcast programming to the next level. You’ll be the creative force behind the podcast feed for the nation’s lead producer of youth reporting and opinion. Youth Radio has won Peabody, Dupont, Kennedy, and White House Awards, and reaches tens of million of listeners through syndication. Now, we want to build and engage a new, energized, audience through podcasting – and have fun doing it.

Position Responsibility:

  • Lead podcast product development, working with youth in Oakland and around the country, and collaborating with editorial and marketing colleagues at Youth Radio’s headquarters and outlets.
  • Explore and cultivate strategic partnerships with podcast distribution platforms and networks.
  • Lead development of a workflow and production schedule, and serve as lead producer and editor of Youth Radio’s distinctive podcast feed.

The candidate must have a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience, a minimum of three years experience producing excellent creative audio, and experience in a key role on a successful podcast or radio show working on a tight deadline. Read the Youth Radio ad for more details.

Required skills include being fluent in scripting, tape skills, and coaching; expertise mixing with ProTools and field/studio recording with a range of audio recording equipment; experience marketing a new product, (and more).

The Youth Radio ad for a Podcast Producer says: “This position includes a comprehensive health, benefits, and vacation package, with a salary commensurate with experience.” Read the Youth Radio ad for more details.