Podcasts are getting shorter | Inside Podcasting - December, 6th 2019

Inside Podcasting (Dec 6th, 2019)

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Dear Readers:

Yesterday I ran a story about an episode of The Nod in which Eric Eddings interviews Cord Jefferson, a writer for HBO's Watchmen. Based on a few online pictures, I thought Jefferson was white and stated it as fact. It turns out Cord Jefferson is Black. My deepest apologies for the error and thanks to reader @liztracey, who pointed it out.

Skye

1. WNYC's Radiolab co-host Robert Krulwich has decided to retire from the show he helped launch 15 years ago. Krulwich's contributions will be celebrated in a special January episode of the show. In a statement, Krulwich said, "I was crucial for a long time, but in a healthy system, you make way for the new, the fresh, the untested." Scrolling down the page, you'll read a letter from co-host Jad Abumrad, who reassures listeners that we'll still hear from his Krulwich from time to time "and you’ll most certainly hear his influence -- his unbridled curiosity and wonder -- in each and every Radiolab story yet to come." Congratulations to Robert. — WNYC STUDIOS

2. Family Ghosts, a podcast that explores the true stories behind mysterious family lore, has launched a three-part series titled "The Clotilda Legacy." In part one, we learn about The Clotilda, a vessel that illegally delivered enslaved Africans to the U.S. in 1860. After arriving on American shores, the ship was burned by its captain, and with it, all proof that the hideous act had occurred. As a result, descendants of those who perpetrated the crime have been able to deny its existence for over a century — but a piece of the ship has now been found, and things are about to change. Part two of this series arrives in a week and producers say "it’s worth the wait!" I'm here for it. — FAMILY GHOSTS

3. In place of my usual Follow Friday feature, I asked my friend Studio Ochenta founder Lory Martinez (who you should follow on Twitter), to share her review of The Washington Post's newly-launched Spanish speaking news podcast. Here's what she had to say:

El Washington Post is the Washington Post's first foray into the Spanish language audio space. The show airs twice weekly, and follows the same format as The Daily, with one big story followed by a short roundup of Latin American news and news that affects Latinx in the US at the end. The pilot features an interview with deposed Bolivian president Evo Morales, who is currently living in exile in Mexico. It's so great to see a national American publication recognizing the power of Spanish language media. We hear award winning journalists from Colombia and Spain breaking down the stories that are normally only covered by Spanish news networks. Another thing I really love is that [WaPo's executive editor] Marty Baron decided to make this because he is bilingual himself, and aims to use the show to reach the Spanish-speaking world and show that Latin stories matter.

Please check out Lory's excellent multilingual show Mija, which is featured in Bello Collective's list of the 100 outstanding podcasts of the year.

4. The National Lampoon Radio Hour, the iconic radio show that featured John Belushi, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner in the 1970s, is being reborn as a podcast. The scripted comedy show will include guest appearances from veteran comics including Rachel Dratch, Amy Sedaris and Jordan Klepper, as well as a cast of rising stars including Cole Escola, Jo Firestone, Maeve Higgins, and Meg Stalter. Forever Dog Podcast Network will produce the show, along with National Lampoon's Evan Shapiro. A video series will accompany the show. "Cameras captured the performances and antics of the comedians while taping," reads a piece in Den of Geek. The eleven-part podcast arrives on Dec. 19. — DEN OF GEEK

5. If you are confused about how to access Spotify's "Wrapped" feature, which takes you through a visual collage of all the music and podcasts you listened to on the Spotify platform in 2019, here's a helpful video that explains the process. Since logging in, I've discovered that my tastes are "genre-fluid," I've listened to music from 15 countries, and I am super into Billie Eilish (and when I say "I," I mean "a certain tween who is constantly stealing my phone"). My podcast showing was pathetic, as I generally don't listen on Spotify, but apparently I tuned in to an episode of Esther Perel's How's Work for 26 minutes. If you have a Spotify account, let it remind you of all the things you (hopefully remember) listening to this year. — SPOTIFY 

6. The Pulitzer Prize Board has announced a new "experimental category" for audio reporting for 2020. The prize will be awarded to a "distinguished example of audio journalism that serves the public interest, characterized by revelatory reporting and illuminating storytelling." Radio producers, podcasters and traditional media outlets are invited to compete for the new prize. 

7. Pacific Content's Dan Misener has confirmed what many of us think we already know: podcasts are getting shorter. Misener found that the average episode released in 2019 is roughly 2 minutes shorter than the average episode released in 2018. According to a handy chart Misener produced, gaming shows are longest and "language learning" shows are shortest. The key takeaway? "As a podcaster, your goal should be to make episodes that are long enough to fit into your listener' lives in a regular, ongoing, meaningful way...and no longer," writes Misener. 

8. Can anyone explain why Pardon My Take is the sole podcast listed under Twitter's new follow-your-favorite-topic feature? Furthermore, does Twitter plan to include all podcasts eventually? Or will it be based on certain criteria? Let me know if you have insights. H/T: @_PodLink

9. The folks behind Preserve this Podcast held an AMA earlier this week, in which they explain why it's critical to back up your files (do it for the kids!). The discussion touches on disaster stories, when you should start putting a plan in place, and whether or not the big podcast companies have their act together on this front. 

10. This weekend, the International Documentary Association will hold its annual awards ceremony and my family and I will be in the audience. We'll discover if Running From Cops, Gladiator: The Aaron Hernandez Story, A Sense of Quietness, Latino USA — Episode: "The Return," or Heavyweight — Episode: “Skye” will win the award for best audio documentary of 2019. I have listened to all of the submissions and they are across-the-board excellent. Good luck to everyone nominated! 

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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