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.

Katie Couric has a Podcast on Earwolf

Katie Couric podcastKatie Couric has launched her very first podcast. It is simply called “Katie Couric” and it is on the Earwolf network.

Katie Couric began her journalism career as an assistant at the ABC network. She later reported for NBC and became coanchor of Today. She was named the first solo female anchor of CBS Evening News in 2006. More recently, in 2012, she became the host of the ABC talk show Katie, and has served as the global news anchor for Yahoo since 2014.

The Katie Couric podcast will feature Katie Couric as host and Brian Goldsmith as co-host. He is a political consultant at Yahoo News. The podcast will include interviews of the biggest names in news, politics, and popular culture.

Early episodes of the podcast include Democratic senator Al Franken; public opinion guru Frank Luntz; sportscaster Bob Costas; author Rebecca Traister, author and The New York Times editor Jonathan Weisman; and Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. The podcast will also include the voices of their listeners.

The Katie Couric podcast currently has four episodes available right now. The most recent one features actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The podcast is available for streaming or download on iTunes, Stitcher, or Soundcloud.

E.W. Scripps Seeks Executive Producer for Earwolf

Earwolf logoE.W. Scripps acquired Midroll Media in 2015, a move that made Midroll Media a wholly-owned subsidiarity of the E.W. Scripps Company. They are currently seeking an Executive Producer for Earwolf.

Midroll is the parent company of Earwolf, a comedy podcasting network. It has more than 35 shows that are produced weekly. Some of those shows include: Seth Godwin’s Startup School, Maltin on Movies (with Leonard Maltin and Baron Vaughn), With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus (hosted by Lauren Lapkus), Rhona & Beverly (hosted by Jessica Chaffin and Jamie Denbo), and The Longest Shortest Time (hosted by Hillary Frank), to name just a few.

The Executive Producer will lead Midroll’s network of weekly shows. He or she will work closely with their talent and the production teams in LA and NYC to launch great new shows, improve the content of existing Earwolf productions and engage and grow the audience. The Earwolf Executive Producer “will have a strategic vision for the network, prioritizing audience growth and content excellence”.

The position is listed as “full-time”. Midroll has a strong preference for candidates who are experienced in working in the comedy genre. If this is something that interests you, it would be a good idea to read the full job description over at E. W. Scripps.

Adam Carolla to Patent Troll: Podcasting Is “Not The ATM You Think It Is”

Adam Carolla Show LogoAfter a 45-day gag order required him to not speak about the settlement of the infamous podcast-patent troll lawsuit, Adam Carolla was finally able to discuss the matter on his show. Carolla, along with his usual cohosts and special guest legal counsel Mike August went over some details of the case. Here are some highlights:

  • The so-called patent troll company, Personal Audio, sued Adam Carolla in a court district in East Texas known to be friendly to these types of lawsuits. Personal Audio also sued Apple under this patent in the same district and won to the tune of eight million dollars.
  • Carolla’s team was spending about $100,000 per month in legal expenses during the lawsuit.
  • Personal Audio stated its patent covers episodic content delivered via the Internet. The company sued NBC, CBS and Adam Carolla looking for royalty payments.
  • The lawsuit was originally filed against Carolla in January 2013. It was scheduled to go to trial in September 2014. In July 2014, Personal Audio approached Carolla about dropping the suit because he had been successful in raising legal defense funds thru crowdsourcing as well as creating a lot of negative PR for Personal Audio by tying the name of the company to the term “patent troll.”
  • Personal Audio initially filed their lawsuit against “Ace Broadcasting,” which isn’t a name officially used by Carolla. When they first tried to serve legal papers at Carolla’s studio they were turned away by Carolla’s staff for that very reason.
  • At first, Carolla wasn’t concerned about the lawsuit as he believed he hadn’t done anything wrong. But Mike August was quick to explain that in patent suits, the burden of proof is shifted from the plaintiff to the defendant, causing the defendant to have to prove they didn’t violate the patent.
  • In the papers served to Carolla, Personal Audio sent a 50-page, single-space document that was a copy of the patent with no further explanation of how the patent had been violated.
  • The patent was originally granted in 1996 based on an idea to syndicate magazine articles online. In 2009, the holder of the patent applied for a sub-patent that would cover newer technologies such as podcasting. The sub-patent was approved in 2012, opening the door to these types of lawsuits.
  • In the original lawsuit, Personal Audio demanded a payment of 3.5 million dollars. Mike August estimated that it’d cost 1.5 million to defend the case, and that’s why Carolla decided to fight the suit and turn to crowdsourcing for legal funds.
  • According to Mike August, Carolla didn’t simply “settle” the lawsuit. Personal Audio dismissed the case because the company felt Carolla’s PR campaign was tainting the jury pool in East Texas which would make it harder for Personal Audio to win other lawsuits.
  • Carolla’s team wanted Personal Audio to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice but they wouldn’t agree to that so the case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning that they can technically sue Carolla again for the same thing.
  • Carolla had raised about $475,000 for his legal defense fund. Had he not accepted the dismissal, the lawsuit could’ve cost him more than a million dollars beyond what had already been raised.
  • Carolla spent about $675,000 defending the case, so even with the crowdsourced funds, he’s still at a deficit over the case.
  • CBS was sued on the same day as Carolla and the jury found CBS had infringed the patent and was ordered to pay 1.3 million dollars.
  • As part of the terms of dismissing the case, Personal Audio had to publicly state that they wouldn’t file similar lawsuits against other podcasters that had publicly supported Carolla. Marc Maron, Chris Hardwick, Earwolf, Jay Mohr  and Joe Rogan were specifically mentioned.
  • Mike August believes that if Personal Audio had to do it all over again, they wouldn’t file another suit against Carolla as they’ve realized that there just isn’t enough money in podcasting to make these types of lawsuits worthwhile.
  • Personal Audio had approximately ten different lawyers from three different firms working on the case. Carolla was using a single legal firm in Texas of three to five lawyers.
  • Mike August states that the podcast patent only applied to Carolla’s website. Since the Carolla podcast is distributed thru multiple channels, this actually lowered the amount of damages Personal Audio could claim in the lawsuit.

Carolla wrapped up the discussion by saying, “I think we’ve struck a nice blow for podcasters. I think the water shall be safe, whether it’s this company, Personal Audio, or other companies that come after that. Which is really that… This is not the ATM that you guys think it is… Go sue somebody else.”

You can download or stream the entire episode thru the link at the top of this article (the lawsuit discussion starts at about 14:53). Keep in mind that The Adam Carolla Show does carry an explicit tag for colorful language.

Earwolf Podcast Network Merges With Midroll To Form New Company

Midroll LogoPopular podcast network Earwolf has merged with podcast advertising company Midroll to form a new entity, Midroll Media. From the Midroll blog:

“…Midroll Media, LLC, built from the merger of Earwolf Media, LLC, the pioneering comedy podcast network, and The Mid Roll podcast advertising network. The new company offers a 360-degree suite of production, distribution, and monetization services to artists, entertainers and thought leaders. Advertisers benefit from access to the talented hosts of more than 120 shows and their engaged audiences totaling more than 15 million downloads a month, using the industry’s first user-focused, self-service platform.”

The statement also notes that both Earwolf and Midroll have been successful, bootstrapped companies, and that the people behind both organizations believe podcasting is about to see a surge in growth, thanks to emerging technologies such as the connected car. More from the Midroll blog:

“Earwolf productions consistently rank amongst the top 20 podcasts in the iTunes chart, and are critical favorites. Rolling Stone recently named 4 Earwolf shows in its ’20 Best Comedy Podcasts Right Now’ feature, including ‘How Did This Get Made’ with actor/comedian Paul Scheer and ‘Comedy Bang! Bang!,’ Earwolf’s first podcast, hosted by company co-founder Scott Aukerman. ‘Comedy Bang! Bang!’ was turned into a popular IFC television series now in its third season.”

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