Spreaker Adds New Abilities for Amazon Alexa

In October of 2017, Spreaker announced that their 50,000+ show catalog was available on Amazon Alexa devices. Spreaker was a brand new Amazon Alexa skill. Now, Spreaker has announced new Alexa updates that allow you to do more with Spreaker through Alexa.

Amazon’s Alexa is a wireless, voice-activated “smart speaker” by Amazon. It features a digital personal assistant voice service called Alexa. These devices include Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot.

With the original version of Spreaker on Alexa, listeners were able to select specific podcasts to listen to and could pause, resume, skip and more. However, the latest version has added new features to upgrade the listener experience and make sure you never miss a second of your favorite show again! A new option includes the ability to fast forward or rewind episodes, giving you complete control of how you navigate a program.

Sometimes, you are listening to a podcast and something else catches your attention. You shift your focus to something else, and miss part of your podcast. If this happens, you can say: “Alexa, ask Spreaker to Rewind 30 seconds”.

What if you are listening to a podcast and it goes off topic? If you are short on time, you can say: “Alexa, ask Spreaker to Fast Forward 2 minutes”.

In addition, you can say: “Alexa, what’s new this week on Spreaker?” Or, you can say: “Alexa, ask Spreaker to recommend something new.” This will cause Spreaker to give you some recommendations about more podcasts that you might enjoy listening to.

Spreaker listeners in Canada, Australia, or India can now access the Skill in their countries. All you need to do is enable it from the dedicated Alexa Skill page on the Amazon website, or activate it from the Alexa App. (Search for the Spreaker Podcast Radio Player Skill.)

E.W. Scripps is Selling its 34 Radio Stations

E.W. Scripps announced on January 25, 2018, that it is creating a stronger, more streamlined and higher-preforming company through comprehensive restructuring and cost reductions expected to yield more than $30 million in annual cost savings.

The company plans to sell its 34 radio stations and has retained Kalil & Co., Inc. to handle the process.

“Today, Scripps is a dynamic leader in the media industry through its strong local TV station portfolio, its growing multicast network, its national news network and its podcasting business,” Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson said. “The enterprise-wide restructuring positions us well for continued growth while maintaining high-quality journalism as our central focus.”

During the third-quarter 2017, the company began its restructuring with a $2.4 million restructuring charge. The company will take a restructuring charge of $2 million in the fourth quarter, estimates a $4 million charge in the first quarter and expects to take smaller quarterly charges into 2019.

The annual cost savings are driven by reductions in head count and operating expenses over the next 12-18 months. These include centralization of services and technology; sharing of resources; elimination of redundant positions and services; and other expense reductions.

Another component of the company’s performance-improvement plan is its high priority on configuring a more durable TV station portfolio during this period of changing local market regulations.

“This plan is consistent with our goal to create both short-term and long-term value by improving margins and cash flow in our local media business and supporting the growth of our national businesses,” said Symson. “Our restructuring analysis also led us to determine the time is right to find a new owner for our radio group that can provide the focus and resources the stations and their creative, devoted employees deserve.”

U.S. Senator Cory Booker has a Podcast

U.S. Senator Cory Booker represents the state of New Jersey. He has started his own podcast. It is called Lift Every Voice. The podcast’s website is the same one as Senator Cory Booker’s official U.S. Senate website. You can find information about individual episodes of Lift Every Voice there, as well as his statements about other important topics.

Lift Every Voice is dedicated to shining a light on overlooked issues of injustice and inequality and sharing inspiring stories of change. Each episode, U.S. Senator Cory Booker will talk with grassroots activists, stakeholders, and organizers who are overcoming injustices and making positive change in their communities.

So far, Lift Every Voice has posted a Teaser Trailer and two full episodes. The first episode is called #GoodTrouble. It features civil rights icon Representative John Lewis (who represents Georgia’s 5th congressional district.) Senator Cory Booker and Representative John Lewis discuss the struggle for equality and John Lewis’s integral role in helping bring about the end of segregation in the United States.

Representative John Lewis is the only living person from the “Big Six” group leaders who organized the March on Washington in 1963.

Episode two is titled Dreamers. It features four Dreamers from New Jersey: Adriana, Kyungmin, Deya & Liz. They share their incredibly inspiring and heartbreaking stories with U.S. Senator Cory Booker.

PodcastOne and AP Teamed Up to Provide Winter Games Coverage

PodcastOne SportsNet and The Associated Press have teamed up to provide in-depth daily reports from national and international sporting events. This begins with the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

PodcastOne SportsNet will distribute Associated Press reports starting with the Winter Olympics (and continuing with other national and international sports). The deal will add AP reports to PodcastOne’s sports podcast lineup; AP news reports currently appear on PodcastOne non-sports offerings.

PodcastOne Chairman Norm Pattiz said, “This will provide AP and PodcastOne subscribers with real-time, daily news reports, commentary, and original content. It will provide additional power to the explosive growth of podcasting, while taking maximum advantage of the unmatched connection to listeners that podcasts already provide. AP Sports is everywhere with on-the-ground, first-hand coverage that will now be available via podcasts as never before.”

“We are excited to work with PodcastOne to bring AP’s unrivaled worldwide sports coverage to a new audience through on-demand digital audio-programming – a growing medium,” said Anthony Brito, AP director for digital and commercial markets. “The expertise of our reporters and hosts, coupled with AP Sports content and PodcastOne’s vast network makes for a winning combination for sports fans everywhere.”

The deal also includes new PodcastOne and AP content. Additionally, Red Circle Sports with Dennis Miller, Riggle’s Picks, Real GM and others will be added to PodcastOne SportsNet’s line-up. Content produced by AP and PodcastOne SportsNet will be distributed on AP platforms, as well as PodcastOne.com and the PodcastOne app.

Nintendo Released the Nintendo Power Podcast

Nintendo of America has launched the Nintendo Power Podcast. Those of us who recall flipping through the Nintendo Power magazine back in the day, in search of the latest news about Nintendo’s games, will probably want to check out the new podcast version. One of the things Nintendo does extremely well is evoke nostalgia for their products.

Nintendo of America released the very first episode of its new Nintendo Power Podcast. With Nintendo Power Podcast, Nintendo employees, developers, and special guests discuss the world of Nintendo – from Mario to the Legend of Zelda, and everything in between.

The first episode of the Nintendo Power Podcast was released on December 20, 2018. In the debut episode, host Chris Slate looks back at the Nintendo Switch system in 2017 with Kit Ellis, co-host of Nintendo Minute, and Damon Baker from Publisher and Developer Relations at Nintendo of America.

Host Chris Slate then discusses the development of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with the game’s producer, Mr. Eiji Aonuma and director Mr. Hidemaro Fujibayashi.

The second episode was released on January 25, 2018. Following the announcement of Nintendo Labo, host Chris Slate discusses what it’s like to build Toy-Con with gusts Krysta Yang, co-host of Nintndo Minute, and Nate Bihldorff, Senior Director of Localization at Nintendo of America.

The group also recommends games they’ve been enjoying, answers listeners questions, and takes this month’s Warp Zone game quiz.

The Nintendo Power Podcast is now available on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud and YouTube and is coming soon to Google Play Music.

Apple is Hiring a Digital Supply Chain Technical Producer

Apple logoApple is hiring a Digital Supply Chain, Technical Producer. The job listing was posted on January 19, 2018. The position includes 40 hours a week. The hourly pay was not described in the job listing.

Here’s the summary of the job:

Apple Podcasts boasts the largest and most popular podcast directory in the world and serves a global audience of millions. Our Siri Audio News briefs keeps listeners informed around the world. The Apple Podcast and Siri Audio News team seeks a Content Producer to be responsible for the health of the podcast and audio news catalogs and act as our front-line point of provider support.

Our new team member will handle the partner-hosted content supply chains, process DMCA removals, support Apple-internal podcast providers, oversee our support forums and manage our technical documents. This role demands the Content Producer support a larger number of providers, ranging from first-time amateurs to large public broadcasters and Fortune 100 companies.

Some Key Qualifications include:

  • Excellent written communication skills, focused specifically on technical communication with vendors
  • Strong time-management skills and a demonstrated ability to work independently as well as in a team environment
  • Strong understanding of the technology behind blogging, podcasting, RSS, XML, and media streaming protocols
  • Good understanding of the podcast, radio and online video media landscapes
  • Complete understanding of Apple Podcasts on macOS, tvOS and iOS
  • Fluency in English with Spanish or Asian language skills an advantage
  • BA/BS degree in business, communication, technology or related field.

For full details, please visit the Digital Supply Chain Technical Producer job listing on the Apple website.

Visionary Audio Producer Joe Frank has Passed Away

Joe Frank, a longtime voice at KCRW, passed away on January 15, 2018. The cause was complications after surgery for colon cancer. He was 79 years old. Joe Frank’s story-telling “radio noir” style influenced many podcasters to create story driven work.

KCRW wrote a detailed piece about Joe Frank that you may want to read. It included:

A Peabody Award and Emmy Award winner, Frank earned a reputation as a visionary audio producer who pushed the medium beyond traditional boundaries. He also inspired younger radio broadcasters, including Ira Glass, Jad Abumrad, Jonathan Goldstein, and many others, to experiment with storytelling formats.

The official Joe Frank website has a section on his work. He began his career in 1976 at WBAI in New York City. In his Saturday night show “In the Dark” he experimented with live freeform radio featuring his monologues and actor improvisations.

In 1978, he was hired to co-anchor Weekend All Things Considered on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered”. Not long after that, Joe Frank returned to producing radio shows for NPR Playhouse. Joe Frank produced over two hundred radio programs for KCRW, Santa Monica, and NPR.

Joe Frank recently performed live before full houses in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. He also returned to broadcasting, and was producing new shows for KCRW’s radio series “Unfictional”.

99% Invisible is Hiring a Radio/Podcast Producer

99% Invisible is hiring a Radio/Podcast Producer. The position is full-time employment. It comes with medical insurance, dental insurance, and a 401K.

99% Invisible is looking for a talented and driven producer to join their team in downtown Oakland California. With over 225 million downloads, 99% Invisible is consistently one of the most popular podcasts in iTunes. The podcast is hosted by Roman Mars, who is also a co-founder of Radiotopia, a collective of ground-breaking, story-driven podcasts.

Producers for 99% Invisible receive competitive salaries, full benefits, and flexible/reasonable schedules. 99% Invisible believes people should have time for a life outside of work.

Tasks the Radio/Podcast Producer will do include:

  • Research story ideas for episodes and write concise and compelling story pitches
  • Pre-interview and interview sources for stories
  • Produce scripts that are well structured, well written and in “the voice” of 99% Invisible
  • Edit and mix in Pro Tools
  • Participate in group edits
  • Edit companion web articles
  • Promote episodes on social media and other channels

Skills needed include:

  • Four or more years experience producing narrative journalism
  • Demonstrated writing ability
  • Solid foundation in editing audio, Pro Tools a plus
  • Audio omnivore
  • Works well under pressure

Those interested in applying for the 99% Invisible Radio/Podcast Producer position need to be aware that the deadline is February 15, 2018. Please check out the job listing for full details.

Podcast Movement 2018 Announced a New Track

Podcast Movement 2018 has announced that they have added a brand new track to their Session Offerings. The new track will start at this year’s Podcast Movement in Philadelphia.

The suggestion for this new category came from one of the most respected members of the podcast community, Podcast Hall of Famer Elsie Escobar. Her podcasts include She Podcasts and Libsyn’s The Feed. Part of Elsie Escobar’s explanation of the new track is:

Podcasters have a history of being culture shifters, change makers, fringe dwellers, and risk takers. There is a wealth of podcasts out there that have had a massive impact on society, culture, inclusion, diversity, and creating communities of belonging.

This year, Podcast Movement leads the industry by offering the opportunity to podcasters whose work is heavily embedded in social and cultural topics, serving underrepresented populations and to those addressing social justice issues through podcasting by adding another session track: Society, Culture & Advocacy!

The Society, Culture & Advocacy track is described as: “This track encourages speakers and attendees alike to address some of the most difficult, but also most important, topics head-on. From discussions around diversity, racism, and harassment, to bringing voice to underrepresented communities, we look forward to them happening at this year’s conference.”

Other Podcast Movement Session Tracks include:

  • Creation
  • Technical
  • Industry
  • Marketing
  • Monetization

Podible has a “New Year, New Studio” Sweepstakes

Podible was built with podcasters in mind. They have a “New Year, New Studio” sweepstakes happening right now. Enter to win a brand new studio! You must enter before February 5, 2018.

Podible is giving away a studio setup valued at over $500 to the registered podcast that has the most listens on their platform between January 15, 2018, and February 2, 2015.

If you already have a podcast on Podible, that has gets a good amount of listeners, it might be worth it to enter the sweepstakes. That being said, it is unclear when Podible starts counting your listens. Will they count it from January 15, 2018, or will they count it from the day you enter?

Personally, I’m not sure how someone who starts a brand new podcast on Podible right now would be able to compete with the Podible podcasters who already had a large, consistent, audience before the sweepstakes started. It generally takes time to grow an audience, especially for a new podcast.

To enter the sweepstakes, you must do three things:

  • Enter your email address and podcast name on the Podible website about the sweepstakes
  • Let your listeners know that they can help you will a new studio simply by listening to your podcast on Podible.
  • Check your email and @Podible on Twitter to see daily updates on how you’re doing and who is currently in the lead.

There will be a total of one winner of the Podible New Year New Studio Sweepstakes. That podcaster could win the following:

  • A Microphone Kit: Heil Sound PR 40 Dynamic Cardioid Studio Microphone Bundle with PRSM Shock Mount, Two-Section Broadcast Arm and Microphone Cable
  • An Isolation Shield: LyxPro VRI-20 Portable Acoustic Foam Isolation Microphone Shield, Sound Absorbing, Vocal Recording Panel, High Performance – Stand Mount
  • A Portable Recorder: Tascam DR-05 (Version 2) Portable Handheld Digital Audio Recorder (Black) with Platinum accessory bundle
  • A Pop Filter: Dragonpad USA Pop Filter Studio Microphone Mic Wind Screen Pop Filter Swivel Mount 360 Flexible Gooseneck Holder, Black
  • And more!

The lucky winner will also receive “Podcast in a Box” services from PodcastPress and consultation services from Scott Doucet & Cole Johnson at Podcast Bay.