It takes a lot of resources to put on a successful podcasting conference. And by “resources,” I mean “money.” That’s why the organizers of Seattle PodCon, planned for December 9th and 10th of this year, are raising money thru crowdfunding to get their conference off the ground.
PodCon is the brainchild of YouTuber and podcaster Hank Green, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor of Welcome to Night Vale, and podcast producer Travis McElroy:
They wanted there to be a place where people got together to really just /get into/ podcasts together for a couple days. That’s going to include discussions of what is oh-so right about podcasts, but also some of the issues we have to face. It’s going to include live performances and mashed-up podcasts. It’s going to feature podcasters from tons of genres including fiction, news, science, comedy, drama, crime, interview and more.
We just love this stuff, and we want to celebrate it.
The producers of PodCon are still working on getting all of the details together for the conference. So far, they’ve confirmed live podcast recordings of the shows Dear Hank and John, My Brother My Brother and Me, and Alice Isn’t Dead (a separate, ticketed production of Welcome to Night Vale will be held adjacent to, but not automatically included with PodCon). The conference will also host panel discussions and workshops that will cover a wide range of podcasting topics.
PodCon has currently raised 16% (just shy of $50,000) of its $300,000 flexible crowdfunding goal. Contributors can gain access to PodCon with a $90 contribution. A remote access pass can be had for a $25 contribution. Remote access attendees will receive a special podcast feed that will contain recordings of many of the events happening at PodCon.
To learn more about PodCon and contribute to the Indiegogo campaign, click the link at the top of this article.
Monetization of podcasts. It’s a subject that could probably take up all of the space on all of the internet’s servers at this point. Podcast monetization has been covered from so many different angles, you’d think there couldn’t possibly be anything left to try. But that simply isn’t true. And that’s why Australia-based media hosting company Omny Studio has partnered with Israel-based CastPlus to bring more podcast monetization options to podcasters:
(the partnership will) …pair influential podcasters with brands and agencies seeking to monetize on the explosive growth of podcasting. Under terms of the partnership, podcasts hosted with Omny Studio will gain access to CastPlus’ extensive list of advertising partners.
In case you’re still not sure about the potential of podcast monetization, CastPlus and Omny Studio have some stats for you:
According to recent findings from Edison Research, more than 42 million Americans listen to podcasts every week and, unlike traditional radio, podcast listeners are highly engaged with their content: 88% of fans listen to all or most of the episodes of their favorite show, according to Midroll. Further, the Interactive Advertising Bureau released research in late 2016 that shows showing stats podcast ads increase purchasing intent for 65% of listeners. This has led to new market segments materializing for podcast advertising, including music publishers seeking to grow revenues for back catalogs, and radio broadcasters turning to podcast advertising to monetize repackaged shows from traditional broadcasts.
If you’d like to get your monetization on with this new partnership, check out the websites for CastPlus and Omny Studio to get started.
You know podcasting has truly arrived when a prestigious organization like the Peabody Awards is nominating podcasts to its slate of 2017 finalists. In fact, there’s an entire awards category called Radio/Podcast. (Maybe in the future, Podcast will become liberated from that other, older medium it’s currently sharing the category with. OK, enough editorializing for now.) The Peabodies don’t give awards only to shows themselves in the Radio/Podcast category (example: This American Life, Yeast Radio, etc.). Instead, awards are given for individual pieces created by radio and podcast producers.
Here’s the Peabody Awards slate of nominees for the 2017 Radio/Podcast category:
“A Life Sentence: Victims, Offenders, Justice, and My Mother” Transom.org
One woman’s exploration of a violent crime that resonated throughout political and correctional systems.
“Homecoming” Gimlet Media
A story centered around a caseworker at an experimental facility, her ambitious supervisor, and a soldier eager to rejoin civilian life.
“How to Be a Girl” Marlo Mack, in partnership with KUOW Seattle
An attempt to make sense of the unanticipated parenting challenge of raising a transgender child.
“In The Dark” APM Reports
An investigation into the investigation of a kidnapping victim reveals a larger story about a systemic failure of law enforcement agencies nationwide.
“The Heart: Silent Evidence Series” The Heart
A journalist and documentarian grapples with being sexually abused and chooses to break her silence.
“This American Life: Anatomy of Doubt” This American Life, PBC in collaboration with The Marshall Project and ProPublica (Multiple stations/platforms)
A story that deconstructs skepticism in a rape victim’s case and how it spread.
“The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel” Mars Patel LLC (Panoply)
A serialized, scripted podcast designed for ages 8-12, performed by middle grade children.
“Unprisoned” WWNO and AIR
Based in New Orleans, stories behind families, communities and notions of justice in the age of mass incarceration.
“Wells Fargo Hurts Whistleblowers” (NPR)
On the heels of one of the biggest banking scandals in U.S. history, former Wells Fargo workers describe a boiler-room sales culture that pervaded bank branches across the country.
Find out who the big winners will be when the 76th annual Peabody Awards happen on May 20, 2017 in New York.
Since podcasting’s earliest days, there’s been an inherent need to try and organize the chaos that appears to be inherent within the medium. After all, podcasting was born of the old notion that the internet is a free and open environment, where not everything has to be stuffed into a singular vertical. While there are plenty of forces at work today that’d like to fence podcasting in, the medium is still mostly open, and still mostly free. Hence, the need for continued organizing of the ever-expanding podcast space remains essential.
If you’ve ever needed to look up specific information on a movie, TV show, or even a video game, you’ve probably visited the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). It’s one of the oldest and most trusted authorities on all things actor, director, producer, etc. on the web. A new startup called Podchaser is working on creating what it’s calling “the IMDb of podcasts.”
Podchaser was recently introduced via Reddit, where it spawned a lively discussion thread:
Podcast discovery is an ongoing problem for podcast listeners. Some recommendation algorithms exist, but they’re generally based off podcast show preferences, rather than episode preference. Generally, the same 10 or so podcasts are recommended and remain on top charts. So, we are building a system around individual episode ratings and reviews. Our front page will feature the hottest episodes rather than podcasts, allowing users to discover a broader array of content. Users can also check out reviews on individual episodes before diving in. Some podcasts have shows with varying degrees of quality, and now you can just check out feedback in one place rather than googling around fan forums and subreddits.
Podchaser is beginning a beta program on June 10, 2017, and is currently soliciting feedback from the podcasting community to see what features people would like from a service like this. To get involved in that discussion, follow the Reddit thread linked above. To sign up for Podchaser’s newsletter and see some teaser images of what the service may look like, go to the Podchaser website.
Podcast-consumption app Stitcher has gone thru a lot of changes over the last few years. Once hailed as the second-largest destinations for podcast listeners after Apple Podcasts, Stitcher’s fortunes have faded somewhat during this transitional period. The service was sold twice, with the latest acquisition coming from Scripps/Midroll/Earwolf. Last year, it was announced that Howl, Earwolf’s premium content platform, would be migrated into Stitcher. But the company isn’t stopping there. Stitcher announced this week it would be launching a collection of original shows of its own that won’t be kept behind a paywall:
…with a handful of popular shows joining together to form a new network. Shows on the new Stitcher network are available for free everywhere listeners access podcasts, including iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Soundcloud and Stitcher itself, and are supported through advertising.
Stitcher’s new original show lineup consists of these podcasts:
- Katie Couric podcast (news, politics. current events, pop culture)
- The Sporkful (food)
- First Day Back (serialized non-fiction narrative/documentary style podcast)
- The Longest Shortest Time (parenting)
- Tell Me Something I don’t Know (gameshow)
Stitcher also announced it has an upcoming show that focuses on reading hosted by LeVar Burton of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Reading Rainbow fame.
Ever since Apple launched the iOS Podcasts app, effectively giving podcasts a dedicated location on Apple mobile devices, speculation has occurred that one day, Apple will break podcasts free from the desktop iTunes application in a similar manner. While that hasn’t happened yet, having a dedicated desktop podcast-consumption app made by Apple may be getting closer.
Today, Apple rebranded the iTunes podcast directory to Apple Podcasts:
Although today’s announcement is merely a branding change, it may indicate a renewed focus by Apple on podcasting…
In February, Eddy Cue teased that the company is working on new features for podcasts at the Code Media conference. Combined with this rebranding, it is possible that Apple is readying a big announcement for later this year, potentially at WWDC.
Renaming the iTunes podcast directory to Apple Podcasts falls in line with other Apple branding efforts, such as Apple Music and Apple TV. It’s possible that the Cupertino-based tech giant is finding the “i” designation that rose to fame with products like the iMac, iPod, and iTunes is in need of a refresh. Regardless, it’s good to see some real attention being paid to Apple’s podcast directory.
Along with this new name, Apple also released new guidelines for publishers who’d like to link to their listings on the Apple Podcasts directory. These guidelines include a new set of badges that make use of the Apple Podcasts name in place of iTunes (see image above).
Podcasting is a medium that hasn’t traditionally been served well by shows that push the headlines of the day. Despite its on-demand nature, many podcasts are still downloaded and consumed later. Thus, a show carrying this format would have a very short shelf life. For a daily news show to be practical, it’d probably need to come from a source already trading in that kinda thing. Enter NPR’s new Up First podcast:
…Up First will publish every weekday by 6 a.m. EST and feature lively conversation about the day’s top news stories produced with the same journalistic DNA of Morning Edition. Hosts David Greene, Rachel Martin and Steve Inskeep will talk with NPR journalists and correspondents to preview the news that will drive the day.
NPR has promised that its Up First news show will be available in all of the typical podcast-listening places. If you’d like to get your morning news fix from NPR, you can subscribe to Up First in iTunes or listen to the show within the NPR One app.
If any organization can make a go of a daily news show, it’s NPR. Time will tell if it turns out to be a successful endeavor for the public radio juggernaut.
There’s a myriad number of tools available to podcast producers. Everything from simple USB microphones and free software to multichannel interfaces and full-featured digital audio workstations are employed every day by podcasters around the world. Despite the many options available when it comes to podcasting gear, there’s always room for more. Especially when that new technology promises to deliver big results in a compact form. And most important of all, that new technology has been touched by the hand of The Podfather himself, Adam Curry.
Small Batch Audio is the name of this project that’s working to revolutionize podcast production:
The man who brought you the first podcast revolution is about to bring the second.
Adam Curry made it possible for anyone to be a broadcaster. Now he’s making it possible for anyone to sound like one!
The Small Batch Audio Podcaster Pro rig will allow you to sound like the Pro you are – without working for a radio studio!
This revolutionary USB audio device, no bigger than a book, is the first device specifically made to optimize human voice recording for podcasting.
Adam Curry is working with a dedicated team to finalize the Small Batch product. When the Small Batch Audio rig is ready, it will be launched via Kickstarter. To get updates on the forthcoming Kickstarter campaign, sign up for Adam’s Kickstarter Updates e-mail list.
The perceived “problem” of podcast discovery is a topic that comes up often. Especially if you listen to a lot of the voices that emirate from within podcasting’s Big East Coast Bubble. Some of those voices preach on about how podcasting needs new technology to make it easier for new listeners to find podcasts (specifically, their podcasts).
For now, those voices aren’t doing much more than moving a lot of hot air. Regardless, that isn’t keeping the New York Times from opening up its Podcast Club to the general public. The Times believes that this club (powered by a Facebook group) will help expose members to new podcasts:
Podcast club isn’t a new concept at The New York Times. We’ve had one here, in real life, for the past year. Every Friday, a group of employees from around the company gather in a bright, couch-filled conference room for half an hour to talk about one episode of one podcast. It’s sort of like a book club, but for on-demand audio.
Now we are expanding from 30 minutes a week to 24/7; from a conference room in Midtown Manhattan to the world — or at least the world of Facebook.
Here’s how it’ll work. On Mondays we’ll post the episode we’re discussing that week. Chime in with your thoughts once you’ve listened, and we’ll tell you the highlights of our own IRL discussion. We’ll also have other podcast-related discussions popping up throughout the week and will seek suggestions for what to listen to and discuss next. We’ll even have producers and hosts join us periodically for Q. and A. sessions.
You can join the New York Times Podcast Club on Facebook. You can also see an ongoing playlist of episodes featured by the club on RadioPublic.