Issue 278,  published October 13, 2020

Tracking: October 13, 2020

News, broadly…

  • Death, Sex, and Money is staging a four day “Audio We Love” festival this week, which comes as an expansion of a show recommendation feature that the podcast has been running in their newsletters. The fest involves dropping an episode from a different podcast in the DSM feed today, tomorrow, and Thursday, and it culminates with a live Zoom show on Friday. More info here.
  • From The Markup: “Is your favorite podcast tracking you?” Nothing super new here, but it’s a helpful check-in on a long-running tension in the podcast business.
  • Apparently, the “podcast.com” and “podcasting.com” domains have been purchased by… Amazon?
  • SiriusXM is said to be close to a new deal with Howard Stern, according to Bloomberg… or maybe not that close?
  • For the New Yorker, Rachel Syme profiles You’re Wrong About.
  • This is great — from Eater: “Your Favorite New Podcasters Are Already Bay Area Food Stars.” Extra shout-out to Extra Spicy, which is currently in my regular rotation.
In tomorrow’s Servant of Pod… So, that’s a whole lot of New York Times in one newsletter about podcasts, and I’m afraid I have one more piece to give you. Kara Swisher is on the show this week, and she joins me to talk about the launch of Sway, her new Times Opinion podcast. (Yep, the timing of the column and the episode was intentional. The Caliphate sub-column, though, not so much.)

Now, I’m a huge fan of Swisher’s work, having followed it for almost the entirety of my professional life. And so it was a real pleasure to speak with Swisher about what she’s trying to do with Sway — commandeering it as a vessel, essentially, to explore the notion of power, who has it, who doesn’t, how it’s derived, how it’s expressed, how it’s wielded, how it’s refuted, and so on. Swisher’s interest in power is obviously rooted in her years as “Silicon Valley’s most feared and well-liked journalist” (per New York Magazine, of course), which put her in a position to closely report on and document some incredibly, outrageously, and ludicrously powerful people on this planet. But with this new series, she’s hoping to explore and reframe conventional ideas about power, in part by bringing on guests that one wouldn’t naturally think of when you think of its premise. Which isn’t to say that you wouldn’t expect the obvious types to show up: Nancy Pelosi, Elon Musk, and Gavin Newsom were the first three guests on the show.

Anyway, I really valued this interview, particularly somewhere in the back half of the episode, when we started talking about the role that theater played in her life. In many ways, it made me grasp a little better how she views — and understands — the distinctly modern nature of power.

You can find Servant of Pod on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or the great assortment of third-party podcast apps that are hooked up to the open publishing ecosystem. Desktop listening is also recommended. Share, leave a review, so on.

 

I run this thing.