Futuri Podcasting System POST Launches Major Update

Futuri, the leading provider of AI-driven audience engagement and sales intelligence solutions for broadcasters, announced a major update to its patented and patent-pending POST podcasting system. POST is relied on by thousands of top-performing audio creators to quickly and efficiently capture, edit, package, and distribute PPM-encoded broadcast content, as well as original podcasts, on multiple audio and video platforms.

The POST update includes:

A new in-app audio editor. This powerful, yet simple-to-use, editor is designed to save production time, speed up distribution of timely content, and enable audio brands to quickly make simple edits to their on-demand broadcast content to keep people listening longer.

Customizable widgets: A new suite of customizable widgets makes it easy to apply station brand standards to their embedded audio.

Improved ad insertion capabilities: POST’s ad marker and mid-roll capabilities have gotten an update, making it easier for stations to monetize their on-demand broadcast and original podcast audio.

Much more, including streamlined publishing to third-party destinations; enhanced chapter markers and analytics; and new features that make it easier to switch to POST from another podcast provider (paired with Futuri’s white-glove US-based support).

The update comes as Futuri released a new white paper, Growing Audience with On-Demand Broadcast Audio. It includes new data from a nationwide study on On-Demand Broadcast Audio (ODBA), also known as time shifted audio, across all PPM markets, conducted by Nielsen, which reviewed millions of occasions of minute-level data. The white paper examines the current state of On-Demand Broadcast Audio and reveals POST’s unique ability to maximize ROI on broadcast content by quickly, efficiently editing and parsing content, packaging with metadata, and publishing this audio.

Key findings include:

Challenging the perception that podcasts and on-demand content are only consumed “on the go,” Neilson found that 63% of all ODBA listening is at-home (37%OOH). Three of the top five formats are music formats, with CHR and AC over-indexing on the at-home number – 77% and 79%, respectively.

Stations using POSt are over 5x more likely than non-POST stations to have on-demand PPM broadcast audio minutes captured by Nielsen, showcasing the unique results delivered by POST’s patented system.

Average minutes per on-demand broadcast audio listening session for stations using POST is nearly 30% higher than stations not using POST.

Demographics: The breakdown of on-demand broadcast audio published through POST is 50.2% Female vs. 49.8% Male, compared to 39% Female / 61% Male for content published by non-POST stations.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has recently issued a U.S. Patent for POST. The patent adds to Futuri’s diverse portfolio of technology patents, protecting a broad range of methods released to POST, which automatically captures, parses, and publishes on-demand audio and video content to a multitude of social channels and audio, video, and podcast platforms.

Ericka Cruz Guevarra Becomes Host of the KQED’s ‘The Bay’ Podcast

KQED announced that Ericka Cruz Guevarra will take over as host of The Bay, the station’s award-winning storytelling podcast for news. Guevarra previously served as producer of the series. Guevarra replaces The Bay’s former host Devin Katayama, who is now KQED’s first Editor of Talent and Development.

Guevarra joined The Bay in 2019. Since then, she has been instrumental in covering essential local news stories for the station including the award-winning 2019 series on Vallejo policing and The Bay’s episode on the role of race in the Orinda shooting.

Guevarra first joined KQED in 2015 as KQED’s inaugural Raul Ramirez Diversity Fund intern. From there, she worked as a breaking news reporter for Oregon Public Broadcasting where she won a regional Society of Professional Journalists award for her wildfire coverage. She also worked and helped produce NPR’s Code Switch team and is an alumna of NPR’s Next Generation Radio project at KJZZ in Phoenix. She returned back to KQED as a producer of The Bay in 2019.

“I’m so excited to build on what Devin has created with this show and help it continue to reach the people it’s for: Younger, more diverse audiences who care deeply about the Bay Area. I hope to be a trusted guide through some of the stories of our time, and help root people in where we live so we feel more connected to our neighbors —including those in less-covered areas of the Bay Area.” says Guevarra.

Guevarra and The Bay editor Alan Montecillo have been co-hosting the podcast on an interim basis since early September. Guevarra began hosting The Bay full-time starting November 5.

Audacy Welcomes Palak Forbes as Senior Vice President, Digital Business Operations

Audacy announced the appointment of Palak Forbes as Senior Vice President, Digital Business Operations. Reporting to Audacy’s Chief Digital Officer, J.D. Crowley, and partnering with the leaders of Audacy’s award-winning podcast business, while working across Audacy’s entire digital portfolio and key strategic partners to enable continued strong growth in Audacy’s digital and podcast business.

“As we make consistent strides to evolve and enhance our digital and podcast businesses, Palak is a perfect choice to lead our day-to-day efforts to provide a world-class experience for our customers, creators, and consumers,” said J.D. Crowley, Chief Digital Officer, Audacy.”Her deep experience launching and scaling innovative new businesses, and expertise managing strategic relationships with companies across the media and technology sectors enable us to continue delivering robust growth.”

“Digital audio is in a really exciting phase where we have evolving audio formats and listening experiences as well as new ways of life emerging from the pandemic,” said Forbes. “Audacy has brought together a portfolio of innovative brands to meet the needs of the modern listener, content creators, and advertisers alike. I’m so excited to operationalize our strategy across the digital portfolio. It’s an honor to join the leading creator of original and premium audio during this time of growth and transformation.”

Palak Forbes brings extensive experience driving digital innovation for global media brands to Audacy. She was most recently Head of Business Development & Operations at The New York Times, where she oversaw the development the company’s audio business and spearheaded their foray into virtual reality with the NYT VR app which won the Grand Prix at Cannes Lions. Forbes also led strategic and commercial partnership teams to broaden and deepen reader experiences from Apple News to the digitization of millions of historic photos with Google Cloud. With her leadership, the sales team drove multi-million dollar deals and beat goals. Previously, Forbes was The New York Times’ VP Corporate Strategy & Development leading new ventures, off-platform relationships, and M&A; and programming the Board of Directors’ special committee on Technology & Innovation. Prior to that, Forbes was Vice President of Strategy at Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational media company, where she advanced the company’s EdTech initiatives and led international expansion in India. She has also held digital advertising strategy and subscriber marketing roles at Viacom and HBO, respectively.

Forbes earned her MBA in Marketing from Columbia Business School and her Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Information Systems from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Magellan AI Adds Download Data to its Podcast Media Planning Platform

Magellan AI, the standard for podcast media planning and competitive intelligence, announced a major development in their platform – Magellan AI Verified Downloads. The new feature will provide Magellan AI’s advertiser and agency partners with a central source for accurate show downloads, individual episode downloads, and unique listenership. Coupled with the extensive analytics and research already available in the platform, Magellan AI is now truly a “one-stop-shop” for media planning and competitive intel.

“Buying and executing podcast advertising campaigns continues to be a challenge for brands and agencies, and we’re taking yet another step forward today in streamlining that process. We’re here so every brand and agency can get rid of that hard-to-manage spreadsheet they’re using to try to keep the entire industry straight,” said Cameron Hendrix, CEO and co-founder of Magellan AI. “We’re looking forward to accelerating both the number and quality of connections made between the buy-side and the sell-side in our platform.”

Thousands of shows are already signed up and providing data, ranging from independent podcasters to some of the largest podcast publishers. As Magellan AI’s CRO, John Goforth, points out, this isn’t just a tool for enterprise-level podcast networks: “Any podcast of any size can participate (at no charge) in Magellan AI Verified Downloads. That participation will ensure your show, tiny or huge, will be searchable by all of our buy-side clients. Those clients spend over $400mm per year in podcast advertising – so it’s a really cool opportunity to get directly in front of them.”

Magellan AI Verified Downloads will start its beta in Q4 2021, with plans to make it widely available in Q1 2022.

Looking to add your podcast to the program? Visit Magellan AI Verified Downloads and follow the instructions for integrating Magellan AI’s prefix with your hosting service.

Jago Lee and John Fothergill Launch Telltale

Producer Jago Lee and business partner John Fothergill have announced the launch of their new transatlantic production company Teltale, which will specialize in premium factual across audio, TV, and film.

With shows all sharing guiding principles of originality, pleasure, and purpose, Telltale’s launch state is focused on ‘thrilling factual’ in the key genres of crime, history, and adventure.

Telltale is already working with broadcasters, commissioners, and brands on a range of projects, and has struck an exclusive first look agreement with Antica Productions – one of North America’s most successful TV and podcasting Indies (The Revisionaries with Michelle Romanow, Madness of Two) – as part of an equity investment by the Toronto HQ’d studio.

With Antica Productions, Telltale have access to the Canadian and US markets where they are co-developing a slate. The new partnership with Antica has grown out of a previous working relationship, which saw Lee partner with the company to produce several podcast series including art crime series Art Bust (presented by British art critic Ben Lewis) for UCG Audio, the podcast division of Universal Studio Group, which looks at twisted crime stories from the art world.

The company’s development strategy is heavily informed by the dramatic expansion of longford narrative podcast in recent years, and the trend of such series converting into boxset TV. Telltale is adopting an ‘audio-first’ approach, born partly out of Lee’s involvement with a number of podcast projects both in the UK and US over the last year.

The move marks a new chapter in Lee and Fothergill’s careers. Lee, a seasoned producer and creative director through roles at Tiger Aspect, Antenna Pictures, and Nerd TV which he co-founded with Charlie Parsons and John Farrar, with a diversity of credits including How To Rob a Bank (Vice), Life’s Too Short (HBO/BBC), Inside the Gangsters Code (Discovery) and Orangutan Jungle School (Channel 4/ Love Nature) amongst many others, will combine his creative expertise with Fothergill’s business background, which includes more than a decade at Goldman Sachs launching multiple new ventures for the bank. The duo will build on well-developed pre-launch partnership agreements and harness their powerful network of collaborators, including former Red Arrow President & Co-CEO James Baker, who chairs their board.

Jago Lee said: “We love telling complex, characterful, original stories and we know these are treasured by audiences. They’re also, of course, the most challenging series to develop straight into the TV market. Telltale will take a platform agnostic approach – producing the thrilling stories we love in audio first, then evolving them into the TV and film worlds.”

John Fothergill said: “Telltale harnesses the power of the growing and exciting audio market, which has become a rich hunting ground for new IP. We are positioning ourselves at the forefront of that market, specifically to develop a clear storytelling path from audio to screen. We are thrilled that we have partnered with Antica Productions on our North American slate and look forward to sharing these rich stories with audiences soon.”

Stuart Coxe, President, Antica Productions said: “In Jago and John, we found independent producers of like-minded content, business goals and storytelling perspectives. With Antica’s Telltale investment, we look forward to growing our collective footprint and providing our partners with an even wider breadth of projects across film, tv, and audio.”

Dino Sofos Announces Production Company Persephonica

Dino Sofos, the producer behind several of the BBC’s most successful podcasts, announced the launch of his own talent production company. Persephonica will work with some of the biggest international talent and organizations to create habit building podcasts that entertain audiences across the world.

Dino’s format, including Brexitcast and Americast, have innovated in this medium and amassed over 85 million downloads in four years. His podcast have responded to an audience demand for topical information, delivered in depth and served with warmth and humor.

He has brought some of the most high-profile and respected journalists with him into the podcasting space, including Emily Maltis, Laura Kuenssberg, and Jon Sopel. He will continue to work with leading international talent to create a range of new podcast formats in different genres in 2022.

Speaking at the Radio Festival, where Dino announced the launch, he said, “There has never been a more exciting time to be producing audio, but it’s a crowded market, and many podcast are failing to cut through. Persephonica will continue the work I’ve seen done on titles like Brexitcast and Americast, creating habit-forming audio, delivered in depth and served with warmth. We will work with the best talent to develop innovative formats, whilst putting quality production values front and center of everything we do.”

Persephonica will launch original titles published on their network, and will partner with established media organizations and talent to produce new podcasts. They will also offer audio consultancy.

Amazon Music Launches Synchronized Podcast Transcripts in the U.S.

Amazon Music announced the launch of synchronized podcast transcripts in the U.S. for recent episodes of select Amazon Original and Wondery podcasts like SmartLess, Dr. Death, and Uncommon Ground with Van Jones, plus popular hit shows My Favorite Murder, Crime Junkie, Modern Love, This American Life, and much more. Podcast transcripts started rolling out for customers in the U.S. on November 3, 2021, in the latest version of the Amazon Music app on iOS and Android.

Similar to the popular lyrics feature introduced by Amazon Music in 2013, this brand-new feature allows listeners to experience podcasts in a whole new way. Amazon Music is the first music service to offer synchronized podcast transcripts, allowing customers to follow along or seek ahead in an episode, similar to thumbnail previews when scrubbing videos.

While listening, customers can navigate an episode by scrolling through the transcript to find a specific spot, and tap to jump right to it. Playback will resume at the specific sentence they tap on in the transcription, making it easy for listeners to navigate to the part of the podcast they are most interested in. Listeners can also jump forward and backward while viewing the transcript to find a segment they have missed, or look ahead quickly know what an episode is about – making navigation easier than ever.

“At Amazon, we always start with the customer experience and work backwards from there. We are leading the industry by introducing synchronized podcast transcripts for customers, to make it easier than ever for listeners to follow along with their favorite podcasts on Amazon Music,” said Amazon Music’s Director of Podcasts, Kintan Brahmbhatt. “With synchronized transcripts, we are changing the way listeners experience podcasts by making it effortless and simple for everyone.”

Transcripts will also be available for select shows from American Public Media, audio chuck, Cadence13, The New York Times, Stitcher, and TED.

Loftus Media Appoints Kirsten Lass as Associate Director

Loftus Media, the award-winning independent content production company, has announced the appointment of Kirsten Lass in the newly created senior role of Associate Director.

Following a period of significant growth, during which Loftus Media has continued to build and strengthen its audio, photography and digital content portfolio, Kirsten Lass – formerly Executive Editor at BBC Audio – joins Co-Directors, Jo Rowntree and Richard Berry, on the senior leadership team.

Kirsten has worked in television with companies including Tiger Aspect Productions, as well as PR and Publicity with Hobsbawm Macaulay Communications and the NSPCC. Her extensive audio portfolio includes producing BBC Radio’s The Reith Lectures and The Bottom Line with Evan Davis, and she has overseen output ranging from BBC Radio 4’s flagship political debate show Any Questions? to Soul Music and A Good Read to podcasts such as Evil Genius with Russell Kane.

The production company behind chart-topping A Thorough Examination with Drs Chris and Xand van Tulleken; BBC Radio 3’s Private Passions; Audible original The Secrets in Us (Gold, New York Festivals Radio Awards 2021) and many more audio formats, Loftus Media was one of the first independent audio companies in the UK, established in 1997. Clients include broadcasters; audio platforms; arts, cultural and science institutions; publishers; charities; think tanks and research foundations.

Richard Berry, Director, said, “With her deep understanding of audio production, development and talent management across Factual, Arts and Drama, her passion for storytelling and experience of strategic consultancy, Kirsten’s appointment in a senior role is an exciting moment for us. I very much look forward to welcoming her into the team.”

Jo Rowntree, Director, added, “I was chuffed to discover that Kirsten had in fact worked with Nigel Acheson over 20 years ago when he founded the company and am excited to welcome her back. Kirsten’s reputation as someone who champions a diversity of ideas, people and content precedes her. I have always respected her work and her leadership in the industry and I look forward to working alongside her.”

Kirsten Lass said, “I am so looking forward to joining Loftus Media, having long admired their strong reputation as storytellers, their emotional intelligence and collaborative style of working. After more than 20 years producing and editing content for BBC Radio, including 3, 4, 5 Live, the World Service, and BBC Sounds, I am delighted to be moving into the independent sector during a period of explosive growth in audio.”

Joining the current Directors in the overall strategic development of the company, the newly created role of Associate Director encompasses nurturing teams, developing new talent, and providing creative and editorial leadership across an exciting range of new projects. Kirsten will be based in Bristol.

Charlotte Podcast Festival is a Free Virtual Event

Building on the success of the 2020 Charlotte Podcast Festival (with nearly 14,000 global registrations and being named one of the “best news conferences” by Buzzsprout), the virtual Charlotte Podcast Festival Pop-Up is taking place Nov. 30 through Dec. 4.

This “Pop-Up” is free and open to the public thanks to support from their sponsor OrthoCarolina as well as WFAE members. This year’s festival will feature panel discussions and seminars on podcasting (how to record, edit, host, market podcasts and beyond) and virtual networking for podcast fans.

The Charlotte Podcast Festival is a between WFAE (Charlotte’s NPR News Source) and Blumenthal Performing Arts, with additional support provided by Queen City Podcast Network and Eclecs Creative Agency.

Speakers Include:

  •  Elizabeth Ashley Edouard – Co-host The Hatian American Diaries
  • Hank Kibanoff – Host Buried Truths Podcast
  • Tommy TomilnsonSouthBound podcast
  • Ian Chillag – Host/Creator Everything is Alive podcas
  • Shreen Marisol Meraji – Former Co-Host/ Senior Producer Code Switch
  • Brandon Neal – Co-Host Making Room podcast
  • Shivani Mehta – Co-Host Making Room podcast
  • Jon Davis – Co-Host Making Room podcast
  • Kelly McEvers – Co-Host Embedded podcast
  • Sarah Delia – Host Shes Say & The List
  • David “Dae-Lee” Arrington – Host – Bridge Builder Motivations podcast
  • Mary C. Curtis – Host Equal Time with Mary C. Curtis podcast
  • Lauren Brown – Former Host/Producer We Live Here podcast
  • Cassandre Dunbar – Host Be Well Sis podcast
  • Perrine DeShield – Co-Host 1stGens & The Quarantine Couch podcast
  • Saadia Khan – Founder, Producer & Host Immigrantly podcast
  • Bernadette Joy – Host – Dear Bernadebt Joy podcast

Visit the Charlotte Podcast Festival website for more information about additional speakers, and to read the five day schedule. You can register now through the Charlotte Podcast Festival website.