Inside Podcasting - December 12th, 2019

Inside Podcasting (Dec 12th, 2019)

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Dear Readers,

I'm thrilled to share that tomorrow I'll interview podcast maker, critic and consultant Wil Williams! We'll discuss her path into the world of podcasting and her latest project Scoring Magic, which goes behind the scenes as she creates a fiction podcast for the first time. What questions do YOU have for Wil? Please hit reply and lay 'em on me!


1. This week on Twitter, I put out a call for podcasters to populate their profiles on Podchaser, a new platform that allows creators to list their podcast credits — where they've guested, played a role, produced, hosted, etc. Log on to the site and you may be surprised to find that you already have an account on Podchaser — perhaps created by a fan — but you'll still need to "claim it" in order to edit for accuracy. Podchaser allows creators and fans to build lists of their favorites shows or episodes, see what their peers are enjoying, rate and review other podcasts, check out what their favorite podcasters are up to, etc. As an interviewer, I use it to find and listen to podcast episodes that feature a future or potential guest of Inside Podcasting. For more on Podchaser tips and tricks, I encourage you to listen to the latest episode of Podcraft, in which host Matthew McLean speaks with Podchaser founder Cole Raven. — PODCRAFT

2. I always enjoy Steve Pratt's year-end roundup of podcast predictions because he sources input from people with a wide array of viewpoints. This year we hear from folks including Pivot's Scott Galloway to Spotify's Courtney Holt to Wonder Media Network's Shira Atkins — and me!

Here's a prediction that resonated with me: 

“Smart speakers will, once again, not take off as a podcast listening device in 2020. I wish I could be more optimistic about smart speakers, but there are still too many challenges for them to become a force in podcasting, particularly around the user interface. It’s hard enough to get non-techie folks to figure out how to listen on their mobile devices; get rid of the screen, and it’s even harder. I hope that Amazon, Google and Apple will invest in the user experience so we can see growth in smart speaker podcast listening in 2021–22.”

— Dave

Do you agree with Dave? Write back and share your thoughts.

For more 2020 predictions, read the whole thing, and while you're at it, check out last year's list.

3. Throwback Thursday: Here are a handful of stories that appeared in this newsletter exactly one year ago. Join me on a walk down memory lane.

  • NPR announced it was ready to deploy a podcast measurement system called Remote Audio Data (RAD). How quaint.
  • The Wall Street Journal highlighted the news that Bhi Bhiman's forthcoming album would be released as a podcast.
  • Stephen Curry guested on Winging It, during which he appeared to cast doubt on whether humans had actually landed on the moon. (This discussion prompted NASA to invite the basketball star to visit the Johnson Space Center in Houston — did that ever happen?)

4. As we reported last week, due to a "renaissance of audio journalism in recent years," the Pulitzer Prize Board has added an experimental award for audio work. While the response within podcasting was unequivocally joyous, there were some grumbles from those in radio who have been creating quality audio content for years (Marketplace's Kai Ryssdal tweeted, "We've been here the whole damn time"). In last week's Hot Pod Insider, writer Nick Quah chalked up the Pulitzer Boards' (thinly veiled) reference to the rise of podcasts, at least in part, to the fact that even prestigious institutions are not immune to whatever the hot new thing is in media. But by this week's free Hot Pod edition, Quah had shifted his position. Mincing no words, he wrote, "By virtue of providing an environment that was better for consumption and distribution, the on-demand nature of the technology allowed for the flourishing of the kind of audio journalism that would be logically recognized as contiguous with the other Pulitzer categories...So, yeah, maybe you were always here. But maybe you weren’t always what you could’ve been." — HOT POD

5. I was vaguely aware that adorable married couple Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally had launched a podcast in which they talk to friends in bed, but I had kind of stuffed it away, in the part of my brain where I store reports about haunted houses, or the healing properties of flax seed. Then today I saw this picture on Insta, and I knew it was real (that's Bill Hader, looking positively terrified, if you ask me). What's the deal here? Just a gimmick? Or genius way to get great tape? If you've listened — and ONLY if you've listened — write back and let me know if it's worth our time.

6. This week veteran podcaster Eric Nuzum launched his book Make Noise: A Creator's Guide to Podcasting and Great Audio Storytelling. As you may know, Eric has played an instrumental role in podcasting since 2005, helping iconic radio programs like Fresh Air successfully transition to the podcast world, and creating hits like Where Should We Begin? With Esther Perel; Invisibilia and the TED Radio Hour. Nuzum is kicking off a book tour with stops in at least ten locations across the country (please join me at the event in Corte Madera!). Congratulations to Eric!

7. W Magazine has launched Five Things with Lynn Hirschberg, in which the editor-at-large sits down with celebrity guests to discuss five things: an object, a person, a place, one positive event, and one negative event (glad to see that this celebrity show has an actual format). In episode one Oscar-nominated actor Margot Robbie discusses the stuffed bunny she sleeps with at night ("[my husband] always throws Bunny out of the bed because he obviously thinks it’s a tad ridiculous that I still sleep with Bunny"). Future guests include Charlize Theron, Awkwafina, Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach and Saoirse Ronan. — EONLINE

8. Wondery has released the trailer for a fiction podcast called Blood Ties. I've been lucky enough to listen to a few preliminary episodes and it's safe to say that if a fiction pod featuring Wondery's super-bingey style and high production value appeals to you, you should give it a whirl. I'm curious to hear how the Wondery audience, which has been trained on juicy non-fiction, responds to this one (I'm all ears, Hernan). Trailer out now; the first two episodes drop on December 17. 

9. According to reports, Google Assistant now allows people to use voice commands to find podcasts by topic. On my first try, I requested podcasts about trees and Google delivered a show about how to recycle your Christmas tree — perfect. But here's what happened on my second attempt:

Me: Hey Google, find podcasts about podcasts.

Google: Hmmm. I can't find any podcasts on that.

10. Podcaster and founder of My Podcast Reviews Daniel J. Lewis has created a handy Podcast Industry Statistics page, which updates daily. On it you can find a wealth of instant data regarding the number of podcasts in existence, the number of podcasts removed or added, active vs inactive shows, and more. (FWIW, in the last day we lost 191 podcasts and gained 2,320.) Check it out.

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.

Edited by Pittsburgh-based journalist Kim Lyons

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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