Issue 221,  published August 6, 2019

Tracking: August 6, 2019

Revolving Door. Two notable hires over at PRX, a.k.a. the merged entity known as PRX-PRI:

  • Jason Saldanha joins as the organization’s new Content director, starting August 1. Previously, Saldanha was the Managing Director of Communications and Audience Experience at the Chicago Humanities Festival. He was also a producer at various points in his career, including stints at Chicago Public Radio and Campfire.

  • Charlotte Cooper join as PRX-PRI’s new Director of Audience Growth and Marketing, starting this week. Up until this point, she was the senior manager of podcast membership at New York Public Radio.

“Three Uncanny Four Productions.” That’s officially the name of the Adam Davidson-Laura Mayer-Sony Music joint venture that was originally announced back in May. Which is great, because I no longer have to regard it as the Adam Davidson-Laura Mayer-Sony Music joint venture, or any abbreviation thereof. (Davidson-Mayer-Sony? DMS? DSM?)

Anyway, the studio has also brought on Dan Bobkoff, formerly of Business Insider, where he made and hosted Household Name. Bobkoff will serve as a showrunner.

Tracking

  • Two framings on Spotify’s recent earnings report. Here’s Markets Insider: “Spotify slips after not adding as many paid subscribers as hoped.” And here’s The Verge: “Spotify’s big bet on podcasts is starting to pay off.” Not quite sure about the latter, but Spotify’s considerable growth of on-platform podcast audience — 50% since the last quarter, almost doubled since the start of the year — is definitely something to track.
  • SiriusXM CEO James Meyer on podcasts, during the company’s recent earnings call: “As you well know, there’s content everywhere but it’s almost like a flea market, in that it’s up there everywhere and no one can find it and no one can find it easily. And so we’re busily working on those two things that we think are kind of gatekeeper kinds of things that need to be done for this stuff to finally catch fire.”
  • KCRW’s 24-hour Radio Race is back, and open for applications. Registration closes tonight at midnight, so get on it if you’re looking for some glory. The actual race will take place between August 10 and 11.
  • Heads up: Art19 now supports the new Apple Podcast categories.

Release Notes

  • Surprise: Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad is making a nine-part podcast series on Dolly Parton, that great American treasure, due out sometime this fall. The working title: “Dolly Parton’s America.” Here’s the announcement, via Twitter.
  • New York Magazine, to which I’m a contributor, has released a podcast documentary series on the paid podcast platform Luminary: Tabloid, which will serially explore a different tabloid-style story every season. (Pairs well, I imagine, with Leon Neyfakh’s Fiasco!, also on Luminary.) The first season, hosted by Vanessa Grigoriadis, will revolve around Ivanka Trump, naturally.
  • The Los Angeles Times might be struggling with digital subscriptions, but its LA Times Studios division continues to pump out shows that consistently performs well on the Apple Podcast Charts. Its latest show to bubble up to the top is Room 20, produced in partnership with Neon Hum Media. Wondery is attached to the project as a distributor.
  • Speaking of Wondery: looks like the company is also distributing the newly-launched official Bachelor podcast, called Bachelor Happy Hour with Rachel & Ali.