In today’s podcast news roundup, Marc Maron goes into business with Acast; iHeartMedia orders slate of podcasts from Bloomberg Media; Financial Times and Pushkin Industries probe the porn biz; Sony Music goes into “Binge” mode; American Girl launches podcast network based on its doll franchise; and more.
Top podcaster Marc Maron inked a three-year deal with indie podcast platform Acast for his podcast “WTF With Marc Maron.” The podcast will now be hosted, monetized and distributed via Acast, and Maron’s show will also be making use of the platform’s paid memberships offering, Acast+. Maron’s podcast has about 55 million listens per year, primarily in North America. Maron launched “WTF” in 2009, and since then has become a mainstay in the podcasting world. Over the years he has interviewed dozens of personalities including President Barack Obama, Kate Winslet, Keith Richards, Nicole Kidman, Stacey Abrams and Robin Williams — the last of which was inducted into America’s National Recording Registry earlier this year. “WTF With Marc Maron” will continue to be released twice a week and will be available on all major podcast platforms. The agreement goes into effect July 1, 2022. “We’ve amassed an amazing catalog over the years and Acast offers us an opportunity to make it available in a way it hasn’t been before, especially in international markets,” Maron said in a statement. The show is produced by co-creator Brendan McDonald. The deal was negotiated by Avalon, which reps “WTF With Marc Maron” and Maron.
iHeartMedia has ordered five original podcasts for 2022 from Bloomberg Media, featuring a mix of daily and weekly news programs and narrative-style limited series. The five shows will be the first podcasts to debut as part of a multiyear agreement to co-produce and distribute more than a dozen new original podcasts. The full slate of shows is distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network and can be heard on iHeartRadio and everywhere podcasts are available. The upcoming podcasts under the deal are: “Bloomberg Crypto” (premiering June 2022), led by Stacy-Marie Ishmael, Bloomberg’s managing editor for crypto; “Bedrock, USA” (premiering July 2022) about a pandemic-era America awash in conspiracies and misinformation hosted by Bloomberg CityLab reporter Laura Bliss; “In Trust” (premiering September 2022), a limited series about how members of one of the wealthiest families in Osage County, Okla., came to own more land in the area than anyone else; “The Big Take” (premiering September 2022), covering top stories of the day on business, markets, economics, finance, politics, technology and more hosted by Weston Kosova; and “Crash Course” (premiering October 2022), hosted by Bloomberg Opinion senior columnist Tim O’Brien, a weekly show exploring lessons learned when creativity and ambition collide with competition and power — on Wall Street and Main Street, and in Hollywood and Washington.
Sony Music Entertainment’s Global Podcast Division is launching “The Binge,” a new subscription channel providing listeners with bingeable access to full seasons of new podcasts each month from across SME’s slate. Beginning Monday, June 6, listeners can subscribe to “The Binge” on Apple Podcasts to access full seasons of two new original podcasts: “Witnessed: Friendly Fire” and “Fringe Network: Alien State.” The channel also will include exclusive, ad-free access to library content from some of SME’s biggest hit series including “Chameleon,” “Death at the Wing,” “Firebug,” “The Doodler,” “The Just Enough Family” and “Witnessed: Borderlands.”
American Girl launched its American Girl Podcast Network, comprised of three shows spanning formats and themes. The podcasts are “American Girl 10-Minute Mysteries” (which premiered May 24), bite-sized content developed from American Girl’s slate of beloved historical character mystery books, with season 1 based on “A Light in the Cellar: A Molly Mystery” and voiced by actor and podcast host Maggie Lawson; “American Girl Fan Club” (launching July 13), hosted by two American Girl superfans, Sydney Paulsen and Kristen Washington, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the creation and evolution of iconic characters and content over the years; and “The Smart Girls Podcast” (launching Aug. 17), based on book series “A Smart Girl’s Guide” and hosted by actor Shay Rudolph (“The Babysitters Club”) and culture expert Jess Weiner. The American Girl Podcast Network will be available on all streaming platforms.
The Financial Times and Pushkin Industries on June 7 will launch “Hot Money,” a new podcast series about power, finance and the business of online porn. The eight-month investigation was led by the FT’s Patricia Nilsson and Alex Barker. Over eight episodes, “Hot Money” sets out to discover who rules the porn industry, telling the secret history of the adult business, stretching across three decades with a cast of billionaires, tech pioneers and some of the biggest financial companies in the world. “Hot Money’s” first two episodes will premiere June 7 on Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Amazon Music and Spotify.
Crooked Media and Audacy announced original podcast “Mother Country Radicals,” from playwright Zayd Ayers Dohrn, son of Weather Underground leaders Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, set to premiere June 8 at the Tribeca Film Festival as an “Audio Storytelling Official Selection.” Also June 8, all episodes will immediately be available on the Audacy app, with the first three episodes premiering on all other podcast platforms and updating weekly. The podcast series is described as a “personal, politically charged account of a counterculture group of young activists in pursuit of radical change through any means necessary,” which included bombing the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol, breaking comrades out of prison, and teaming up with Black militant groups to rob banks — all in an attempt to build a revolution in America.
Audacy’s Pineapple Street Studios, Wondery and Amazon Music debuted “Persona: The French Deception” on May 23 on Amazon Music and the Wondery+ subscription service. Hosted by journalist Evan Ratliff, the eight-episode true-crime series features investigative reporting spanning the globe to uncover how Gilbert Chikli — one of the world’s most notorious con artists — pulled off his elaborate deceptions, documenting the people whose lives were forever changed in the process. The first two episodes are currently available on Amazon Music and Wondery+, with new episodes dropping every Monday, followed by weekly episodic releases on all podcast services starting June 6. Executive producers for Amazon Music and Wondery are Morgan Jones, Marshall Lewy, and Erin O’Flaherty; exec producers for Pineapple Street are Jenna Weiss-Berman and Max Linsky; and the senior producer is Henry Molofsky.
Narrative podcast studio Fictionz announced Mina Sundwell (“Lost in Space”) and Michael Cimino (“Love, Victor”) as the stars of thriller podcast series “Jane Anonymous,” set to premiere exclusively on Apple Podcasts and the Fictionz App on June 2. Each episode in the five-episode season will runs 20 minutes. The Fictionz series was adapted by Stephanie Wu (“Green Plastic Sandals”) from the YA novel by best-selling author Laurie Faria Stolarz (“Blue Is for Nightmares”), and will be directed by Andres Rosende (“Bad Friends”). The series follows Jane (Sundwell), a 17-year-old girl who fights to escape a kidnapper, as well as her relationship with a fellow captive (Cimino) — and their struggle to understand that everything they thought they knew might all be a lie. Sundwell and Cimino also executive produce alongside Fictionz, which is financing and distributing the podcast series.
Actor-musician-influencer Dillon Francis has joined the cast of “Cupid,” a romantic-comedy musical podcast series from QCode slated to premiere this summer and featuring original music performed by cast members including Diego Boneta (“Father of the Bride,” “Rock of Ages”), Naomi Ackie (“I Wanna Dance With Somebody”) and Rupert Friend (“Homeland,” “Anatomy of a Scandal”). Dillon has 2.7 million Instagram followers and 1 million on Twitter. “Cupid” is written and directed by English actor-writer Katy Cavanagh-Jupe. QCode is producing alongside Cavanagh-Jupe’s production company Double Garage Films and Boneta’s Three Amigos. The rom-com musical is a modern love story inspired by Greek mythology: When Aphrodite’s love potion goes missing on Earth, Cupid is held responsible. Zeus strips him of his immortal powers, giving him seven days to find and return the love potion. If Cupid fails, he will be condemned for eternity to his father Ares’ brutal bootcamp. With help from a boy on a scooter and a quirky florist named Rose, Cupid embarks upon an epic quest to unmask the real thief and restore the stolen potion safely back to Olympus.