Well, hello everyone! You have Arie. Really excited to be here with all of you.
As a reminder, Ashley is away this week, so if you have things to share feel free to send them my way (email@example.com). In the meantime, I’ll share some things with you, what my job is, to share those things.
PS Julie, if you’re reading this, say so your 10 year old we said hello!
Hot Pod Summit is almost here! We are hosting the event-only event on February 24 in Brooklyn, New York, as part of On Air Fest. You can see this year’s On Air Fest lineup and buy tickets here. We’ll be sharing more on programming and ticketing for Hot Pod Summit in the coming weeks.
EXCLUSIVE: Launch of $100K Podcast Fund for Beginning Shows
Starting today, aspiring US-based podcasters can apply to receive funds from a new podcast sponsor fund, which can be used for anything from paying contributors to buying recording equipment. The fund, called Podca$h, delivers one-time payments between $250 and $5,000 to up to 100 recipients. Eligible applicants include people who have never podcasted before, as well as those who have received less than $10,000 in total funding or sponsorship for an existing project. You can register until March 4, 2022.
Podca$h was created to help more creators create well-known, high-paying podcasts. The two companies finance and operate the program, the short audio platform Racket and money management software Stir, share a mission to support homegrown projects and help them get started. “With podcasting, the rich often get richer,” said Austin Petersmith, founder and CEO of Racket. “We wanted to limit this campaign to people who don’t already have significant income from their podcasts. We also didn’t want to exclude those who have been doing this for a while and are making, say, a few hundred dollars a month.”
Recipients are chosen by a jury with fingers on the pulse of digital media – angel investor en podcast host Jason Calacanis, The YouTube Using Artist Humiliate the Poet, and several executives overseeing audience and talent growth.
Podca$h is a sponsorship program, not a scholarship. Recipients will be asked to deliver an ad for Racket and Stir on the shows they eventually develop, “but whether they do it or not depends on the honor system,” says Petersmith. Full terms and conditions can be found at the official Podca$h website.
An industry so big it needs librarians to run it
Podchaser, the podcast discovery service, recently hired Norman Chella as a full time “podcast librarian”.” Chella is only the second person I’ve ever heard of with that job title – and shortly after his role was announced, Ma’ayan Plaut, who is considered the first podcast librarian, welcomed him to the club.
A podcast librarian does many of the things a books librarian would do — add new titles to a collection, organize them so people can find what they’re looking for — which, as the audio landscape gets busier, is a systematic way to find shows. This helps overwhelmed listeners, and it also helps podcasters, for whom making money requires a show to be discoverable, both by the public and potential advertisers.
As Plaut told me via email, since the rise of podcasts, there have been those in the audio industry with “the heart and mind of a Podcast librarian”. But Plaut and Chella may be the only ones ever to receive full-time librarianship titles for audio companies. And while there are quite a few similarities between Plaut’s 2016-2019 tenure at RadioPublic and Chella’s new role at Podchaser, the ways the role has changed in just a few years shows how much the podcast industry has changed too.
The biggest shift is the increased emphasis on ad sales. While Plaut spent a lot of time finding, listening and recommend shows for curious listeners, Chella knows that companies are also becoming more curious, and he tells me he will work to ensure that both the stats retrieved from streaming platforms (e.g., estimated monthly listens) and the specs users provide themselves add (eg host bios) are correct. As Chella says, “one misstep in crediting can prevent that one sponsor from contacting your podcast for a lot of money. You never know!”
Another change is the addition of a “curator” role to Chella’s board, as there is a lot of room for error in both the automatic and manual ways of submitting data I mentioned above. Podchaser’s library may be older than Chella, but it takes a human to monitor such a system, coach people on how to contribute to it, and find ways to do better. As Chella says, “I’m here to provoke everyone in the podcast industry to accurately capture their body of work.” This includes things like getting people to credit show contributors in unified language, an area where Podchaser is trying to establish standard conditions. It also includes getting podcasters excited about being documented at all — in Chella’s words, “etching their name into podcast history.”
No one took over from Plaut’s librarian position when she left RadioPublic three years ago. But times are changing and there’s a lot to do, so it seems likely we’ll see more of these jobs pop up soon. As Chella puts it, surprisingly calmly, “the mission of documenting the timeline of every podcast in the world requires one’s full attention.”
YouTube temporarily blocks Dan Bongino for misinformation about COVID
Conservative talk show host Dan Bongino has temporarily suspended his YouTube account and monetization privileges after receiving his first “strike” for violating the company’s COVID disinformation policy, according to The hill. Bongino is a big name in radio – he replaces Rush Limbaugh from Cumulus Media – so YouTube shows here that moderation rules apply even to a large host.
This contrasts with Spotify’s resistance to moderating or removing content from the similarly controversial Joe Rogan. Rogan also shared dangerous information about COVID, enough that hundreds of medical professionals recently petitioned Spotify to enforce a disinformation policy. But Spotify has not responded to calls to remove its episodes.
BBC funding almost cut
It’s a storyline that will sounds familiar to US residents: Over the weekend, the government-funded BBC was threatened with the abolishing most of its financial support. This was eventually regressed and replaced it with a less catastrophic change, but it’s one that still deals the broadcaster a blow.
On Sunday, Britain’s culture minister threatened to end the license fee residents pay to the BBC, which makes up three-quarters of its funding. according to The New York Times. The fee was expected to remain frozen for the next two years, rather than increase in line with inflation, and then be phased out completely in 2027. On Monday, the only remaining change was the freeze. While the fate of the funding in the longer term is unclear, even the fee freeze will affect the BBC’s ability to make programmes, giving what is needed the guard estimates “hundreds of millions of pounds” in cuts.
Recordings for Spaces for all
Twitter now allows all Spaces hosts to record their sessions on their mobile phones and then access detailed attendance numbers. Users can now: distinguish between listeners who tuned in live versus those who watched the replay up to 30 days after the end of a Space.
Looking forward to seeing you Insiders Thursday! And Friday! Arie lives on!