Category Archives: Podcast News

Pandora Launches Podcast Offerings Powered by Podcast Genome

Pandora, the largest streaming music provider in the U.S., unveiled its podcast offering, powered by the Podcast Genome Project, a cataloging system and discovery algorithm that uses a combination of technology and human curation to deliver personalized content recommendations.

Pandora will roll out beta access to select listeners on mobile devices. Those interested in early access can sign up now with general availability in the coming weeks.

Similar to how its namesake the Music Genome Project has helped become the best and easiest way to discover music online since 2005, the Podcast Genome Project recommends the right podcasts to the right listeners at the right time. It solves the questions “is there a podcast that is right for me?” and “what should I listen to next?’

The Podcast Genome Project evaluates content based on more than 1500 attributes – spanning MPAA ratings, timely and evergreen topics, production style, content type, host profile, etc. – and listener signals including thumbs, skips and replays.

Similar to the Music Genome Project, the Podcast Genome Project combines these techniques with Pandora’s expert in-house curation team to offer episode-level podcast recommendations that reflect who you are today and evolve with you tomorrow.

Can your podcast get on Pandora? It depends. Pandora has partnered with: APM, Gimlet, HeadGum, Maximum Fun, NPR, Parcast, PRX-PRI, reVolver, Slate, The New York Times, The Ramsey Network, The Ringer, WNYC Studios, and Wondery. If your podcast is not on one of these podcast hosting sites, then you can’t get it on Pandora.

NPR Launches the Student Podcast Challenge

NPR has launched the first-ever NPR Student Podcast Challenge. They are inviting students around the country to create a podcast, then – with the help of a teacher – compete for a chance to win the grand prize and have their work appear on NPR.

The contest is a chance for teachers and students in grades five through twelve across the country to turn your classrooms into production studios, your assignments into scripts, and your ideas into sound.

Here’s how it works: A student – with the help of a teacher – produces a podcast that is three to 12 minutes long. NPR says: “Have something to say? Now is your chance.”

Students do not need a lot of fancy equipment or a studio in order to enter the NPR Student Podcast Challenge. NPR states that students should be able to do this with just a smartphone and a computer, with easily available software.

Students also do not have to be an expert in radio production. NPR is offering lots of help for students and teachers. It’s a good idea to read through it before you begin creating a podcast. One important thing to know is that your podcast cannot include music.

NPR will open up the contest to entries on January 1, 2019, and close them on March 31, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Then, NPR’s panel of judges will pick two winners: one from grades five through eight, and one from grades nine through 12.

The winning podcasts will be featured in segments on NPR programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered later in the spring of 2019.

Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend – Coming to Midroll and Earwolf

Conan O’Brien, former long-time host of “Late Night” and presenter of “The Tonight Show”, has a brand new podcast. It is coming to both Earwolf and Midroll on November 19, 2018. The podcast is called Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.

After 25 years at the Late Night desk, Conan realized that the only people at his holiday party are the men and women who work for him. Over the years and despite thousands of interviews, Conan has never made a real and lasting friendship with any of his celebrity guests. So, he started a podcast to do just that. Deeper, unboundedly playful, and free from FCC regulations, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend is a weekly opportunity for Conan to hang out with the people he enjoys most and perhaps find some real friendships along the way.

The Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast is by Earwolf and Team Coco. Midroll is currently seeking those who would like Conan O’Brien to talk up their brand.

The starting line-up of guests on Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend include: Will Ferrell, Kristen Bell, Bill Burr, Dax Shepard, Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, Wanda Sykes, and Marc Maron.

Sound Up Bootcamp Australia Seeks Aboriginal Podcasters

Spotify announced that Sound Up Bootcamp Australia is seeking aspiring podcasters who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander to apply for the SoundUp Bootcamp, a four-day residential podcasting workshop to be held in Sydney on November 26 – November 29, 2018.

Those who qualify and are interested in applying must submit an entry before midnight on October 29, 2018. To apply, fill out a form that is on the Sound Up Bootcamp website. The form requires people to answer questions. It also includes participation terms.

You don’t need to have any prior podcasting experience, just a voice (with something to say), a passion for the medium, and an eagerness to bring your idea to life. Ten people will be selected to attend, with expenses covered including travel and accommodation for those living outside Sydney.

The bootcamp will be facilitated by Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander radio producer Emily Nicol with workshops presented by Brooke Boney, Allan Clarke, Rudi Bremer, and more.

Sound Up Bootcamp Australia is supported by Audiocraft, a leading Australian audio organization who host events, run workshops, and make podcasts through their agency.

Underdog is a Podcast About the 2018 Texas Midterms

Underdog is a podcast about the most-talked about political race of 2018: the Senate contest between Congressman Beto O’Rourke and Senator Ted Cruz. Underdog is by Texas Monthly and Pineapple Street Media. The focus of the podcast is Beto O’Rourke’s campaign.

Underdog was launched on October 12, 2018. Here is how Texas Monthly describes it:

In Underdog, a podcast produced in partnership with Pineapple Street Media, senior editor Eric Benson (who profiled O’Rourke for the magazine’s cover in January) will interview experts and volunteers, enthusiasts and skeptics as the congressman makes his way across the state.

The first episode is titled: “On the Road Again”. The main topic is: Can Beto change the future of Texas politics, or will Beto-mania turn out to be just another liberal fantasy?

The second episode was released on October 19, 2018. It is titled “Red State”. In this episode, Texas Monthly provides a political history of Texas. This is noteworthy because if Beto O’Rourke wins the Texas Senate race in November, he will be the first Democrat elected statewide in 24 years.

Google Introduced Google Podcasts Creator Program

Google announced the Google Podcasts creator program in June. The program aims to support underrepresented voices in podcasting, and to make it easier to learn how to get into this growing medium. The application window is now open.

Google explained why they made the Google Podcasts creator program:

With the launch of Google Podcasts app in June, we’re working to make it easier for people around the world to find and access podcasts. While there are more podcasts than ever before, there continues to be an imbalance in who is creating them. Women and people of color are still underrepresented as hosts, and many of the world’s most popular podcasts hail from western, urban areas. In June, we announced the Google Podcasts creator program, which aims to support these underrepresented voices in podcasting, and make it easier for people to learn how to get into this growing medium.

The Google Podcasts creator program is focused on three main pillars:

  • Empowering and training underrepresented voices through an accelerator program
  • Education a global community with free tools
  • Showcasing participants’ work as a model for others

The application window is officially open globally through November 18, 2018, for the first round of the Google Podcasts creator program. Google has partnered with PRX, who will lead and manage the program. Applications will be accepted from around the globe. For more information on the program, and to apply, visit PRX’s Google Podcasts creator program website.

PRX, alongside a global advisory committee, will select teams to receive mentorship, seed funding, and an intensive 20-week training. For those who want to learn more about what it takes to create a podcast, but are not ready to apply to the program, PRX will draw on learnings from the program to develop a series of broadly accessible podcasting 101 videos in multiple languages.

Harvard University Holds Sound Education Conference

Sound Education is a conference put on by educational podcasters, for educational podcasters and their listeners. It will take place at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on November 2 and 3, 2018. Tickets are still available.

Educational audio producers are using the power of sound to bring learning out of the classroom and onto the airwaves. Their shows reach tens of millions of listeners a year – listeners who know that learning is a lifelong pursuit and see producers offering an ever-expanding course catalog.

Early arrivals to Sound Education will get a chance to attend a workshop hosted by veteran producer and consultant Eric Nuzum at PRX’s Podcast Garage. This workshop will focus on storytelling, character, and voice in podcasting. To attend the Three Things Your Podcast Needs workshop, you must register at the workshop’s official page.

Sound Education has posted a Schedule that they are working on finalizing. The schedule has information about nearly 50 panelists from across the educational audio spectrum – from radio hosts, to academics, to DIY podcasters. The conference is designed for producers of educational audio. The Conference is hosted by Harvard Divinity School.

A List of Speakers has been released. It has a photo of each speaker and a description what they do. These speakers are part of the Festival, which is designed for the general public. It includes talks from the Speakers, and the opportunity for people to hang out with their favorite hosts, to meet their fellow fans, and to connect with educators and students from around the country.

2018 Parsec Award Finalists Announced

The Finalists for the 2018 Parsec Awards have been announced. Later in 2018, the winner will be revealed at a ceremony.

Here is a quick look at the podcasts that were nominated. You can find out more information on the Parsec Awards website. In this blog, I am only listing the podcasts are finalists (and leaving out additional details).

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Short Form)
Cast of Wonders
The Wicked Library
Gallery of Curiosities

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Long Form)
Sons of Macha (Shadowmagic 3) category SCL
The Aldergate Papers
Shadow Publications: Derelict Tomb
Nobilis Erotica

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Large Cast (Short Form)
The Grey Area
Liberty: Tales from the Tower
The Audio Epics Podcast

Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Short Form)
All’s Fair
The Axe & Crown
Gen-Z Media
The NoSleep Podcast

Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Long Form)
Centauri Express
Uncanny County
Just Press Playhouse presents: Time Trip!
Ark City

Best Speculative Fiction Video Story
Grant’s Advent Calendar
Active Radioactive Radio
The Uncle Interloper Show

Best Speculative Magazine or Anthology Podcast
Tall Tale TV
Escape Pod
Rude Alchemy

Best New Speculative Fiction Podcaster/Team
The Amelia Project
The Phenomenon

Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (Specific)
Rebel Force Radio
To the Journey!
Lower Decks: A Star Trek Discovery Podcast
Aggressive Negotiations: A Star Wars Podcast

Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (General)
Two Gay Geeks
The 602 Club

Best Podcast about Speculative Fiction Content Creation
Under the Puppet
Radio Drama Revival
Eating the Fantastic

Best Fact Behind the Fiction Podcast
Tale Foundry
Flash Forward
Astronomy Cast
Decipher SciFi

Best Speculative Fiction Comedy/Parody Podcast
Kakos Industries
Audioblivious Productions
Robotz of the Company

2018 Discover Pods Awards Call for Nominations

The nomination period for the 2018 Discover Pods Awards will end on October 26, 2018, at 6pm ET. There is still time for you to nominate your favorite podcast by filling out a form on the 2018 Discover Pods Awards website.

Last year, the inaugural Discover Pods Awards, we received over 4,000 nominations and over 6,000 voted on the finalists. S-Town was the big winner taking home four trophies including Best Overall Podcast, Best Podcast Episode, Best New Podcast, and Best True Crime Podcast.

This year, they are adding new categories and changing things up a bit.

Everyone is free to nominate podcasts and episodes. There’s no charge to do so. Ballot stuffing is not allowed. Each email address only gets one nomination form – multiples get automatically deleted. Also, total nominations, while important are only one variable that will determine the finalists.

The Finalists will be announced on November 16, 2018. Discover Pods explains: “Together with a small group of fans and advocates, we’ll sift through the nominations and ultimately determine the podcasts selected for the final round of voting”.

After the Finalists are determined, there will be a Final Voting period starting on November 16, 2018, and ending on December 7, 2018. The 2018 Discover Pods Award Winners will be announced on December 10, 2018.