Three things to watch around the launch of Mogul, Spotify’s latest exclusive podcast

Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 118, published May 2, 2017.

Gretta Cohn officially launches her new podcast studio. About two months after announcing her departure from Midroll, where Cohn most recently served as the company’s executive producer, her solo venture now has a name and an initial client list. The studio will be called Transmitter Media, and it will be getting work from the likes of ESPN, the Fusion Media Group, the Los Angeles-based ad agency Omelet, and the Red Bull Music Academy, a global music workshop and festivals business. The studio will also work with 596 Acres, a New York-based advocacy group. The actual substance of any of the shows being produced remains unclear.

Cohn’s offices will be physically located in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Gowanus — where Gimlet Media and Two-Up Productions are also based, by the way, and a twenty-five minute-or-so walk away from Panoply and Pineapple Street Media’s offices. (“An industrial cluster” or “liberal east coast bubble”? Both, surely, for good and for bad.) A lot more developments are underway, Cohn tells me; she’s looking to build out a recording studio at the location, and will be making contract hires in the months to come.

Transmitter Media is the latest in a quietly growing cohort of agency-style podcast studios. With direct peers and competition being firms like Pineapple Street Media and the Vancouver-based branded podcast studio Pacific Content, Transmitter’s business possesses a narrow focus on editorial production and a business model contingent on the ability to continuously cultivate and activate a client list of big, moneyed partners — publishers, advertisers, or any organization with communication needs — looking to outsource their podcast development and creation. Studios like Transmitter also compete directly with the agency arms of much larger, vertically integrated podcast companies like Gimlet, with Gimlet Creative, and WNYC, with its own budding branded content arm.

One could broadly speculate that smaller podcast studios like Transmitter, Pineapple, and Pacific Content benefit from the specificity of their editorial specialization; they have the luxury of focus, after all, and are therefore more nimble than their clunkier, vertically-integrated peers. But that specialization renders it subject to the greater volatilities of the industry and the economy more generally, and their growth narrative is one that’s largely concentrated in their ability to manage client pipelines and continuously drum up inbound and recurring interest over the long run. That would require the building of a strong infrastructure for interest generation, and that defines the upper limits of the firm. What are the best outcomes over time? To track alongside the growth of the overall market, to ultimately integrate vertically or even horizontally, and/or to position themselves as an acquisition target by either a bigger podcast company or an advertising agency that has deemed the medium a fruitful enough sector. That’s the back-of-the-napkin theory, anyway.

It’s still early days for this layer of the market, obviously, and I will say that it seems to have inherited a verve previously concentrated within podcast companies. (What is new is cool, after all.) I’ll be keeping an eye out for more talented mid-level producers thinking about making this particular version of the entrepreneurial leap — and, on the flip side, if there are any shred operatives from the agency side looking to shepherd such entities along.

In related news…

Midroll Media finds a replacement for the role Cohn left behind: Laura Mayer, who leaves Panoply for the position. She most recently served as Panoply’s director of Production, a role that sees her managing the company’s day-to-day production operations at the highest level. Mayer was one of Panoply’s first hires when the company started up back in February 2015, and before that, she held various associate producer positions throughout WNYC. At Midroll, she will report to chief content officer Chris Bannon, who overlapped with her at WNYC.

When reached for comment, the company replied: “Laura was an instrumental part of Panoply from day one and a wonderful colleague. We’ll all miss her, and everyone at Panoply wishes her the best of luck in her new role.” No response was given to my query about a potential replacement.

Mayer starts her new role as Midroll’s executive producer on May 16.

Congrats to the 2016 Peabody winners from the Radio and Podcast Category: APM Reports’ In The Dark — “deftly incisive in telling the human tale as it is full and unrelenting in its attention to broader policy implications”— Gen-Z Media’s The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel — “recaptures the best of golden age radio while also representing fresh and diverse young voices” — This American Life in collaboration with The Marshall Project and ProPublica’s Anatomy of Doubt — “a chilling indictment of doubt, a harrowing picture of the vilification and criminal prosecution that the victim suffered, and a heartfelt reminder to trust what victims say” — and NPR’s investigation into Wells Fargo, described as “thorough reporting that exposed the vulnerability of people on the inside of the scandal and helped lead to further Senate inquiry on bank self-regulation.”

Full list on the Peabody website.

“We learned that roughly 80 percent of families surveyed said their kids listen to a single episode multiple times,” claims Kids Listen, an organization that advocates for higher-quality podcast content for children. That finding comes off a survey study conducted by the organization that Kids Listen co-founder Lindsay Patterson published on Current last week. The theme of repetitive engagement recurs throughout the findings — and it shouldn’t be particularly surprising to anybody reading this with children and/or babysitting experience (present company included) — though one should be cognizant of the study’s methodology: it surveyed 436 families that already report being active listeners of podcasts, and the actual method of questioning remains unclear to me.

Anyway, the prospect of building out a business around high-quality kid-oriented podcast programming is a good one. More than a few people from within and without the podcast industry have expressed to me in the past how audio programming presents a strong alternative to screen time — televisions, mobile devices, and so on — with ample concerns about the early erosion of little developing eyeballs. We’re all in agreement here, I think, though my sense is that there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done for this budding line of business beyond the building of political will, including, among other things, the development of standards around advertising to children within podcasting, which is largely self-regulated at the moment, or perhaps the testing of non-advertising methods to monetize such programming.

Keep an eye on this space, more to come very soon.

The New York Times’ The Daily will expand into the weekend, the publisher announced during its NewFronts presentation yesterday. The “narrative news” show can now also be found on Spotify, and the publisher also noted that it has some documentaries in the pipeline. Nieman Lab has a great write-up that contains this fun fact: the company originally guaranteed BMW, its launch sponsor, 750,000 listens. We now know the show garnered over 20 million listens within the first two months.

Here’s hoping that the Sunday edition will be extra beefy and contain a hopelessly unattainable real estate section and weirdly stilted Vows segment. And let’s pour one out for the team’s sleep schedule.

Mogul kicked off its exclusive run on Spotify last Thursday, and it’s worth tracking how the joint editorial venture between the Loud Speakers Network and Gimlet Media will perform behind the platform window over its five-week run. The show drops new episodes on Thursdays, and they can only be consumed on Spotify’s mobile app at this point in time.

Here are three lines of questioning that I’ll be keeping in mind:

  • The big one: how will Mogul perform on Spotify, relative to a generic wide launch? How will premiering first on a specific platform affect coverage and conversation?
  • Spotify’s dashboard affords more granular data on listening behavior: assuming that the podcast gets a sizable audience on the platform, what will the creative team learn about how the show is consumed?
  • Will Spotify actually be able to activate its user base of music listeners? Will Gimlet and the Loud Speakers Network actually tap into a fresh, non-podcast specific audience? Will the show bring in more people to the platform, and will it deepen the engagement that happens on the platform? And how will Spotify promote the show on its platform to help achieve these goals?

The six-part Mogul will get a wider release on June 16.

The Ricochet Network picks up podcasts from the Washington Examiner and the Weekly Standard. I’ve been fascinated by Ricochet ever since I read about the company in a Wired article from last year. The company appears to be building a community-driven conservative media business with what can only be described as a dual engine: a network of podcasts that function as a marketing channel and advertising revenue generator on the one hand, and what looks like a souped-up message board-meets-blogroll hybrid that substantiates its multi-tiered membership model on the other.

Anyway, that’s all not particularly germane to the news here: Starting yesterday, the company’s podcast network has brought the Examining Politics Daily, Daily Standard, and Daily Sub-Standard podcasts onto the network. Is the podcast universe making room for more conservative programming — and perhaps a new demographic? I’ll be keeping an eye on the iTunes charts.

Nashville Public Radio throws a “Podcast Party.” The Tennessee NPR affiliate station is putting together a big, fun community stage event on May 11 that will feature, among other things, good times, live podcast tapings, puppets, and Vanessa Carlton. (Yep, that one.)

I asked Emily Siner, the assistant news director and host of the Movers & Thinkers podcast at the station, some questions about the event and how it factors in the station’s larger operation:

What is Podcast Party, and why is the station putting it together?

Podcast Party is a variety show where we’re reimagining each of our four podcasts for the stage. We’re retelling an episode of Curious Nashville as a puppet show. (We’re collaborating with an awesome Nashville puppeteer.) Our soon-to-launch podcast Versify follows these writers who turn people’s stories into poetry, so we’re doing a poetry reading with musical accompaniment by an avant-garde violinist. The host of our show Neighbors is reading an episode live, also with accompaniment. And the interview podcast I host, Movers & Thinkers, is always taped in front of a live audience in our studio, so it’s the same thing, just with a much larger audience in a real theater.

This is the two-year anniversary taping of Movers & Thinkers, so that was the original impetus: We wanted to experiment with going into a larger space and giving more people a chance to see the show live. But when I was in the early planning stages, I thought, if we were going to put all this work into finding a venue and going off-site, we might as well make it bigger than just Movers & Thinkers. And I thought about Cast Party and Radiotopia Live, how those events were so fun to watch and got me feeling really excited about those shows, and I was like, “We could totally do that here.”

Fortunately, the station’s audio engineers didn’t veto the idea immediately.

The intended audience is twofold. One: people who like our podcasts but don’t feel connected yet to the station that produces them. And two, just as importantly, the people who love the station but don’t listen to podcasts yet. We want everyone to get excited about the shows and Nashville Public Radio.

Is this the first time you’re doing this?

It’s certainly the first time we’ve done anything of this magnitude. Every taping of Movers & Thinkers is also a live event, and after two years, we kind of have that down to a science. But developing the “acts” for the four different podcasts, plus going offsite, plus having a much more ambitious budget — it’s just so many more moving pieces. There are going to be 17 people on stage throughout the evening. Our classical music director has volunteered to be the stage manager and is keeping everyone sane. Bless her.

How does Podcast Party fit into the station’s larger operations?

The station is at a really interesting point right now. The newsroom is still a pretty small staff, and most of us are working on podcasts in addition to a bunch of other things, like daily news coverage. But we’re also starting to get more support outside the newsroom for podcasts, as people realize they have potential to reach new audiences and generate revenue. I think of this show as a coming-out party of sorts — showing the world that we are indeed ready to embrace our podcasting side.

If we can get two event sponsors and sell 250 tickets, we should, should, be able to make money. If we don’t, we might not. We’ll call it a success if we break even. Ultimately, it is more about community engagement than revenue.

Tell me more about Nashville Public Radio’s podcast operations.

In the past two years, we’ve grown from one to four. Neighbors, a narrative storytelling show about human connection produced by Jakob Lewis, is the most nationally successful: His new season, which launched this month, has gotten more than 400,000 downloads. For Movers & Thinkers, where I interview three people who have a common theme in front of a live audience, we’ve been aiming that nationally too — recent episodes have gotten about 80,000 downloads each.

Curious Nashville is part of the Hearken model. It has the lowest download numbers but, interestingly, the greatest name recognition among our radio listeners. That’s because it’s definitely local, and it’s more than just a podcast — it’s also a web and radio series. The newest member of our family, Versify, is part of PRX’s Project Catapult and won’t officially launch until late summer. It’s a collaboration with a local literary nonprofit that sends poets into the community to collect stories. Fun fact: Versify is a real word that means “to turn into poetry.”

Bites.

  • “NPR, the AP, and local newspapers are beginning to experiment with Amazon Echo.” (Poynter) Also, from a recent Digiday article on The Telegraph’s experimentation with an audio show delivered through the Google Home: “We’re at a point of inflection. In-home devices will make a difference to bespoke audio content. We’re about to see a sea change where more people listen to audio off the iPhone.” Check out the article, apply the usual skepticism in reading the download numbers. (Digiday)
  • Chris Sacca — well-known venture capitalist, Shark Tank host, and an investor in Gimlet — is retiring from startup investing, and will be launching a podcast as part of his retirement plan. That podcast will add to the somewhat large sub-community of podcasts by startup moneymen and their formers, which is perhaps an expression of the medium’s early tech adopter roots. Fortune’s Erin Griffith has a quick list of such programming.
  • I hear that WHYY’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross will be celebrating its 30th anniversary on May 11. Mazel tov!
  • Robert Siegel is retiring from All Things Considered. Pour another one out. (NPR)
  • “Residents of So-called ‘Shit Town’ Are Conflicted Over S-Town.” (Vulture) Also, Brian Reed was on Jimmy Fallon last night.

How can news organizations better prepare the next generation of editors?

The ideological spread of podcasts. It’s been…an interesting election cycle here in the United States, to say the least, one that’s caused me enough anxiety to burrow deeper into the insular, cord-cutting media cocoon I’ve built for myself — an assemblage of ye old newspapers (The New York Times and The Washington Post, mostly), cable TV (CNN, mostly), broadcast radio (public, mostly), social media (the ideologically self-reinforcing Facebook and Twitter, mostly) and, of course, podcasts — in a bid to find some assurance that everything will…be okay, I suppose, or whatever it is I’m trying to look for when I seek out election news.

Which isn’t a great way of doing things, of course, given that it’s a function of larger problems associated with media fragmentation and selective exposure (see the recent Wall Street Journal interactive feature “Red Feed, Blue Feed”) that’s believed to have exacerbated the country’s political polarization. Frankly, I buy this explanation of the present: the idea that the increasingly abundant, on-demand, and personalized nature of our news media has led to whole swathes of populations creating worlds and realities of their own that don’t have much reason to overlap and interact with each other, until they absolutely must (like, say, during a national election), in which case the result is pure combustion.

There was a Wired article by Charley Locke not too long ago that grabbed my attention — about a five-year-old conservative leaning podcast network called Ricochet — in which Locke characterized the podcast space to be disproportionately liberal. (Whether that refers to actual composition or representation is hard to establish; it’s related to all the ways we complain about the medium’s measurement difficulties.) Using the upper echelons of the iTunes charts as her principal dataset, Locke wrote: “There’s not much ideological diversity in the conversation…Podcasts have proven a viable platform to reach a liberal audience, just as radio talk shows have for conservative listeners. But what does that mean for the Americans in the middle?”

Of course, characterizing some media organization versus others as liberal is sticky business. Locke’s rubric places organizations like NPR, FiveThirtyEight, Vox.com, and Slate in the liberal bucket, a characterization that might be challenged by some of these institutions more so than others. (Indeed, NPR has had a long history of being accused of liberal biasa charge they constantly challenge — while one imagines FiveThirtyEight and Vox would orient themselves more towards analytical impartiality.) However, given Locke’s other more unambiguous examples — former Obama staffers Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer’s Keepin’ It 1600 with The Ringer, and David Axelrod’s The Axe Files with CNN, both of which are expressions of that administration’s relative comfort with the medium , recently covered by the Times — her overarching point seems to hold: The podcast charts don’t offer very much in the way ofexplicitly conservative programming, and one could understandably draw a hypothesis about the medium’s larger ideological distribution from that.

There are a few noteworthy exceptions: The iTunes top 100 currently charts a podcast featuring Milo Yiannopoulos, the controversial writer and editor for the conservative Breitbart News Network who was recently banned by Twitter for racial harassment, and that show is distributed by PodcastOne. (That company is also home to a few other podcasts hosted by explicitly conservative personalities, like Laura Ingraham and Bill Kristol.) Earlier this year, the similarly conservative Jay Sekulow show broke into the top 3. Sekulow is an attorney and cofounder of the American Center for Law and Justice, a politically conservative activism organization that he cofounded with the often controversial Pat Robertson. But those examples are very few and far between, reinforcing Locke’s observation.

When I talked to Locke last week, she proposed a theory about the ideological spread: The medium’s liberal-lean is largely the result of its early adopters. As she thinks about it, relatively liberal media outlets (or media organizations perceived to be liberal) were among the firsts to develop content using the medium, laying down the foundation of its identity and eventually establishing themselves as the de facto “old guards” of the space. I’m partial to that theory, but I’m also tempted to wonder: Is there something about on-demand audio’s structural traits — and demographic spread, and so on — that uniquely supports liberal programming? (Conversely, do broadcast talk radio’s structural traits uniquely benefit conservative programming?)

“This whole thing ties into something I’ve been wondering about more broadly: Why aren’t there a lot more new media organizations oriented to conservative listeners?” Locke continued. I’m personally curious about where young conservative readers are, and where they look to get news.”

“They probably feel pretty isolated,” she added, wistfully.

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Local spaces. This Wednesday, PRX is holding a party to launch their new Podcast Garage, a recording facility and community space for Boston podcast creators. The space is part of Zone 3, a Harvard-catalyzed initiative developed to “explore experimental programs, events, and retail” along the city’s Western Avenue, which runs alongside the Harvard Business School.

“We want to foster a maker culture, create an environment of openness, and support storytelling,” said Kerri Hoffman, PRX CEO, when we spoke yesterday. “What we’re hoping to do with the garage is to bring all of those values right down to the ground at the local level, and create a physical hub for the Boston podcast community.”

The garage is stocked with studio equipment that’ll be available to the community via paid pre-booked rental arrangements and free studio times, which will be offered at certain times of day. Events will also be organized in the garage to brings podcast makers of all skill levels together, the first of which will be held on August 8 featuring a presentation by PRX Remix curator Josh Swartz.

“We really do think seasoned, local producers will make good use of our service,” Hoffman said. “But our sights are really on people who haven’t made a podcast yet, on the next generation. That’s what I’m really excited about.”

That’s the hook that really catches my eye about this project. Hoffman’s sentiment here echoes ideas that I’ve heard from similar initiatives across the country — ones that are also physically-oriented and locally-minded, like the Chicago Podcast Cooperative, which is run out of the lovely, non-descript Cards Against Humanity offices in the Lincoln Park neighborhood and managed by a great person named Claire Friedman, and the nascent XOXO Audio Studio, which is being developed out of the XOXO Outpost in Portland, Oregon by similarly great person named Tyesha Snow. Both operations involve a sense of bringing more people into the space who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to do so.

“We want to be a place that makes it easy for anyone to grab some studio space and make some magic,” Snow told me. “We believe that creation of the studio will spur all types of connections for the people…I can’t predict exactly what will happen over the coming year but people are ready and waiting. It’s going to be amazing.”

If there’s any force that would pull us away from any possible over-concentration of the podcast industry — and maybe, the production of media, more broadly — in New York and the coasts, I believe it’s going to be made up of local, physically-oriented spaces like these that makes opportunities more accessible in more places across the country. So if you’re working on an initiative like this, do let me know.

French podcasts. “Mainstream podcasts almost don’t exist in France,” wrote Charlotte Pudlowski, when we traded emails about the country’s on-demand audio landscape a few weeks ago. Pudlowski is an associate editor at Slate France, the French sister company of the American digital magazine, and is the person overseeing its emerging podcast strategy. She tells me that French podcasting mostly consists of repackaged broadcasts from Radio France, the French public radio equivalent, supplemented by some independent podcasts — “mostly talks,” she wrote, referring to conversational podcasts, a lot of which you can find here — and something called Arte Radio, which is reminiscent of a Third Coast-esque documentary directory.

Pudlowski is hoping to buck that trend by introducing longer-form narrative content to the mix. In mid-June, Slate France launched two shows: Transfert and Titiou, Nadia et les sales gosses (Titiou, Nadia, and their brats). The former features first-person narratives (or “narrative stories, told by the people who experienced them,” as Pudlowski phrased it to me), while the latter is a parenting show hosted by two Slate France writers which will mix formats on each episode.

Pudlowski was able to secure Audible as a launch sponsor, and it remains Slate France’s only audio advertiser for now. “We have made a deal for one year that corresponds to a number of minutes we have to produce in one year,” she said. “We’ll also look for other advertisers. But the contract with Audible doesn’t give us any fixed number of downloads or impressions we have to achieve, which gives us an amazing freedom of trying new things, taking risks.”

Things are looking pretty good for the two shows since they’ve launched, relatively speaking. Transfert’s first episode garnered 23,000 downloads in its first four weeks, while the second episode saw about 17,000 downloads during the same period. Titiou, Nadia et les sales gosses received about 13,000 downloads for its first episode. “We had not set a precise objective because it’s so new in France we had no possible comparison, but we’re pretty happy about it,” said Pudlowski, further noting that she was pleased with the attention the shows have been getting on social. The shows are hosted on Megaphone, the new CMS by Slate’s other sister company Panoply. (Confusing, ain’t it?)

I was curious about the potential market size for on-demand audio in France — its size, and opportunity. “It’s very hard to know because it is so new,” Pudlowski explained to me, pointing out that podcast listenership in the country isn’t widely measured just yet. “But what we do know is that French people are really into radio.”

Citing a December 2015 report from MediaMetrie, a French audience measurement company, Pudlowski tells me that more than 89 percent of the population listens to the radio every week and almost 82 percent every day, with the average French person consuming about 3 hours of radio on a given weekday and more than 2.5 hours on the weekend. That’s a whole lot, and one imagines that the bet here is that a good chunk of that listenership will carry over into on-demand, which is a transition bound to happen just about anywhere in the world.

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More on editors. Last week, I wrote about Planet Money’s hiring of Bryant Urstadt as the team’s new senior editor, contextualizing the hire within a larger conversation about an editing crisis not just in audio, but also in journalism more broadly. Given that editors more or less serves as the gatekeepers of curated, public information, I found the crisis absolutely fascinating, and it turned out to resonate with Hot Pod readers as well. Many wrote in to express their own thoughts on the matter, and many had the same question I had: how do you train to become an editor in the first place?

Curious, I reached out to Alison MacAdam, a senior editorial specialist with NPR’s editorial training team and the author of the Poynter column that sparked the conversation around the crisis, to explore the question. MacAdam, who was a senior editor on All Things Considered for almost 7 out of 12 years she worked on the program (and a former Nieman Fellow), obviously spend a lot of time thinking about the issue, operating from a place of having worked long hours in the trenches.

We spoke for a while, and I’ll break our conversation out in chunks here.

Clarifying the problem. “There are actually two separate challenges when we talk about the editor shortage and building a pipeline of editors,” MacAdam laid out. “The first is: How do content organizations train editors and create pathways for people to become editors? If you worked in, for example, WNYC or NPR, is there an explicit pathway if you went to your boss and asked to be an editor? Do they have an answer for you, or not?”

The second challenge has to do with the changing nature of what it takes to be an editor in this age where the fundamental structures of media are being increasingly disrupted (forgive the phrase). “What are the skills that editors need? That answer keeps changing because the industry keeps changing,” she said. “And because editing is a comparatively invisible craft, it’s that much harder to get the motivation to sit down and really think about the role: what they need to know now, and what’s timeless.”

When I asked her what, exactly, remained timeless, she replied: “Solid news judgment. Even if styles change there are some ways we distinguish good writing from bad writing. The ability to communicate is also really, really important.”

Identification. “I also think that, fundamentally, no matter what kind of editor you’re talking about, editors need a track record of making stories better. And that’s the conundrum — that’s really hard to identify,” MacAdam said. “That’s something organizations need to think about. How do you identify people you might think has potential, and what are the ways that we can give chances for them to prove themselves?”

MacAdam credits the emergence of on-demand audio with encouraging more unconventional editing approaches, many of which have increased the chances of identifying potential editors. One such approach is group-editing, a technique favored by teams like This American Life, Planet Money, and Gimlet. “It opens up the editing process so more people can take part and see what goes into shaping a story,” she said.

Independent opportunities. I was curious: if you’re not already in a newsroom, are there ways to create opportunities to learn? MacAdam seemed skeptical, but offered that the first thing to do would be to edit a friend’s work. “Though,” she was quick to add. “I think it’s worth noting that it’s really hard to qualify as an editor of stories, if you haven’t made stories yourself. I just don’t think anyone will trust that you know what’s good if you haven’t struggled to make what’s good.”

When I asked if being an editor is really something that could be self-taught, MacAdam seemed soft on that possibility as well. “Editing is about relationships,” she said. “It’s 50 percent story and journalism instincts — how is something structured? what’s the hook? — and the other 50 percent involves social skills. You can have amazing editorial, journalistic instincts, but if you can’t express your thoughts to people, there’s no real impact being made.”

But MacAdam concedes that there are things you can learn on your own, like listening (and reading and watching) closely to pick up on the micro- and macro- elements of story structure. “The macro stuff involves questions at a broad level: At what point in this story was I bored? Confused? Questions like pacing and structure,” she said. “And focusing on the micro is the ability to talk about lines and sound and the use of imagery in specific places, things like that.”

Job postings. “This might be interesting for you: It’s not like nobody is defining what an editor is. You can look at job postings to see how organizations are thinking about things,” she said.

And what are good examples of such postings? MacAdam points to an editor opening at Chicago Public Media, in particular. “I was really impressed by that posting,” she said. “It’s no surprise because that organization is run by someone who is really smart editorially, Ben Calhoun.” (Calhoun is the VP of content and programming at Chicago Public Media/WBEZ and is a former producer at This American Life.)

She also singled out the deputy managing editor for news position posted by Vox.com, pointing to a particular job requirement: “Clear, goals-based management style with proven success metrics,” it read. MacAdam expressed fascination over this. “I don’t get the sense that newsrooms prior to ten years ago had many ways of measuring success metrics. It’s a very new idea, or it’s an idea that come about because of technology,” she said. “Imagine a posting in 1985 for an investigative reporter in The Washington Post talking about success metrics. Hmm.”

  • Digiday has a pretty good writeup of Atlas Obscura’s sponsored podcast, Escape Plan, along with some interesting detail on the shape of the deal between the publication and the sponsor, ZipCar. (Digiday) And be sure to read this profile on Atlas Obscura (Washingtonian) along with this column on sponsored content more broadly. (The New York Times)
  • WNYC is open-sourcing its “audiogram” tool. (Medium, Nieman Lab) FWIW, I’m still pretty meh on the concept of audio clip distribution via social platforms as means of discovery, particularly after reading that 85 percent of Facebook video is consumed without sound — something I’ve understood to be reflective of more basic social media consumption habits. (Digiday) But hey, the point of these things is to break open paradigms, so my fingers are as crossed as ever.
  • NPR will end production of Best of Car Talk show (also known as Zombie Car Talk) as of September 30, 2017, though the show will live on as a podcast after that date. It is reportedly NPR’s third most consumed show, with a weekly audience of 2.6 million, though its existence is somewhat controversial among public media insiders. Current has a comprehensive write-up on the development, and you should check it out.
  • “Canadian podcasters are being drowned out by American offerings. Why?” (Metro Toronto)
  • The BBC’s iPlayer Radio app is now available in the U.S., which lets listeners access the full range of the institution’s radio feeds along with its podcasts and curated selections of past content. (Mac Rumors)
  • Al Jazeera’s Canvas Studio is launching an innovation competition called the “Future of Audio Challenge.” Audio technologists — check it out.