How Audio Culture Necessitates, and Loves, Books About Silence


PodMov Daily: Thursday, March 12

Episode 161: Your Thursday Podthoughts

How Audio Culture Necessitates, and Loves, Books About Silence

In The Washington Post, culture writer and radio journalist Bilal Qureshi thoughtfully examines the prominence of books about silence. The popularity of titles like Silence: In the Age of Noise and others “feels especially resonant” in this time of endless conversation.

“Radio silence was to be avoided at all costs” in public radio, and even 10 years later “a little silence, any kind of silence, can seem like a blessing,” Qureshi acknowledges. Podcasting and audio complicate things: “Despite the ascent of my own medium, I’ve found myself overwhelmed and exhausted by this sonic boom.”

After a journey involving a search for silence in Berlin, a sampling of the book trend’s societal implications, and many more quiet branches, Qureshi concludes that the survey was worth it: “I find myself experiencing books, films and conversations through a new filter.”

Multilingual Podcasts, Indie and Commercial, on the Rise

With the debut of true crime series The Nobody Zone, Ireland’s RTÉ and Denmark’s Third Ear have raised the bar for multilingual podcasts. Hot Pod’s Caroline Crampton points to its simultaneous 5-language release as part of a larger industry trend.

English-language giants like Wondery and iHeartMedia are “building on the existing work of shows like Radio Ambulante, Radio Atlas, and the Spotify/Vice collaboration Chapo,” Crampton observes. When “mak[ing] the shows accessible to millions more people” is the prize, “the case for translation is clear.”

Studio Ochenta founder and Evolutions keynote speaker Lory Martinez provided perspective from an independent, international podcaster. Crampton reveals that the second season of Martinez’s Mija Podcast “will be available in a fourth language: Mandarin.”

Engaging Listeners: Effective Tips for Active Feedback

Lindsay Harris Friel of The Podcast Host teaches how to liven up the conversation with your audience. Even with consistent downloads, podcasting without feedback can feel like unclear territory. Is your show compelling? Which aspects could you develop?

“There are many ways to ask for feedback, engage listeners, and generate word of mouth,” Friel explains. Social enthusiasm starts with the podcaster. A thread runs through the article: “Show your audience that you care, and they will reach out to you.”

One unusual idea is to invite listeners to ask questions through a tool like Speakpipe, which “lets your audience leave voice messages for you.” Troll risk aside, “the listeners who care will generate good word of mouth, because they feel valued.”

Beyond the Microphone: Podcast Magazine Has Arrived

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Readers will find independent ratings and reviews of under-the-radar shows they should be listening to, top selections in Off The Charts, and the Podcast Magazine Hot 50 — the only chart created by fans, for fans.

The March issue features legendary media personality Katie Couric of Next Question with Katie Couric, Dean Graziosi of The Dean Graziosi Show, Small Town Dicks’ Yeardley Smith (aka Lisa Simpson) and much more.

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Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Rainbow road: Per RAIN News, Libsyn has announced an integration with Headliner. Podcasters use the app to make shareable video clips for social media with MP3 or M4A audio, plus “wave forms, text, colors, or transcription.”
  • Youth correspondent: Variety profiles 17-year-old Sammy Jaye, iHeartMedia's youngest podcaster. Let’s Be Real with Sammy Jaye is a celebrity interview show meant to “humanize people you see being written about on social media.”
  • Pay phone: Kathy Sheehan of MediaPost looks at “how brands are interacting with consumers with voice-commanded ads.” Streamers like Pandora and Spotify are courting the ‘unreachable’ through Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant.
  • Second guess: Ashley Flowers will host a new podcast, Supernatural, following her hit series Crime Junkies surpassing 18 million downloads. This next offering is “built on research into the occult” by Parcast, its exclusive distributor.

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