Buzz No. 14, Podcast News June 4-10, 2015

Each week in Buzz, I’ll give a roundup of my favorite podcast reads from around the internet.

June 8, 2015: RJ Frometa from Vents Magazine’s “Song Exploder Podcast Joins PRX’s Radiotopia”

Song Exploder, the acclaimed podcast where musicians take apart their songs and tell the story of how they were made, is joining PRX’s Radiotopia podcast network, a collective of indie producers who produce some of the most popular podcasts in the world, including 99% Invisible and Criminal.

Produced by Hrishikesh Hirway, Song Exploder is podcast that deconstructs great songs with the people who wrote them. You don’t even need to know the tracks to appreciate the podcast. If anything, it’s the best introduction you could ever have to a musician. If you’re wondering why Song Exploder would look to join a podcast collective, consider why Radiotopia launched back in 2013. Conceived by 99% Invisible host Roman Mars, Radiotopia came into existence so talented independent podcasters were given the support they needed to create. Radiotopia does a lot of the work that podcasters might not have time for: booking sponsorship, handling distribution, and supporting in-network advertising. To dig even deeper, look closer at their diverse lineup and talk to some of the people who have podcasts on Radiotopia: Roman Mars cares about the people who work along side him. As new podcast networks pop up to join the race, Radiotopia still sets the pace.

June 21, 2015: Radiotopia’s Next Podcast

Second podcast to join Song Exploder at Radiotopia in 2015

Consider yourself teased. While I know that’s awfully annoying, play a quick game of what-podcast-is-joining-Radiotopia after Song Exploder? We were told they were adding two new shows weeks ago and we went a measly one-for-two. I bet you’ll do better.

?, 2015: Podcast to Join KCRW’s Lineup

A podcast we love is set to team up with KCRW.

I’ll be the first to admit that one tease is more than enough, but here’s the good news about two: One of your guesses is most likely on the move. And if you’re still confused about how this affects you as a listener, my first answer is that it most likely means a busier production schedule. You’ll get to listen to more podcasts as the network takes a lot of the grunt work off the hands of the podcasters. That’s one takeaway.

June 12, 2015: “Introducing ‘Actuality,” Quartz’s new podcast with Marketplace”

It’s with this in mind that we’re excited to bring you Actuality, a twice-monthly podcast jointly produced with our friends at Marketplace. We’re friends because, frankly, we like to come at stories in some similar ways—finding the accessible and conversational in those stories that used to wither and die on the business pages.

I know this Buzz is dated June 4-10, but we’ve seen into the future and we know Actuality is coming. And we think it sounds pretty damn interesting. Twice a month the show will take you inside a global news story, bringing you conversations with the journalists and experts collaborating on the reporting. It’s a fun way to peel back the curtain and see inside the machinations of journalism. It’s also yet another indication that more and more people are buying into this podcasting game. Check out the first episode.

?: New Gimlet Podcast on the Way

Gimlet Media is cooking up a new podcast and it might just be called Encounters.

The good news is that we’ve been able to confirm that Gimlet is at work on a new show potentially called Encounters. The bad news is that its release date is no where in sight. We don’t even yet know what it’s about, but we’re assuming it’s a space exploration show where a podcaster searches for extraterrestrial life. Gimlet’s got the cash for it, no?

June 10, 2015: Joseph Lichterman from’s “Public radio is seeing a shift in digital listening: Live streaming is slowing, on-demand is growing”

There are early indications that the digital listenership habits of the public radio audience are changing, as fewer people listen to live streaming audio and a growing number choose to tune in on demand.

It really shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise that we increasingly prefer to have audio files on our phones for on demand access when we’re out of range of a cell tower or WiFi. Still, a lot of people don’t want to fill up their memory with podcasts that are just as easily streamed as 4G becomes more and more ubiquitous. What’s really interesting to note about streaming versus on demand, however, is how difficult it is for content providers and advertisers to track this information.”The fact that podcast downloads can be counted, but listens can’t, can make direct comparisons across formats difficult.” And all of this lack of information ties into the frenzy to develop a robust podcast app.

June 2015: John Patrick Pullen from Entrepreneur Startups Magazine‘s “The Accidental Entrepreneur: 3 Tales of Entrepreneurial ‘Eureka’ Moments”

In 2012 Lex Friedman was working as a full-time writer for Macworld in New York City when he started his own podcast. Called “Unprofessional,” it brought in industry leaders to talk about anything but their jobs. Getting interviews was easy. But the fledgling podcast network that hosted “Unprofessional” was failing to sell ads to support its shows.

This piece is a nice origin story for Midroll. Founded in 2013 by Lex Friedman and the founder of Earwolf, Jeff Ullrich, it’s a business that connects podcasters with sponsors. We’ve covered Midroll several times before, but this is the first we’ve read of the who-what-where-when of its launch. At this point the why of Midroll is self-explanatory, especially when people like Ira Glass are already talking about monetizing public radio with paid sponsorship. And if you really want to geek out the economics and ethics of advertising in radio, check out a piece Conor Gillies published on our website this week.


Author Description

Eric McQuade is co-founder of The Timbre and a former-programmer-turned-writer. He has lived in D.C., Texas, North Carolina, Minnesota, New Jersey, Colorado, Argentina, Cayman Islands, and the length of the Appalachian Trail. Right now he hangs his hat in Memphis, TN.

  • Jon Mellon

    One thing worth noting is that song exploder was already part of a podcast collective (at least until very recently The real question is why they decided to move from MaxFun to Radiotopia. My guess would be that Radiotopia’s audience is a better fit than MaxFun’s (which leans more comedy).

    • Devon Taylor

      Solid point about Max Fun and something we probably should have mentioned. I agree with you that Radiotopia’s overall aesthetic is likely a better fit for Song Exploder. Both it and Memory Palace departed Max Fun under seemingly good circumstances and, at the time, I (wrongly) assumed it was in order to embrace an indie distribution model. But perhaps SE recognized that it could reach a more appropriate audience through a different network. Who knows? Anyway, thanks for your comment!