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Podcast Survivor

Podcast Survivor: This week’s podcasting news

There are a couple of interesting items about podcasting to review this week: NPR’s Mike Pesca is quitting to host a Slate Magazine podcast, and a look at different funding methods for ’casts.

Before I start, in the interest of full disclosure I want to let readers know that for the next month I will be working with the Mid Roll, a company that matches advertisers with podcasts. It’s the sister company to the Earwolf podcast network.

Here at Radio Survivor my goal is still to cover the whole wide world of podcasting and its future. While I intend to be fair in my coverage, it is best for you, the reader, to be informed of my professional relationships so that you may judge for yourself if and how I am biased.

NPR’s Mike Pesca Goes Free Agent

Online magazine Slate is increasing its investment in podcasting with the hire of NPR sports correspondent Mike Pesca. According to Business Insider Pesca will host a daily podcast providing “opinions and context covering several of the day’s biggest news stories beginning this April.” Unlike most of his work at NPR his focus will not just be on sports.

BI writer Aaron Taube notes that the hire reflects Slate’s positive experience with podcasting. The company already publishes at least one podcast a day. Publisher Matt Turck says that listener engagement with podcasts are such that, “the mid-roll podcast ads, in which a host reads aloud a sponsored message before or during the show, are likely Slate’s most expensive advertising impressions.”

By my count Pesca’s move to Slate makes for the second high-profile NPR reporter to leave for podcasting. Former All Things Considered weekend host Andrea Seabrook left the network in 2012 to launch her DecodeDC podcast funded by a $100,000 Kickstarter. This past November the program was acquired by the E.W. Scripps Company.

Jim Romenesko shares Pesca’s often tongue-in-cheek farewell memo to his colleagues at NPR. In it he explains that “I have always wanted NPR to be a weeee bit more ambitious or daring, to be willing to take risks outside our comfort zone. So I’m leaving to do a daily podcast about things other than sports, though sometimes sports, because I like sports.”

While NPR and individual public stations are taking chances with podcasts and born-digital media content, there are relatively few reporters and producers for whom this is their primary responisbility. It begs the question of whether the migration of folks like Pesca and Seabrook will turn into a trend.

Kickstarters, Patronage and Subscriptions, Oh My!

Writing in Forbes, business analyst Michael Wolf surveys some of the ways besides advertising that podcasts are being funded. There’s no way he couldn’t mention Kickstarter, but he also looks at a couple of patron funding models, in addition to the more traditional subscription model, used by programs like the Tom Leykis Show and Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak’s No Agenda Show.

I do have to note that Leykis’ show also contains advertisements, and its 24/7 stream is available for free. Subscription is only required to get the on demand podcast version.


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