Podnews Learns More from Podcasting’s DDoS Attackers


PodMov Daily: Thursday, February 25

Episode 378: Your Thursday Podthoughts

Podnews Learns More from Podcasting’s DDoS Attackers

Early this week, podcast hosting sites Buzzsprout, Spreaker, Podbean, and Captivate were the targets of DDoS attacks. The same group appeared to be involved across the board, making Podnews editor James Cridland wonder: Why target podcast hosting at all? He tracked down the lead perpetrator to find out.

‘Jesus’ was posting from a Russian service and claimed to be based in Estonia, with a fake company and shady Twitter account. He says the attempted blackmail ($1,500 in Bitcoin) was for his mother’s “emergency operation.” Asked why he went after podcasts, he offered a half-baked excuse of societal good.

Opportunity was the likely motivator, Cridland writes. “What seems clear is that this action is nothing to do with website security, nor ‘helping humanity,’ and overwhelmingly nothing against podcasting […] I suspect [Jesus] merely sees there being quick money to be made here — after all, podcasting is booming.”

The Stories That Drive Environmental Podcasts

For podcasts about environmental issues, listener engagement requires a creative approach to storytelling. After seven years covering the topic for NPR, audio journalist Ashley Ahearn moved to the rural area she reported on. Her acclaimed series Grouse has succeeded differently than anything she’d done before.

For Timber.fm, Jenna Schnuer profiles Ahearn and her work, “a show about the most controversial bird in the West and what it can teach us about hope, compromise and life in rural America.” It’s a land use and conservation story, but the urban-rural divide in the U.S. is a central character that listeners feel deeply.

‘Changing hearts and minds’ may be unrealistic, Ahearn says. “I think I’m creating a little more empathy and maybe presenting some new ideas but I think we’re lying to ourselves if we think that [we’re fixing things] in this country right now.” Even so, her podcast starts conversations that public radio would envy.

Dynamic Content: A Powerful New Tool from Buzzsprout

With Buzzsprout, it’s faster than ever to keep your podcast fresh — and your listeners up-to-date. The new Dynamic Content tool lets you easily add and remove short pre-roll (intro) and post-roll (outro) content to your episodes. It's the perfect solution for timely messaging.

Whether you’re promoting a virtual event or giving a special shout-out, Dynamic Content makes it simple to swap, automatically add content to new episodes, or apply it to your existing catalog with a click. Old files are removed and replaced, so there’s no clean-up.

For podcasters, this new tool offers more than flexibility. It benefits your audience in more ways than one: Buzzsprout respects your listeners’ privacy. Unlike most Dynamic Ad Insertion, the Dynamic Content tool includes no tracking or targeting. Ready to make the switch?

The most amazing thing about the future won’t be the spaceships, but the beings flying them.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Dial tone: According to Eric Nuzum, “Public radio is on the verge of blowing it.” The Magnificent Noise co-founder will be writing “Frequency Boost,” a series of commentaries for Current, that “outline[s] the mindset and ideas that will set public radio up for success in the next five years.” 
  • Group chat: “Many podcasters are operating under the impression that accessibility is optional. It's not,” writes Evo Terra in Podcast Pontifications. Accommodations like transcripts are worth it “not for some silly and incorrect SEO reasons. But because it’s the right thing to do.”
  • Art critic: “What new podcasters should be striving for before [a] launch date is clarity, not perfection,” writes Podcast Allies co-founder Elaine Appleton Grant. Perfectionism it’s a problem that’s “both buried and universal.” In students, it stifles ideas before they’re able to grow.
  • Switch up: The New York Times Opinion Audio team will be releasing new shows later this year. Managing producer Paula Szuchman notes changes in the meantime. Yesterday, politics and sports reporter Jane Coaston became the new host of OA’s flagship podcast The Argument.

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