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Inside Podcasting (Dec 13th, 2019)

1. Content from audio erotica app Dipsea, which we wrote about last July and The New Yorker describes as "original erotic short stories, designed with women in mind, with a hot yet tasteful aesthetic," has been suspended from the Google Play Store. In a blog post, founders Gina Gutierrez and Faye Keegan say the suspension results from a basic misunderstanding of their product and its value: 

Companies like Google have content policies that are intended to safeguard customers on the internet, which is an important and challenging task. But these policies were created before players like Dipsea existed, and at a time when pleasure was classified as vice and not wellness. According to the World Health Organization, sex is a health issue. The WHO says sexual health “requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships.” Content policies like Google’s don’t yet have the nuance to recognize that this is the true value of Dipsea’s product.

Dipsea is working with Google to resolve the issue, but in the meantime, the company is launching a web version of the app in January, which will be available to all. — DIPSEA BLOG

2. This week PRX announced the launch of TRAX, a network of free podcasts targeting tweens aged 9-13. TRAX is being made possible by a $1.6 million grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and plans to begin releasing content in 2020. The network says its portfolio will include content from Gen-Z Media, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Cocotazo Media, members of the Night Vale Presents team, and more. Unlike Pinna, a subscription-based podcast network for kids aged 3-12, TRAX programming will be free to listeners. — PRX TWITTER

3. Follow Friday: Mikah Sargent.

OK there's a guy named Leo Laporte, who hosts like a thousand podcasts about technology, and the other day, for no apparent reason, I was checking out his Twitter feed, and the feeds of the people he works with and I came across Mikah Sargent. Sargent, who self-describes as someone who installs smart home devices for fun (which, in technical terms means he's a A-1 nerd), also happens to be surprisingly hilarious. Whether it's a meme of his dog doing the awkward-starepromotion of his excellent choice in pants, or the simple acknowledgment that "You can't go wrong with pants, goats, bread, dads, paperclips, and chicken. It's just science," this feed will have you entertained and noticeably smarter by the end of a quick scan. 

Of course, Sargent is much more than just an expert in pants, chickens and dogs. He hosts and produces a number of tech podcasts for TWIT.tv (that's where Leo Laporte comes in), as well as Relay FM's Clockwiseand Unhelpful Suggestions, which he hosts with his buddy Joseph. When he's not doing any of the above, you can find him hanging with his canines, decorating cakes or, as I helpfully foreshadowed, installing smart devices. 

4. I lost track of Ahmed Ali Akbar's excellent podcast about Muslim culture See Something Say Something after Buzzfeed scrapped its podcast division. However, yesterday while listening to an installment of Immigrantly, another terrific show "that captures raw and honest accounts of the lives and struggles of first-generation immigrants...in an intensely personal way," I discovered that SSSS is alive and well. It turns out Akbar, who guested on the episode, began producing the show independently a few months after Buzzfeed shuttered its podcast operations. Akbar and Immigrantly host Saadia Khan dive into a wide range of topics, from how Muslim culture and expectations have impacted (or not) their career paths, romantic lives, feelings about the film The Big Sick, and more. Tune in to both shows for social commentary and analysis of how Muslim culture is reflected in the zeitgeist. (This one's a twofer! Call it a holiday present from me to your ears.) — IMMIGRANTLY/TWITTER

5. Fans of The Cut on Tuesdays were shocked to learn that the show's Dec. 17 episode will be its last. According to host Molly Fischer, she's moving on from the show to be a writer at The Cut and New York Magazine. "I'm thrilled—but it's also a little bittersweet, because this will mean the end of the Cut on Tuesdays. Making this show has been a joy and an education and I'm so glad that I got the chance to do it for the last year," wrote Fischer on Twitter. Fans cheered her decision but also mourned the loss of the show. Wrote one particularly distressed tweeter, "but like, can't you get someone else to do it??" I guess not. — MOLLY FISCHER/TWITTER

6. Take two minutes and check out an experimental feature created by Headliner called HeadlinerFlix (a play on the overused "Netflix of Podcasting" phrase). Somehow the company has managed to overlay podcast audio content and Headliner video technology over the actual Netflix UI. I dont know what it all means (or if it's entirely legal?), but it's fun to bounce around in the there for a minute or two. A company co-founder published a story about HeadlinerFlix on Medium and says if you're interested in tackling discovery, you should get in touch.

7. Sony Music has made another podcast deal, this time in the form of an investment in production house Neon Hum (Bag Man, This Land, The Thing About Pam). According to an exclusive story in The Hollywood Reporter, the deal means Neon Hum and Sony Music will co-develop "a slate" of original podcasts in 2020. Neon Hum founder Jonathan Hirsch and his team will drive the creative elements of the partnership, while Sony will help with "content creation, marketing and monetization resources."

8. The entire second season of Overheard at National Geographic is available and ready for you to binge. Hosted again by longtime NatGeo writer Peter Gwin, the newest season continues to shine a light on compelling stories and material that didn't make it into the magazine. This season features more female storytellers and, in one particularly timely episode, takes a look at the issues of climate change through the eyes of beavers living in the Artic. [Note to parents: if you're sick of kiddie podcasts in the car, give this one a whirl! Wholesome content with an educational bent — winning!]

9. Gimlet Media is looking for an audio producer for scripted fiction. The ideal candidate will have a background in TV and/or film and be familiar with show production. "Above all, this person [should be] genuinely excited about the challenge of making new shows from the ground up, from pre-production through post-production, and developing their career in audio with a team geared toward fast growth," reads a job description. Apply here.

10. WAMU 88.5 in Washington D.C. wins the prize for best holiday card of the season. Look carefully. H/T Ashley Lusk

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 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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