Acast Available to Drivers Via Ford SYNC

Ford announced at Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona, that the Acast mobile app would be made available to drivers via Ford SYNC 3 AppLink.

Ford SYNC AppLink enables drivers to use supported smartphone apps on their vehicle’s integrated touchscreen; with advanced voice and steering controls. AppLink is powered by SmartDeviceLink (SDL) an open source software solution promoted by a number of auto makers. SDL provides a common interface between apps and vehicles.

Acast is a curated platform for podcasts. They connect listeners, podcast creators, and advertisers in a fully integrated, one-stop shop. Acast helps listeners discover new content by suggesting new voices and popular shows, as well as fully curated lists.

Acast also provides podcasters with a simple publishing service for their content. Acast+ is a marketplace for podcasts. Acast describes Acast+ this way: “We created a destination where you can sell your premium content directly to your loyal audience for a price you set yourself”.

Ford announced that the mobile app from audio-on-demand podcast Acast would be made available to drivers. This offers online downloads and an intelligent recommendation engine analyses commute times to suggest podcasts which best fit journey length.

Acast was one of the winners of Ford’s 2017 “Make it Drivable” Paris AppLink Challenge, a start-up focused event to help companies develop ideas that make journeys better.

Anchor Introduces Anchor 3.0

Anchor has introduced Anchor 3.0. It features a re-imagined mobile app built for effortless podcast creation. The app is free for iOS and Android. Anchor 3.0 has a brand new web dashboard with creation tools and analytics, expanded distribution options, and unlimited podcast hosting that is 100% free.

Anchor heard time and time and time again that what creators truly wanted was to make a real podcast and have it heard everywhere people are listening. That’s where Anchor 3.0 comes in.

Coming off the heels of our Series A funding, Anchor 3.0 removes all of the difficulty of getting a high quality podcast made and distributed everywhere people listen to audio.

Anchor’s app for iOS and Android has been re-imagined specifically for making a podcast, right from your phone. Open the app, and you are taken straight into creation, where the app automatically builds a new episode for your podcast every day you use it. From there, you can easily record (by yourself or with up to 10 friends), add full songs from Apple Music or Spotify for your Anchor listeners, add a wide range of transitions, or broadcast voice messages from your listeners.

Voice messages have been redesigned to enable direct, private conversations with the ability for either party to publish the audio to an episode. The app now allows creators to rearrange segments in their episodes and build episodes from new or previous content. The listening section of the app has been updated to better provide great audio for you to listen to.

With Anchor 3.0, you can now make or manage your podcast using brand-new creators. The web tools sync seamlessly with the Anchor app, making it easy to switch back and forth between experiences.

Anchor now lets creators seamlessly distribute episodes across top podcasting apps with the press of a button. This includes Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and more. Creators can also distribute podcasts made with Anchor to Spotify.

The Daily Podcast is Coming to Public Radio

The Daily is a podcast from The New York Times. A new twenty-minute episode of the podcast is released every weekday. Soon, The Daily will be available on public radio.

The new radio edition of the popular podcast “The Daily” will be available to public radio listeners across the country beginning April 2. The New York Times and American Public Media announced earlier this year that they will be joining forces in this collaboration, which will extend the audio news report’s following of 4.5 million monthly listeners to the radio audience.

The Daily draws on the unrivaled quality and expertise of The New York Times’s global footprint of more than 1,450 journalists. It is a very successful podcast and was the most-downloaded new show in 2017 on Apple Podcasts. It also won the DuPont-Columbia University Award for audio excellence.

The radio edition of The Daily will be hosted by Michael Barbaro (who is the host of The Daily podcast. Previously, he was host of The Run-Up, a political podcast that chronicled the 2016 election.

The radio version of The Daily will air after 4 p.m. ET and listeners can find their area’s specific air time by visiting their local station online. As of March 27, 2018, there were 16 radio stations across the United States that had committed to bringing The Daily to their audiences.

Audioboom Buys Triton for $185 Million

In case you missed it, Audioboom bought Triton Digital in February of 2018 for $185 million dollars. This was done as a reverse takeover – which is defined as a takeover of a public company by a smaller company. InsideRadio described this situation as “a major shakeup in the digital audio industry.”

Audioboom is a podcasting platform. They have a team to help podcasters make the most of their content. Audioboom builds tools to host, monetize, and distribute a podcaster’s show. Triton Digital is the global technology and services leader to the digital audio and podcast industry.

InsideRadio reported on February 13, 2018, that Audioboom was buying Triton Digital in a reverse takeover. Under the proposed deal, Audioboom will buy the share capital of Triton Digital’s parent company, Triton Digital Canada, Inc., for $185 million. The combined company will be renamed Triton Digital Group.

Triton CEO Neal Schore will be named president and CEO of the combined company, while Audioboom CEO Robert Proctor is named executive director. Triton CEO Mark Rosenbaum will become executive VP and CFO.

The purchase is subject to shareholder approval. It is also contingent upon Audioboom raising around $215 million in new shares to fund the deal, and on executing a share purchase agreement. I assume that if the deal falls apart, we will likely see news of that somewhere online.

Patreon Introduced Lens

Patreon introduced Lens, a new feature in the Patreon mobile app that creators can use to “bring patrons behind the scenes”. The purpose is to easily enable creators to share exclusive, behind-the-scenes content with their patrons.

Every creator has a behind the scenes. Behind each song, novel, video, comic, or painting lies a magical and creative journey. Patrons love to see this process – the unpolished work, the messy studios, the spur-of-the-moment inspiration. While creators regularly share this journey on Patreon, we wanted to make it easier than ever to do it on the go.

The Lens feature is only accessible via the Patreon mobile app – not on the website. It was intended to be used quickly and easily so you can show a work in progress without disrupting your creative flow. Use Lens to capture photos and videos to share with your patrons. Photos and videos are displayed in a series so creators can show progress.

The interesting thing about Lens is that all content disappears after 24 hours. Patreon says this allows creators to “deliver authentic unedited content without worrying about taking the perfect shot.” I can see where this kind of content – that can only be viewed within a set time limit – would be attractive to patrons.

Podcasters could potentially post photos of their microphone, mixer, and/or studio. Or, they could record a short video of themselves talking while recording an episode. If you edit your own podcast, you could make a Lens photo or video of the waves in your recording software.

Your patrons who have the Patreon mobile app will receive notifications of the new content and can view your Lens anytime by clicking on the circular image at the top of your page in the Patreon app. Patreon points out that not all of your patrons will use the Patron mobile app, and suggests that you make a post to let your patrons know about your plans to use Lens.

Podcast Movement 2018 Announces 16 Speakers

Podcast Movement 2018 will take place on July 23-26 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. They made their first round of speaker announcements by pointing out 16 Speakers – and why you won’t want to miss what they have to say.

There is a detailed listing about each of the 16 Speakers on the Podcast Movement 2018 website. Last year, Podcast Movement made Speaker announcements in a slow trickle, so it is refreshing to see so many Speakers announced at once. Here is a list of the 16 Speakers and the title of what they will be presenting.

Speakers include: 

Andrea Klunder – The Creative Imposter Studios – “Power Your Story: High School, Autism, Diverse Learning & Podcast Mentorship”

Christine Blackburn – Story Worthy – “So You Think You’re a Storyteller?”

Colin Gray – The Podcast Host – “9 Ways to Cut the Time it Takes you to Ship a Show”

Fred Dews – Brooking Institution; M.J. Altman – Hacking Hunger Podcast – “Storytelling for Wonks: Podcasting the Facts” – panel

Jon Savitt – Writer, Comedian – “From Comedy to Copywriting”

Lee Uehara – The House of Lee NYC – “Mistakes No Podcaster Should Make: Journalism Basics That Every Podcaster Should Know and Love”

Natasha Che – Soundwise Inc. – “How to Build a Profitable Podcast Without Selling Ads”

Rabia Chaudry – Undisclosed – “Audience Acquisition” – panel

Ravi Jayagopal – SubscribeMe.FM – “Premium Podcasting: How to Monetize Your Podcast, Promote It And Build A List With a Premium Podcast, Members-Only Audio & Listeners-Only Bonus Content and Deliver it Securely via a Membership Site in 4 Different Formats”

Rob Walch – Libsyn – “Yes that Marketing Advice for your Podcast is Still BS – 2018”

Stephan A. Hart – Trailblazers.FM Podcast – “Riches are in the Niches: Why It’s Impossible to Monetize Your Independent Side Hustle Podcast By Targeting Everyone”

Tammy Terwelp – 91.5KRCC – Southern Colorado’s NPR Station – “The Listener Bill of Rights”

Todd Cochrane – Blubrry – “Proven Social Media Strategies for Podcasters – Act II”

Tracy Goodwin – Captivate the Room – “Your Voice, The Most Powerful Tool You Have, If You Know How To Use It”

Yann Ilunga – The Podcaster Lab – “Automation for Podcasters: Winning Back Time By Putting Parts of Your Podcasting Workflow on Autopilot”

NAB 2018 has a Podcasting Pavilion

NAB Show is an annual trade show produced by the National Association of Broadcasters. This year’s show will take place on April 7-12, 2018, in the Las Vegas Convention Center. NAB 2018 has a Podcasting Pavilion.

The existence of a Podcasting Pavilion at NAB is exciting! It indicates that podcasting is being recognized as part of the broadcasting industry. This not only shows that podcasting could create a revenue stream for an individual or a company, but also that a career involving podcasting can be a legitimate profession – on the same level as radio and television.

A manifest of companies providing podcasters with the tools to create and commercialize audio content. Whether you have an established podcast and are looking to improve audio quality or listenership, or looking to start your own podcast, you’ll find everything you need here.

The NAB Podcasting Pavilion will house an Ask the Expert Area, powered by the Podcast Engineering School, where attendees can gain professional insight on audio production, content, marketing, audience growth, and monetization.

The list of exhibitors that NAB attendees will see in the Podcasting Pavilion include:

  • Airbroad
  • Blubrry Podcasting-pavilion
  • CoreCodec, Inc.
  • Libsyn
  • Podbean
  • Stream Station, Inc.
  • TuneVu
  • VoxNest
  • Zype

The Podcasting Pavilion will be in the South Upper Hall. It has All-Badge Access. There is a conference, and an attraction, that feature podcasting.

The conference is called “Content Strategies for Podcasting”. It is open to Flex, 3-Pack and 6-Pack Pass Holders. This program spotlights the expanding podcast medium, which is fueling revenue streams and rabid fan engagement. Explore various content creation, distribution and promotion opportunities in the fast-growing podcast market.

The attraction is the M.E.T. 360 Studio. It is a new addition to the “NAB Show Live” and is built with an IP infrastructure running the latest audio, video, and streaming technologies. It has All-Badge Access.

Amazon Polly WordPress Plugin Makes Blogs into Podcasts

Amazon Polly for WordPress is a service that turns text into lifelike speech. It can create audio versions of your blog posts. That audio can be played from within the blog post itself, or it can be accessed in podcast form using a feature called Amazon Pollycast.

With dozens of voices across a variety of languages, you can select the ideal voice and build engaging speech-enabled applications that work in many different countries. The Amazon plugin for WordPress is a sample application that shows how WordPress creators can easily add Text-to-Speech capabilities to written content with Amazon Polly.

The Amazon Polly speech engine launched with 47 male and female voice and support for 24 languages. Since launch, Amazon added support for Korean, another 5 languages, and made Amazon Polly available in all regions in the AWS partition.

Amazon Polly allows you to generate an audio feed for text-based content and insert it into an embedded player. Doing so can increase the accessibility of your WordPress site. People who are blind, or visually impaired, and who cannot read your blog post can listen to it instead. It also allows speech-enabled products to read your blog post to someone.

The sample code also enables you to publish podcasts directly from your site and make them available for listeners in the form of podcasts. To do this, you send the text you want converted into speech to the Amazon Polly API. Amazon Polly immediately returns the audio stream to your application so you can play it directly or store it in a standard audio file format, such as MP3. It is possible to publish your Amazon PollyCast to the iTunes iConnect directory.

You can cache and replay Amazon Polly’s generated speech at no additional cost. Amazon Polly lets you convert 5M characters per month for free during the first year, upon sign-up.

Amazon Polly also has a Pay-As-You-Go model. You are billed monthly for the number of characters of text that you processed. Amazon Polly is priced at $4.00 per 1 million characters for speech or Speech Marks requests (when outside the free tier).

Amazon Polly for WordPress is open source software. The following people have contributed to the plugin: awslabs, WP Engine, tstachlewski and Steven Word.

According to TechCrunch, Amazon Polly is only available for those who are running their own installation of WordPress on their own infrastructure (hosted or managed) or on AWS. It required a bit of configuration. Once you set it up, the plugin makes calls to Amazon Polly whenever a blog post is saved or updated. For podcasters, the plugin includes a feature called Pollycast.

Playapod is a Free Cross Platform Podcast App

Playapod is a free cross platform app for Android and iOS devices. It was introduced in February of 2018, and has been featured on the Google Play store. It is also available at Apple App Store and Amazon Appstore.

Playapod syncs your podcasts to the cloud so you can pick up any device and go. App features cross-platform device syncing, episode tracking down to the second, time-coded bookmarks, remote media controls, offline listening, new episode notifications, fast performance, no ads, and more!

Playapod is free to download and has no ads.

Benefits of Playapod include:

  • Push Notifications: Fans will be notified as soon as your next episode drops.
  • Easy to Share: Users can easily share your podcast across all their social networks.
  • Ranking Up: Playapod’s popular list of podcasts is based on total time listened to your show. The more users that listen with Playapod will result in your show ranking higher up the list!

Some Playapod App Features include:

  • Playlist: Create a custom playlist of podcast episodes for all-day playback. Drag and Drop reordering makes it easy to organize your favorites.
  • Listen Offline: Download entire podcasts and listen on the go without a network connection or cellular data charges.
  • Remote Control: Toggle playback, navigate your playlist, seek forward and backwards quickly with lockscreen and bluetooth controls.
  • Bookmarking: Bookmark your favorite parts of any episode so you can quickly go back and listen again. Bookmarks are time-coded and cloud synced across all your devices.
  • Import Podcasts: Quickly bulk import a list of podcasts with OPML files (Outline Processor Markup Language XML Files)

iHeartMedia Filed for Bankruptcy

In a press release, iHeartMedia announced that it has filed for bankruptcy. The press release said that day-to-day operations will continue as usual during the restructuring process.

On March 14, 2018, iHeartMedia announced that it reached an agreement in principle with stakeholders of more than $10 billion of its outstanding debt and its financial sponsors. The agreement reflects widespread support for a comprehensive balance sheet restructuring that will reduce iHeartMedia’s debt by more than $10 billion.

To implement the balance sheet restructuring contemplated by the agreement, iHeartMedia and certain of its subsidiaries, including iHeartCommunications, Inc., have filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the United States Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc., and its subsidiaries did not commence Chapter 11 proceedings.

The press release says that iHeartMedia filed with the Bankruptcy Court a series of customary motions seeking to maintain business-as-usual operations and uphold its commitments to its valued employees and other stakeholders during the process. iHeartMedia believes that its cash on hand, together with cash generated from ongoing operations, will be sufficient to fund and support the business during the Chapter 11 proceedings.