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We’ve got some podcast news to cover today, but first, I am very excited to finally share what we have in store for Hot Pod Summit. The invite-only event is just over a month away, and I can’t wait to see everyone there. Without further ado…
Ira Glass is coming to Hot Pod Summit
My favorite part of Hot Pod Summit is bringing podcast leaders together to talk frankly about the challenges and possibilities shaping the industry. It’s been a year of dramatic change, so we thought it best to bring in someone who has been there from the very beginning. Who better than the man who kicked off the podcast revolution?
I will be talking to Ira Glass, host and executive producer of This American Life, about how he turned his WBEZ hit into an independent business that has produced some of the most daring and successful series in the industry. What does he make of the podcast boom and bust, and what does he think is in store for the future of audio? I am excited to find out, and I hope you are, too.
The Verge reporter and Hot Pod alum Amrita Khalid will also be joining us to moderate a panel. I can’t reveal what it is yet, but she has some good stuff in the works. We’ll be back with further programming announcements in the coming weeks.
But wait, there’s more! I will be joining our partners at On Air Fest on March 1st to interview Freakonomics Radio Network founder Stephen Dubner on his journey from publishing to audio, his take on podcasting’s rocky year, and what is next for Freakonomics Radio. You could say it is about the “hidden side of podcasting,” but that would be too cheesy, even for me. You can find more information here.
Thank you to our official lead sponsors for Hot Pod Summit 2024, AdsWizz and Simplecast. AdsWizz runs a self-serve advertising platform for creating and running audio ads. Simplecast offers podcast hosting, distribution, and analytics.
Hot Pod Summit will be held on Wednesday, February 28th, at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn. The event is invite-only — if you haven’t heard from us and wish to attend, you can let us know you’re interested here until January 18th. The summit will kick off On Air Fest Brooklyn and is hosted in conjunction with our friends at work x work. You can see the lineup for On Air Fest and buy tickets right here.
We’ll have more programming news to reveal over the next few weeks. It’s going to be a packed and exciting few days. I can’t wait to see you all there.
Death, Sex & Money is acquired by Slate after being canceled by WNYC
Some good podcast news?? Last fall, WNYC made the surprising decision to cancel Death, Sex & Money with Anna Sale, a show that WNYC employees and others in the industry assumed was safe. The show was even commemorated with a funeral in December. But DSM has found a new home at Slate, which announced the acquisition last week.
“I’m so thrilled to be joining Slate to make new Death, Sex & Money episodes,” Sale said in a statement. “At a time of so much change in podcasting, I was really attracted to Slate’s long track record of growing and taking care of listeners. It’s a wonderful new home to both pick up where we left off and try new things to meet this moment.”
The acquisition comes as public radio stations move away from standalone podcasts and focus on shows that can have terrestrial and digital distribution (or “broadcast-to-podcast”). While many public radio podcasts have gone to broadcast, that was never the goal with DSM. In an interview with Hot Pod in October, Sale said that the show was a “podcast for podcast listeners.”
The deal is a relief for DSM fans and people in the industry who want to see high-quality programming succeed. And not for nothing, it’s a big get for Slate.
My Favorite Murder and Wondery part ways
One of the biggest deals in podcasting has ended early. First reported by Ashley Carmen at Bloomberg, My Favorite Murder’s three-year contract with Wondery is ending after two years. The deal was reported to be worth over $100 million and included exclusivity on new episodes for the first week after release.
The My Favorite Murder X account shared the news on January 4th. “Early release is ending for all ERM podcasts, so we can all listen together each week in real time! As always, you can listen on Apple, Spotify or wherever else podcasts are available,” the post said.
Pushkin Industries gets a new CEO
It has been a tumultuous year for Pushkin Industries, the prestige podcast studio co-founded by Malcolm Gladwell. The company went through three rounds of layoffs over the course of 2023, the last of which resulted in co-founder Jacob Weisberg stepping down as CEO and Gretta Cohn being elevated to president. On Thursday, the company announced that Cohn has been named CEO.
“I’m thrilled to partner with Gretta as we continue pursuing our mission at Pushkin of producing audio in any format that challenges listeners, encourages their curiosity, and inspires joy. She is an impressive leader and invaluable collaborator,” Gladwell said in a statement.
Cohn was founder and CEO of podcast studio Transmitter, which was acquired by Pushkin in 2022. Prior to that, she was the executive producer of Earwolf.
That’s all for today. Insiders, I’ll be back tomorrow. For the rest of you, I’ll see you next week.