In today’s podcast news roundup, the inaugural Sports Podcast Awards are set to hit in 2022; Spotify kicks off its integration with third-party podcast subscription services; horror podcaster Aaron Mahnke reveals his latest project; and more.
The Sports Podcast Awards, honoring best of the global sports audio community, are set to take place in February 2022. The new awards program is part of Benchmark, the company behind the Sport Industry Awards, now in its 20th year and billed as the world’s largest commercial sports awards. Also part of organizing the Sports Podcast Awards is the Beyond Sport Awards, recognizing sport’s role in social impact. Members of the advisory board for the Sports Podcast Awards include Peter Hutton, global sports partnerships director of Facebook; U.K. sports broadcaster Gabby Logan; and former CEO of Sky Sports Barney Francis. The Sports Podcast Group is led by managing director Dylan Pugh, a former Spotify exec. Entries are open in 27 different categories, with an entry price of $99 per category entry or $50 per entry for independents. For more info, see sportspodcastawards.com.
Spotify announced the first partners for its Open Access Platform (OAP), which lets creators and publishers integrate their login systems with the streaming-audio platform to let listeners access subscription content. The company isn’t charging a fee or collecting a revenue share for the use of OAP. The first partners using Spotify’s Open Access Platform are: Acast, Der Spiegel, Glow.fm powered by Libsyn, Malcolm Gladwell’s audiobook “The Bomber Mafia” (Pushkin Industries), Mamamia, Mediapart, Memberful, Slate, Storytel, Supporting Cast, Supercast, the Motley Fool and Vox Media. Over the coming months, paid content from these partners will be gradually made available to listeners on Spotify, who will be able to connect their existing subscriptions to Spotify to unlock the content. The company announced OAP in April along with its paid-subscription option for podcast creators.
Aaron Mahnke, creator of popular horror podcast “Lore,” is launching his newest supernatural podcast: “Bridgewater.” Season 1 is set to premiere Aug. 6 with the first two episodes of the 10-episode first season; a 12-episode second season is in production with a fall 2022 premiere-date target. “Bridgewater” is the story of folklore professor Jeremy Bradshaw, who is pulled into the mysterious 1980 disappearance of his police-officer father by new evidence that threatens to upend decades of certainty around the case. Jeremy puts his life on hold to solve the mystery — chasing clues that will ultimately confirm whether his father really did fall victim to a Satanic cult in the Bridgewater Triangle, or whether something much darker and unexplainable happened. Cast includes Misha Collins (Supernatural), Hilarie Burton Morgan (One Tree Hill, The Walking Dead), and Lori Alan (Spongebob, Family Guy). “Bridgewater” is co-produced by Grim & Mild Entertainment in association with iHeartMedia.
Amazon’s Wondery released “The Grand Scheme: Snatching Sinatra,” produced by Spoke Media in collaboration with Wondery, widely on July 27 across all major podcast platforms. Hosted by actor John Stamos, the new season uncovers the events of Frank Sinatra Jr.’s kidnapping, told from the kidnapper himself, Barry Keenan, who for the first time shares his version of the bizarre story. The podcast series premiered July 12 on the Wondery Plus subscription service.
Luminary announced the return of cult favorite supernatural podcast, “Snap Judgment Presents: Spooked,” hosted by media personality Glynn Washington, for Season 6. It’s set to debut on Sept. 3 and run through May 2022, available exclusively to Luminary channel subscribers on Apple Podcasts Subscriptions or to Luminary subscribers on the Luminary app.
Investigation Discovery announced that TV series “Disappeared” is being released as a podcast, with three episodes set to debut on Aug. 5 and new episodes to drop weekly on Thursdays across all major podcast platforms. During its nine seasons on TV, “Disappeared” told the stories of individuals who vanished seemingly without a trace. Some cases told over the course of the show’s run culminated in joyous reunions or heartbreaking discoveries — but that’s not the case for every story. Fans of the TV series can watch episodes streaming on Discovery Plus.
Tegna announced that 20 of the shows for Locked On, its local sports podcast network, are now available as YouTube channels as well as on Tegna station’s OTT apps in select markets. Tegna acquired Locked On earlier in 2021. The company also announced two new programming initiatives: A Locked On NBA Draft 2021 special, co-produced in partnership with WFAA, set for Thursday, July 29, and the Monday, Aug. 2, debut of “Locked On HBCU,” a podcast dedicated to HBCU sports and athletes.
Comscore announced an agreement with Acast to provide “brand-safety targeting solutions” for podcast and audio content. Under the agreement, Acast will use Comscore’s natural language processing, machine learning, and AI for direct and programmatic ad sales; that, according to the companies, will help brands to “ensure that their advertising appears within podcast episodes that align with their brand preferences.”