A Majority of iHeartPodcast Employees Have Unionized


PodMov Daily: Friday, December 10

Episode 553: Week Download Complete

A Majority of iHeartPodcast Employees Have Unionized

About 125 producers, editors, researchers, writers, and hosts of the iHeartPodcast Network have organized. The “clear majority” has formed the iHeart Podcast Union under the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). Called upon yesterday to voluntarily recognize the union, iHeart management has the ball in its court. 

“We have been encouraged to embrace the dynamism of start-up culture without any of the associated benefits,” the letter states. The division’s revenue is up 184% ($41.6 million) since 2020. However, organizers say many are still “doing the work of multiple employees” with “wholly insufficient” pay across the board.

The WGA East also represents professionals at Gimlet Media, The Ringer, and Parcast, all owned by Spotify. Gimlet and The Ringer ratified their first collective bargaining agreement in April, and Parcast is currently negotiating its first contract. This industry is mighty profitable for its age. It’s time to set some standards.

Courtroom Podcasting May Help True Crime Evolve

‘Courtroom’ podcasts have become the best way to follow high-profile trials, writes Joe Berkowitz of Fast Company. As we saw this year, social media and developing cases don’t mix well. This particular style of documentary “applies the real-time urgency of Murder TikTok to a trial, rather than an ongoing investigation.”

In 2018 reporter John Carreyrou published the book Bad Blood, a “definitive account” of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes. Now he’s giving listeners an play-by-play of the former CEO’s fraud trial on his podcast Bad Blood: The Final Chapter. Only a dedicated audio show can provide this depth of analysis, Berkowitz says.

‘Traditional’ true crime podcasts are infamous for ethical issues and lack of professionalism. Berkowitz sees a chance to reapproach the genre in real time: “Considering the abundance of upcoming high-profile trials — and the endless supply of podcasts — it would be a real mystery if more such shows didn’t turn up soon.”

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When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Audition tape: On Monday at 11:00 am ET is “How Should You Pitch Your Show to Newsletters?” on Twitter Spaces. Arielle Nissenblatt will host round two of the discussion, full of actionable tips to get featured in curated newsletters like “Podcast Gumbo” and “Inside Podcasting.”
  • Class dismissed: Sam Sanders, the host of NPR’s It’s Been a Minute, doesn’t usually reply to rude listener feedback. But sometimes he does. Asked to “suppress” his normal conversational vocalizations (known as cooperative overlapping) Sanders soundly shuts down a crude comparison.
  • Help desk: In the fifth issue of “Starting Out,” Misha Euceph joins producer and reporter Alice Wilder to discuss early-stage audio careers. Wilder gathers tips on apprenticeships, rates, and more: “We went deep on fighting for ownership of projects and on building an equitable workplace.” 
  • Internet points: The final entry deadline for the 26th Annual Webby Awards is next Friday, December 17. The newly expanded podcast category welcomes general series as well as individual episodes, limited series, and features. Find submission details, categories, and past winners here.

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