In this week’s podcasting news:
- PRX launches podcast network focused on sustaining the medium
- Podcasts continue to dominate Stitcher Awards
- Podcasting veteran Rob Greenlee joins PodcastOne
- Patent troll demands “Save Podcasting” campaign donor info.
PRX Launches Podcast Network
I’ve been writing quite a bit about how podcasting and independent radio can become sustainable. This week the Public Radio Exchange launched a new podcast network called Radiotopia that they say will feature “the best emerging and established talent.” The network is supported by a $200,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. According to PRX this support will allow the organization to “develop new audience engagement and revenue strategies toward a sustainable model for digital-first audio programming.”
Radiotopia is starting out with a lineup of seven shows, including the popular 99% Invisible podcast produced by Roman Mars. According to Current, Mars is the lead architect for the network. Other programs include Fugitive Waves from public radio’s Kitchen Sisters and Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything. Walker has produced programs at WFMU and curated the station’s RadioVision festival last year, where sustainability was a key issue for discussion.
Podcasts Continue To Dominate Stitcher Awards
The second annual Stitcher Awards happened last week and our own Matthew Lasar attended and reported and highlighted winners in some of the most popular categories. Out of the 19 category winners I count 16 that are pure-play podcasts, not heard on broadcast radio. Last year the count was 14 out of 20. Of the three winners this year that also are heard on the radio, two–Planet Money and Freakonomics–are born-digital as podcasts without regular airtimes.
Overall nearly 3,700 shows were nominated for this year’s awards, and over 230,000 votes were cast by Stitcher users. That’s some 70,000 more votes than last year.
Podcasting Veteran Greenlee Joins PodcastOne as CTO
Rob Greenlee is a true podcasting veteran. For seven years he was in charge of podcast content areas for Microsoft’s Xbox Live Marketplace and Windows Phone Store, while also producing podcasts like “The Weekly Download” for these channels. Now he has joined Norm Pattiz’s PodcastOne as Chief Technology Officer. As both an advocate for the medium and someone who understands the technology inside and out, Greenlee’s hire signals Pattiz’s seriousness about making his company a force in podcasting.
Patent Troll Demands “Save Podcasting” Campaign Donor Info
Recall that a patent troll is suing prominent podcasters for allegedly violating a patent issued in the early 1990s for distributing magazine articles on tape. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is challenging the company, Personal Audio, at the US Patent and Trademark Office. The EFF reported last week that it has been subpoenaed by Personal Audio to reveal the names of donors funding its Save Podcasting campaign. EFF says that its donors have a First Amendment right to privacy and has moved to kill the subpoena in court.
ArsTechnica talked with Personal Audio CEO Brad Liddle about the subpoena. Liddle said that his company believes this information is relevant to its lawsuit against the podcasters, which is filed in Texas federal courts. According to ArsTechnica, “He believes that if the Texas defendants are involved in the patent office proceeding, they shouldn’t be allowed to present their same defenses all over again in federal court.” For its part, the EFF says that Personal Audio can ask the podcast defendants, rather than “invade the privacy of more than 1,000 donors.”
The Patent Office is expected to decide whether it will review Personal Audio’s patents this spring.