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Slate Shimmy

Lots of developments at Slate, sister company of Panoply, this week!

There’s a bunch of things happening over at Slate, which I was told was continuing to power through with its podcast operations despite whatever’s happening at its sister company Panoply. Here’s a rundown:

(1) Steve Lickteig, Slate’s executive producer of audio, is leaving the company to become the EP of audio and podcasts at NBC News and MSNBC. (That is, a lateral-orthogonal move within podcasting, so save yer’ damn podcast bubble takes.) The position appears to be newly created. Gabriel Roth takes over Lickteig’s duties, under the title of Editorial Director of Podcasts.

Here’s an excerpt from interim editor-in-chief Lowen Liu’s note to staff:

Steve Lickteig is leaving Slate to be executive producer of NBC/MSNBC podcasts. It’s hard to overstate how many big changes Slate podcasts has gone through in the past three years and how lucky we were to have Steve’s hand on the tiller in that time. He professionalized our podcasting operations as we grew and steered us through the split with Panoply… His last day is next Wednesday, after being here for the launch of what he has been such a huge part in bringing to fruition: What Next. We wish him the best in bringing Chris Hayes’ political geekery to the masses. As a side note: I happen to think Chris Hayes’ podcast is actually quite good! Anyway, here’s my big takeaway from this story: this is the first TV news organization that installed a tested podcast-fluent veteran to lead its in-house podcast and audio team. This, I believe, is quite notable.

(2) Wait: what do you mean interim editor-in-chief Lowen Liu? What happened to the old editor-in-chief? Well, Lickteig’s departure isn’t the only upper-level shake-up that’s hitting the company in the past week: editor-in-chief Julia Turner is reportedly decamping for the newly revitalized Los Angeles Times, where she will serve as Deputy Managing Editor overseeing arts and entertainment coverage. She will, however, continue with co-hosting duties on the Slate Cultural Gabfest.

Two departures in one week! What’s going on? Is this a cause for concern for the company, if you’re the kind of person who worries about that company? The line I’m hearing: not so much, natural order of things, and so on. I guess we’ll find out either way. In the meantime, Slate has made one notable addition…

(3) Slate has apparently begun piloting its upcoming daily news podcast — that isn’t The Gist, which really isn’t a news podcast per se, but still a considerable daily podcast production nonetheless — through its Slate Plus architecture. It’s called What Next, and in the host’s chair will be Mary Harris, the former WNYC personality known for her work as host of Only Human, co-host of The Realness, and the executive producer of the station’s health unit.

I guess I should sign up for Slate Plus to figure out what’s going on.