Category Archives: Podcast News

Scripps Agrees to Sell Stitcher to SiriusXM for $325 Million



The E.W. Scripps Company has entered into an agreement with SiriusXM to sell podcast industry leader Stitcher for $325 million, a return of more than double Scripps’ investment in podcasting over the last five years.

The Stitcher company includes three distinct podcast business lines: the Midroll advertising rep firm; owned-and-operated podcast networks including comedy-focused Earwolf; and the Stitcher podcast listening platform.

Scripps was an early entrant into podcasting, acquiring Midroll in 2015 for $55 million and the Stitcher app in 2016 for $45 million. Since then, Stitcher has been a leader in the fast-growing podcast industry, growing revenue at CAGR of 52% from 2016-19. Stitcher’s 2019 revenue was $7.6 million.

The opportunity for Stitcher and its employees to join a large pure-play audio company ensures it will expand upon its success, Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson said.

“The sale is consistent with Scripps’ track record of growing businesses that capitalize on the evolution of consumers’ media habits and then unlocking shareholder value through spinoffs, exits, and continued organic growth,” said Symson. “Over and over, this strategy has proven effective as well as profitable for the company and its shareholders.”

“Today’s announcement, and the metrics around this sale, are an affirmation of our investment-for-growth strategy. We are firmly committed to our national businesses and are enthusiastic about the opportunities we see ahead of digital audio, over the top and over the air television.”

Transaction highlights:

    •  Sale price of $325 million, with $265 million of cash upfront; earnout of up to $30 million based on 2020 financial results and paid in 2021; earnout of up to $30 million based on 2021 financial results and paid in 2022
    • Full price representing an internal rate of return after taxes in the mid-20% range and cash-on-cash return of more than 2x, which incorporates the purchase prices for Midroll and Stitcher of $59.5 million as well as Scripps’ investments in the business over the last five years
    • Improvement in National Media segment profit and company EBITDA with the elimination of Stitcher annual losses in the high-teens millions of dollars
    • Estimated tax liability of approximately $70 million assuming the full earnout is achieved. Scripps has approximately $190 million of net operating loss carryforwards that would offset about $40 million in 2020 tax liabilities.
    • The move of all Stitcher employees to SiriusXM

“As a result of this transaction, Scripps is improving our leverage ratio through higher company EBITDA and garnering cash we can use toward debt reduction, which continues to be our highest priority,” Scripps Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Lisa Knutson said.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter, pending Hart-Scott-Rodino clearance. LionTree Advisors has acted as exclusive advisor to Scripps in the sale process, and BakerHostetler is serving as legal counsel.


NPR Announces Upcoming Podcasts



Over the next six months, NPR will launch three new enterprise storytelling podcasts and usher in a new era for a listener favorite.

These include NPR Music reporters’ examination of power, hip-hop, and the prison industrial complex; Member station KQED’s investigation into California police misconduct, and how police try and fail to police themselves; a public radio reporting collaborative series about gun rights advocates who believe that the National Rifle Association is too soft in their advocacy; and a new iteration of Invisibilia with two new hosts.

Three of these forthcoming podcasts – Unsealed, a podcast from NPR Music, and No Compromise – were developed with support from NPR’s Story Lab, a creative studio at the heart of NPR that cultivates new voices, new approaches to storytelling, and the evolving sound of public radio.

Untitled NPR Music Podcast – coming September 2020

This short-run narrative series ​traces the interconnected rise of hip-hop and mass incarceration. But is it coincidence or by design? We’ll delve into some of the biggest names and cases in hip-hop to reveal just how much the criminal justice system has impacted the culture. Hosted by Rodney Carmichael, NPR Music’s resident hip-hop critic, and Sidney Madden, NPR Music reporter and editor.

No Compromise — coming Fall 2020

An eight episode, limited-run investigative series that explores the world of Second Amendment advocates who believe that the National Rifle Association is ‘too soft’ on guns. The series looks at national and state-level organizations and reveals a world that is more complicated than it appears to outsiders. Reporters Chris Haxel (KCUR, Kansas City, MO) and Lisa Hagen (WABE, Atlanta, GA) have been investigating the story for more than six months as part of the public radio reporting collaborative Guns & America.

Unsealed — launching early 2021

A limited-run podcast that explores how police police themselves through an analysis of hundreds of police misconduct files, body camera footage and audio recordings of internal investigations that have been kept secret for decades. Unsealed will be hosted by KQED’s criminal justice reporter Sukey Lewis and produced by KQED’s race and equity reporter Sandhya Dirks.

Passing the torch at Invisibilia — coming winter 2021

When it launched at the top of the podcast charts five years ago, Invisibilia presented a strikingly original storytelling frame. Fresh, rigorous, layered, and disarmingly intimate, the show built a large and devoted audience drawn to its arresting exploration of the invisible forces that shape human behavior.

It was the first chart-topping narrative podcast in the industry created by women. Alix Spiegel, with Lulu Miller and editor Anne Gudenkauf built the first season after incubating the idea on the NPR Science desk. More than 100 million downloads and five innovative seasons later, the current hosts, Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin have decided to pass the torch to a new generation.

They will be handing off the show to their enormously talented team, led by Yowei Shaw. Over the last four years, Shaw has been the creative and editorial force behind many episodes of Invisibilia, including the critically-acclaimed “A Very Offensive Rom Com.” Shaw and producer Kia Miakka Natisse will co-host the new Invisibilia.

They will reinvent the show with the help of key staffers Abby Wendle, Liana Simstrom and Deb George. We are tremendously grateful to Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin for their unforgettable storytelling and contributions to NPR. We’re also grateful that they have given producers and storytellers whom they have mentored an opportunity to meet this cultural moment in a fresh new way.


The Passion Economy Premiers Outside of a Paywall



The Passion Economy – the weekly podcast about everyday people who are finding a new path to success in the 21st century economy – launched for the first time outside of a paywall.

Episodes spotlight unconventional career and business success stories:

  • A drug dealer turned fitness mogul
  • A teacher making waves in the fashion industry with gender non-binary designs
  • A former Iraqi translator who reinvented himself as a D.C.-area limo company operator

The Passion Economy is hosted by Adam Davidson, the Peabody-Award winning co-creator of NPR’s Planet Money. Davidson is a successful journalist and author who covered economics for The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine.

The Passion Economy podcast is based on Davidson’s acclaimed 2020 book of the same name and explores how individuals from all walks of life have overcome professional and financial roadblocks and created new paths of fulfillment by channeling their entrepreneurial spirits and pursuing their passions. The first three episodes are available now.


Cadence13 and Headspace Studios Launch The Gift of Forgiveness



Cadence13, part of Entercom’s podcast network, and Headspace Studios, a multi-platform content studio from global leader in meditation and mindfulness announced The Gift of Forgiveness, a new weekly podcast hosted and executive produced by New York Times bestselling author Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt on which she explores the power of forgiveness.

This series marks the second in a slate of new and original podcasts from C13 and Headspace.

On the weekly series, inspired by her New York Times bestselling book of the same title, Schwarzenegger Pratt will explore the power and meaning of forgiveness, examining what happens in our lives, hearts, and minds when we hold on to trauma, and the impact on our lives and the lives of others when we are able to forgive.

Schwarzenegger Pratt will interview people from all backgrounds and all walks of life about their forgiveness journeys with the goal of examining why so many of us struggle with it and the freedom we feel when we are finally able to say, ‘I have forgiven.’

Guests include Jessica Simpson, Chelsea Handler, Sean Hayes, and Cheryl Burke, who will share their own powerful, raw stories of trauma, loss, and their complicated relationship with forgiveness, as well as Rabbi Steve Leder, grief expert David Kessler, Pablo Escobar’s son Sebastian Marroquín, “School of Greatness” host Lewis Howes, author Chris Williams and Daniel J. Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and executive director of the Mindsight Institute.

The Gift of Forgiveness will launch on July 15, 2020 on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, RADIO.com and everywhere podcasts are available, with new episodes available on Wednesday. Listen to the trailer and subscribe to the series here: https://bit.ly/GiftofForgiveness.


RØDE Announced Winners of My RØDE Cast 2020



RØDE Microphones proudly announced the winners of their second annual podcasting competition, My RØDE Cast. These incredible podcasters will be taking home a share of $150,000 in prizes.

Launched in May, My RØDE Cast invited the world’s podcasters to submit a 1-2 minute episode showcasing their talents. The entries quickly surpassed last year’s total, with over 2000 podcasts being submitted from more than 60 countries worldwide.

The winners were chosen by three brilliant judges from the podcasting industry, Hrishikesh Hirway, Creator and Host of Song Exploder, Jacob Salamon, Co-Founder of WISECRACK, and Leah Harris, Australia’s Podcast Producer at Spotify.

The Winners:

Major Prize: A Latto Thought – CA Davis (USA)

A Latto Thought critically unpacks contemporary mixed race experiences in order to dismantle post-racial myths. Each episode asks a question about contemporary mixed race issues, misperceptions, and pop culture.

“The show’s concept is great,” says My RØDE Cast Judge Hrishikesh Hirway. “To be mixed means to be caught between worlds, and that provides a very specific perspective from which to examine the topic of race. Plus, the hosts have great voices and delivery, and the editing is sophisticated.

Runner Up Prize: Lidia’s Booktastic Podcast – LK Productions (Ireland)

Lidia’s Booktastic Podcast is a podcast from a young girl that tells other kids about the books she reads and what she likes about them (with a little help from her dad).

“Love the host choice and the interaction between daughter and dad,” says My RØDE Cast judge Leah Harris. “It would have a number of audience entry points for both kids and their parents. Warm and engaging, great use of guests.

People’s Choice Prize: Contemporary Issues – Nicholas Najar (Brazil)

Contemporary Issues is a podcast that tells the story of what appeared to be a typical day at work revealing itself to go beyond medical knowledge, enlightening the true meaning of care.

“The team and I are thrilled and honored to win this year’s My RØDE Cast competition!” says Major Prize winner CA Davis. “When my lead producer, Lex Ward, and I began formulating the show, I had no idea how to bring together creative sound design with a show that uses critical mixed race theory and analysis to unpack contemporary mixed race experiences. With RØDE’s help, we can continue to produce high-quality content that is detailed, engaging and takes our listeners on an educational and stereophonic journey. What a true, true honor.”

This year, we also opened My RØDE Cast to entries from China. The winners were chosen by a separate panel of judges, including Zhang Dong, Vice Director of the Sound of Music program on China National Radio and Chief Content Officer of Yunting; Yin Qiming, multiple National News Award winner, Vice President and Chief Editor of Himalaya FM (China’s biggest audio sharing platform) and Vice President of Copyright Society of China; and celebrated writer, director and actor Zhou Jianlong. The winning entries were City Guide Podcast, Nonsense, and Life Guide.


Libsyn Announced Launch of Latinx Initiatives



Liberated Syndication (Libsyn) announced a series of Latinx initiatives beginning with The Latino Podcast Listener Report, conducted by Edison Research and commissioned by Adonde Media, Lantigua Williams & Co., Libsyn, NPR, and Pandora. The results of the study will provide valuable insight and serve to further the conversation about Latinx podcasters and their audience.

Libsyn will continue the conversation beginning in July with a series of events to further discuss the results and create awareness around Latino podcasts.

“We are excited to share the data from the Edison report and explore the opportunities to create community within Latinx podcasting and specifically Spanish language podcasts,” remarked Elsie Escobar, Libsyn’s Community Manager. “At Libsyn, we have always tried to empower more voices outside of traditional media. What we learn from the listener survey will be valuable in attracting Latinx podcasts and audiences.”

During the month of July, the Rockin’ Libsyn Podcasts feature will highlight Spanish speaking podcasts. This series shares podcasts on the Libsyn platform in a Question and Answer format that provides valuable insight from their professional podcast producers to further empower the community.

Libsyn is also pleased to host several key guests to speak in more detail about the Latino Podcast Listener Report, Tom Webster, Senior Vice President of Edison Research will be a guest on the July 14th, Episode 172 of The Feed: The Official Libsyn Podcast.

Additionally, co-sponsors of the research report Juleyka Lantigua Williams, CEO of Lantigua Williams & Co. and Martina Castro, CEO of Adonde Media, will join Libsyn’s Community Manager and She Podcasts‘s co-founder Elsie Escobar to follow up on the study’s results.


Podcast Movement University Launches!



Podcast Movement announced the launch of Podcast Movement University. You can sign up now for free. The free SHIFT kickoff event will be on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. It is a virtual conference.

Several months ago, Podcast Movement put out a survey asking what we could do to bring you the most value as podcasters and podcast professionals. You put COMMUNITY and NETWORKING at the top of the list. Ask and you shall receive!

Additionally, you shared all kinds of ideas for year-round support. Education for getting your podcast off the ground, making it better, or growing as a podcast professional were popular topics.

Podcast Movement University will have all this and more.

Main Activity Feed: Think, Facebook Groups, with more organization, more options, and less Facebook! You can tag posts with their relevant topic(s) for more natural categorization, and you can even click the Topics button to check out only the conversations that are most relevant to you.

The Feed is where you’ll see all the public conversations happening, as well as all the posts from your assigned groups.

Groups: They’ve got all kinds of groups in the University, and you can think of them as “communities within the community.” Whether you’re a new podcaster or business podcaster, there’s a group for you. If you’re looking for guests or looking to be a guest on another show, there’s a group for you. If you’d like to share your show and get feedback, you guessed it, there’s also a group for you.

Join all one or all of them, and get the conversations started!

Events:
One of the things Podcast Movement is most excited about is beginning to host weekly meetups. Some just for networking with other University members, while others will be more focused and guided around a specific topic.


Spotify’s Sandra Podcast Goes Global



In 2018, Gimlet Media launched Sandra, a seven-part fictional drama depicting a world where artificial intelligence isn’t so artificial. Since then, Gimlet Media has become part of Spotify.

Sandra had big names and voices including Alia Shawkat (Helen), Kristin Wiig (Sandra), and Ethan Hawke (Dustin). The podcast launched to critical acclaim due to its relevant themes of technology, security, and self-actualization. Spotify deemed it a story worth telling listeners around the world.

On July 7, Spotify and Gimlet premiered an exclusive Sandra podcast in four markets: France, Germany, Brazil and Mexico. The most interesting about this release is that it is not just a translation into the local language. Instead, each version is specially adapted via a culturally relevant name, a customized storyline, and more.

Sandra will be called Sara in France, Susi in Germany, Sonia in Mexico, and Sofia in Brazil. Sandra is the first truly localized adaptations ever made of a hit fictional podcast.

The Spotify Studio teams in those four countries have worked with local directors to adapt the script, cast local talent, and reimagine the podcast with an appreciation for local culture, language and nuance. In each market, the podcast has an A-list cast mixed with traditional TV and film actors as well as digital creators and influencers.

I think this is a fantastic idea! Adapting the podcast to a localized population would make the show easier to relate to and get involved in. Spotify has the ability to have separate teams to work on each adaptation – and the money to hire the voice actors. That’s way beyond the ability (and finances) of most podcasters. So, it is good to see Spotify making use of their resources in this unique way.


ARN’s iHeartPodcast Network Australia Announces New Partnerships



ARN, iHeartPodcast Network Australia, has announced two new commercial partnerships with leading podcast creators Audioboom and Kast Media to expand its extensive podcast offering. These partnerships further strengthen ARN’s iHeartPodcast Network’s unique commercial proposition for brands and advertisers by connecting them with Audioboom and Kast Media’s engaged Australian audiences.

As part of its growth strategy, the iHeartPodcast Network has added new titles from Kast Media including: On Purpose with Jay Shetty, The Fighter & The Kid, and Impaulsive with Logan Paul. New titles from Audioboom include: Casefile, No Such Thing as a Fish, The Totally Football Show, and F1: Beyond The Grid.

These highly popular podcasts increase the content diversity across the Entertainment, True Crime and Sport categories for the iHeartPodcast Network Australia and provide enhanced commercial opportunities for clients to align and integrate within.

On joining ARN’s iHeartPodcast Network Australia, Colin Thomson, Founder & CEO from Kast Media said, “We are excited to join ARN’s iHeartPodcast Network, adding our thought-provoking and entertaining shows to Australia’s largest podcast network. The partnership aligns with our mission to create content that brands can integrate and be a part of.”

Stuart Last, CEO of Audioboom said, “Our podcasts feature well-known personalities and top talent from across the world, attracting global audiences, including significant numbers in Australia. The experience of ARN’s iHeartPodcast Network in monetising audiences makes them the perfect fit to further expand our advertising potential across the Audioboom roster. From the entertaining No Such Thing As A Fish to the true crime grit of the Australian-made Casefile, we know clients across Australia are going to love speaking to these new listeners.”

On the two new partnerships, ARN’s Head of Commercial Audio & Podcasts Corey Layton said, “ARN continues to dominate the podcast space, and these new partnerships with Audioboom and Kast Media will further extend and diversify our offering, giving brands access to some of the world’s most compelling and popular content.”

The announcement comes as ARN releases new podcast listener data for May with leading podcast technology provider Megaphone. Again showing growth month on month, the data captured for May shows strong audience growth with an increase of 6% compared to April. Overall, listening on the iHeartPodcast Network from when the pandemic was declared (mid-March to May) is up 22% compared to listening pre-pandemic (January to mid-March 2020).