Podiant Releases “Compassionate Liberal” Manifesto

Podiant has affirmed its political and ethical stance with a new “compassionate liberal” manifesto. While most online businesses are trying to make their products appeal to wider audiences, a small company from Birmingham UK is bucking the trend by shunning right-wing rhetoric from its platform.

UK-based podcasting company Podiant launched its “manifesto” to the public on December 1st, positioning itself as outwardly supporting liberal causes like Black Lives Matter, trans rights, and combatting ingrained bias with compassion and patience.

The manifesto takes the form of a snappy video and a series of unequivocal statements, dotted with relevant quotes from thought leaders and fleshed out in plain English.

The opening statement reads:

We are compassionate liberals, and while our social views might not appear in our work, we won’t pass up an opportunity to defend them. We believe that Black lives matter, that anatomy does not determine gender, and that society only improves when we all contribute to help those who need it.

The company is backing these statements with an email inbox setup specifically to field complaints from listeners who feel that content hosted on the platform violates the company’s principles. Customers found to be in violation of those principles will be asked to find a new home.

Podiant founder Mark Steadman says “As hosting companies, it’s easy for us to hide behind free speech or “safe harbour” arguments when we’re confronted with content that conflicts with our ethics or politics. Saying “we welcome all viewpoints” is fine if you’re not interested in what your customers make or do with your product, but that’s not how I see Podiant’s place.”

This closes out a banner year for the company, in which it donated its ad time to indie podcasters on International Podcast Day, introduced a raft of educational resources, and launched a comedy news podcast to celebrate its commitment to UK podcasting.

Podcasters with a liberal leaning can visit podiant.co/us to read the manifesto, signed by the founder.

Podiant is Ending their Free Hosting

Podiant used to offer professional-grade podcast hosting for free. The company will cease offering free plans and is switching to hosting plans that cost money. Podcasters who currently have their podcast hosted on Podiant will need to switch to a paid plan. Podiant explains the need for change this way:

Most of our users – the vast, vast majority – use Podiant completely free of charge, and don’t subscribe to our Patreon. That’s fine, except Podiant is not a large company with millions of dollars of investment behind it, and we don’t want to make money off your content or by selling banner ads. Podiant was designed to give a voice to those who might now have one, built on the belief that the community would support our efforts.

Over the past week, we’ve seen a huge influx of traffic that we’re struggling – and often failing – to keep up with. Storage and bandwidth aren’t a problem; we just can’t afford the computing power right now to handle all the feed requests.

Podiant is going to offer two new plans: Professional and Community. The Professional plan is $12.99 a month. More information about that plan will be released “in the coming days”. Podcasters who were already on the $15 or $30 plans will be able to migrate to the new Professional plan (which offers exactly the same features that the other paid plans did).

If you are using Podiant for free hosting, or are on the old $5 a month plan, things are going to change. Users on either of those two plans will have to do one of three things:

  • Upgrade to the Professional plan. (Podiant has a discount code available).
  • Apply for a space in the Community. (Fill in a short form. Podiant will assess your application and if your show meets the criteria, you’ll get free hosting.)
  • Transfer your podcast to another host (via the “cancel subscription” link – which Podiant will add in the next few days.)

Podiant explains the Community criteria on their blog. The key point is: “Basically all we’re looking to know is whether your podcast serves a community that isn’t already being served well. It doesn’t have to be a lofty goal, but if your show is you and a buddy discussing football or the latest Marvel movies, you probably won’t be eligible. Sorry.”

If you do not want to, or cannot, upgrade to the new Podiant plans, you have 90 days (from the point where the changes go live) to find a new host, should your Community application be denied.