Buzz: Podcast News September 10-16

Each week in Buzz, we’ll give you a roundup of our favorite podcast reads from around the internet.


September 11, 2015: Erin Griffith from Fortune, “Inside the first ever ‘Podcast Upfront'”

A small room filled with around 75 executives watched as representatives from companies like Podtrac, Midroll, and AdLarge bragged about the benefits of advertising on their shows. The average podcast listener has likely never heard of these companies, even though they represent some of the most popular podcasts.

Last Thursday’s podcast upfront was actually the second, not the first. Considering the modest scale of the April 29th event, labeling this upfront a first does–accurately–capture the newness that surrounds the festivities. Still in their early days, podcasters and their partners have to invest time in explaining their product to others. Look at us, we matter! For all the ads we’re hearing these days on our favorite podcasts, the sponsors make up a minuscule percentage of the companies looking to sell ad time. To get everyone on board, podcast-advertising middlemen Podtrac, Midroll, and AdLarge need to make nice with all the sponsors who need more convincing and more content education. One piece of big news from the gathering is that Midroll will sell ad space for Bill Simmon’s podcast set to debut on October 1, 2014–a day after his contract expires with ESPN. The upfront is a snapshot of an industry on the move. The high ceiling for podcasting is coming into sharper focus.


September 14, 2015: Jonathan Berr from CBS News, “Podcasting is finally attracting real money”

For Maron and other popular podcasters such as Adam Carolla and Jesse Thorn, podcasting has proven to be lucrative and a way to further other endeavors such as live performances. McDonald said he and Maron could earn a living solely from the show if they chose to do so. MaximumFun.org, Thorn’s for-profit podcast network, which he says is profitable, got its start after he sold a 1963 Dodge Dart to buy a sound mixer and two microphones.

It’s another round of huzzahs for podcast dollars. It gets a little old to talk about a podcast as if it’s a big girl putting on its big girl pants, but we’re starting to see a tipping point. When people like Maron, Carolla, and Thorn can do this full-time, it gives others hope. It’s not the impossible dream. We know that many podcasters churn through a few episodes and quit. Or, more often, they imagine their own series but never get it off the ground. All of these things can be true. But there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for a lucky few.


Prix Italia, “The 9 Finalists of the Golden Award for New Radio Formats”

62 programmes. 21 countries. Hours of passionate listening… Prix Italia is proud to announce the nine finalists of the Golden Award for New Radio Formats.

You might have missed it, but back in July the Prix Italia announced the finalists of its new award, the “Golden Award for New Radio Formats.” If you don’t know anything about the Prix Italia, that’s okay, but understand it is a very, very big deal in the world of audio production. Many consider it the Academy Awards of radio. The finalists come from all over the globe, but this year The Heart producers, Kaitlin Prest and Mitra Kaboli each snagged a nomination (Prest with “Movies in Your Head” and Kaboli for The Hurricane,” a story we awarded our “Best in Show” back in March when it aired), as well as American independent producer, Lu Olkowski, who entered with an outstanding story she did for the KCRW Independent Producer Project, “The Pirate.” Why are we telling you about this now? Because the winner will be announced on September 24th. Stay tuned.


September 14, 2015: CBS News, 48 Hours podcast: The Hannah Graham Story”

48 Hours kicks off its 28th season with a two-hour primetime investigation into who killed Graham and the terrifying fear that the accused killer may have struck before. ‘Hannah Graham: Deadly Connections’ airs Saturday, Sept. 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

And, for the first time, 48 Hours has produced a five-part crime and justice podcast series on the case.

For indie creative types with specific projects, podcasts have become an aspirational vehicle. If you’re funny, artistic, or a storyteller, you see yourself infusing those skills into a podcast and making a career that way. It’s something a lot of us talk about, maybe to the point of trite observation. However, there is an interesting, less-documented phenomenon where people are using podcasts to supplement bigger projects. 48 Hours broadcasted a televised investigation into the death of Hannah Graham, and with it they launched a podcast series. Just recently we covered the release of Jessica Abel’s book Out on the Wirea graphic novel about the craft of making narrative radio. Then she began a podcast that shares the same name. We’re now seeing people launch creative projects in tandem with podcasts, not exclusively as podcasts. It’s an interesting concept that could also work the way director’s commentary functions for movies. What if bands sell albums bundled with behind-the-scenes podcasts? There are infinite possibilities.


September 10, 2015: Steven Goldstein of Amplify Media, “How Long Should Your Podcast Be”

In a time-starved world and an ever increasing excess of content clamoring for attention, it does not appear that even after selecting to listen to a podcast that many listeners will sit through content that does not connect and make ‘eye-contact.’

One thing that irks one of us here at The Timbre is a podcast that starts slowly. Economy is important in radio, and some people–like our friend Steven Goldstein–have realized it’s an important ingredient for podcasting. Consider This American Life, which always starts en media res. Ira Glass invites you into the action within seconds. Too many podcasts clear their throats to open. Later, Goldstein goes on to discuss the exact lengths of the average commute–25 minutes–but we think that’s irrelevant. Time is important, certainly, but give the people something compelling and we’ll find time to finish it. 15 minutes. 45 minutes. Whatever. Just get to the good stuff already.


September 13, 2015: Joey Keeton of The Daily Dot, “The unfortunate truth about the podcasting industry”

With the rise of podcasting conventions, endless hosting services, and services so useless that their utility needs to be explained by a sales rep multiple times, a new industry is forming below the actual podcasting one: It’s a predatory industry, and it operates on the principle that, if you charge people a lot of money for something, they’ll think it’s necessary to cement their commitment to a craft that, odds-wise, they’ll most likely never get anywhere with.

Keeton was in attendance at this summer’s Podcast Movement event and his take is pretty grim. He sees the legions of wannabe and as-yet-unsuccessful podcasters who plunked down hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to attend the conference as evidence that podcasting is developing a predatory under-market that feeds on the dreams of people who just don’t have it. And he’s probably right. Cracking the code for success in an artistic world is a fool’s errand, and yet it’s played out countless times in every industry from music to writing to water painting. These aspiring artists would be better off dropping their money on a copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers and reading about the 10,000 Hour Rule–i.e. it takes about 10,000 hours to get good at anything. Or better yet, just internalize the point: success usually takes a long, long time and it’s due to a lot of work. Attending a weekend conference might be a start, but it’s not an answer.


Announcements

September 14, 2015: Julee Wilson of Huffington Post, “Vogue Launches First-Ever Podcast, Hosted By André Leon Talley”

While the fashion world is dominated by the next big trend, Vogue has developed a reputation for being, well, a late to the party sometimes. However, it’s right on time to the podcasting craze with a show about style, fashion, and culture.

 

September 16, 2015: Robert Feder “WBEZ cancels three tasty podcasts”

Chicago Public Media WBEZ FM 91.5 has pulled the plug on three locally produced podcasts — covering the food culture, craft beers and artists “on the edge of creativity.”

Ceasing production at the station are “Chewing the Fat,” the food show with Monica Eng and Louisa Chu, “Strange Brews,” the beer show with Andrew Gill and Alison Cuddy, and “General Admission,” the art show with Tyler Greene and Don Hall.

 

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Author Description

The Timbre brings thoughtful and thought-provoking analysis to podcasts and the larger culture of podcasting.

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