After Scandal, a Podcaster Returns to Test the Waters


PodMov Daily: Thursday, April 21

Episode 630: Your Thursday Podthoughts

After Scandal, a Podcaster Returns to Test the Waters

When Gimlet’s Reply All publicly imploded last year, co-host PJ Vogt was at the top of his game. Launched in 2014, the beloved ‘podcast about the internet’ abruptly lost him due in large part to his workplace behavior. Now, Vogt is making his first steps back into podcasting with the self-produced Crypto Island.

“It isn’t hard to plug Crypto Island into the ongoing question about what should happen after someone gets so publicly taken to task for a wrong,” writes Vulture’s Nicholas Quah. As he thoughtfully puts the new show in context, he offers the clearest, most succinct summary of the incident we’ve ever seen.

Even if you weren’t familiar with Reply All, it’s worth learning about to see what happens next. The breakdown at Gimlet was a true first for podcasting, and there’s never been an attempted return quite like this. Vogt is an immensely talented journalist side-shuffling back into a world that’s not sure how to receive him.

The Obamas Leave Spotify for a Wider Audience

The former first family’s production company, Higher Ground, won’t continue its Spotify deal. According to Bloomberg’s Ashley Carman and Lucas Shaw, podcast exclusivity wasn’t all it cracked up to be: “The production company found that being tied to one service limited the audience for its shows.”

Audible and iHeart are both potential partners for the Obamas’ next deal. It’ll be worth tens of millions, among the industry’s most lucrative contracts. Their goal is to release a slate on multiple platforms at the same time. Since “a widely released show will end up on their service anyway,” Spotify isn’t interested.

The Michelle Obama Podcast, one of the platform’s most popular shows of 2020, and Renegades: Born in the USA were ‘windowed’ exclusives for months before other listeners had access. Now seems like an appropriate time to break those ties. Besides, any form of exclusivity seemed like an odd choice.

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Here's what else is going on:

  • Pinkies up: There’s no such thing as a guilty-pleasure podcast. On the first anniversary of Multitude’s This is Good for You, host Nichole Perkins jokes about the serious boxes we put ourselves in: “I listen to podcasts, but I listen to elevated podcasts, you know, the ones that make me miserable.”
  • Cashed out: “Monetizing Your Podcast: Need to Knows” from SoundPath is coming up on Friday, May 6. Debbie Arcangeles (The Offbeat Life) will cover the monetization readiness question, getting started, and leveraging your niche and audience to get paid. $50 registration for non-AIR members.
  • Howdy, friend: The latest Outlier Podcast Festival will take place May 5-6 in Austin. Founded by Ever Gonzalez (OutlierHQ) and Arielle Nissenblatt (EarBuds Podcast Collective), the conference is an opportunity for “outliers” to collaborate with indies and giants. Sliding registration starts at $30.
  • Center stage: The first in-person Blk Pod Festival will take place May 28-29 in Atlanta. Built from a need to showcase and connect Black audio creatives, the conference focuses on podcast education and growth for hosts, service providers, and entrepreneurs across the industry. $200 registration.

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