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Wednesday Morning Is For Podcasting At NAB

Demetri Ravanos

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This morning, for me anyway, has been all about podcasting. Hang on. Let me rephrase that. The morning was all about trying to figure out the Las Vegas Convention Center, because HOLY SHIT, THIS PLACE IS HUGE AND CONFUSING!

By 10:40 I finally had my bearings enough to make it to a panel about how the most popular podcasters break through. It was moderated by Podcast Movement co-founder Dan Franks and featured some of the biggest names in the true crime podcasting world including Patrick Hinds of True Crime Obsessed, Rebecca Lavoie of Crime Writers On…, and Rabia Chaudry of Serial and Undisclosed.

This group covered every aspect of podcasting and how the people that do it the best…well, do it.

Hinds talked about getting his start in the podcasting world when his favorite Broadway podcast quit posting new episodes. He said that he thought the show and the content was so good that surely someone else would pick up the baton. After months of waiting for that to happen, Patrick Hinds realized he had to be that someone. It is a good lesson. Don’t assume the space you want to be in will be covered. Only you can deliver the content you want exactly the way you want it.

The expertise that Hinds really delivered was in how to grow an audience and create a dedicated listener community. He talked about the importance of learning to market on social media. Not only did that bring True Crime Obsessed a bigger audience, it brought an audience that was invested in the show’s hosts. 

Hinds is a gay man and said that he regularly discusses LGBTQ issues on podcast and its social media pages. He invoked sports radio when he said that because he and his co-host have invested so much time in engaging with their listeners, he has never experienced that “stick to sports” pushback that you might expect.

Rebecca Lavoie said she learned about audience engagement from Howard Stern. She saw so much value in the way Stern would pull back the curtain on what went into creating his show each day. That transparency created her loyalty to Stern as a listener because she felt like he was giving her access to everything.

The other way Lavoie said podcasters should engage with their audience is in analytics. Podcasters can see their direct download data. Using that to see what works and what doesn’t can help shows super serve their core audience.

Rabia Chaudry first came to prominence as the attorney for Adnan Sayed, whose case was at the center of the mega-popular Serial podcast. She said that experience taught her the importance of being aware of what your success can create for others. 

Chaudry told a story about being offered a book deal to tell Sayed’s story. Initially she turned it down, thinking it would be in bad taste. Later a friend convinced her to take the deal saying that the story had become so big that someone was going to write the book. Didn’t she want to make sure it was written by someone that knew the case inside and out?

The session wrapped with a discussion of premium content. All three agreed that in order to be a success with Patreon or a subscription service, you have to make sure that content is truly special. Lavoie said it was important to make sure it changes regularly. She said that there is a “tribalism to premium content subscribers.” If you treat them right, they are the ones that will spread the word about your product.

The second session I attended was all about Marvel’s podcast Wolverine: The Long Night. You are justified in wondering what sports radio can learn from a podcast that exists in the Marvel Comics universe, but the panel was their to discuss taking an already successful brand and using audio to enhance what its possibilities and limits are.

Amy Fitzgibbons of Stitcher moderated a panel that included Jenny Radelet Mast of Stitcher, Director Brendan Baker, and producer Daniel Fink, who is also Marvel’s VP of Business Development. 

The panel began with the trailer from season one of Wolverine: The Long Night. Immediately it is clear how different this podcast is from any other. First of all, it is scripted. Secondly, it transports you to a world. The audio is expertly crafted. You don’t need pictures. You can see it in your head because Wolverine: The Long Night is presented like an HBO series that just happens to be audio only.

Fink says that Marvel is always willing to test storytelling across different mediums. He realizes audio can be a stretch for his company, but podcasts have come so far. S Town and Serial showed him that effective storytelling can be done without pictures.

Radelet Mast was on board the second she saw the word Marvel in her email. Stitcher had experience with fiction podcasts before Marvel came to them. They have an erotica podcast on the way. She doesn’t want to leave anything unexplored when it comes to fiction podcasts.

Brendan Baker has worked in the sound design world for years, particularly with NPR. He knew that adding music and other production could create a theatrical presentation of any type of storytelling. He was most intrigued by trying to create an audio-only fight scene.

What this panel hammered home was the importance of using good audio and using it the right way. Five years ago no one would have imagined that a Wolverine story could be consumed as audio only. The character’s most die hard fans would have at best been willing to give it a chance. To convince them to stay with the show, Marvel had to make sure the experience was nearly flawless in execution.

Sports Online

Bomani Jones: Chris Canty Made Me Rethink How I Look At This Job

“You’ve heard me say this before. I have a particular respect for former athletes that get in and treat this job with care like in the same way they would the other job.”

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The Right Time with Bomani Jones has been one of ESPN’s most successful podcasts recently. Part of the appeal is that the conversations can go anywhere. Jones and his guests talk plenty about sports, but they will venture into pop culture, current events, and more. When it is “Foxworth Friday”, there is a good chance that the show will give some insight on other ESPN personalities.

On the most recent edition of The Right Time, Bomani Jones and Domonique Foxworth discussed how hard it can be to come up with a unique view on a topic every single time you are asked to talk about it. When Foxworth said that ESPN Radio’s Chris Canty makes it a little easier for him to be entertaining in those moments, Jones added to the praise.

He discussed a conversation he and Canty had at a Halloween party hosted by FOX’s Nick Wright.

“You’ve heard me say this before. I have a particular respect for former athletes that get in and treat this job with care like in the same way they would the other job,” Jones said. “Chris was like ‘Hey man’. You know, he’s got a Super Bowl ring, but he’s like ‘I didn’t get a gold jacket. I wasn’t great at that. But this? I have a chance to be great at something else.’”

Bomani Jones was impressed by that attitude. He admitted that it was eye-opening.

“That really made me look back at how I do my job and was like ‘Yo, I need to be looking at this in a very similar way.’”

Foxworth agreed. He said that it isn’t hard to believe that Chris Canty wants to be great on TV and radio. It is easy to see when he is making an effort to get better.

“He works at it and he doesn’t rely on just one move,” Foxworth said. “Using the basketball analogy, he’s adding new stuff to his game.”

Chris Canty clearly has fans in Bristol. ESPN keeps finding ways to use him across multiple platforms. In addition to his daily ESPN Radio show with Chris Carlin, he also makes regular appearances on Get Up with Mike Greenberg.

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Dave Portnoy Drops Appeal Of Lawsuit Against Business Insider

“In dropping the suit, both Portnoy and Insider have agreed to pay their own legal fees according to Awful Announcing.”

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Dave Portnoy is done with his legal fight against Insider. He filed an appeal after a judge dismissed his initial defamation suit in November. That appeal has been dropped.

Nich Carlson, the Global Editor-in-Chief of Insider, took to Twitter Friday to announce that the legal standoff had come to an end. He also notes that Insider is not surprised by the decision. The company stands by the reporting in the initial story, in which multiple women alleged that sexual encounters with Portnoy turned “violent and humiliating”. It was one of two stories the site published featuring these kinds of accusations against Portnoy.

Both sides will move on. In dropping the suit, both Portnoy and Insider have agreed to pay their own legal fees according to Awful Announcing.

In November, a Massachusetts judge ruled that Portnoy would have to prove that Insider acted with “actual malice” in publishing the stories. That was going to be a high bar considering that Dave Portnoy is a public figure.

Neither he nor his legal team have publicly commented about the status of the lawsuit.

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Nick Wright: Majority of Media Got Tom Brady Retirement Story Wrong

“I don’t think people understand that these are not easy decisions.”

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The news of the retirement of Tom Brady wasn’t the most shocking development, but FS1 host Nick Wright believes the way some of media coverage around Brady evolved wasn’t handled correctly.

During his What’s Wright? with Nick Wright podcast, Wright argued that those who have been given tremendous talents are put in different situations than those who weren’t, stopping just short of saying Brady had a duty to continue to perform his craft. He later added that those joking about Brady’s marriage failing for an extra season in the league weren’t viewing the entire picture, and that the divorce wasn’t something worth joking about.

“I see a lot of stuff people are saying about Brady, and I think it’s bullshit,” Wright said. “‘Oh, you sacrificed your marriage to 8-9’. And I don’t think people understand that these are not easy decisions. These are not easy things, and people know we know we are at times putting yourself first, in a selfish way that you’re not supposed to as a parent.”

The First Things First host then said the situation is similar to one he experienced as a child, but grew to realize there were bigger things than simply being a parent.

“It’s what I learned from my own dad. My own dad — who I have massive admiration for — absolutely put me and my sister — at times — on the backburner to negotatioting the best bargain possible for the Kansas City Firefighters. His legacy — he’s a great dad, who I adore — (but) his life’s legacy is not the things he did for me and my sister, his real legacy is the things he did for those firefighters and their families. You have those push and pull things and you make decisions and you deal with the fallout of it. It’s really sad that he and Gisele didn’t make it.”

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