Acast Acquires RadioPublic

Acast announced the acquisition of RadioPublic, a US podcast technology start-up founded in Boston, Massachusetts. The acquisition will boost Acast’s presence in the US and further develop its world class tools and talent. RadioPublic’s Listener Relationship Management platform, which allows podcasters to foster even deeper relationships with fans, is at the heart of the acquisition.

The deal comes off the back of several important moves for Acast in the Americas, including its recent collaboration with leading member platform Patreon – which enables podcasters on the platform to distribute private, patron-only content to their listeners’ podcast app of choice – as well as the hiring of Heather Gordon as its new managing director for Canada, and the launch of Acast in Mexico last year.

Leandro Saucedo, Acast’s Chief Business and Strategy Officer said: “The acquisition of RadioPublic is fundamentally a partnership of values. We both firmly believe in the open ecosystem of podcasting and have a shared commitment to aid listener discovery and support all creators.

“We’re impressed with what RadioPublic has achieved and we believe that now – as podcasting is gaining more momentum than ever before – is the ideal time to bring RadioPublic’s talented team and company missions into the Acast fold. This deal continues our quest to support all audio storytellers around the world, giving their stories the audience they deserve.”

Along with a suite of industry-leading tools including the Listener Relationship Management platform — which helps podcasters identify potential new listeners, gain interest in their shows, and connect with fans — the acquisition also sees RadioPublic co-founders Chris Quamme Rhoden (CTO) and Matt MacDonald (Chief Product Officer) join the Acast team. Co-founder and CEO Jake Shapiro has joined Apple Podcasts as Head of Creator Partnerships.

Chris and Matt have more than a decade’s experience in podcasting as part of PRX’s pioneering tech team, where they helped build the first generation of podcast listening apps for This American Life and WNYC. At RadioPublic, Matt and Chris led the development of the innovative suite of Listener Relationship Management platform products including Podsites, HearMarks, PodPass, and RadioPublic’s popular web embed player, iOS, and Android apps.

MacDonald added: “I’m thrilled to scale up how we’ve helped podcasters grow their audience and make more money now that we’re working with the talented, global team at Acast. There’s such strong alignment between the Acast and RadioPublic philosophies in our mutual support for — and belief in — a financially healthy, robust, open podcast marketplace. It’s exciting to think about bringing our insights and growth marketing tools to a large community of global podcasters.”

RadioPublic was launched in 2016 with backing from a range of institutional and strategic investors, including Project 11, The New York Times, TechNexus, Automattic, Bose, GBH, American Public Media, PRX, and the Knight Foundation. The acquisition will not affect RadioPublic operationally and it will remain functional without change.

RadioPublic Ended their Paid Listens Program

RadioPublic announced that their Paid Listens program ended on November 30, 2019. RadioPublic posted a blog about this change the day before the program was ending, so this may have taken some podcasters by surprise. RadioPublic wrote:

Ultimately, we have decided to focus our attention and resources on the set of tools that are helping podcasters grow and engage audiences on and beyond RadioPublic – like our marketing landing pages, the embed player, Podsites and other features available to RadioPublic Basic and Pro podcasters.

Here’s what you should know if your podcast was a Paid Listens participant:

  •  According to RadioPublic, podcasters who have a balance of $15 or more will receive a payout. (Previously, the payout threshold was $25). To revive your final Paid Listens payout, you must complete the Stripe setup from your RadioPublic dashboard in the paid Listens section by December 15, 2019.
  • For podcasters who are pending approval for Paid Listens or with a balance of less than $15, there is no action needed.
  • All podcasters who have a balance above $5 will be able to use promo code “PAIDLISTENS” to get one free month of RadioPublic PRO.

RadioPublic introduced Paid Listens in March of 2018. It was intended to help jumpstart a new marketplace for in-app promotion. The idea was to make it super easy for any podcaster to get paid for listens on RadioPublic and help grow listenership in the app. The eventual plan was to sustain Paid Listens by selling in-app pre-roll spots to podcasters and advertisers, and also give listeners the ability to pay podcasters directly to skip them.

According to RadioPublic, over 3,500 podcasters signed up for Paid Listens, resulting in thousands of hours of listening, and tens of thousands of dollars in per-listen payments going back into podcasters’ pockets.

RadioPublic Introduces Paid Listens

Is your podcast too small to be considered attractive to advertisers? Does your podcast focus on a niche group that advertisers don’t know what to do with? RadioPublic might have a monetizing solution for you. RadioPublic has introduced Paid Listens.

Jake Shapiro is the Co-Founder of RadioPublic. He explained why RadioPublic was introducing Paid Listens in a post on Medium. In short, RadioPublic believes creators should be paid for their efforts. They are building a marketplace and committing themselves to bringing on brands, advertisers, and sponsors that were previously inaccessible to the majority of podcasters.

With Paid Listens, we are changing the equation by guaranteeing payments to podcasters on RadioPublic, whether you have ten listeners or ten thousand.

Here’s how it works: podcasters make ad-free episodes available in their feeds, we place ads on our platform that bookend each episode and we pay participating podcasters for every listen on the RadioPublic apps for iOS and Android at a $20 CPM.

This might be a good opportunity for smaller podcasters who want to make money from their podcast, and who are willing to have RadioPublic place ads at the start and at the end their episodes. RadioPublic says it is fine for podcasters to keep “shout-outs, and obligatory grant-funding or crowdfunding messages” in your podcast. But if there are ads you have sold in a given episode, Radio Public may not count that towards your Paid Listens.

To start, RadioPublic is offering a $20 Paid Listen rate per thousand listens, or an equivalent of a $20 CPM. They acknowledge that the Paid Listens rate could go down or up, and make it clear that it is their goal for it to go up.

When you reach $25 worth of Paid Listens you are eligible for a payout. That amount equals 1,250+ listens on RadioPublic. There is a helpful slider tool at the bottom of the RadioPublic page that you can use to discover how much earnings per year your podcast could make from Paid Listens. If that sounds good to you, it is possible to sign up for Paid Listens on the RadioPublic website.

WordPress Announces RadioPublic Embeds

WordPress logoWordPress announced that they have made a new partnership with RadioPublic. The result is that WordPress users can now embed podcasts into their WordPress website – or use RadioPublic to share and promote their own podcast!

We’ve partnered with RadioPublic, one of the leading podcast technology providers. They share our commitment to an open web, using open protocols to deliver free audio on demand, across all platforms – their founders have been innovating for years when it comes to the delivery of rich, immersive podcasts.

WordPress points out that RadioPublic’s technology makes sharing podcasts easier on all sites. This opens up a new world of opportunities for discovery, curation, and new voices.

What can you do with this new feature? Use RadioPublic embeds to create a top-ten list. “By embedding the shows right into your post, you make it easy for readers to sample, listen, and add the shows to their own listening list.” You can also add a relevant podcast episode to a blog about the same topic.

Start by going to and finding a podcast. Click on the name of the show if you want to embed the show. Or, click the title of a specific episode if you want to embed just one episode of a particular podcast. The URL of that page is your embed link. You can copy-paste it right into your post editor, on its own line.

When you embed a show (rather than a specific episode) the player will automatically display and play the most recent episode. WordPress says “It’ll keep your site fresh without you having to lift a finger.”

New York Times Opens its Podcast Club

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.

PRX Announces RadioPublic

RadioPublic logoPRX, the award-winning public media company, announced it has formed RadioPublic, a new hybrid company building a mobile listening platform for on-demand radio and podcasts. RadioPublic is aiming to create a new listening experience, featuring content discovery, exclusive offers, and fan engagement.

PRX is a leading creator and distributor that is shaping the future of public media content, talent, and technology. It connects audio producers with their most engaged, supportive audiences across broadcast, web, and mobile. RadioPublic is a mobile listening platform for on-demand radio and podcasts founded by PRX. As a Public Benefit Corporation, RadioPublic shares public media’s educational, artistic, and journalistic mission, and the democratic values of open access to information.

RadioPublic has secured funding from leading investors including Project 11, The New York Times, Knight Foundation Enterprise Fund, UP2398, American Public Media, McClatchy and Homebrew. Jake Shapiro, founding chief executive of PRX will lead the new venture as CEO. Kerri Hoffman, who has also been with PRX since its start, will become PRX’s CEO.

When RadioPublic launches later this year, its listeners will have access to top podcasts as well as PRX’s full catalog, including The Moth Radio Hour, 99% Invisible, Reveal, the Radiotopia podcast network, and the Remix story channel. RadioPublic will also integrate with PRX’s dynamic ad product, Dovetail, which powers Serial and other signature shows.