A Radio Icon’s New Podcast Institute at Vanderbilt


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PodMov Daily: Thursday, April 14

Episode 625: Your Thursday Podthoughts

A Radio Icon’s New Podcast Institute at Vanderbilt

Podcasting has made a serious move into higher education. Radiolab creator Jad Abumrad will lead a new podcast institute at Vanderbilt University. Tentatively set for summer 2023, the program aims to “become a national center of excellence for the evolving profession of digital narratives.”

While the New York and LA markets have seen most of podcasting’s growth, Abumrad sees Nashville, Tennessee as an ideal hub. Journalism schools “have been slow to adopt formal podcasting curriculums.” The institute is a chance to blend audio-first reporting into the way students communicate.

Abumrad stepped down from Radiolab in January after hosting the show for nearly 20 years. As a Distinguished Research Professor of Cinema and Media Arts and of Communication of Science and Technology (whew!), he’ll share what he’s learned with the “next generation of creative audio storytellers.”

Keeping a Podcast Fresh is “Really, Really Difficult”

For eight years, Karina Longworth has written, produced, and narrated a film podcast with an exceptional reputation. You Must Remember This has won awards for “deep research, delicious tidbits, and eyebrow-arched narration” as Longworth explores the secret histories of Hollywood’s first century.

That’s why it was so jarring to read an answer she gave in a recent interview. The Entertainment Weekly reporter asked about the podcast’s latest season, which takes a modern detour into the ‘Erotic 80s.’ Was there “one major inciting incident” that inspired the shift?

I don't think there was an inciting incident. I have to be honest, it's really, really difficult for me to come up with ideas for podcasts. If I do come up with an idea, even if it doesn't seem like it's that great of an idea, if I can figure out a way to stretch it across a lot of episodes, I usually end up doing it because otherwise I just won't make podcasts at all.

This level of candor is too valuable to miss. Churning out excellence year after year is hard. Longworth is a top-notch podcaster, with the accolades to prove it. But behind most successful shows is a messy, tiring struggle, especially for single creators. You’re doing just fine.

HubSpot Creators: Get Rewarded for Creating Great Content

HubSpot Creators is a new accelerator that gives top, undiscovered podcasters access to the rocket ship they deserve. Launched by the industry-leading CRM platform Hubspot, the program will have an initial cohort of eight creators. There’s no smarter way to get paid, get bigger, and get better.

Creators will receive monthly base sums and additional support through a tiered system, similar to a venture capital structure. Each show has the opportunity to advance from Seed to Series A and beyond, rewarded with more investment as it grows – all you need is an outstanding concept to be considered.

HubSpot Creators doesn’t just invest financially. Podcasters are paired with marketing and operations support, network cross-promotion, speaker coaching, music production, and more. Ready for liftoff? With HubSpot’s experience in building media channels from scratch, your rocket could be next.

I believe that telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Stay classy: “If you gather students from a major university together for a course about podcasting, you learn stuff.” Last week at NYU, Amplifi Media CEO Steven Goldstein taught the business side. In this industry, ‘business’ relies on a “remarkable diversity” of ideas and projects.
  • Chapter one: An “Introduction to Audio Fiction” from Radio Boot Camp is coming up on April 25. Producer and director Gisele Regatão (Radiotopia Presents: a hit dog will holler) will lead “a backstage tour” of the professional landscape, process, and fundamentals. $100 registration.

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