In 2021, a Viable Podcast Checks These Boxes


PodMov Daily: Thursday, September 9

Episode 500: Your Thursday Podthoughts

In 2021, a Viable Podcast Checks These Boxes

In Nick Hilton’s work as a podcast producer and consultant, the Podot co-founder has developed an “internal checklist” for minimum viability these days. From research to music, these benchmarks won’t guarantee success. But they’ll keep you from experiencing podcasting as “a place where a lot of people fail hard.”

Podcasts made in this recent “vacuum of humanity have faced a huge disadvantage,” Hilton says. “Even as the entry requirements for podcasting slip ever lower, the inequality between podcasts that are real viable entertainment products and the shows that are just recorded Zoom calls grows ever more apparent.”

This isn’t another list of basic tips to make your show sound ‘professional.’ Hilton sees many podcasts packed with red flags at the beginning of the marketing stage, with creators unaware they’ve failed the sniff test. With awareness of its strengths and limitations, here’s how to give that show a fighting chance.

Jay Allison on the Golden Age of Indie Audio

Jay Allison “doesn’t call himself a podcaster,” writes Jesse Staniforth of “The prolific independent producer stresses he is, above all, ‘a public media guy.’” Podcast listeners know Allison’s work directly or indirectly Through The Moth Radio Hour and as a contributing founder of PRX and Transom.

Podcasting doesn’t share public media’s underlying purpose, which is essentially public good over profits. However, it allows many more people “their own TV or radio stations” without concern for networks, donors, and so on. Allison has a special passion for the strange, unfiltered niches of this new era.

“I dedicate myself to that kind of person — to the scouts, the renegades, the outliers, the truth-tellers,” he says. “I’m interested in the people who spend a whole year making one freaking thing that they can’t help but make. The excitement for me is keeping those voices alive in the podcasting context.”

Today marks the newsletter's 500th issue!

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Here's what else is going on:

  • Get personal: Podcasting’s ‘intimacy’ helps draw in advertisers, but is it a factor that increases CPM? In Podcast Pontifications, Evo Terra wonders what a measurable “intimacy rating” might look like. “Do you think that metric — or those metrics — would change how you produce your podcast?”
  • Sonic youth: Boston’s NPR station is planning a weekend-long podcast festival for children. In April, WBUR's Podcast Playdate will feature top kids’ shows including its award-winning folktale series Circle Round. Circle Round will also debut a series of picture/activity books to celebrate its fifth season.
  • Jump start: Sound Up LatinX, Spotify’s newest podcast accelerator program, is open for applications. 10 participants will have an eight-week training, followed by an opportunity to pitch a trailer and proposal. Open to US-based Latinx creators over the age of 20. Submissions close on October 1.
  • We’re everywhere: Variety has launched an audio channel and weekly newsletter through Audible. The new website section will feature curated news, album reviews, podcast stories, and “easy-to-consume listicles such as the ‘10 Best True-Crime Podcasts’ [and] the “13 Best New Audiobooks.’”

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