Ossa Podcast Industry News | June 29, 2020

Last week, The Podcast Academy — a newly-launched, nonprofit membership group for podcasters — began accepting applications. At launch, they required that all applicants include a recommendation letter in order to prove that they were actually part of the industry.

But as we all know, ideas that are good in theory are not always good in practice, and this one quickly created a headache for podcast executives. The CEO of podcast Hosting Company Blubrry, Todd Cochrane, said that in under a week, he got flooded with more than 150 requests from podcasters hoping for a letter of recommendation to apply to join the academy.

This unwanted outcome has inspired The Podcast Academy to revise their application requirements. Now, rather than submitting two letters of recommendation, board chair Rob Greenlee announced in a Twitter post over the weekend that applicants will now only need to provide either a name of someone who is already a member to vouch for them – or the name and email of two podcast industry peers.

The Podcast Academy has two main focuses: education — sharing of ideas, doing webinars, and conferences and events — and their annual awards ceremony to reward excellence in podcasting.”

Unlike many industry groups that work to enlist memberships from companies, The Podcast Academy aims to onboard individual podcasters by offering a discounted $50 annual membership fee through Sept. 30, when the annual rate will be increased to $100.

For more information or to apply to join The Podcast Academy, head to their website.


If you listen to our podcast, Ossa Lounge, then you may have heard our coverage of NPR’s Student Podcast Challenge. We discovered this week that The New York Times has a student podcast competition, too! The NYT’s third annual Student Podcast Contest invites teenagers to create a five-minute-or-less original audio program about any topic. This year, they received more than 1,300 submissions.

Perhaps not surprisingly, The Times reports that there was a common thread that ran through many of the shows submitted – the ways in which teenagers have been affected by, and are learning from, the coronavirus pandemic. Some students leaned into that reality and interviewed their family members, while others spoke directly to what stay-at-home orders had meant for them. One student reflected on how she had coped with post-traumatic stress disorder since being at home full-time.

From the close to 900 submissions in the high school category, The Times selected a total of eight winners, 11 runners-up and 16 honorable mentions. They also had nearly 450 submissions in the middle school category, and chose three winners, four runners-up and seven honorable mentions.

For more information, click here.

Vice Media Group has partnered with iHeartMedia to launch a weekly investigative news podcast that is set to launch this fall. The 30-minute podcast will be called “Vice News Reports,” and will be co-produced by iHeartRadio and Vice News. The show will include a mix of long- and short-form reports, feature stories and series focusing on major global news and underreported events beyond the 24-hour news cycle.

As part of the alliance, iHeart is going to get a first-look option to co-produce additional podcasts based on the Vice Media Group content.

Conal Byrne, President of the iHeartPodcast Network, says that, quote, “With today’s busy schedules, listeners are always looking for engaging content, especially on global critical topics of interest, “We are excited to launch this new investigative series with Vice, keeping listeners up-to-date on the latest current events, while also uncovering untold truths in today’s tumultuous climate.” end quote.

To read iHeartRadio’s official announcement, click here.

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