Industry Observations from BBC Podcast Creator Julian Simpson


PodMov Daily: Thursday, March 26

Episode 171: Your Thursday Podthoughts

Industry Observations from BBC Podcast Creator Julian Simpson

In the Manchester publication Wigan Today, Charlie Bullough explores the podcast phenomenon with “one of UK podcasting’s leading exponents,” Julian Simpson. Simpson is a writer and director who has developed hit podcasts for the BBC, including the “Mystery Machine” series of H.P. Lovecraft adaptations.

“Julian believes the key to success is keeping the podcast, which requires absolute concentration from the listener, at the right length,” Bullough writes. Even when making mega-hits like The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Simpson asserts that “around 25 minutes is the commute’s sweet spot.”

Of podcasting’s recent success, Simpson says “I think it is not very different to the rise in popularity of the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime.” However, he’s wary of the podcast-to-TV trend and its implications. “The aim should be to make a good podcast, and then if someone wants to make it into a TV show then that is just a bonus.”

Our Show: Erica Heilman's ‘Ongoing Global-Vox-Pop' Podcast of Compassion

Podcast producer Erica Heilman reached out to the public media organization Transom with a remarkable project. Heilman, who produces Rumble Strip, is making what Transom founder Jay Allison calls “a kind of ongoing global-vox-pop of this moment.”

Our Show, Heilman’s mini series, is “a show that we make all together” in response to the pandemic. “People all over the planet are — essentially — experiencing the same thing, but separately,” she explains. “In a way it is the most unifying event of our lifetimes, and yet we can’t be with each other.”

The show is “comprised entirely of [submitted] recordings made in your various, isolated locations.” Conversations, monologues in the car, or “ambient sounds like doing dishes, birds, traffic,” are all welcome. Include date and location, Heilman asks, and “try to keep the recordings under 5 minutes.”

“The goal is to make something that marks the time during this event, that reflects even a fraction of what this time feels like, that sounds like where you are — wherever you are — and keeps us company.” Want to share with Our Show? Check out Heilman’s delightful list of prompts.

Happy Thursday, readers. From the Amazonian rainforest in Ecuador, to Lagos, Nigeria, to “various remote locations in Rhode Island,” you're are podcasting from all over.

Thanks to all who shared their podcasting home bases on Twitter. It was hard to pick just one, but an RV sounds mighty nice about now.


Team PM

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Set sail: Engadget reports that the podcasting platform Anchor has updated its Record with Friends feature. “Starting today, you can invite up to four other people to join a recording,” but now, guests no longer need Anchor accounts to join the chat.
  • Lesson plan: Lyceum, an educational audio platform, has launched in beta. The company “will produce exclusive podcasts and audio courses” while offering engagement and monetization tools for creators. Literary podcast Writ Large is one of two initial shows.
  • Get together: The 2020 Independent Podcast Conference will take place virtually this weekend. A free live stream of the “Indy Pod Virtual Con” will be hosted through the organization’s Facebook group. Speakers include Jordan Harbinger and and Mark Asquith.
  • Retail therapy: Google has unveiled a redesigned version of Podcasts. “The revamped version of the app is centered around discovery,” writes Brian Heater in TechCrunch, but “the big news here is that the app is finally landing in the iOS App Store.”

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