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).