I come bearing news: I’m bringing my run at Hot Pod to a close. Truth be told, I’ve been thinking about stepping away for a while now, but it wasn’t until this summer that the timing and conditions felt right. Seven years is an eternity. It’s time for a change.
Now, I might be moving on, but Hot Pod isn’t going anywhere.
I’m pleased to inform you that I’m entering an agreement to pass Hot Pod onto Vox Media, where it will become part of The Verge. Ashley Carman, with whom I’ve collaborated a bunch in the past and whose work is cited frequently in these pages, will be taking over as lead writer. Those plans were announced in Variety as well as the Vox Media/New York Media press room earlier this morning.
I’m confident that The Verge will be a great home for Hot Pod, and that the team there, led by Nilay Patel and Helen Havlak, will build a strong future for this publication and its readership. And I have every faith in the world that Ashley is going to do a great job heading the newsletter’s coverage of the podcast business. She’s a killer, and there are things she’s journalistically capable of doing that I never could. You’re in good hands.
As for me, I’m not going very far. Starting next week, I’m joining Vulture as a full-time podcast critic. My new base of operations is another newsletter, natch — 1.5x Speed, sign up here — and I will be producing all sorts of other things on top of that. Separately, outside of the new job, I’m also going to tinker around with a few side projects, so if you’d like to keep tabs on what I’m up to, or for some random stuff, I’ve created one of those fancy Substacks for those purposes. Subscribe to that here.
We’ll be working hard to make this transition as smooth as possible. To that end, here’s a quick summary of what comes next:
- Hot Pod will go completely dark for the next few weeks as we set the table for a relaunch. Don’t worry — we won’t be long.
- As part of this transition, we’re giving paid Hot Pod subscribers a free three-month subscription to New York Magazine, where, again, you can find me from here on out. If you’re already a paid subscriber (you’re the best), expect a promo code to be in your inbox in the coming weeks, where you can sign up. And if you’re already a paid subscriber to both Hot Pod and New York Magazine (hey, thanks!), you’ll be getting a different gift as a token of our appreciation.
- Meanwhile, existing paid subscribers who joined Sidechannel, the collective Discord server that Hot Pod has been a part of, will continue to have access, though the channels specific to Hot Pod will be archived and I will be discontinuing Hot Pod’s unique Sidechannel sign-up link. If you’d like to join the Sidechannel Discord server in the future, consider subscribing to any of the fine independent newsletters that are part of the collective. You’ll still find me there, lurking as always.
- Lastly, you should expect continuity when Hot Pod returns in a few weeks. The plan is to keep most things the same for now, but of course, the bigger idea is to create more value for your subscription over time.
If you have any questions, please feel free to write me. I’ll try my best to answer if I’m able to.
To close this message out, let me say: it has been an honor and a privilege. I started Hot Pod on a whim back in November 2014, during the peak of Serial’s first season. It was a fun side project that grew, improbably, into something much larger than that, and everything played out in such a way that I was able to grow into a full-sized person alongside it. I wasn’t perfect, but I’m proud of the work I did here.
There’s a line in Craig Jenkins’ recent essay on Daft Punk’s breakup that I think about all the time: “They played a good game.” Not that I’m making any self-comparisons here, obviously, but the point is: I hope I played a good game. Thank you, sincerely, for being a part of it.
Okay, that’s that. You’ll hear from Ashley soon, and I’ll see you in Vulture. Take care.
– Nick Q