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It’s a busy news day, so I won’t waste time: Adnan Syed’s murder conviction has been reinstated, NPR is canceling some of its standalone podcasts, and Slate takes his podcasts to YouTube.
NPR cuts result in the cancellation of four podcasts
Last week, NPR made its biggest layoffs since the Great Recession to make up for a $30 million shortfall. Ten percent of staff – more than 100 people – have been made redundant and all but one of the vacancies have been removed from the network’s careers site. The cuts hit all areas of the organization, including the business side and radio production, but podcasting appears to have been hit the hardest.
None of NPR’s radio shows were canceled as a result of the cuts, but the same cannot be said for the network’s podcasts. Seasonal podcasts including Invisibility, Louder than a riot, And Coarse translation stopped production, as did Wait Wait… Don’t tell me! spin off Everybody and their mom. Plus, the staff of the Daily Science Podcast Short wave announced that they will have to reduce three days a week.
No one was going to be happy with the cuts no matter how they happened, but it was surprising how quickly NPR deprioritized its podcast-only lineup. And as many observers have noted, the cut shows represented some of the network’s most significant attempts to diversify its stories and talent. If you haven’t already, I recommend reading Nick Quah’s latest article for Vulture on why the cuts are bad news for NPR’s future:
The world of media and podcasting quickly changed around NPR, and for several years it seemed like the institution of public radio was similarly changing in terms of how it thinks about operations, diversity, how it sounds, who it is for. But moments of deep crisis tend to bring out fundamental identities, both in people and in institutions. NPR losing so many of its employees is already such a horrible thing. What’s additionally distressing about this moment is what it hints at NPR’s future possibilities — and what it reveals, perhaps, about how NPR has always thought of itself. .
The network says it’s not giving up on narrative storytelling, despite the cuts. “These projects include some of the best work NPR has ever done. We are exploring ways to continue this work in other forms. We are losing amazing people,” NPR spokeswoman Isabel Lara said. “Our narrative journalism efforts will continue with Embedded and Up First Sunday, which will feature the best long-form journalism projects from NPR and the entire public radio system.”
Adnan Syed’s murder conviction reinstated over procedural issue
Adnan Syed, the main subject of the 2014 podcast megahit Serial, made headlines again last year when his 2000 murder conviction was overturned. Now, that conviction has been reinstated by a Maryland appellate court.
The court sided with an appeal by the family of Hae Min Lee, Syed’s ex-girlfriend and murder victim in 1999. The family argued that they had no received enough notice to attend the September hearing that led to Syed’s release.
Syed’s conviction was overturned after state prosecutors uncovered new DNA evidence that did not implicate Syed. Today’s decision does not change that fact, but it does mean that another hearing will have to be held to confirm his release.
Slate takes his podcasts to YouTube
The lure of YouTube is unmistakable. Slate makes its range of podcasts, including Slow burning, political gabfestAnd Amicus with Dahlia Lithwickavailable on the streamer. Slate follows the example of older podcasts such as Freakonomics Radio Network and NPR by offering audio-only programming on YouTube, which has become the most popular podcast platform for listeners, according to recent surveys.
“Discoverability has become one of the biggest challenges in the podcast industry, and we see a real opportunity to gain momentum and reach a new, untapped audience on YouTube, which has become the platform most used podcast in the world.” Charlie Kammerer, Slatethe president and chief revenue officer said in a statement.
The timing makes sense. YouTube recently rolled out its podcast creation tools in YouTube Studio and is gearing up to launch podcasts on YouTube Music. While audio-only podcasts are still pretty clunky on the main platform, the company’s podcast makers are promising a sleeker audio experience within YouTube Music.
Apple Podcasts adds a channels tab to the library and brings more episodes to Up Next queues
Apple has rolled out some podcast updates that the company first announced in February. Now, Apple Podcasts users will be able to browse shows in their libraries using the Channels tab, which groups shows from the same publisher in one place. Additionally, CarPlay will now offer standard Apple Podcasts functions, such as Browse and Up Next.
Additionally, the app has adjusted which episodes appear in listeners’ Up Next queues. Before, it was limited to new episodes of shows that listeners were already watching. Now, the lineup will also incorporate episodes of shows that users aren’t following but have saved to their library or started playing. It definitely seems like an improvement on the Up Next experience (not everyone follows the shows they watch) and could be helpful in building listening habits.
Amy Poehler teams up with Cadence13 for a new scripted comedy podcast
While Cadence13’s parent company is staging a stock split to stay on the New York Stock Exchange (more on that later this week for Insiders), the studio has brought another Saturday Night Live caption to bolster its comedic offering. Cadence13 is working with Amy Poehler’s Paper Kite Productions to produce a three-season show that parodies different podcast genres. The first season, Say more with Dr? Sheila, featuring Poehler herself as the titular therapist, will be released later this year.
The London Podcast Show is two months away
The Podcast Show London returns for its second year on May 24-25, with two days of programming and a huge line-up of speakers, including Addicted to crimeof Ashley Flowers and actually sexIt’s Alice Levin. If you’d like to attend, we’ve teamed up with the team there to give you all a discount: follow this link and use code ‘HOTPOD’ at checkout to get 10% off passes standard one or two days. PS ticket prices go up on Wednesday next week (April 5), so you’ll save more if you grab tickets soon.
That’s all for the moment! I’ll see you next week.
#NPR #prioritizes #radio #podcasts #steep #cuts
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