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Insider: July 30, 2021 — A Fix for Apple Podcasts, Archival Efforts, and Words from AIR’s New Voices

Apple instates fix for broken auto-downloads. On Thursday, Apple’s release of iOS 14.7 came with a specific note on what the update means for Apple Podcasts: that it, among other things, “resolves a known issue that prevented automatic downloads from completing in the background for some listeners, which could impact downloads reported by third-party hosting providers,” an impact that indeed appears to have happened.

Analysis of podcast archiving goes live. There’s a new report out on the current state of archiving podcasts — a practice that, by the assessment of people who contributed to the report, could be much more robust. It’s titled Saving New Sounds: Podcast Preservation and Historiography, and in the words of editors Eric Hoyt and Jeremy Wade Morris, “it’s necessary to preserve and analyze these resources now, or scholars will find themselves writing, researching, and thinking about a past they can’t fully see or hear.” The report includes a section (chapter 13: “A Podcaster-Led Preservation Strategy”) by the folks behind Preserve This Podcast, a preexisting effort to formally archive audio.

Doctors not only ones skilling up via audio. As a follow up to my piece last week about a recent survey of medical professionals using podcasts as a means to deliver educational material — whether or not they’re actually absorbing that information — other industries appear to be keeping in step, with many lately offering podcast recommendations for their respective workers. There’s “The 8 Best Legal Podcasts Lawyers Should Listen To,” a double-digit list to help musicians make money, and a roundup of shows for entrepreneurs in Asia. These lists aren’t new (though one listicle does assert that “it’s easier than ever to take advantage of your peers’ expertise,” which is “all thanks” to podcasts that they produce) but the swell of them and the diversity of the industries they represent are interesting, perhaps reflecting folks’ desire for ways to reinvent or skill up in their line of work, particularly if they’ve felt bogged down or disillusioned by it for the past… what is it? 18 months now?

This is interesting: Paris Hilton uses her podcast to issue a formal statement. The socialite took to her podcast, This is Paris, on Tuesday to debunk pregnancy rumors. Noting this both because it was an interesting use of the medium — I’m used to seeing the acts of apologizing, sharing news, or saying “don’t believe what you read” in the form of an Instagram video or Notes app screenshots (or both) — as well as because Hilton is hilarious. Notable quotes: “The only thing in the oven at the moment is my slimming lasagna” and, while recounting the way she found out about the rumors, “all my iPhones are blowing up — all five of them.”

THE VOICES OF AIR’S 2021 NEW VOICES

On Wednesday, AIR announced the 2021 inductees of its New Voices program, which “convenes a cohort of underrepresented and early-career media makers to connect, reflect and engage on their creative journeys”; it also provides them with a stipend. I sent some questions over to the crew to find out more about these new inductees; here’s a bit about them (with 12 of the 16 total participants providing responses) and what they’re looking forward to, in their own words — er, voices.

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What impact do you hope to have on the audio industry?

Adetola Abdulkadir: My first foray into audio came from the annoyance I had in hearing so few voices like my own within audio drama stories. I still hope to elevate the voices of underrepresented communities in audio fiction, but also across the industry at large.

Taylor Cook: Through my work as an audio producer and educator, I hope to challenge the oppressive practices throughout the industry. I recently completed a graduate program in disability studies at CUNY, which has prepared me to uplift disabled voices, disrupt ableist narratives, and advocate for better accessibility practices in audio. Additionally, as someone with a background in labor studies and experience working for a labor union, I would love to contribute my knowledge and experience to supporting those fights for worker’s rights in the audio industry through unionization and the formation of worker-owned cooperatives.

Tanvi Kumar: I hope that I can encourage more creators to be vulnerable with the people they share their work with. I think there is a lot of pressure to create perfect things that meet these high levels of professionalism, when in reality I think it’s powerful to share things that are imperfect but impactful nonetheless. Through my own show, I hope to give the audience a peek behind the curtain and share my thought process on why I decided to tell a story the way I did.

Raymond (Ray) Pang: On an industry level, public media and podcasting continue to have serious issues related to labor and equity, and I’m excited to imagine alternative futures with this incredible cohort. I’d really love for us to go out into the world to start co-creating more just and sustainable work environments.

Aria Vega: I have concerns that as more money flows into this industry, there will be more gatekeeping of resources, information, and opportunities than there has been up until now. If I am to reach a certain level of influence, it is my intention to keep those channels of access open and preserve the dynamism that the industry enjoys now.

Rachel Yang: Radio people love to talk about “good talkers,” and I know this is cheeky industry shorthand for “vibrant characters with expressive voices and narrative command,” but the term always gives me pause. Once, in a pitch meeting, I heard a colleague make an offhand generalization about the speaking style of a specific demographic group and express wariness about finding a “good talker” among them. If our industry standards are so prescriptive that they prevent us from including marginalized voices in our programs, something has got to change. I want to encourage a far more thoughtful conversation about what voices we value and what role we as producers have to play in creating generative spaces where any talker can be a good one.


What impact do you feel you’ve already made?

Jordan (Jor) Gonsalves: The name of my podcast is called Unshaming. I’m aware that the concept — shame — can provoke intense feelings. I regularly get listener letters where people tell me what they’re “unshaming.” To know that the show is helping folks unpack their own shame is really powerful.

Kristin Leong: I was never a “backseat kid.” My parents are working-class people who didn’t listen to public radio until I joined KUOW three years ago. When I produce stories, I produce for listeners like me who have not always felt included in our audio world, stories centered on voices and perspectives that have been historically underrepresented in the media. My hope is that the impact I’ve already begun to make continues to grow, and that through my newsletter and the stories I produce, that more people find an entry into the world of audio storytelling that sounds like them, the lives they’ve lived and are living, and the things they’re curious about.

Julia Rocha: Aside from the impact I hope to make through my content, I also strive to be a grounding and compassionate presence on whatever team I am on. Working in media (like working in any other industry in late capitalism tbh) can often mean navigating a lot of expectations of overwork that I think can work against us in creating a sustainable practice. I hope to have an impact in the industry by being well rested, joyful, and patient while making badass work.

Gustavo Sagrero: I’m just starting out, currently an intern, but I work on keeping close to my immediate community. I hope through that I am creating an impact. I’m a first-gen immigrant, born in a primarily Spanish-speaking, partially undocumented population in Idaho. I know a lot of undocumented people. I used to work as a cook where I’d meet a lot of people with this background. I don’t know what kind of impact I will make in continuing to work here. But my hope is as I continue my work they feel seen, celebrated, and heard. I worry what will happen if I leave the market; I’m one of the few Brown, Spanish-speaking journalists who live here.

Nidhi Shastri: My podcast (Model Minority: Uniquely American) is centered around sharing the stories of hardship and adversity from the Asian, Middle Eastern and African immigrant diaspora. Many of these stories are often overlooked in our communities or overwritten by success stories. It’s been incredibly freeing to let go of those harmful stereotypes with my guests and listeners and instead work to build a new narrative.

Miranda Suarez: I’ve started making myself the unofficial welcoming committee for new journalists in my area. Whenever someone new starts, at my radio station or elsewhere, I try to reach out and say hi. If I see someone start a job in a role I used to hold, I DM them and ask if I can answer any questions. I’ve moved around the country a lot in the past couple years, and I’m so grateful to the people who reached out to me right away and made me feel welcome. I’m trying to be that person now.