Inside Podcasting - December 5th, 2019 |

Inside Podcasting (Dec 5th, 2019)

Ingraham Pod Ends / Facebook's New Product Experimentation Team / Jenna Wortham / Bello 100

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Dear Readers,

What podcast is 2019's "best kept secret"? I am compiling YOUR answers for a special holiday issue. It's OK if the show didn't start in 2019, as long as it has been actively producing episodes this year. If you'd like to contribute, please email the podcast's name, link, what it's about, why you love it, as well as your name and title, a full URL to your preferred social, and if you have one, the name of your podcast to Send it with the subject line HOLIDAY. Please don't submit your own show. Thank you.


1. The all-white-men-podcast joke (see tweet below) unfortunately reflects reality. As recently as yesterday, we learned that Apple's most popular podcasts of 2019 are all helmed by white men (H/T to the eagle-eyed Elsie Escobar). Apple's list wasn't compiled by a white, male editor. It's an accurate reflection of what people are listening to — which feels even worse. Let's make 2020 the year that we step out of our comfort zone and listen to podcasts created by people who don't look, talk, pray, politic or love like we do. I guarantee you'll find something you LOVE. Start right now, do it.

2. According to The Daily Beast, conservative culture pundit Laura Ingraham has quietly shuttered her podcast. Nine months into the show's run, episodes have stopped appearing, and Ingraham has removed all references to the show from her Twitter bio. However, fans can still pay Ingraham a fee of $49.95 annually or $5.95 monthly for "commercial-free" listening on her website. Upon discovering this news, one fan tweeted at the former Fox personality, "Where is the Laura Ingraham Podcast? You just disappeared. Was it poor performance? Is there another reason? You’re still selling access to it on your website." In the original story, The Daily Beast reported that PodcastOne, who distributes the show, hadn't commented on the situation, but today, the pod company has confirmed that the podcast has come to an end. "Laura’s deal with PodcastOne expired,” said a company spokesperson. Ingraham herself hasn't responded to requests for comment. — THE DAILY BEAST

3. Throwback Thursday: Darknet Diaries

I'm changing things up this week. Instead of picking an old episode to feature here, I took a look at what I wrote on this date last year and selected an excerpt to share with you today. I chose this one in particular because the subject is still relevant (see: podcast clickfarms) and this episode of Darknet Diaries is excellent.

Jack Rhysider of Darknet Diaries recently spoke by phone with half a dozen people who are doing the actual work of pumping unknown podcasts up to the top of the Apple charts. You can listen to those calls in an episode of his podcast and see pictures of where the magic is happening in a story Jack wrote for Discover Pods. Listening to Rhysider's investigation reminded us of a fascinating two-parter from Reply All where host Alex Goldman tries to uncover who is behind tech support scammers. Listen to both! 

4. According to The New York Times, Facebook's New Product Experimentation Team is "exploring the creation of new products such as apps and programs for podcasts, travel, workplace services and newsletter tools, according to three people with the knowledge of the company’s plans." No specifics were revealed, other than the fact that the NPE team need not concern themselves with making money and "failure is acceptable if they learn something from it." A good gig, if you can get it. — NEW YORK TIMES

5. The Reuters Institute's annual Digital News Report, which includes the word "podcasting" a notable 186 times, was released for free this week. Journalist and researcher Nic Newman says that a key finding within the report is the staggering (and growing) audience numbers for news shows, many of them less than a year old. For example, The Economist's The Intelligence, "already reaches 1.5 million people each month, with the average listener downloading three to four episodes each week." The detailed report also features quotes from in-depth interviews Reuters conducted with younger listeners. Here's my fave: "[Podcasts are] more of an outsider source of news or opinion, so you have a diverse range of news ideas and thoughts from vastly different people; not your traditional people who look and act a certain way.” — NIEMAN LAB

6. In an interview with Stylist, Still Processing co-host Jenna Wortham reveals that initially she felt unsure about whether she had the chops to co-host the show with Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Wesley Morris. "I hadn’t fully developed my critical lens for culture...I had to do a lot of work on my self-worth. On trusting my own viewpoint," says Wortham. Writer's Note: Wortham mentions the show's recent episode regarding HBO's The Watchmen during this interview; if that appeals, check out this installment of The Nod, in which co-host Eric Eddings discusses The Watchmen with the film's screenwriter Cord Jefferson. It doesn't matter if you plan to watch the show; the content within these discussions is riveting.

7. The Bello Collective has released its annual Bello Collective 100, a contributed collection of the best podcasts of the year. While I see many favorites, there are also a number of unrecognized names, including a comic fiction podcast titled "Quid Pro Euro"; a pod about pipe organ music adapted from videogame soundtracks; an episode about what it's like to be queer in Africa. I instantly feel my horizon's broadening!

8. Consequence of Sound and Sony are presenting the sixth installment of The Opus, a show that explores a single iconic album (e.g. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Blizzard of Oz) throughout the course of a season. This time the subject is The Clash's London Calling. "London Calling, is perhaps, the greatest record, from one my favorite bands of all time,” says host Andy Bothwell. If you love The Clash (a rhetorical statement), you should also tune into Spotify's Chuck D-narrated podcast Stay Free: The Story of the Clash

In related news: Sony has announced a number of key hires for its podcasting division; Billboard has the story

9. Elsie Escobar posted a thought-provoking rant about intrusive and irrevelant advertising on Twitter yesterday. It begins, "I am *really* enjoying Catch & Kill. Like A LOT. The subject, the story telling, @RonanFarrow, the sound design  For me, top 5 of 2019. Unfortunately what SUCKS are the ads....taking the highest bidders or closing deals w/ them should also include brands & partners that enhance THE STORY." Click through the image below to read the thread, then share and discuss.

10. This AMA with Reply All hosts Alex Goldman and PJ Vogt is hilarious and doesn't take long to read. Plus you'll learn whether the show is scripted, why Alex and PJ haven't produced a YYN spin-off show, and see video of Alex falling off his chair when the music drops. Thanks to Emma Story for pointing me to this one. 

This newsletter was written and curated by podcast junkie and recovered publicist, Skye Pillsbury. Over the years, Skye has crafted digital media strategies for brands like Yahoo! and Microsoft and worked regularly with media outlets such as the New York Times, Rolling Stone and NPR. Skye was famous for 49 minutes when she and her son were featured in an episode of Gimlet Media’s Heavyweight podcast. Follow her on Twitter @SkyePillsbury.

Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

We're at work on Season 2 of the Inside Podcasting podcast and hope to have more to share soon. In the meantime, you can catch up on the first season which included interviews with:

Ian Chillag, the creator of Everything is Alive 

Jessi Hempel, who hosts Linked In’s podcast Hello Monday

Martine Powers, who hosts Post Reports from the Washington Post 

Leon Neyfakh, the co-creator of Slow Burn, who is now the host of Fiasco 

Madeleine Baran, the investigative reporter behind In the Dark

and Inside CEO Jason Calacanis, who hosts This Week in Startups

You can find the show wherever you get your podcasts. Let us know what you think!

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