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Author: Leda Marritz (page 2 of 2)

Audio alive: new forms of social listening

Probably the most famous story about the cultural impact of radio is the 1938 broadcast adaptation of War of the Worlds, a science fiction novel about alien invasion by H.G. Wells. Narrated by Orson Welles, the 60-minute broadcast was presented as a news bulletin and purportedly generated utter panic in a million listeners (this number is the subject of some dispute).

At that time, listening to the radio was often a shared experience. Along with newspapers and books, radio was a dominant form of media delivery and consumption. From Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s fireside chats in 1933 to Neville Chamberlain’s declaration of war with Germany in 1939, people gathered around radios, together, to hear news and stories.  

The role of radio in our daily lives has changed substantially since then. On-demand audio has made many listening experiences solitary: just one person and their earbuds. But new forms of social listening are emerging even in an on-demand world, offering opportunities for human connection and discussion that call back to ways we used to listen to the radio — while also taking the experience in new directions.

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Meet a podcast librarian

Ever since RadioPublic — the podcast discovery and recommendation app from PRX — launched last year, there has been a lot of buzz about one particular feature: “Ask a Librarian.” This part of the app connects you with an actual person who curates new shows for you to try. Ma’ayan Plaut is one of the librarians who interacts with users each week, providing personalized recommendations based on their preferences.


In your own words, what is a podcast librarian?

A Podcast Librarian is your guide to getting you to listen to something great. As RadioPublic’s Podcast Librarian, I research, curate, and recommend shows to new and long-time listeners through individual requests and in the Explore section of the RadioPublic app.

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5 Questions for Jenna Weiss-Berman

Jenna Weiss-Berman is a podcast producer and was formerly director of audio for Buzzfeed, where she worked on Another Round. In 2016 she co-founded Pineapple Street Media with Max Linsky, where she has cultivated an incredible roster of clients and projects. Here are five questions for Jenna. Read more powering the future of listening

In 2014, our co-founders — Anne Wootton and Bailey Smith — were very, very busy.

Every day they were commuting from Oakland, CA to 500 Startups’ Mountain View accelerator  as they developed Pop Up Archive, a business then in its infancy. They spent their days learning about speech-to-text software and ways of modeling data for audio, pitching their vision that audio was a medium whose parity with text was becoming inevitable. They talked about developing a product that was like Google for all types of audio. Then the podcast “Serial” was released.

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Innovating new forms of audio storytelling

We’re delighted to share that we’re partnering with BuzzFeed and Stitcher to host Come and Play, a two-day audio storytelling hackathon where artists, storytellers, producers, developers, designers, and others will come together to find new and fun ways to tell stories with audio.

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CastNinja: A desktop alternative to iTunes

Jesse Morris is a big podcast fan. He tries to expose himself to a broad range of topics that interest him, and he’s fascinated by podcasts as a form of unregulated media that can address something as inane as socks or as elaborate as French Revolutionary history.

Jesse is also a software developer, and while he typically uses an app on his phone to listen to podcasts, sometimes he wants to listen on the web to avoid running his battery down. He used to use iTunes, but stopped after he switched to using his Android device for music and podcasts. He found that it was difficult to find a good replacement for desktop listening — so he decided to create his own, CastNinja, using the API.

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How I listen: Lucy Carnaghi

Meet Lucy Carnaghi. Lucy is the co-owner of a restaurant in Detroit called Rose’s Fine Food (“The Ultimate Diner”). In her free time, she enjoy foods and entertaining, reading and writing, exercise, horses, and making things. This is how Lucy listens.

When did you start listening to podcasts? Did someone teach you how to subscribe, and have you taught anyone else how to listen?

I started listening about five years ago because I wanted to catch up on This American Life episodes I was missing on regular radio. My interest in other podcasts grew from there. I tried to teach my dad, but I’m not sure if it really stuck for him.

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Which podcast app is right for you?

Podcast discovery has long been limited to recommendations from friends or the hosts of shows listeners already know and love — but podcast apps are starting to integrate smarter discovery features into their offerings. We’re building the API to help podcast apps delight listeners with serendipitous discovery — in particular by using our podcast intelligence to surface specific episodes based on content, tone, and quality.

How to sort through all the choices and find the ones you’ll love? Here’s a roundup of how seven popular podcast apps handle discovery.

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Pastime: Streamlining the podcast app

Software engineer Andrew Roper first got the idea to build Pastime — a “rigorously simplistic” audiobook and podcasting app — when a relative was diagnosed with macular degeneration. With its large buttons and straightforward navigation, Pastime was made to suit the needs of visually impaired people. That challenge prompted Andrew to consider broader issues of accessibility.

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