Inside Podcasting - February 20th, 2017

Inside Podcasting (Feb 20th, 2017)

"Flash Forward" / "Bronzeville" / Podcast Networks

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The "Flash Forward" podcast offers irresistible food for thought to futurists. The show features host Rose Eveleth talking with experts about fictional future scenarios (nothing too outlandish) and what effect they might have. Questions range from "What might it be like when humans stop working on farms?" to "What if the arctic becomes a tourist destination due to global warming?" Eveleth opens the show with this intro: "Every episode we take on a specific possible, or not-so-possible, future scenario. First, we go to the future to hear what that's like, and then we come back to now and talk about how it would really go down with a team of experts." – USAT

Former Fox exec Hernan Lopez sees a big future in podcast networks. "I think networks will be a very important part of the podcasting ecosystem, as they are in every other form of media. You don't imagine television shows being independent, and you don't imagine radio shows being independent," Lopez tells Sarah Rhea Werner for Forbes. As with those other mediums, belonging to a network could bring a podcast visibility, amplification, and possibility for cross-promotion. "I'm really bullish on the future of the podcasting industry because we are literally just getting started, and there's so much white space to grow into," Lopez adds. – FORBES

The newest episode of The Hollywood Reporter's "Awards Chatter" podcast features Barry Jenkins, the 37-year-old director of "Moonlight." "I have this fundamental block, maybe I'll always have it... but I am essentially Chiron," Jenkins says, referring to the film's central character as he is called during his teenage years. "I grew up like this kid and there are just certain ceilings that I never can imagine myself breaking through." Among those ceilings are huge awards-season acclaim and a very real shot at being the first black filmmaker to win the Best Director Oscar. "I can't get through this block that Chiron does not grow up and make a film that gets eight Academy Award nominations. But I guess he does." – THR

Forbes has turned their annual lists of the wealthy and powerful into a new podcast, "The Forbes List." The host is Jordan Harbinger, of the "Art of Charm" podcast. In a promo for the show, Harbinger says, "On the show we talk to the Forbes editors that curate their famous and respected lists, like self-made richest people, billionaires and highest-paid athletes." The first episode, "The World's Billionaires List," features an interview with the magazine's assistant managing editor of wealth, Kelly Dolan. “The amount of ego that some of the members of these lists have, the billionaires list in particular, is kind of astounding," Dolan says. – ADWEEK

On the newest MashReads podcast, the hosts stump for the continued relevance of Zora Neale Hurston's 80-year-old classic, "Their Eyes Were Watching God." The hosts argue that the book's stance on race and feminism "feels as fresh and contemporary as anything published today," and go on to compare the work to Homer's "The Odyssey." In the novel, Hurston's black Southern heroine Janie Crawford relates the stories of her three marriages to her confidant Pheoby. – MASHABLE

The latest "New York Times Book Review" podcast features author Neil Gaiman discussing his new book, "Norse Mythology." The book retells the tales of Thor, Odin, Loki and the other Norse gods in a refreshingly playful manner. Times writer Sarah Lytall recently said of Gaiman's best-seller, "It’s of a piece with what Mr. Gaiman likes to do: find something he thinks is interesting and see where it leads him. His work reflects his restless spirit, encompassing science fiction, fantasy, fairy tales, children’s books, adult books, comic books, screenplays, short stories, essays and poetry." – NYT


The Laurence Fishburne/Larenz Tate audio series "Bronzeville" is an old-time radio drama for the podcast age. Chances are a great majority of people alive now have never listened to a true radio drama of the sort that conquered the airwaves during the first half of the 20th century. Think of a radio drama as a movie or a play with no images, just a soundtrack. Or, alternatively, think of it as an audio book with slick, fully formed audio effects and a large cast of respected TV and film actors.

Slyly offering "lessons about navigating racial politics and maintaining group-economics," the 10-part audio drama takes place on Chicago's South Side in the 1940s in the thriving black enclave of Bronzeville. During the period covered by the series, the city has won a measure of financial independence thanks to a community-wide lottery. The cast of characters is made up of local citizens and numbers runners, and other actors featured include Lance Reddick ("The Wire") and Mitch Pileggi ("The X-Files"). 

Fishburne, who produced the venture with Tate and directs the vocal performances, said, "(Bronzeville) was originally conceived as a television series that myself and the Tateman went out and pitched unsuccessfully. But we were determined to do it in some kind of way. So we arrived at the idea of making a podcast and just serializing it and doing it for audio." With Oscar-nominated screenwriter Josh Olson ("A History of Violence") on board as writer, "Bronzeville" was going to become a reality in one medium or another. 

Of the show, Global Grind says, "The classic soap opera style of storytelling appears to be a much-needed blast from the past." And about the show's sound design, The Guardian notes the series "has moments of violence made even more sharp by the need to fill in the blanks with your mind.”

"Bronzeville" probably requires a bit more of your attention than a normal podcast, the kind you might listen to on your commute. But it's a very classy project, and the novelty of the audio-only medium is addictive. 

Title: "Bronzeville"
Episodes Available: 2
Episode Length: 45 minutes
Where to Download: iTunes
Host: N.A.

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