The Stitcher App Closes – The Internal Memo

PodNews posted an internal memo announcing the closure of the Stitcher app. From the memo:

Subject: An Update from Joe Inzerillo, John Trimble, and Scott Greenstein


As we continue to evolve our business and our brands, we’ve made the decision to sunset the Stitcher app at the end of August. Podcasts are an important part of both our subscription and advertising strategies. The scale and reach of our widely-distributed podcasts has been and remains a crucial accelerant for our advertising sales business, while incorporating podcasts more holistically into our flagship SiriusXM subscription service will help to drive further growth. As a result, we have made our decision to sunset our standalone podcast listening app as we increase focus on these priorities.

One of the original destinations for podcasters and podcast fans, Stitcher’s business evolved with the industry as podcasting went from being a niche format to a billion-dollar juggernaut. With the Stitcher team now fully integrated into SiriusXM, we have united our strengths to create the SiriusXM Podcast Network, one of the largest podcast advertising networks in the country. We are also helping new and existing partners to do more within podcasts, taking what Midroll did exceptionally well and supercharging it with the combined power of SXM Media and AdsWizz. On the content side, through our reorganization earlier this year, which moved podcast programming alongside comedy and entertainment, we are able to give legendary podcasters a new platform on SiriusXM while also introducing the biggest stars on our roster to podcasting.

Today, an estimated 120 million people around the US listen to podcasts each month, and with more shows in the Edison top 50 than any other company – we believe our wide distribution model has helped make so many of the podcasts we produce and represent a success.

Our unique ecosystem gives us flexibility to experiment, and with the new SiriusXM streaming experience launching this fall, we are taking inspiration and learnings from the Stitcher app to drive improved podcast listening for our subscribers, with the goal of making SiriusXM a competitive and credible listening platform for talk and podcast content across the Company.

With legacy Stitcher team members embedded within every aspect of our business, from programming and marketing to sales and technology, we are thrilled to continue to bring podcasting into everything that we do.

If anyone has any questions or wants to chat further, just reach out.

Thank you,

Joe, John, and Scott

Stitcher wrote the following on their Twitter account:

“The Stitcher app and website will discontinue on August 29, 2023. For information on how to export your show list and other questions, please visit: stitcher

“If you are a Creator and have questions about your show distribution, please visit our FAQ here: stitcher

After August 29, 2023, this account will transition to “Stitcher Studios” and provide updates about the podcasts within our network.”

“Thank you for giving us the opportunity over the last decade to create the best possible listening experience.”

NAD Files Lawsuit Against SiriusXM, Stitcher, and Pandora for Lack of Transcripts

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) posted a release titled: “Lawsuit Challenges Inaccessibility of Major Podcast Platforms.” From the release:

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) have filed a lawsuit against three major providers of podcasts, SiriusXM, Stitcher, and Pandora, to end their exclusion of deaf and hard of hearing Americans from each company’s extensive podcast streaming service.

Sirius XM bills itself as the “new destination for original, exclusive, and popular podcasts,” providing customers access to a slate of both original and third-party podcast content, including exclusive access to podcasts produced by Marvel Entertainment.

Stitcher ranked #1 in Triton Digital’s Report of top Podcast Networks for August 2021, with 451 active original podcast. Likewise, Pandora’s podcast service offers users access to hundreds of thousands of podcast episodes. Yet none of these multimillion-dollar companies provides transcripts for the plethora of podcasts available on their popular mobile applications.

Because Defendants do not make transcripts or captions available for any of the podcasts offered on their platforms, more than 48 million deaf and hard of hearing Americans are denied full and equal enjoyment of the content they offer hearing users. These failures to provide equal access violate the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as state and local New York law.

The NAD and five deaf Americans who wish to use each of Defendants’ podcast services but are excluded from doing so brought this action to end SiriusXM’s, Stitchers, and Pandora’s discriminatory business practices.

Howard A. Rosenbaum, CEO of NAD, said, “Podcasts are the latest form of entertainment, and it is imperative that deaf and hard of hearing people not be left behind. SiriusXM, Stitcher, and Pandora have a duty under federal, state, and city laws to ensure their podcasts are fully accessible.”

Plaintiff Mei Nishimoto said, “I want all podcasts to be accessible for myself, because I love to learn, and as a Deaf parent with a school-aged child, I need to screen what is appropriate for her age and interests, and advance her education.”

Plaintiff Dr. Amber Martin said, “Access to information and entertainment is as interesting and important to deaf and hard of hearing people as it is to others. There have been many times when someone told me about something they heard on a podcast that sparked my interest but there was no transcript. It’s disappointing not to be able to participate in the conversations with friends, but especially frustrating to know that I’m locked out of a lot of information I’d like to have.”

Plaintiff Jamie Munro said, “Podcasts are now ubiquitous and serves as a wealth of information to everyone, except the deaf community. We cannot be excluded again and must have full access to knowledge that is already readily available to everyone else.”

Plaintiff Rebecca Alexander stated, “Requesting accommodations is not asking to be given information out of privilege. Having equal access to information, including from podcasts, is a fundamental civil right. I am also concerned about being precluded from a platform that has important commentary from people, myself included, because of inaccessibility.”

DRA staff attorney Emily Seelenfreund said, “SiriusXM, Stitcher and Pandora’s complete failure to consider access for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing is an embarrassment and an abject violation of federal and local disability law.

Stitcher Signs Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings

Stitcher, the Triton-ranked #1 podcast company and SiriusXM subsidiary, announced the signing of Eric Eddings and Brittany Luse for the relaunch of their beloved Black culture show For Black Nerds which is expected to premier later this year.

Stitcher will produce the series with Luse and Eddings; SXM Media will be the exclusive advertising and sales representative for the podcast.

Each week on For Colored Nerds, Luse and Eddings will use smart conversation, celebrity guests, and archival media to take a deep-dive into an aspect of Black culture that’s ripe for dissection. The show could be contextualizing the journalistic legacy of Wendy Williams one week, and doing critical and sociological analysis of MTV’s The Challenge with one of its cast members the next.

For Colored Nerds started in my living room in 2014 with a Google Doc and a borrowed mic,” said Eddings. “It was meant to help Brittany and I become closer friends and articulate our view of the culture and history we love. We couldn’t have imagined that project would spawn The Nod and The Nod with Brittany and Eric on Quibi. As we make our return to podcasting, words can’t express how happy I am that we are bringing back For Colored Nerds and that we get to make it on our terms with incredible support from Stitcher.”

“I’m so thrilled to partner with Stitcher as Eric and I return to the project that first sparked our love of audio,” said Luse. “Launching For Colored Nerds seven years ago quite literally changed our lives. Making the show deepened our friendship, but it also connected us to a beloved constellation of listeners around the world, as well as a podcasting community that has given us so much over the years. I couldn’t be more excited to come back to audio with the encouragement of our team at Stitcher, who respect our vision and independence so fiercely.”

“Brittany and Eric are such a joy to listen to and to work with, and I could not be happier to be supporting them again,” said Peter Clowney, Vice President of Content at Stitcher. “We’re committed to making SiriusXM the best place in podcasting for creators, and deals like this are how we get there.”

Lava for Good Podcasts and Stitcher Announce Partnership

After a landmark year in which social justice reform became more urgent and topical than ever, Lava for Good Podcasts – the company whose hit Wrongful Conviction series brings light to the wrongful incarceration of innocent people – has joined forces with the top content network and podcast listening service Stitcher. Under the new arrangement, the Wrongful Conviction series and Lava for Good Podcasts’ upcoming slate of new criminal justice-focused podcasts will be available through Stitcher on all major podcast platforms.

“We’re excited to work with Stitcher and our sponsors to bring even more exposure to these compelling stories and our powerful new series at a time when more and more people across the political spectrum are drawn to join the quest for equal justice,” said Jason Flom, founder and CEO of Lava Media and longtime criminal justice advocate.

Lava for Good Podcasts chart-topping Wrongful Conviction podcasts includes a lineup of hit shows. Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom has featured Brendan Dassey, Amanda Knox, and others who have spent years behind bars – and even on death row – for crimes they didn’t commit. Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions, hosted by famed attorneys Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin of the Netflix phenomenon Making a Murderer, brings the audience into back alleys and interrogation rooms to witness the psychological tactics that have been used by law enforcement to coerce false confessions from innocent people. Meanwhile, in Wrongful Conviction: Junk Science, revered defense attorney and Innocence Project Ambassador Josh Dubin explores how crime lab forensics like bite mark evidence, blood spatter, and ballistics can go horribly wrong, landing innocent people behind bars.

Lava for Good Podcasts’ mission is to entertain while also inspiring and creating profound social impact, and the Wrongful Conviction podcasts have become a valuable resource for lawyers, advocates, and the wrongfully imprisoned themselves. Its series’ hosts have been featured as leading champions of justice by The Joe Rogan Experience, NPR, Dr. Phil, and The Jordan Harbinger Show. Rolling Stone credited Rodney Reed’s appearance in the series with “helping to foment a media outcry that included Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Dr. Phil, and Beyoncé” in the week before he was scheduled to be put to death. Three million people signed a petition for Reed’s release, and his execution was stayed just five days before it was set to take place.

Lava for Good Podcasts’ slate will expand with several new series in 2021, including a deep dive into the unique challenges faced by incarcerated minors and an investigative series focused on tracking down the actual perpetrators who escape justice when innocent people are convicted.

“Lava for Good Podcasts and the Wrongful Conviction series tell stories that aren’t just good, but that change lives in the process,” says Dan Osit, Stitcher’s Chief Operating Officer. ”It’s our pleasure to support that kind of impact and help bring Lava’s gripping podcasts to a larger audience.”

Stitcher Launches “More Sauce” Network Dedicated to Championing Black Voices

As a part of its commitment to amplify diverse voices, podcast industry leader Stitcher has announced the launch of More Sauce, a podcast network created to empower Black voices to be completely authentic and unapologetic in their storytelling.

The network, which has been curating and developing popular shows like Imani State of Mind over the last year, officially launches today with a slate of new shows including The Salon and Porsha4Real.

T. Square, Stitcher’s executive producer of original programming, said the mission of More Sauce is to create and nurture a space for Black voices in podcasting to discuss everyday lifestyle topics. She said Black creatives can be overlooked and pigeonholed into conversations that are tied to race, but their experiences are all-encompassing and can speak to love, arts and culture, family, current events and more.

“More Sauce aims to create memorable content through the lens of Black experiences to help listeners have a community they can go to, to take a break from daily routines and the harsh realities society is facing today,” said Square.

More Sauce also will partner with Issa Rae’s audio platform Raedio [] to incorporate its curated music library featuring new and established artists, sound design and scores into future shows, beginning with The Salon and Portia4Real.

As the More Sauce network continues to expand, it will maintain a focus on working with other companies lifting Black voices as well as creators of color.

The slate of shows under More Sauce aims to provide advice and inspiration through each host’s life experiences. New shows debuting under the More Sauce network this fall include:

  • The Salon – Actress and social media influencer Lala Milan welcomes listeners into her “beauty salon” as she and a revolving door of guests share their perspectives on everything including sex, “situationships” and getting to the bag – nothing is off-limits at the salon. The Salon premieres on Oct. 5, 2020.
  • Porsha4Real – Media personality and TV host Porsha Williams gives listeners a taste of the “World of the Williams,” where she, her sister Lauren and mom Diane explore all facets of love, life and motherhood. Coming this fall.

“Stitcher is a great fit for me because they understood my vision. I wanted to bring a nostalgic feeling of the hair salon with a fearless new touch of radio to podcasts,” said Lala Milan, host of The Salon. “I didn’t want to be limited in my conversations nor guests. Stitcher understood my new approach and was open to it along with allowing me to keep my creative rights.”

Lala and Porsha join psychiatrist Dr. Imani Walker, whose show Imani State of Mind is currently under the More Sauce network. Imani State of Mind breaks down mental illness and mental health through pop culture and news and, in the process, normalizes what getting your mind right really looks like.

“Being a host of a podcast focusing on mental health has allowed me to reach more people than I normally would by treating patients,” said Dr. Imani. “During these trying times, I’m happy to know that I’ve helped my listeners to know that they’re not alone and that mental health is just as important as any other health-related issue. Being able to share my experience and expertise by breaking down pop culture shows has been fun and informative, and I’m glad that More Sauce has enabled me to have this platform.”

More Sauce joins a growing slate of Stitcher networks, including Earwolf, the largest comedy podcast network, Stitcher Premium Originals, and Witness Docs, an investigative podcast network with hit shows like Verified, which was produced in conjunction with the Scripps Washington Bureau.

Scripps Agrees to Sell Stitcher to SiriusXM for $325 Million

The E.W. Scripps Company has entered into an agreement with SiriusXM to sell podcast industry leader Stitcher for $325 million, a return of more than double Scripps’ investment in podcasting over the last five years.

The Stitcher company includes three distinct podcast business lines: the Midroll advertising rep firm; owned-and-operated podcast networks including comedy-focused Earwolf; and the Stitcher podcast listening platform.

Scripps was an early entrant into podcasting, acquiring Midroll in 2015 for $55 million and the Stitcher app in 2016 for $45 million. Since then, Stitcher has been a leader in the fast-growing podcast industry, growing revenue at CAGR of 52% from 2016-19. Stitcher’s 2019 revenue was $7.6 million.

The opportunity for Stitcher and its employees to join a large pure-play audio company ensures it will expand upon its success, Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson said.

“The sale is consistent with Scripps’ track record of growing businesses that capitalize on the evolution of consumers’ media habits and then unlocking shareholder value through spinoffs, exits, and continued organic growth,” said Symson. “Over and over, this strategy has proven effective as well as profitable for the company and its shareholders.”

“Today’s announcement, and the metrics around this sale, are an affirmation of our investment-for-growth strategy. We are firmly committed to our national businesses and are enthusiastic about the opportunities we see ahead of digital audio, over the top and over the air television.”

Transaction highlights:

    •  Sale price of $325 million, with $265 million of cash upfront; earnout of up to $30 million based on 2020 financial results and paid in 2021; earnout of up to $30 million based on 2021 financial results and paid in 2022
    • Full price representing an internal rate of return after taxes in the mid-20% range and cash-on-cash return of more than 2x, which incorporates the purchase prices for Midroll and Stitcher of $59.5 million as well as Scripps’ investments in the business over the last five years
    • Improvement in National Media segment profit and company EBITDA with the elimination of Stitcher annual losses in the high-teens millions of dollars
    • Estimated tax liability of approximately $70 million assuming the full earnout is achieved. Scripps has approximately $190 million of net operating loss carryforwards that would offset about $40 million in 2020 tax liabilities.
    • The move of all Stitcher employees to SiriusXM

“As a result of this transaction, Scripps is improving our leverage ratio through higher company EBITDA and garnering cash we can use toward debt reduction, which continues to be our highest priority,” Scripps Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Lisa Knutson said.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter, pending Hart-Scott-Rodino clearance. LionTree Advisors has acted as exclusive advisor to Scripps in the sale process, and BakerHostetler is serving as legal counsel.

Stitcher Redesigned their Homepage

Stitcher has “totally redesigned” the Stitcher homepage to be a destination for your favorite podcasts and for discovering new ones.

Our team has spent the last few months designing, interviewing listeners like you, and doing a lot of coding to come up with a brand new home page design that we can’t wait for you to use.

It seems to me that the redesigned homepage is aimed at people who listen to podcasts on Stitcher, and not necessarily people who have their podcasts on Stitcher. That said, there is some overlap in the two groups, because many podcasters listen to other podcasts.

Here are some major changes to the homepage:

Continue Listening: This feature lets you easily pick up where you left off on episodes you haven’t finished listening to yet.

Shortcuts: Easily access your Downloads, Episode Playlists, and Favorites using the buttons at the top of the homepage.

New Episodes From Your Show: There is now a “New Episodes From Your Show” section. It is where you can tap to listen to the latest episodes from shows on your playlists.

Easier Podcast Discovery: At the top of the home page, there is a showcase of featured shows. Plus, there are sections all down the page with various collections of shows to discover.

It appears that Stitcher has created a home page that is flexible and that will be adaptable over time. They point out that they can add and rearrange sections to keep things fresh. Stitcher says they will continue to make updates to it.

Stitcher Seeks a Partner Success Director

Stitcher is seeking a Partner Success Director who will identify, plan and execute initiatives that build relationships with their podcast partners. They are looking for someone with a demonstrated passion for the media and podcast industry and how it intersects with both technology and the broader entertainment business.

This team functions as the entry point for how Partners interface with Stitcher’s internal operations.

What you’ll need:

  • BA/BS degree or higher
  • 7 to 10 years of experience in the podcast, broadcast media, audience engagement, talent management and/or business development
  • Experience working with creative talent in high stakes scenarios
  • Project management experience, with experience leading and handling multiple time-sensitive, cross-functional projects on deadline and with a great attention to detail
  • Communication and presentation experience, and experience summarizing issues
  • Experience working cross-functionally with all levels of management, both internally and externally

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience working in a changing environment
  • 1-2 years of talent agency experience, preferably with at least 1 year on a desk

Those who are interested in Stitcher’s Partner Success Director position can find out more details about it on the Scripps website where the job is listed. It is possible to apply for the job through the Scripps website – if you have a Scripps account (or want to make one).

Stitcher and Wondery Join Forces on Podfront

Podcast Leaders Stitcher and Wondery are joining forces to provide advertisers and brands in the United Kingdom with the ability to buy premium advertising inventory locally and globally into a top-tier roster of podcast shows.

The joint venture, Podfront UK, represents the first time advertisers in the U.K. have the opportunity to directly access a large catalog of household-name podcasts from Wondery and Stitcher.

Podfront UK will open a new path for podcasters to monetize their shows within the U.K. marketplace and will source high-quality podcasts and talent out of the U.K. For a growing international audience. This level of investment marks a pivotal growth moment in podcasts, bridging global content brands.

According to Stitcher’s sales organization, Midroll, the U.K. ranks third in listening across the company’s network of more than 250 podcasts, with listeners tuning in to shows like Freakomomics, WTF with Marc Maron, and Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations. Blockbuster hits from Wondery include Dirty John, and Dr. Death, are also making waves overseas with millions of listeners tuning in from the U.K.

Podfront will be led by podcast veteran Ruth Fitzsimons, who comes to Podfront UK from London-based Audioboom, where she was senior vice president of international Indian and Australian operations. In her new role as managing director of Podfront, Fitzsimons will build a sales, content and marketing team tasked with growing the Stitcher and Wondery networks by monetizing existing listening in the U.K., bringing U.K.-based brands to the U.S. market and expanding to European countries where there is demand.

Stitcher Hired New Chief Revenue Officer and Executive Producer

Stitcher announced that they have added two industry veterans to its roster of top leaders.

Sarah van Mosel will join Stitcher as chief revenue officer, and Daisy Rosario will join the content team as executive producer. Van Mosel and Rosario will begin their roles May 20 and will be based in Stitcher’s New York City offices.

As chief revenue officer, van Mosel will lead Stitcher’s sales organization, Midroll Media, the long-time leader in podcast advertising that represents over 250 of the world’s top podcasts. She will set the company’s direction in identifying and capitalizing on new revenue growth opportunities and overseeing the partnership team.

A leading expert of digital audio sales and strategy, van Mosel was most recently chief podcast sales and strategy officer at Market Enginuity, where she oversaw all sales activity and strategic planning for the company. In this role, Van Mosel managed sales for Public Radio Exchange’s Radiotopia network podcasts including 99% Invisible, The Moth, Song Exploder, Criminal and Ear Hustle. She previously held leadership roles at Acast and New York Public Radio.

Van Mosel earned a bachelor’s degree in media studies from Goddard College and is the co-chair for the IAB Podcast Business Working Group.

In her new role as executive producer for Stitcher, Rosario will oversee some of Stitcher’s top podcasts on its Stitcher Original label including Unladylike, The Sporkful, Longest Shortest Time, By the Book, and new series Mob Queens and Science Rules! With Bill Nye.

In addition to production on current shows, Rosario will lead a team responsible for identifying and developing new podcasts, with a focus on narrative-driven podcasts and thoughtful talk shows.

Rosario earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from New York University and a master’s degree in journalism from The City University of New York.