PodMov Daily: Tuesday, February 18
Episode 144: Testing, One Two-sday
The Podcast Academy Announced Onstage at Evolutions
On Friday, Wondery CEO Hernan Lopez announced the founding of The Podcast Academy onstage at Evolutions. Covered by Variety, Bloomberg, The Verge, and more, the news has made waves across podcasting and beyond.
After a compelling talk about the changing relationship between podcasting as an art form and an industry, Lopez brought up the Academy Awards, the Grammys, and the Emmys. The member-based, not-for-profit organizations behind those ceremonies “were formed early in the history of the industries and were created to celebrate quality, not numbers,” Lopez said. “That’s one thing that podcasts don’t have, or rather, didn’t have ― until today.”
The audience heard from three fellow members of The Podcast Academy’s inaugural Board of Directors: Kerri Hoffman, CEO of PRX; Christy Mirabal, VP of marketing at Sony Music; and Alia Tavakolian, Chief Content officer of Spoke Media.
“It’s a point of maturity for any industry to start recognizing the complement of individuals that contribute to any successful show,” Hoffman commented. “We can celebrate the sound engineers, we can celebrate excellent writing and editing. Lots of shows have a big team behind them now.”
Every year starting in 2021, the Podcast Academy plans to host the Golden Mics, an awards ceremony for outstanding achievements in podcasting. The organization's diverse board and intended mission certainly represent a new phase.
Questions and Answers: Dan Franks on The Podcast Academy
If you have questions about the newly formed Podcast Academy, you’re not alone. What does the organization mean for individual podcasters, who will be involved in decision making, and how does it affect existing awards and institutions?
Our own Dan Franks, President of Podcast Movement, spoke to Podcast Business Journal about Evolutions as a whole and his perspective on the Podcast Academy. “I think the most important thing now is that the individuals already involved stay true to [the stated initiatives and] goals, and more importantly to do their best to bring in additional voices that represent the entire ecosystem,” he explained.
“I absolutely understand this concern” about the small number of people involved as founding members, he said. The reaction has been “more of a ‘let’s wait and see’ approach, versus straight opposition to it,” which encourages exploration of “what it takes to get involved and to help shape the narrative.”
“As someone who is also on the outside looking in, and not a member of the Academy or Board, I share the exact same approach. However, knowing many of the founding members personally for a good number of years, I am extremely optimistic that their stated intentions are true, and that they’ll have the ability to execute on those intentions.”
Friday Keynote: Behind the Making of Bank Robber Diaries
Friday’s second keynote was a fascinating discussion led by storyteller Shannon Cason, the creator of Homemade Stories and GrandSLAM champion of The Moth. Ben Adair and Joe Loya described the making of their podcast The Score: Bank Robber Diaries.
Adair is a Peabody Award-winning journalist and leader of the LA-based podcast production company Western Sound. Wanting to make a true crime podcast from the perspective of a criminal, Adair found an ideal creative companion in Joe Loya.
Convicted of a string of bank robberies in the 1980s, Loya has since written a memoir and shared an intimate, wide-angle account of his life on the podcast. Advocating for honesty around the issues that lead to criminal behavior, Loya and Adair demonstrated the power of common ground.
Saturday Keynote: Lory Martinez on Translation and Global Accessibility
Saturday’s keynotes began with a globally focused, insightful talk from Studio Ochenta founder Lory Martinez. The Paris-based studio’s first show was Mija Podcast, which Martinez created and performed in English, Spanish, and French. Ochenta’s mission of “raising voices across cultures” was at the heart of the session.
Translation goes far beyond language into accessibility, Martinez illustrated. “I think it’s pretty powerful to think about the kinds of stories we put out into the world in our podcasts,” Martinez told the audience. “What if we could tell different kinds of stories?” This way, listeners can directly relate to narratives from cultures much different from their own.
Outdated assumptions about translation were dispelled as Martinez detailed the modern processes of dubbing, subtitles, transcripts, and adaptations. “Think global access when you’re thinking about your podcast,” she urged. “You have cultural impact because your podcast exists in English ― the world is listening already.”
Closing Keynote: James Altucher on Honest, Impactful Interviews
Entrepreneur, investor, and podcaster James Altucher delivered a session on interviewing that had the audience engaged and laughing. During Saturday’s second keynote, he revealed anxieties, strategies around the risky nature of conversation.
Though we’re all afraid of failure, Altucher emphasized that curiosity and opportunity can stem from ignorance. “Honing in on the ‘I don’t know’ and contrasting it with what seems to be common knowledge ― that’s information,” Altucher said. “How do you bridge that gap?”
From his early days at HBO to the details of a chat with Coolio, Altucher’s relatable, applicable guidance was sprinkled with offbeat wisdom. “The comedic relief is on a new level,” commented attendee Chase Chewning on Twitter. “Making podcasting human again.”
Happy Tuesday, readers, and thank you for making the first PM Evolutions conference such a fun, rewarding experience. See you all in Dallas!
Here's what else is going on:
- Sounds legit: NPR assistant producer Jeffrey Pierre delivers a clear, straightforward explanation of podcast music licensing for the annual Student Podcast Challenge. The article covers legal, copyright, and creation basics.
- Breaking waves: Steve Ahern of Radio Info attended the World Radio Day Festival in Delhi, India. A panel session of podcasting startups and independent creators began with this: “Podcasting is the natural evolution of radio.”
- Mission control: A new media company is on the horizon from actor and podcaster Busy Phillips and Emmy-nominated comedy writer Caissie St. Onge. The two revealed a preview of progress to Cloud10 CEO Sim Sarna at Evolutions.
- Vision check: iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman's “bullish take on podcasting” bodes well for the industry, writes David Bloom of Forbes. Pittman and iHeartMedia CEO Conal Byrne discussed strategy and expansion in their Evolutions keynote.