Happy Friday, everyone, and welcome to my second-ever attempt at a Hot Pod Insider. I only got one letter of complaint yesterday, which is probably a good sign — or maybe it means I’m not getting spicy enough. I don’t think today’s the day I say anything beyond the pale on a contentious topic like programmatic ad tech, but hey, there’s still time before Aria’s back…
The Daily adds a new host
Sabrina Tavernise, a longtime national correspondent for The New York Times, will join The Daily as its second host, sharing duties with Michael Barbaro. Tavernise has already been appearing on the show with dispatches from Ukraine, but going forward, she’ll be trading hosting duties on and off with Barbaro throughout the week.
“Having a second host will make ‘The Daily’ even stronger,” Times executive editor Dean Baquet wrote in a note alongside Times audio staff. “It will allow both Michael and Sabrina to dig deeper into stories and share responsibility for The Times’s flagship show, which — as Michael himself has told us — has grown too big for one person.”
Pretty big news for a pretty big podcast that suggests the Times is only getting more serious here.
Dead Eyes lands Hanks
The day Dead Eyes listeners were waiting for has finally come: Dead Eyes, a podcast about why Tom Hanks supposedly fired a small-time actor for having “dead eyes,” will sit down with Hanks himself after three seasons to get some answers. How big of a deal is this? Show host Connor Ratliff announced the news on Late Night. The episode will air March 10th.
From the department of interesting new podcasts
A bunch of new shows have been announced in the past couple weeks. What I think is interesting here is that, for a lot of these, we’re seeing companies expand into podcasting as a new medium or otherwise put a new spin on how they make and distribute their shows.
- How does Peloton keep its fitness enthusiasts hooked when the weather is nice and we all want to be outside? With Peloton’s first podcast, meant to give subscribers something to listen to while on a walk outside. The show is called “Fitness Flipped” and will be hosted by Peloton instructor Tunde Oyeneyin. Peloton has done audio-only lessons before, so this isn’t entirely new for them, but it’s a clever expansion — and given how much Peloton owners love the brand, it’s easy to see this connecting. (Oh, but 🚩🚩🚩 for podcast purists: the show is only available in the Peloton app.)
- Arthur just wrapped up its 25-season run, but its characters will live on. There’ll still be games, video shorts, and an Arthur podcast. PBS wants the podcast to “introduce a new generation to the series and some of its classic storylines.” The new material will start “rolling out in 2022 and beyond.”
- This Day In Crime is Tenderfoot TV’s first subscriber-only show, available for people who pay for Tenderfoot Plus on Apple Podcasts. The subscription offering also includes early access and ad-free listening for other Tenderfoot series.
- NBC News is pushing further into podcasting, with several new shows planned over the “next few months,” according to the Associated Press. The network already has a long list of titles, mostly tied to their existing TV properties. Now it sounds like NBC wants to expand beyond that, with an eye toward “original, distinctive reporting.” New shows will focus on subjects including conspiracy theories and the British royalty.
- Last week, Spotify debuted its first “bookcast.” The audio “blends story narration with original music and sound,” according to Axios. The first show re-envisions excerpts of Run, Rose, Run, a forthcoming novel by Dolly Parton and James Patterson, for the new format. It’s available on Spotify for free.
Clubhouse adds a text chat feature, drops out of SXSW in protest of Texas policies
Clubhouse last week added the ability for hosts to enable a live text chat, giving listeners a way to interact without speaking out loud. The company envisions it as a way to run polls, take requests, and generally have more audience interaction. This builds on the “wave” feature Clubhouse added in September, which lets you invite others into a private group chat.
The flip side of more engagement is more spaces to moderate. Clubhouse says hosts have full control to enable or disable chat, delete messages, and appoint moderators. So far, the feature seems to be getting used in an oddly pleasant manner. I popped into a number of rooms and saw links being shared to news sources on Ukraine and a bunch of people saying “good morning” and “happy Friday.” I didn’t see a ton of back-and-forth engagement, but I didn’t see any crypto spam, either — so not the worst start. Still, it’s something moderators will have to keep an eye on.
In other Clubhouse news, the company dropped out of SXSW earlier this week, saying it didn’t feel comfortable “asking LGBTQ+ voices from the Clubhouse community to come to Texas,” where the governor recently enacted a horrific policy targeting parents of trans children over medical treatments. I don’t want to give Clubhouse too much credit here — a spokesperson told me they were just hosting one panel, with marketing leader Maya Watson — so it’s not exactly a major wrench in SXSW’s plans. But it is the sort of thing that could be disruptive if other companies follow suit, though I’m yet to see other big names drop out.
I hope you like bullet points because this is the format that’s working for me today.
- Sam Sanders is leaving NPR after 12 years and 500 episodes of It’s Been a Minute. He says the show will continue with guest hosts for now, while NPR “does a nationwide search for a full time replacement.”
- Greg Herman has joined Apple Podcasts as managing editor after nearly five years at Spotify. He’ll lead curation in the US and Canada, overseeing the app’s all-important Browse tab to highlight great shows. Apple tells me you can submit shows for promotion, and there’s some guidance on how to format your request.
- Spotify’s head of international licensing, Paul Smith, has headed to YouTube as managing director of YouTube Music for Asia-Pacific. The hire was spotted by Music Business Worldwide and confirmed by YouTube.
That’s all for today — I’ll be with you again on Tuesday, eagerly awaiting Aria’s return later in the week!