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We're listening to: 'Acquisitions Inc.' and 'The Adventure Zone'

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 14:30:00 -0400


This week's IRL is about podcasts. Or games. Or both? Kris Naudus loves role-playing games -- the ones with dice rather than pixels -- and she also loves podcasts. Combining the two should be a dream, but Kris has struggled to get into some of the most popular shows. Until now.

Pandora's CEO is doubling down on podcasts

Mon, 09 Apr 2018 18:03:00 -0400


By JP Mangalindan

Pandora CEO Roger Lynch wants to offer listeners an easier way to discover new podcasts as the company adds more podcasts to its service and beefs up advertising.

Indeed, podcasts will become a more significant aspect in the months and years ahead for Pandora, which has over 75 million monthly active users -- 5.5 million of which use Pandora's paid features and services. The key to growing those users, according to Lynch, who joined the company in September, is offering a more comprehensive catalog of content.

"In the car, 80 percent of listening is music, while 20 percent is other stuff," Lynch explains to Yahoo Finance. "As a service, if you don't have that 20 percent, it doesn't mean you capture the 80 percent, because then people will just stay on their FM Radios. But if you can create audio content for people that gets packaged with the music content in a way that doesn't give them a reason to go back to that FM dial, then you capture much more than just the spoken word."

Source: Yahoo Finance

Overcast adds a smarter way to dive back into a podcast

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 17:05:00 -0400


Marco Arment's Overcast has a reputation as the podcast connoisseur's iOS app of choice thanks to its inclusion of features you don't even find in Apple's official client, such as the automatic removal of dead air. That trend is continuing with the newly released Overcast 4.1, whose improvements might be extra-helpful if you find yourself lost whenever you return to a podcast. The new version adds a Smart Resume feature that not only skips back a few seconds when you hit play, but tweaks resumes and seeks so that they land on silences. You'll ideally remember the context of what was being said before you paused, and won't be as likely to resume playback in mid-sentence.

Source: App Store,

Anchor turns itself into a one-stop podcast creation app

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 09:00:00 -0500


Anchor started off as a social network for audio -- the app let users make quick, impromptu broadcasts to their followers straight from their phone. But the company started seeing more and more people using it to make full-on podcasts, so it added features to push Anchor recordings to Apple Podcasts and Google Play last summer. That turned the app into a one-stop shop for amateur podcasting. The success of that feature has led Anchor to fully re-do its app and mission. Its goal now is to remove all the pain points and costs of making a podcast, from start to finish.

Why is HBO making shows from podcasts?

Sat, 10 Feb 2018 14:00:00 -0500


HBO has signed a deal with political podcast Pod Save America that will see the popular show become a series of TV specials. The episodes will be shot and broadcast during the 2018 midterms, produced and starring the usual trio of (the other) Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor. It's the second time in recent months that the cable giant has sought to adapt a podcast, following its deal with 2 Dope Queens.

Siri’s news bulletin feature goes live in the UK and Australia

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 07:07:00 -0500


Brits can now ask their iThings to give them a brief update on what's happening in the world with the command: "Hey Siri, give me the news." Siri doesn't actually read the news, though, and instead will automatically play the latest podcast from a trusted source of your choice. I was treated to a 2-minute bulletin from BBC News when I said the magic words to Siri this morning, which also offered Sky News and LBC up as alternative sources.

Via: 9to5Mac

Plex's plan to serve all media will soon include podcasts

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 00:03:00 -0500


After adding new features like live TV and DVR (with automated commercial removal), news and Android Auto support over the last year, Plex didn't seem to bring anything new during tonight's CES event. However, soon the streaming platform will add another new element as it tries to cover all media consumed across devices: podcasts. We spoke to co-founder Scott Olechowski, who explained that when it launches, users won't need a server, and as you'd expect with Plex, it will sync access across devices like desktop and mobile. "Where it makes sense" you can expect downloads for offline listening as well.

What could come next, however, is the integration of podcasts with other media accessible on Plex, like TV shows and movies. For example, if you get deep into a new show, it could suggest the official podcast, a fan cast or even a related online video series. By working with content creators to add their shows directly to Plex, it could make its platform even more interesting. TechCrunch mentions that it's in the "early stages" of talks about licensing its software to companies that sell combo TV tuner/antennas, which could also extend its reach.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.

Apple adds a Siri-powered news briefing to the latest iOS beta

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 14:45:00 -0500


Apple's delayed HomePod is coming to challenge smart speakers from Amazon and Google. The device will use Siri as its intelligent assistant front end, and is supposed to sound pretty good to boot. Now, according to a report at 9to5Mac and confirmed on our own iPhones, Siri includes a new ability to play you a podcast when asked what the news is.

Via: 9to5Mac

Spotify's new head of podcasts and video ran Disney's Maker Studios

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 14:55:00 -0400


That didn't take long. Less than a week after Spotify lost its head of video and podcasting Tom Calderone, its snatched Disney's Courtney Holt for the job. As Variety notes, Holt led Maker Studios when the House of Mouse purchased it back in 2014, and became CEO a year later. Spotify confirmed the hiring to Engadget and said that he'll focus on expanding premium video offerings in addition to podcasts and other types of audio programming. This hire serves as evidence that the streaming service is taking another swing at pushing deeper into podcasts. Here's to hoping for more stuff like Traffic Jams, too.

Source: Variety

Federal court steps in to protect podcasts from patent troll

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 13:16:00 -0400


The venerable podcast is the bastion of broadcasters big and small, from major news outlets to DIY publishers. But, for the last few years, this hallowed ground has come under threat from patent troll Personal Audio -- which has tried to sue podcasters of all sizes. It claims it created the concept of the podcast. Thankfully, the U.S. Court of Appeals disagrees. A three-judge panel of the court just affirmed a previous decision rendering Personal Audio's patent invalid. The ruling declares the company was trying to protect an invention that already existed. Meaning podcasters and listeners can rest easy, for now.

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation

Bloomberg: Spotify is planning another big podcast push

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 18:44:00 -0400


Spotify started its new year getting into the podcast game when it announced it was bringing on its first original content in a trio of music-related shows. Then in March, it partnered with WNYC to bring its podcasts to the platform. While Apple still dominates the space, Spotify is steaming ahead with more podcast-focused advertising and original content: Sources told Bloomberg that a new batch of shows will launch in a few months.

Source: Bloomberg

Anchor lets you record and publish podcasts from your phone

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 10:00:00 -0400


If you haven't heard of Anchor yet, it's an app that lets you record little bits of audio and broadcast them to your followers with minimal fuss. In a lot of ways, it's like Instagram or Snapchat stories, but focused purely on audio recordings -- you can find friends, publications, internet stars and so forth when you sign up on the app and then listen in to whatever they decide to broadcast. These segments can be as brief or as complex as the person recording them wants, but they'll disappear after one day.

Given the recent podcasting boom, it's not surprising that Anchor itself has been getting more attention over the last six months or so. In February, the company released a big update that added a "call-in" feature where your listeners could chat with you live, the ability to publish full-length Spotify or Apple Music tracks and the ability to record an interview over the phone and publish it straight to Anchor. But today's update marks perhaps the most significant change yet: Anchor users now will have the option to push their recordings out to the world as podcasts and have them live forever.

Source: Anchor

Tidal’s ‘On Air’ podcast network features five exclusive shows

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 16:10:00 -0400


Jay Z's forthcoming album isn't the only new content coming to Tidal this month. The streaming music site announced Tuesday that it is following the lead of Google Play, Deezer, and Spotify and now offering podcasts to its subscribers.

Apple podcast updates will help you catch up on 'Serial'

Sat, 10 Jun 2017 18:24:00 -0400


Podcasts have come a long way from the days when they represented a novel way to fill up your iPod. There are now shows with seasons (like Serial), teasers and other trappings that you'd normally expect from TV. Simply speaking, podcast apps need to evolve to keep pace with listening habits... and Apple knows it. The company has detailed changes to the specs for iOS 11's Podcasts app that will make it easier to listen to shows as intended. The spec now supports seasons, and you'll have the option of downloading an entire season in one go if you're catching up. Creators can specify that a show is meant to be heard in chronological order, and they can tag podcasts as bonuses or teasers. And that's not all -- Apple is also helping podcasters make a better living through ads.

Via: Six Colors

Source: Apple (PDF)

LeVar Burton is reading to you again on his new podcast

Fri, 09 Jun 2017 21:59:00 -0400


In a world where everyone has a podcast (or two -- you've subscribed to ours, right?), this new one is interesting. LeVar Burton is joining the game with a new weekly storytelling podcast that should take millennials right back to their Reading Rainbow childhoods. LeVar Burton Reads will be available for free on all platforms beginning June 13th, however starting with episode two, it will appear on Stitcher Premium a week early.

Source: Levar Burton Reads

Medium is making audio versions of its best blog posts

Fri, 19 May 2017 08:31:00 -0400


Minimalist blogging platform Medium is expanding into audio. Readers who have a $5 per month subscription can now listen to stories published by fellow members, as well as those hand-picked by Medium staff. As TechCrunch notes, more than 50 stories have an audio version at launch, and more will be added over time. It's a small number, however each one has been recorded by a professional voice artist, rather than a robotic text-to-speech service. You'll find them at the top of articles, both on the web and in Medium's mobile apps, with some basic playback controls.

Via: TechCrunch

Spotify lands '2 Dope Queens' and other hit WNYC podcasts

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 13:26:00 -0400


Last month, Spotify reaffirmed its interest in podcasting by introducing three original shows. The streaming service clearly wants to be a source for not just music, but all our listening needs. Now, it's taking another big step to establish itself as a legitimate podcast destination. Spotify announced today that a partnership with WNYC Studios will bring some of the network's popular podcasts to its platform.

Source: Spotify

Google's first original podcast is 'City Soundtracks'

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 09:00:00 -0500


Spotify isn't the only one experimenting with original podcasts. Today, Google is announcing its first exclusive series for Play Music users called City Soundtracks. The concept is similar to the BBC's Desert Island Discs, focusing on individual artists and the people, places and moments that have influenced their lives. The chatter will be punctuated with tracks, picked by the guest, which reflect their hometown and the stories they've chosen to tell. It'll be hosted by Hrishikesh Hirway, the voice behind music podcast Song Exploder and the self-explanatory West Wing Weekly.

Spotify gets into podcasting with three music-themed shows

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:11:00 -0500


Spotify dipped its toes into podcasting in 2015 by adding pre-existing programs to its lineup. Now it's getting into content creation and rolling out its own shows. The company is launching three original podcasts, and it says that's just the start.

Source: Spotify

Hillary Clinton is co-hosting a podcast about her campaign

Fri, 12 Aug 2016 12:45:00 -0400


On top of serving as Secretary of the State and New York Senator, Hillary Clinton can now add "podcast host" to her list of many accomplishments. The Democratic presidential nominee is co-hosting With Her, a new show which will chronicle her historic run for office. It's also the first podcast launched by a presidential campaign. Pineapple Street Media is producing the show, and it's also co-hosted by that company's founder Max Linsky, who's also known for the app and website Longform.

Via: 9to5Mac

Source: "With Her" (iTunes)

Deezer sells Stitcher less than two years after purchasing it

Mon, 06 Jun 2016 18:10:00 -0400


Podcast app/directory Stitcher is changing hands again, as this time Deezer is selling it to the E.W. Scripps company. That comes just 591 days after Deezer bought Stitcher in the first place, seeking to pair podcasts with its music library and a few months after the podcast app suffered a prolonged outage. According to Scripps, Stitcher has 8.5 million registered users and is installed on 50 models of cars, however it did not reveal how many of those users are active. Apparently it's enough to justify a $4.5 million purchase price a Wall Street Journal source described as a small acquihire, and the Stitcher team will join Midroll Media, a podcast producer and advertising network.

Source: E.W. Scripps, Stitcher

RadioPublic aims to capture the 'Serial' podcast crowd

Thu, 19 May 2016 11:08:00 -0400


Public Radio Exchange (PRX), the non-profit that delivers podcasts like The Moth Radio Hour, is launching RadioPublic, a company that aims to capitalize on the popularity of podcasts like Serial. The first goal for the organization is to build an app that helps users find and listen to audio programs, including "spoken-word stories, news, information, journalism and entertainment," according to the company. Investors include some serious media players, including the New York Times, Graham Holdings and the Knight Foundation Enterprise Fund.

Via: Poynter

Source: RadioPublic

The Energy Department just started its own podcast

Mon, 09 May 2016 17:54:00 -0400


You normally don't think of government agencies embracing podcasts -- even if tight budgets aren't a problem, creativity isn't usually their top priority. The US Department of Energy wants to buck that trend, though. It just started up a podcast, Direct Current, that delves into energy technology, government initiatives and energy history. The first episode touches on the problems surrounding the "soft costs" of solar power, solar technology's milestones and the history of the Energy Department itself.

Via: The Verge

Source:, iTunes

Apple holds talks on the future of podcasts

Sat, 07 May 2016 17:32:00 -0400


Podcasts may not make Apple any direct revenue, but they're still important in an era when Serial and other big shows are drawing in lots of listeners. And apparently, the company knows it. New York Times sources say that Apple recently held talks with seven "leading podcast professionals" at its headquarters. While the crew at 1 Infinite Loop didn't vow to make any changes, they reportedly discussed "several pressing issues" in podcasting. The company's internet software and services lead, Eddy Cue, came in afterwards to talk privately with staff.

Source: New York Times

Google Play Music's podcasts are convenient but lack features

Wed, 27 Apr 2016 10:00:00 -0400


Google announced last fall that it would finally bring podcasts to Google Play Music, and last week a collection of shows debuted in the web app. This means that if you have a subscription to the service, all of your listening material is in one place -- just like Spotify. You'll no longer need to use Stitcher, Pocket Casts or the like to listen to shows. But is Google's new integration the best option? I've been waiting for the feature to arrive on the Play Music Android app, and now that it has, I can offer some impressions.