Vocal Fry Studios has a Patreon



Vocal Fry Studios was created by Vicky Mochama and Katie Jensen, two Toronto-based journalists who wanted to create a safe, accessible and inclusive podcast workspace. You can help support Vocal Fry Studios by becoming a patron of their Patreon.

Vicky Mochama is the national columnist for Star Metro and a columnist for the Toronto Star. She has written for Vice, Globe and Mail and Hazlitt. She is the co-host of Safe Space and former co-host of Canadaland Commons.

Katie Jensen has produced audio for Metro News Canada, St. Joseph Media, Motherboard, Polaris Music Prize, Appcanary, The Imposter, and Canadaland. She currently works onThe Secret Life of CanadaSafe Space, Polaris Podcast, and Avocado Toast.

After years of recording in our bedrooms, living rooms, and weird offices, we decided to make our own podcast community hub.

We offer access to podcasting workshops, custom podcast creation, and studio space.

Vocal Fry Studios has a survey you can fill out if you would like to give them input about what “the podcast studio you always wanted” should be like. Vocal Fry Studios is creating a freelance podcaster roster right now. They also want to work with people from underrepresented groups. There is a form you can fill out if you want to be added to that list.

Vocal Fry Studios offers the following services:

Skills Workshops: From sound design to mic technique to RSS management, they will help you refine your audio storytelling craft

Custom Podcasts: They work with clients to create high-quality engaging podcasts that audiences will listen to and love.

Studio Rentals: They have a professional-quality podcast recording studio with affordable hourly rates and great gear.


Grammar Girl is on Stitcher Premium



The extremely popular Grammar Girl podcast is now on Stitcher Premium. The Grammar Girl podcast was the winner of Best Education Podcast in the 2017 Podcast AwardsGrammar Girl is a Quick and Dirty Tips podcast, which was founded by Grammar Girl host Mignon Fogarty.

Grammar Girl provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing. Covering the grammar rules and word choice guidelines that can confound even the best writers, Grammar Girl makes complex grammar questions simple with memory tricks to help you recall and apply those troublesome grammar rules. Whether English is your first language or a second language, Grammar Girl’s punctuation, style, and business tips will make you a better and more successful writer. Mignon Fogerty is the creator and host of Grammar Girl.

Stitcher Premium is offering a one-month free trial for people who want to try out the service. It also has a Premium plan that is $4.99 monthly, and a Premium Annual plan that is $2.92 monthly (and is billed annually).

Each of the paid plans offers the following features:

  • Stream and download all your favorite podcasts
  • 21,000 hours of premium podcasts
  • Bonus episodes and archives
  • Ad-free shows
  • 300+ comedy albums
  • Early access to new releases

Stitcher points out that some shows record their own ads which Stitcher cannot remove. Mignon Fogarty tweeted that people can sign up for Stitcher Premium and use the code GRAMMAR to get all those great ad-free Grammar Girl episodes (plus a monthly bonus episode). At the time I am writing this, it is her pinned tweet – so I am assuming that the code is still valid.

Some episodes of the Grammar Girl podcast are available on Apple Podcasts. The description of the show on Apple Podcast says that you can find the full, ad-free archive of Grammar Girl, as well as exclusive bonus episodes, only on Stitcher Premium.

What about the other places where people listen to the Grammar Girl podcast? Mignon Fogarty provided some clarity on Twitter, in response to someone who asked her if the podcast would still be broadcast on Tune In:


The New York Times Hired Amanda McCartney



The New York Times announced that Amanda McCartney has joined the New York Times advertising team as Director, Audio & Podcasts. This is a new role at The New York Times Company.

Amanda McCartney joins the New York Times from Slate Media, where she sold its selection of podcasts, including advice show Dear Prudence, Lexicon Valley, explainer show The Gist, and Trumpcast, shows for Slate’s Panoply network, and branded podcasts for three years.

Previously to Slate, Amanda McCartney was a national sales manager at The Washington Post and HuffPost. At The New York Times, she will be working collaboratively with client leads to sell The Time’s podcast inventory, like The Daily and Still Processing, as well as calling on direct response podcast agencies.

The Daily is hosted by Michael Barbaro. A new twenty minute episode about the news topics of the day is posted five days a week. Still Processing is a conversation between Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham, two culture writers for the New York Times, as they try to understand the pleasures and pathologies of America in 2018. Other podcasts from the New York Times include: Modern Love, The Book ReviewChange Agent, Dear Sugars, PopcastThe New Washington, and Caliphate.


Pocket Casts has been Acquired



Pocket Cast has been acquired by NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago, and This American Life. This unprecedented collaboration furthers public radio’s leading role as an innovator in audio discovery and distribution, while ensuring the continued support and growth of one of the most popular listening platforms on the market.

Audio veteran Owen Grover will serve as CEO of Pocket Casts. Grover previously served as Executive Vice President and General Manager at iHeartRadio, and before that as Vice President of Programming and Marketing at Clear Channel Music & Radio.

Pocket Casts will operate as a joint venture, with founders Philip Simpson and Russell Ivanovic in leadership roles and the existing staff and developer team remaining in place. To ensure development aligns with the mission-driven ethos of public radio, the board will be compromised of representatives of the public media leaders.

Shifty Jelly created Pocket Casts in 2008. Pocket Casts published a blog post titled “The Next Chapter” on May 4, 2018. The key part of the post states: “Today we’re excited to announce a partnership with some of the biggest producers of podcasts in the world to take Pocket Casts to the next level.” Pocket Casts reviews how important it is for them to keep the best interests of their customers in mind, and that they had turned down previous acquirement offers that they felt were not the best fit.

That’s why when a combined group comprised of WYNC, NPR, WBEZ, and This American Life approached us with the goal of partnering for the good of the entire podcast industry, we knew that this opportunity was something else entirely. Everything from their not for profit mission focus, to their unwavering belief that open and collaborative wins over closed walled gardens deeply resonated with us. Together we have the passion, scale, and laser focus needed to achieve some truly great things.

The blog post has a list of questions that Shifty Jelly figured customers would be asking in regards to the acquisition. On May 8, 2018, Shifty Jelly followed up with a post titled “Addressing Your Concerns”. In the post, users of Pocket Casts are reassured that Pocket Casts will not start tracking user locations, and that it will not start pushing invasive ad technology on people (among other concerns).


Spreaker Added Updated Scheduling Features



Spreaker has added something new to their Content Management System to help make podcasting even easier for Spreaker users. They updated their scheduling features. It is for podcasters who love to plan ahead and who hate leaving things up to the last minute.

From now on, once you record and create your show you will have the opportunity to create a scheduled episode page for future episodes, informing your audience of when they can expect your next episode to be released. How far in advance can you go? More than two years! The holding page will show your podcast’s image and will state the exact time and date of when the episode will go live.

Spreaker is aware of how much easier things are when you have the opportunity to get them done ahead of time. This is why they made it possible to share episode links, schedule social sharing, and embed episodes in your blog, all of which are unpublished and all in advance.

By having access to your show’s link, you will be able to share your unpublished episode with your audience, ahead of time, in whichever way you wish, for example via e-mail or website. It will also allow you to program your social media channels – offering you the chance to promote each episode to its maximum capacity. You can also insert unpublished episodes into your blog.


Reality Check of RAD or Podcast Pingback Adoption



Let me state from the beginning that I am an avid supporter of the RAD initiative by NPR. Many of you may not be familiar with RAD, but to break it down in the simplest form it’s the measurement of client-side aka app playback data of podcast. RAD provides the ability for podcast measurement platforms to get info like when a listener starts, stops, scrubs ahead or back, and most importantly did an ad get played within the content.

The high majority of playback globally happens on a variety of apps of which most are well under 1% global listening marketing share on both Apple and Android. The exception is the Apple Podcasts App which dominates a huge percentage of the global consumption.

Since podcasts inception in 2004, podcast downloads are measured/filtered with server log data. Over the past several years, the IAB Podcast Measurement committee has worked with 30 plus podcasting companies to ratify podcast measurement guidelines that the podcast measurement industry uses today in reporting podcast downloads. While podcast metrics have been measured since 2005 with initial standards put in place in 2008 through the now-defunct Association for Downloadable Media, companies like Blubrry, Libsyn & Podtrac set those early standards of which many are rolled into the current guidelines.

Many of the companies in the podcasting space are not yet satisfied with the data provided with the current IAB guidelines and think that more advertisers will enter the podcast advertising space if this client-side data can be obtained through RAD.

I do not see Apple participating in RAD or any other initiative that exposes listener listening habits. With privacy concerns raging across the digital space plus the forthcoming GDPR regulations I see no way that some of the other big bigger players will be willing to participate in RAD even if the IP data is tokenized (anonymized).

I am all about data, and as a true data junky/podcaster, the more data we have to help podcasting as an industry move forward I’m behind. I will always support getting more information for podcasters to make informed decisions on their content to include information that they can use to monetize their shows. The lingering question I have is when do we have enough info, when do we go to far. Anonymizing the listeners is critical in any of these efforts.

So let’s assume that Apple is not going to play ball with RAD. Then that leaves us with 30-35% of the remaining global consumption across apps, websites and third-party sites that could be measured by RAD. This is assuming that 30+ podcast apps on iOS and Android add the RAD protocol to their apps. Which will take considerable development time on each app, plus testing with no financial benefit for the app developer. This will add overhead to their app, add data traffic load to their users. Plus each app will have to develop new TOS to inform users of this collection of play data, plus GDPR compliance for EU listeners. I cannot imagine them not giving a listener the option to opt out of this data collection.

I am not even addressing if Google, Pandora, and Spotify decide to play ball. Spotify, Pandora & Google Play are streaming platforms versus on demand.  Spotify has some of these play metrics already which helps but the data from them is unique in it’s own way and does not fit the download narrative or fit nicely into billing for advertising. Google based on recent interviews may not even have a mechanism to add RAD until they develop their own app as it appears Google Plays days are numbered.

One thing for sure the download is still and will remain king for a long time, and if we are lucky we will get a 10-15% participation rate in RAD which is still great information as it comes to data sampling and helps build the sales story confirming what we actually already know through other analysis methods. Any podcast measurement company worth its salt already can already trend how many subscribed listeners are listening and staying subscribed.

Add to this discussion a new entrant in the space has just introduced a competing protocol to RAD so while I applaud efforts of the Podcast Pingback group, in my opinion, they would have been better served to have added their voice to the RAD committee as all of their ideas are already on the table and have been for some time with the coalition of companies already working on the RAD spec.

I will say it again, I am a RAD supporter but do not want to sugar coat the hard work ahead to get us to the 10, 20, 30% adoption rate. 30% adoption would be a major win. I remain focused on improving the listener’s experience, that will drive listener volume. I would love to hear your thoughts on RAD in the comments below.

Todd Cochrane

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash


Pandora has Acquired AdsWizz



Earlier this year, Pandora announced that it would acquire AdsWizz. That same day, AdsWizz confirmed the acquisition in a tweet that linked to a press release on Business Wire. Pandora posted the same press release on their website.

Pandora is the world’s most powerful music discovery platform. AdsWizz has created the end-to-end technology platform that is powering the digital audio advertising ecosystem. From dynamic ad insertion to advanced programmatic platforms to innovative new audio formats, AdsWizz efficiently connects buyers and sellers in digital audio.

Pandora announced that the addition of AdsWizz will upgrade Pandora’s ad tech capabilities, provide its advertisers with greater audience reach, and expand the company’s revenue opportunities.

AdsWizz is one of the few ad tech firms that is completely dedicated to digital audio, serving some of the largest players in the industry. With digital audio advertising growing 42% year-over-year, according to the IAB, the combined offering of Pandora and AdsWizz will capitalize on this trend, making it easier for publishers to monetize their inventory and for advertisers to buy and measure their campaigns.

Once fully integrated, advertisers will be able to transact through AdsWizz’s global marketplace across Pandora and other leading audio publishers. Pandora will support the growth of AdsWizz’s core business and invest in technology development that serves all constituents.

The press release states that AdsWizz will become a subsidiary of Pandora. Alexis van de Weyr will remain the CEO of AdsWizz. Pandora agreed to pay $145 million in a combination of cash and stock, with a minimum of 50 percent paid in cash and stock (with a minimum of 50 percent paid in cash and the remainder to be paid, at Pandora’s election, in either cash or stock. This transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018.


Capture Hot Ideas for Sure – The Wave Notebook from Rocketbook



The Wave Notebook - From Rocketbook - Capture HOT Ideas and Then - Make them DISAPPEAR!

In a digital age, there’s never been a more important time to be able to document what we as podcasters “do.” I don’t know about you, but the value of a good notebook, for to-do lists, sketching, and general day-to-day odds and ends is something I’ve been without for a long time. In it’s place I’ve used:

  • Table Placemats from Denny’s
  • The Back of Something “of lesser importance”
  • An Extracted Piece of Printer Paper

and any one of a number of other things that would make any 3rd Grade Art teacher proud. But what’s left when it’s time to take notes and what’s the “incentive” to hang on to a notebook nowadays when everything is going “digital?” The fact is that all of us have purchased a notebook and made a new pledge to use it, document our activities, to journal and half a dozen other things but how can you do it nowadays and have it stick?

Write Down, Capture It, Catalog It, Zap and Repeat…

Enter The Wave Notebook from Rocketbook. We’re all familiar with Erasable Pens. I’ve been using them since the 70s so that tech isn’t new, and the value of them IS valuable. But after something is put onto paper how can you “get it digital?” How can you hold the value of the notebook you’ve just purchased? The Wave provides you two sizes of notebook (I went with the “Executive Size” (6″ x 8.9″)) and gives you a professional-looking, to-the-point tool that offers a whole lot more. Fill your pages with content within the black borders of the page with doodles, flowcharts, to-do listings, or notes from a meeting. Now the digital magic and cataloging can begin.

Your Thoughts and Skill Sets Captured:

An app, downloaded to either Android or iPhone is used to very quickly scan/capture the image of the page. A series of ghosted/watermarked logos on the bottom of the page allow you to instantly have the scan/captured image be sent to a growing number of online/clouded repositories and so now – all of your notes, sketches, fever-created nonsense and cannot-possibly-live-without-this scribble can live on – forever. The resolution is also remarkable, providing even ME – the picky-bastard artist in the room satiated with my sketches and what I’ve captured.

“So far this isn’t blowing up my need-a-notebook skirt, Mike. Now what?”

If digital capture and cataloging of your hand-created materials wasn’t good enough, how about a little written-hand to text action? You got it. It’s here.

What you’ll also note is that the benefit of the stiffer, more-durable pages within the spiral-bound notebook offer up an almost magical, value-added power. When you’ve filled the book, or need more pages, fear not. While The Wave Notebook retails for $27 (I got mine for $19 on sale), what would you pay for a noteboook – you never had to replace? Let me explain: When the time comes/you want to return to completely-clear pages, simply slide The Wave Notebook into a microwave, place a mostly-full cup of water on top of it, and in 2 minutes (one minute per side), you’ll have – a brand-new, clean notebook to begin capturing your next favorite pen-generated masterpiece.

Click Here to See a Larger Version Now!  Click Here to See a Larger Version Now!  Click Here to See a Larger Version Now!

You can see from the images here that this notebook, process and repository is one to marvel at but I’m curious – what do YOU think? Use the comments below to tell me what this makes you think of and let’s talk more about what you STILL need to “write down!”

Get a Wave Notebook from Rocketbook:
https://getrocketbook.com/products/rocketbook-wave


Omny Studio Released Loudness Normalization Tool



Omny Studio has released a loudness normalization tool. Omny Studio customers can now apply loudness normalization settings to their published audio for each individual show or to their organizations as a whole.

The normalizations settings are configured by three values: integrated loudness in LUFS, maximum true peak in dbTP, and loudness range in LU. We also provide a range of presets based on various international standards and also service defaults. These include settings which adhere to Google and Amazon’s specifications for the Google Home and Amazon Alexa smart speaker devices.

Omny studios points out that Podnews conducted a loudness analysis of the top 100 podcasts. The analysis highlighted the lack of uniformity in regards to loudness across the podcasting space.

Omny Studio’s loudness normalization tool is intended to help address this lack of uniformity as well as adhere to the specifications that are required for smart speakers as they rise in popularity. You can listen to some clips on the Omny Studio medium post about this topic. Those clips give examples of the difference in loudness in audio.

On Omny Studio’s Medium post, you can listen to audio with Google’s loudness specifications, Amazon’s loudness specifications, and the EU’s loudness specifications. Compare those to the original un-processed audio, and a clip with the auto-leveling feature applies (and no loudness normalization).