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Inside Podcasting (Mar 30th, 2018)

ABC News launched its own daily news podcast this week. Start Here” is the latest in a flurry of daily news podcasts to have launched in the past year, and like its counterparts “The Daily,” “Up First” and “Today, Explained,” the show covers the day’s top stories in politics and culture in a short-form format. Reporter Brad Mielke serves as host, discussing four to six stories each episode with various ABC News anchors and correspondents. The daily news podcast genre has exploded as publishers seek a revenue-driving podcast format, wrote WIRED’s Felix Salmon. - FASTCOMPANY

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Adnan Syed, whose murder conviction was the subject of the first season of “Serial,” has been granted a new trial. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that also cleared Syed of all charges in the 1999 kidnapping and murder of his girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. Syed’s attorney said that “Serial,” which became a mainstream hit on the strength of Syed’s story, was also “enormously helpful” to his legal defense by tracking down a key witness, Asia McClain. - NYT

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“Alex, Inc.” debuted this week, and the early reviews aren’t great. Loosely based on the Gimlet podcast “StartUp,” the comedy stars Zach Braff as a husband of two children who quits his job to start a podcast company. THR called the show “frustrating” and “too old-fashioned to feel relevant.” Variety says the show is “superficial,” lacking the emotional depth and intimacy of its source material. Vulture points out that the show does nothing to “dissect podcast culture,” instead relying on podcasting as a prop for a more traditional family and workplace comedy. Perhaps the most colorful review was from USA Today, which compared the show to vocal fry, calling it “hammy,” “relentlessly peppy” and, simply, “painful.”

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More new podcasts this week include shows for car buffs, true crime fans, and people who want to start a podcast. Car site Jalopnik launched “Tempest,” in which everyday people recount their true and “most memorable stories about and in cars.” Anchor, the app that recently rebranded itself to offer podcast production and publishing, has now launched “I Should Start a Podcast,” which will share tips and advice on how to do just that. Panoply’s latest show, “Empire on Blood,” follows a reporter’s seven-year investigation into the story of drug dealer Calvin “Cal” Buari, who served 22 years for double homicide but maintained his innocence until his release last year.

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