All posts by Jen Thorpe

DirtCast is the Newest Podcast from Jezebel

Jezebel has announced the launch of their second podcast. It is called DirtCast, and it is from Jezebel and Fusion Media.

About a month ago, Jezebel launched their first podcast, Big Time Dicks.  The podcast was inspired by a similarly named Jezebel column, “Big Time Small Time Dicks”. Big Time Dicks brings listeners on an in-depth look at the laws and lawmakers that are intent on harming people on the local, state, and federal levels.

DirtCast is Jezebel’s second podcast (and the first done by Jezebel and Fusion Media Group). DirtCast is a weekly pop-culture breakdown that is based on a Jezebel column called “Dirt Bag”. The show is hosted by Bobby Finger and Madeline Davies. They break down the biggest celebrity stories, play funny games, and interview PR experts and novices alike.

New episodes will launch weekly. At the time I am writing this blog, there is a “Welcome to DirtCast” episode and two official episodes.

In Episode 1, Bobby Finger and Madeline Davies talk about Johnny Depp’s rumored debt and wine collection, the questionable choice of casting Hollywood conservatives Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn in a Blue Lives Mater movie, and whether or not Rose and Jack would have stayed together if Jack hadn’t died at the end of Titanic.

Later in the same episode, the hosts are joined by Rob Shuter of Naughty Gossip (which offers celebrity gossip). Rob Shuter worked as a PR rep for Jennifer Lozpez, Diddy, and Jessica Simpson.

The New York Times Seeks an Audio Producer

The New York Times is seeking an audio producer who will take ownership of a New York Times arts show and lead an audio team. The audio team will operate like a start-up within the larger news organization.

The New York Times audio team is seeking a show producer with a passion for the arts – books, music, film, TV, theater. This producer doesn’t need experience on those beats, but should be the kind of person who gets new books and albums as soon as they’re released and takes any excuse to go to a live show.

The producer will take ownership of a New York Times arts show. This includes: generating the concept and structure, in consultation with the host(s) and team leadership, then piloting, testing and bringing that show to market.

After the show is launched, the producer will be responsible for a range of tasks to create each episode. Those tasks include: pitching, booking, research, scriptwriting, recording in the field and in the studio, cutting tape, mixing audio, and managing the show’s distribution and promotion. The producer will also have the ability to do original reporting.

Other responsibilities include: coach New York Times reporters and editors without audio experience as hosts and guests, help source and/or report stories, upload each episode with correct metadata – on and off the New York Times platform, and promote each episode via social media and other channels.

The audio producer position is “a temporary guild position with the possibility to become staff positions”. They want someone who has a passion for podcasts and at least 3 years experience in audio production (among other skills). For full details, read the New York Times want ad.

Panoply has Canceled the About Race Podcast

The full title of the About Race podcast is: Our National Conversation About Conversations About Race. It was included in The Black Experience selection of podcasts, books, TV shows and movies that iTunes put together for Black History Month. Panoply has decided to cancel About Race.

About Race featured four “co-discussants”: Anna Holmes, Baratunde Thurston, Raquel Cepeda, and Tanner Colby. They hosted a lively, multiracial, interracial 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.”

About Race began in 2015. The last episode is titled “What have we learned?” At the time I am writing this post, some episodes are still available on SoundCloud.  It is still listed on iTunes.

Panoply made the following statement about why they chose to cancel About Race:

Panoply has made the difficult decision not to move forward with the podcast “Our National Conversation About Conversations About Race.” We loved working with Baratunde, Raquel, Tanner, and Anna over the last two years, and are proud of their important contributions to the dialog about race in America. However, frequent scheduling issues made it difficult to produce the show that we all wanted to create. Though the cancellation was unrelated to the current political climate, we regret the timing. Ending it now is painful, but a growing company like ours must make hard decisions, and this was one of the hardest. Now more than ever, Panoply recognizes the urgent need for diverse voices and frank conversions, and we’re committed to covering the important topics of race and ethnicity in America. Please stay tuned!

I’m not sure what, exactly, Panoply is asking people to “please stay tuned” for.  It is unclear, and uncertainty can lead to speculation.  A quick glance at the About Race Twitter (@showaboutrace) and its Facebook page show that there are many fans who are disappointed that the podcast has been canceled. Several people commented that America needs podcasts like About Race right now.

Huzza has been Acquired by Kickstarter

Huzza announced earlier this month that it had been acquired by Kickstarter. Unfortunately for those who are using Huzza and enjoying it, this acquirement means that Huzza will be shutting down at the end of February.

The announcement was posted by Nick Smit and Justin Womersley, the co-founders of Huzza. They explained a bit about why they are shutting down Huzza:

Choosing to shutdown Huzza was an incredibly difficult decision for us, especially as Kickstarter gave us the opportunity to keep the platform going. Our mission with Huzza has always been to help creators connect and more deeply engage with their communities, and we felt that we can have a bigger impact on creators by focusing our efforts on Kickstarter.

Current users of Huzza have until March 1, 2017, to export their recordings, chat messages, Q&As, selfies, and subscriber details. After that date, your data will no longer be available via Huzza. (That includes embeds). Huzza will be refunding all subscriptions for the month of February and canceling all subscriptions thereafter.

Kickstarter posted some information about the acquisition of Huzza on its blog:

With the acquisition of Huzza, Justin and Nick now join Kickstarter full-time to develop Kickstarter Live in exciting new directions. We’ve opened a new office in Vancouver’s historic Gastown neighborhood where they’re building a team of engineers and designers to help them lead that work.

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.