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Podcast Survivor: Why Jesse Thorn Says He Works in Radio

A holiday weekend means it’s been quiet here in Podcast Survivor land. However, this week’s episode of The New Disruptors podcast features a a nice interview with public radio broadcaster, podcaster and menswear enthusiast, Jesse Thorn. He is the founder of the Maximum Fun podcast network, and the host/producer of its flagship Bullseye podcast and public radio program, which began life at UC Santa Cruz’s KZSC.

In the first half of the show Thorn and host Glenn Fleishman have an informative discussion about the differences and relationship between radio and podcasting that manages to be substantive enough for the hardcore podcast enthusiast without having too much inside baseball for a listener with more interest in the content than the medium. He admits to Fleishman that despite his obvious investment in podcasting, when people ask him what he does he still says “radio,” since that’s what folks are most likely to know.

Thorn also relates an anecdote about a listener survey that he ran on Bullseye, which airs on several major market public stations in addition to being a podcast. While the broadcast version of the show has many more listeners than the podcast, he found that nearly all of the survey respondents were podcast listeners. That’s yet another indicator for how podcasting tends to be more engaging than the so-called “lean back” experience of listening to the radio.

The New Disruptors consistently features entertaining conversations with guests engaged in impressive and independent ventures. This episode is no exception.

I also want to quickly highlight an interview with Erik Diehn, my colleague at Midroll Media, conducted by PRX CEO Joel Shapiro. Erik recently joined the company as V.P. of Business Development after a tenure at New York Public Radio, which has made prominent investments in podcasts. In this interview he talks about why podcasting is having its “moment” now, gives advice for podcast producers, and shares his perspective on some of the challenges and advantages that the on-demand audio world of podcasting offered public radio.


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