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News Bites: July 10, 2018

Two Q&As for Vulture, Smart Speakers, and many a shuttering podcast.

I filed two interviews for Vulture last week, one pegged to a beginning and the other pegged to an end.

(1) The first looks at You Must Remember This, Karina Longworth’s fantastic podcast on the secret histories of 20th-century Hollywood, which returned last week. This new season explores Hollywood Babylon, the infamous 1959 book by avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger that traded heavily in scandal and questionable gossip on early Hollywood celebrities, but which has since accrued a complicated legacy in which it is often construed as truth. (A timely topic, indeed.) It’s a pretty long interview, and in addition to discussing the season, Longworth was also kind enough to talk a bit about her process.

(2) The second interview was with Madeleine Baran of In The Dark, who spoke with me soon after the concluding episode of its spectacular sophomore season hit the feeds last week. Baran and her team will continue to cover the case of Curtis Flowers when the next development hits, and they’ll soon be in the hunt for their next story after taking a few weeks off.

I also filed the June update to my Best Podcasts of 2018 (So Far) list. You know what? I like this monthly update format. Good stuff, Vulture.


  • Pour one out for Current’s The Pub. The public media trade publication of choice is shuttering its podcast after 113 episodes and 3.5 years. Executive director Julie Drizin announced the move last Friday through a post on the Current website, citing lack of underwriting support as the main reason for the show’s termination. However, Drizin also noted that The Pub’s closing doesn’t necessarily mean that the publication won’t be dabbling podcasts anymore. She leaves open the possibility of future projects, provided they are able to “secure committed funding.”
  • Filmspotting: Streaming Video Unit, the Alison Willmore and Matt Singer-led online movie-focused podcast in the Filmspotting family, has concluded its run. The long-running show released its final episode last Tuesday. As a longtime listener, I’m pouring another one out for this one too.
  • This is really good: “Using true crime to teach Indigenous history: Reporter Connie Walker on ‘Finding Cleo,’” writes Elon Green for CJR. The CBC podcast wrapped the season last month, and yesterday, host Connie Walker tweeted that the season has now been downloaded over 10.5 million times across its ten episodes.
  • James Cridland has a pretty interesting writeup on some RSS feed chicanery that seems to be going on with CastBox.
  • What an angle: “Amazon Alexa may be better at selling you things, but Google is more likely to understand you, say ad industry insiders,” via CNBC.
  • Tangentially-related, but worth keeping tabs: “Apple Music Just Surpassed Spotify’s U.S. Subscriber Count,” per Digital Music News.