Issue 257,  published May 5, 2020

Tracking: May 5, 2020

Speaking of Spotify… Two other news bites about the Swedish streaming platform:

(1) From The Verge: “Netflix and ESPN team up with Spotify to curate podcasts around their Michael Jordan documentary.”

Fun if you, like me, are enjoying The Last Dance, but it’s really, really interesting if you’re thinking about the implications of the Spotify-curated podcast playlist as an advertising and brand marketing opportunity. I’d keep a close eye on this, particularly if this evolves past being a one-off campaign.

(2) From the New York Times: “David Rhodes, a former Fox News executive who also led CBS News, has quietly begun consulting for Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.”

Mildly interesting to out purposes for the fact that Rhodes had been serving as a consultant for Spotify on matters related to news programming.

Speaking of the IP pipeline… Maximum Fun’s 2018 fiction podcast series, Bubble, is being adapted into an R-rated animated film by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Here’s the Indiewire write-up on this development.

The Pulitzer Prizes were announced yesterday, and the Pulitzer for Audio Reporting — the first of its kind after the category was added last December — went to the This American Life episode “The Out Crowd,” which included “Goodbye Stranger” from Los Angeles Times reporter Molly O’Toole that was produced by Nadia Reiman; “Take the Long Way Home” from the journalist Emily Green that was produced by Lina Misitzis; and a prologue reported by Ira Glass with Aviva DeKornfeld.

You can find the finalists plus jury list here, and Glass penned a brief post about the win on the TAL website. “It’s an honor to be recognized this way by the Pulitzers. And exciting to win their very first prize for audio reporting. Fun fact: the Peabody Awards were established in 1940 partly because the Pulitzers wouldn’t give out awards to this newfangled medium called radio,” he wrote. “I guess they decided audio journalism is finally here to stay.” 🌶🌶🌶

Today in Paid Audio Platforms. Another company to track, if you’re interested in this segment of the business: there’s a new app called Vennly that specializes in providing “exclusive, non-denominational short-form audio content from a diverse and highly curated network of top spiritual and community leaders.” It’s priced at $4.99 per month, with a 30-day free trial period for folks wanting to try the thing out. Here’s the circulated press release, and here’s the website.
Kids today. Joining the ranks of The Daily and Radiolab, Today, Explained has pulled together a special kids-minded podcast experience out of their workflow: the Vox Media daily news podcast dropped a special episode last week dedicated to explaining the coronavirus to kids.

“The thing I love most about this kid’s episode is that I had nothing to do with it,” host Sean Rameswaram tells me. “Major kudos to Noam Hassenfeld and Byrd Pinkerton who did everything I would have done and more, down to the brief Drake homage. Teamwork makes the dream work. Tell your kids.”

Third Coast Festival to go virtual this year, for obvious reasons. The beloved Chicago audio conference typically takes place every November. This year would have been the first such gathering under new executive director Shirley Alfaro’s tenure. Here’s the official blog post, and the team is also running a survey on how to make the virtual session work. Help ‘em out.