Third Coast International Audio Festival Announces 2017 Winners

Third Coast International Audio Festival is based in Chicago. They curate sound-rich audio stories from around the world and share them with as many ears as possible – via radio, podcast, public events, annual conferences, and their website. The 2017 winners of the Third Coast International Audio Competition have been announced.

The 2017 Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Competition awards the following categories: Best Documentary (Gold, Silver, Bronze, Honorable Mention and Directors’ Choice), Best New Audio, Radio Impact, Best News Feature, Skylarking and Best Foreign Language.

The list of winners has been revealed. That being said, we won’t know who won what until the Third Coast Awards Ceremony. It will take place on November 11, 2017, and will be hosted by Helen Zaltzman of The Allusionist.

The winners are:

  • The Accidental Gay Parents, Episode 5 – Hillary Frank, Abigail Keel, Kristen Clark
  • Blink Once for Yes – John Fecile, Steven Jackson, Lizzie ShiffmanTufano
  • Emancipation: A Young Man Leaves Forster Care on His Own Terms – Youth Radio, Noel Anaya, Brett Meyers
  • Heavyweight: Gregor – Jonathan Goldstein, Chris Neary, Wendy Dorr, Kalia Holt
  • Los Casettes del Exilio – Dennis Maxwell
  • Majd’s Diary: Two Years in the Life of a Saudi Girl – Sarah Kate Kramer, Joe Richman
  • S-Town – Brian Reed, Julie Snyder
  • Standing Out From the Crowd at a Trump Rally – Ike Sriskandarajah
  • Quiet Revolution – Laura Irving
  • The Discussion – Rosa Gollan
  • The Traffic Stop – Tracy Mumford, Hans Buetow, Riham Feshir, Jon Collins

60dB is Shutting Down

If you visit the 60dB website, you will see a message titled “Goodbye”. It is unclear how long that message will remain, because the company behind 60dB has become part of the team at Google.

60dB was an app that was designed to bring people today’s best news and stories. It was created by Tiny Garage Labs.

The app featured timely, personalized stories on the topics that people cared about. Originally, 60dB was an iOS app. (At the time I am writing this, it is no longer possible to download the app from iTunes.) Later, 60dB became available on Android, the web, Alexa, Android Auto and CarPlay.

The “Goodbye” message from 60dB, which was posted on October 10, 2017, is where the co-founders of 60dB announced that they will be shutting down 60dB on Friday, November 10, 2017. They also announced that they would be joining the team at Google.

As we considered next steps for 60dB, we came to the conclusion that to accomplish our goals we’d be better positioned if we joined someone with scale who shared our vision for what was possible with digital audio.

The 60dB app will soon be gone, but a handful of the stories have been saved. Members of the 60dB editorial team picked some of their favorite stories from the 60dB app and put made them accessible on Medium. It is called The 60dB Archives.

TechCrunch reported that a Google spokesperson confirmed to them that Google had “purchased some assets” of Tiny Garage Labs, and that members of the team would be joining Google.

Oxford Writers’ House has a Podcasting Workshop

Oxford Writers’ House was launched in the Spring of 2016 as a hub for the writers in the universities and city of Oxford. On their website, they offer resources for authors of all backgrounds, provide Oxford-based academic and creative writing support, and more. Oxford Writers’ House has a Podcasting Workshop.

The workshop is titled “Writing for Audio Drama and Podcasting: an Evening with Robert Valentine and Liz Campbell”. It will be held on November 8, 2017. The workshop will take place in Oxford in the United Kingdom. You can book tickets now.

75 million people listen to podcasts every month. With huge audiences and low production costs the audio drama and podcast form are becoming an increasingly tantalizing form to writers wanting to tell the very best stories to a huge and engaged audience.

Attend the workshop to find out about the opportunities audio drama brings to your writing. It will also teach you all about writing, commissioning, producing, and how to get inspired to write some of your own audio dramas.

Although the Oxford Writers’ house is primarily aimed at helping writers, this specific workshop could also provide inspiration and assistance for podcasters who want to create an audio drama. There is an art to it that is not the same as doing a podcast where two or more people discuss the news of the day.

SquadCast is a Collaborative Podcast Recording Service

SquadCast LogoIt’s a common practice for podcasters to work together from remote locations. But this type of setup presents some challenges. Different tools and techniques have been developed over time to try and bridge the gap between distant podcast participants. But none of these solutions has truly become the “killer app” for podcasters who need to work with cohosts and guests in remote locations.

That’s where SquadCast comes in. I was first introduced to SquadCast at this year’s Podcast Movement conference in Anaheim. The story behind SquadCast goes like this: The founders of SquadCast were working on a collaborative audio project and all of the participants were in separate locations. They couldn’t find any existing tools that really fit their needs, so they started building their own solution.

I recently took part in a demo of a SquadCast session and was impressed by the service’s ease of use and reliability. During the demo, I connected remotely with the SquadCast team. The SquadCast service recorded both sides of our conversation, and when the call was finished, the audio was processed quickly with excellent sound quality. I also learned about features the team is planning on adding to the service in the future. SquadCast looks like a very well thought out product so far, and its creators are taking regular feedback from experienced podcasters to refine the service into what will likely become a valuable tool for podcasters.

SquadCast is currently in beta but it is open to new signups. The service costs $20/month or $200/year, with the first month’s service free. SquadCast recording sessions currently allow up to four participants, with a maximum recording time of two hours. I’ve been assured that these limits will go up after the service has officially launched.

Mixcloud Announces Direct Licensing Deal with Warner Music Group

Mixcloud announced that they have a direct licensing agreement with Warner Music Group. This is Mixcloud’s first direct deal with a major record label.

This new recorded music licensing agreement with Warner Music Group will usher in a direct relationship and a new phase for Mixcloud. The deal will enable an innovative subscription offering that allows fans to subscribe to individual creator channels for a more interactive listening experience. This approach will help audio creators on the platform monetize their content by developing a new marketplace for audio subscriptions.

The Mixcloud platform offers a diverse collection of serialized, long-form, and exclusive audio content – over 12 million radio shows, DJ sets, and Podcasts. Their platform’s proprietary Content ID system is capable of identifying individual tracks within long-form user generated audio, tracks usage data, and currently pays out royalties to local collecting societies such as SoundExchange and the performing rights societies in the U.S.

Music Business Worldwide reported that the licensing deal between Mixcloud and Warner Music Group will enable Mixcloud to start building new subscription products. The expectation is that direct deals like the one struck with Warner Music Group will allow Mixcloud to offer more on-demand services – and to charge for them.

Sonix Helps Podcasters Transcribe their Audio

Sonix was founded in 2017 in San Francisco, California. Sonix wants to help storytellers tell better stories, even if just by a little bit. They are striving to do their part in changing how people create, consume, and share not only their stories, but each others’ stories. Sonix can help podcasters transcribe their audio.

Sonix has an informative blog post titled “5 Reasons You Should Transcribe Your Podcast”. It includes the following paragraph:

By creating a text version of your podcast, you have created a place where Google can crawl and index your content. Yes, the title, tags, and description of the audio will help, but they aren’t a substitute for the entire transcript. And you might say something incredibly obscure in your podcast. There’s probably someone out there looking for that nugget of information.

Sonix transcribes your recordings so you and your team can be more productive, less stressed, and just a little bit happier. Sonix transcribes, timestamps, and organizes your audio and video files so they are easy to search, edit, and share. They offer a free trial (where the first hour of transcription is free.)

Some Sonix features include:

  • Quick turnaround
  • Easy uploading – Their drag-and-drop interface lets you securely upload your audio and video files in record time.
  • Fast transcription – Sonix’s automated algorithms will transcribe in less time than the length of your recording.
  • Email notifications – Sonix will send you an email when they are finished transcribing.

If you decide that Sonix is useful for you, there are two ways to pay for their service. Transcription costs $8.00 per hour. Membership costs $10/month, billed annually, or $15/month, billed monthly.

Charlie Rose Held a Podcast Roundtable

Charlie Rose is an acclaimed interviewer and broadcast journalist. He engages America’s best thinkers, writers, politicians, athletes, entertainers, and business leaders. Recently, he added “podcasters” to that list. Charlie Rose held a Podcast Roundtable in early October of 2017.

At the time I am writing this, the Podcast Roundtable episode is available to view on the Charlie Rose website. There is also a full transcript available. Charlie Rose started the Podcast Roundtable with:

We are living in the midst of a podcast boom. With the rise of mobile, more people are consuming content in transit than ever before. Podcast has also benefited from the power of audio which many have called the most intimate form of media.

Charlie Rose identified the podcasters that took part in the Podcast Roundtable as “four people leading the podcast revolution.” They were:

  • Alex Blumberg, the co-founder and CEO of Gimlet Media
  • Andy Bowers, the founder and chief content officer at Panoply Media
  • Paula Szuchman, the vice president of On-Demand Content at WNYC and WNYC Studios
  • Jed Abumrad, the creator and co-host of Radio Lab and More Perfect

Some of the topics they covered include:

  • Accessibility of podcasts – both in terms of starting one and in terms of listening to one
  • What do the most successful podcasts have?
  • Information about the More Perfect podcast
  • Has podcasting been an opportunity for women?
  • Advertising and making money from podcasting
  • How is podcasting changing? How is it evolving?

Tech Podcast Network – CES 2018 Coverage Plan

The Tech Podcast Network who has long covered the CES Show in January is changing tactics for 2018. For the first time the members of the Tech Podcast Network made up of 84 separate podcasts are going to focus on a segment of the exhibitors that in the early years where there bread and butter of content.

This year the TPN team made up of shows you love and trust will have their broadcast studio at the Sands Expo Hall. The team’s blog post says what we have found is the startups and vendors at the Sands are more aligned with what our teams and audience have come to expect from us. CES has grown so massive they say that it is impossible with the number of folks they will have on the ground to cover it all. The TPN team will be broadcasting from the lower level of Sands Exposition center the full four days of the show to their knowledge, they will be the only group that will have a dedicated broadcast studio in that hall.

This means a big change for the vendors that are accustomed to seeing the TPN team in the North Hall at LVCC. This opens up a huge opportunity for all the startups that found it hard to come see the team in the past at LVCC. This will also give TPN ready access to the Sands second-floor vendors who are introducing innovative products on their own.

New this year will be a roving live team that will transmit back to the broadcast studio allowing them to broadcast directly from the vendor’s booths. Broadcast appearance applications are open on the team’s coverage page at

Podiant is Ending their Free Hosting

Podiant used to offer professional-grade podcast hosting for free. The company will cease offering free plans and is switching to hosting plans that cost money. Podcasters who currently have their podcast hosted on Podiant will need to switch to a paid plan. Podiant explains the need for change this way:

Most of our users – the vast, vast majority – use Podiant completely free of charge, and don’t subscribe to our Patreon. That’s fine, except Podiant is not a large company with millions of dollars of investment behind it, and we don’t want to make money off your content or by selling banner ads. Podiant was designed to give a voice to those who might now have one, built on the belief that the community would support our efforts.

Over the past week, we’ve seen a huge influx of traffic that we’re struggling – and often failing – to keep up with. Storage and bandwidth aren’t a problem; we just can’t afford the computing power right now to handle all the feed requests.

Podiant is going to offer two new plans: Professional and Community. The Professional plan is $12.99 a month. More information about that plan will be released “in the coming days”. Podcasters who were already on the $15 or $30 plans will be able to migrate to the new Professional plan (which offers exactly the same features that the other paid plans did).

If you are using Podiant for free hosting, or are on the old $5 a month plan, things are going to change. Users on either of those two plans will have to do one of three things:

  • Upgrade to the Professional plan. (Podiant has a discount code available).
  • Apply for a space in the Community. (Fill in a short form. Podiant will assess your application and if your show meets the criteria, you’ll get free hosting.)
  • Transfer your podcast to another host (via the “cancel subscription” link – which Podiant will add in the next few days.)

Podiant explains the Community criteria on their blog. The key point is: “Basically all we’re looking to know is whether your podcast serves a community that isn’t already being served well. It doesn’t have to be a lofty goal, but if your show is you and a buddy discussing football or the latest Marvel movies, you probably won’t be eligible. Sorry.”

If you do not want to, or cannot, upgrade to the new Podiant plans, you have 90 days (from the point where the changes go live) to find a new host, should your Community application be denied.